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How to cut print waste in the global market

Written by
January 11, 2023
Enterprise print

Yes, we agree: printing can be a costly and unsustainable affair… if you do it the traditional way. After all, in our current digital age, old-fashioned printing causes waste, pollution, and clutter. But in your international organization, there may very well be a valuable place for print. You may need brochures, magazines, and promotional materials for trade fairs, for instance. But you want those produced sustainably without making concessions on quality, and without piles of print waste. Digitization has provided the world with a sustainable solution: Printing on Demand. So, let’s take a closer look at what creates excess waste, and how printing on demand can help you solve it.

Long delivery times encourage stockpiling

Print managers usually grant their assignments to printers they’re already familiar with, which is often close to where they live or work. But what if that printed material must be shipped to a subsidiary or branch office halfway around the world? Apart from long shipping times with excess emissions, this means that printed materials are stockpiled locally to be sent at a later stage. They’re taking up valuable office space, or may be warehoused at the printer’s, leading to excess costs for your company.

Poor quality leads to unused materials

Another contributing factor is poor print quality. After a shipment comes in for review at the local offices, it may happen that the ones who gave the assignment are unhappy about how the prints turned out, and suspend further distribution. But throwing out a whole order of unused materials can feel wrong. More often than not, it is put off for quite a while. The result is a pile of wasteful, useless materials, taking up valuable space. In some cases, piles of unused materials can roam around the offices for years.

Outdated information causes materials to pile up

Sometimes, print assignments are given prematurely, meaning that the printer is already working while the final design has not yet been approved. Valuable resources are spent on an assignment that gets binned right after it leaves the press.
In other cases, printed materials may have been ordered without there being an immediate need. The materials will be ready for use at a later stage, is the thinking behind this. But that day may never come. Simply because the printed information is outdated by the time there is a need for distribution. The whole stock can then be written off without ever having served its purpose.

One visible example is branded notepads, for use in offices and as a give-away at trade fairs. After a company changes its brand identity or moves to a new address, the notepads can no longer serve their purpose and will be thrown away, or lay around the office for years.

Offset printing resulting in excess quantities

And then there is offset printing. Printers want you to order a minimum number of copies, to make it financially worth setting up their presses. This leads to overprinting, because on the one hand, you don’t want to run out of copies and have to order above your maximum need. But you don’t need more than you’ll use. The result is a pile of print leftovers with outdated information.

Print on demand to the rescue

In all of these cases, printing on demand holds the answers. It saves office space, reduces excess printing to a minimum as you don’t order more than needed, and the order can be delivered straight to its intended destination, reducing the need for stockpiling and storage.
By ordering a sample preview of the requested materials such as a folder or brochure, last-minute design changes can be approved before the whole bulk of the order comes through. This guarantees on-point printing without excess.

Order the exact number of prints you need

Since you can order the exact number you need, you can make sure that it is all used accordingly. And because it can be delivered straight to where you need it, you’ll eliminate detours and reduce carbon emissions. What’s more, it won’t take up any space at your offices or at the printer’s warehouse. No stockpiling.

Ensure consistent print quality globally

Print on demand services help you ensure consistent print quality across all your offices. Through brand preferences set in your fixed account, you automatically adhere to your brand identity in prints. Your settings define colors, print types, dimensions, and provide anyone with access from your local offices with set templates, so they get it right in the first go. This not only speeds up your campaign roll-out, it also drastically reduces the number of misprints and redos, and resulting waste.

Reduce your waste with print-on-demand services

As the name suggests, print-on-demand services let you order high-quality prints in the quantities you need, whenever you need them. By selecting a printer closer to where your customers are, you can cut transporting costs as well as consequent emissions. Long-term cooperations with print-on-demand providers means they consistently and intuitively will learn to follow your brand guidelines, and provide the output you have negotiated. And since you never receive more than you’ve ordered, your waste is reduced to a minimum. In short, it’s printing on your own terms.

So, how would you like to take steps in preventing future print waste? Read more on how to cut printing costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

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