The goal is to print less. That sounds good.
The objectives are to save money and save the planet. Both are excellent objectives.
So far it would be difficult for anyone to argue with the goal and objectives, and it is great to have a target to shoot for, so why is it so hard for large companies to hit the target, or even come close to hitting the target of “printing less”? The approach could be wrong or you may be asking, the wrong people for help. Most if not all the vendors will volunteer in some fashion to help automate, so you can print less. It always sounds good, and let’s face it, the PowerPoint slides they use are really good. Those vendors make money by selling printing equipment, toner service. They need you to print more, or if not more, than less black & white and more color. You want to save money and the planet. They need to make a profit. The directives are not well aligned, and thus a successful outcome may not always be achieved.
Approach is my favorite topic. I often ask executives how they plan to print less. My favorite was a VP who said “I will just tell them to”. (i.e. the Executive Mandate) People do not always respond favorably to commands. That approach did not generate the desired results. The metrics approach always looks great on paper. You can buy print volume monitoring software and catch the bad guys who print too much, then punish them and try to turn them away from the dark side. People learn and adapt pretty quick so the “bad guys” either move their print around or secure senior executive support, and thus the status quo remains unaltered. The opposite of the authoritarian approach is the … “the staff will do what is right for the company and environment all on their own”. I have lived a long time, but not long enough to see large numbers of staff print less, by applying the honor system. People love to print, and those that print will find innovative ways to keep printing.
A strategy, and time, and effort, and end user buy-in are all required to print less. You need to single out some high visibility applications and demonstrate to people that there are benefits for them by not printing, and to show that, you actually have to have some benefits such as new technology or a new automated system of some kind. You need to measure it so you can reinforce to the group that their efforts have been noticed and the results are positive. Printing less has to have more than an edict or desire attached to it. Printing less takes a bit more effort than most realize, so congratulations to those organizations who have actually reduced their print volumes. You are in the minority.
Printing less is hard work, but it can generate exceptional benefits in the end. Good luck with it and may your approach be one of the successful ones!!