Transitions can be challenging. Over the last decade or so, many businesses have been looking at their resource usage and transitioning to more sustainable business practices, which sounds great in theory, but it’s not always simple. It’s almost impossible to change every business process, system, and supply arrangement without compromising business outcomes. Sustainable Process Optimisation needs to be reached, but only in a way that allows your business to achieve sustainability while continuing to deliver results to customers and shareholders.
The road to sustainability isn’t smooth, but you can move toward greater efficiency by simply optimising existing processes. That way, you can take your business on a journey to improvement without completely turning daily operations on their heads.
One of the easiest ways for your business to achieve sustainability is by reducing your energy usage. When you think about energy, there are two sides of the equation: supply and consumption. On the supply side, it’s easier than you may think to move to sustainable energy. For starters, you can renegotiate your electricity supply contracts.
In Australia, there’s a wholesale energy market, but electricity retailers contract with generators for energy. If your energy retailer contracts with sustainable power sources, such as wind, hydro, and battery arrays, then those sources will be fed into the power grid in preference to less sustainable suppliers, such as coal and gas.
You can also investigate the installation of solar panels or your own wind turbine to complement the grid supply. The energy savings from even a small local generator can make a noticeable difference to your ongoing costs. With solar panel technology constantly improving and becoming less expensive, you might even find the payback period on such an investment faster than you may expect.
As far as energy consumption goes, holding onto older equipment may not prove a prudent decision. Printers, servers, workstations, and other office devices generally use significant amounts of power, but Carbon Trust points out that newer printers and office devices can save significant amounts of energy when compared to older models. By upgrading to modern devices and hardware that use less power, you can save the business money in the long run.
When you think about how information flows in your business, you’ll soon see places where it’s possible to improve both sustainability and effectiveness. Both sides of that coin need to be addressed at once to efficiently introduce workflows that are both more efficient from an environmental perspective and more effective for your workers.
For example, one simple way to lessen your environmental impact is to use paper more efficiently. Paper reduction initiatives can be annoying to users whose jobs depend on paper, but addressing wasteful paper use doesn’t necessarily mean treating paper like the enemy. Rather, there can be enormous paybacks from process optimisation strategies that use paper in smarter ways. By taking a people-first approach, you can realise big paybacks without impacting daily operations.
Paper still remains an important part of many business processes. To lessen your footprint without impacting those processes, consider purchasing sustainably sourced paper, such as paper with an FSC certification. An FSC certification guarantees the paper used by your business was not produced in a way that harms wildlife or irrevocably damages forests.
Additionally, a modern multifunction printer can also reduce paper waste. For one, it can allow documents to be scanned for distribution rather than simply copied. It can also make it easier for users to archive documents and retrieve them. Scanned documents can be easily searched for on a database, so employees don’t have to rifle through messy boxes or filing cabinets.
These smart devices also reduce paper and ink waste caused by poor-quality print jobs—all while using less energy than older printers. Investing in printer modernisation can have a surprisingly strong impact on your environmental initiatives.
Combining smart, multifunction devices with managed print services can help you achieve even greater sustainability. MPS providers can assess your print environment for energy usage and paper waste, helping you determine how to streamline and optimise processes for improved efficiency. Furthermore, they can help you establish processes in which printouts are released to a device only when the user is there to collect them, ensuring there are no uncollected jobs that waste paper and ink or toner.
Additionally, MPS providers often take care of printer cartridge recycling and can even help you recycle your printers when they reach the end of their lifecycle, reducing the amount of e-waste ending up in landfills.
All these suggestions are simple changes, but they can make a notable difference in your environmental impact. By improving processes with a mind toward both efficiency and effectiveness, you can take small steps to achieve sustainability in a big way.