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Document wastage costing £309m

UK businesses are losing an estimated £2 billion pounds a year due to “document wastage”, the inefficient and sometimes unnecessary printing of work-related and personal information in offices.

The automotive sector is one of the big losers.

The UK’s automotive industry presents a major opportunity for document production savings: £309 million a year based on the 2008/9 figures.

Across Europe, the automotive industry stand to reap cost savings of up to £1.6 billion, a study by technology specialist Pitney Bowes study shows.

According to the report, UK firms could have saved an estimated £2.159 billion on printing costs in 2008/9, up from £1.95 billion in 2006, if they had implemented more cost-effective document printing policies.

The most costly UK industry in terms of document wastage is retail, at an estimated £688 million a year.

The report also found that, at a time when companies are looking to cut spending in the face of a recession, businesses in major European markets are costing themselves an estimated £13 billion a year by failing to adequately manage rising workplace printing costs – a trend it calls “document wastage”.

The white paper, 'Counting the Cost of Document Wastage in Europe', pulls together industry and corporate data from across western Europe.

In the report, Pitney Bowes points out that, typically, colour printing run through a centralised facility can be done at a tenth of the cost of the output from a desktop device.

By utilising print management software, implementing controls, monitoring output and reorganising document production equipment to run this activity though a centralised facility, companies could cut overall costs in this area by 10% to 30%.

Pitney Bowes’ research showed that the spread in recent years of high-bandwidth communications and its attendant capability to send large attachments, along with the growth of email and web usage, has actually increased printing in most offices as employees print much of the information they receive and find online.

This trend has been accompanied by the widespread use of desktop colour printers – the most expensive form of office printing.

Richard Thompson, managing director of Pitney Bowes, said: “We have seen that at least 75% of the businesses we work with have no strategy for dealing with document output – despite the fact that this has become a growing business cost.
“We’ve found that even the smallest companies can achieve dramatic savings if they bring their printing and document production under tighter control.

“Even in centralised, high-volume document production facilities, it is possible for companies to cut costs and make these more efficient – for instance by combining administrative, customer service and promotional output volumes and printing on lower-cost equipment."

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