Managing business bureaucracy and a ‘greener’ procurement to get the best printer

Up to seven people are now involved in a business buying decision, and factors such as environmental sustainability have joined the long list of buying criteria. So how can organisations buy a printer that makes everyone happy and does the best job?

Managing business bureaucracy and a ‘greener’ procurement to get the best printer

Business procurement has always been a complex process. But research suggests it’s actually more complicated than we think. According to Gartner, the average business decision involves around seven different people before making a final choice. What’s more, with the European Commission aiming to have 50% of all public tendering procedures ‘green’, the procurement process has become even more complex.

With organisations moving to flatter hierarchies and evolving new workspaces, driven by changing technology, new workflows and more sustainable practices, there is an ever-growing cast of internal stakeholders. Each with a different opinion on what the business needs, and on what is truly important.

What we’re seeing at Epson, particularly through the growing popularity of our business inkjet technology, is a longer, more democratic route to procurement – and one that incorporates both economic and environmental factors.

For example, even if a head of facilities is responsible for upgrading an organisation’s print capability, that person likely needs to speak with procurement about the cost of hardware and the average cost per page. Then they would have a conversation with a business unit head about inkjet’s professional output quality; an environmental officer about sustainable practices; as well as the CFO about the overall ‘bang for buck’ before making a final decision. Leaving reliability, the one thing that facilities really care about most, as just one piece of the purchasing puzzle.

Flatter hierarchies inevitably inspire important conversations across an organisation about how the benefits of technology can be optimised to create value. Traditionally, laser has been the dominant print technology in the workplace, primarily because of its reputation for cost-effectiveness at high volume. But ultra-efficient PrecisionCore inkjet technology, alongside the availability of high-capacity inks, has enabled inkjet to surpass laser on the fundamental specs of cost, speed, sustainability, productivity and reliability. What that means is that business users can have more tailored conversations about how inkjet can meet their specific needs.

If you ask the flatter, more democratic organisation what it really wants, you get a variety of different answers. And that’s surely the point. A growing requirement is product sustainability. Epson research points to an information gap with regard to inkjet’s green credentials. The majority of survey respondents 62% falsely thought that a laser printer produces less CO2 than inkjet and 56% mistakenly believed it produces less waste.

In fact, Epson’s WorkForce Pro business Inkjets use up to 96% less energy and emit up to 92% less CO2 than comparable laser printers. On waste, an issue not just for users but also for those employees tasked with ensuring the business meets ever-stricter waste and end-of-life regulation targets, Epson has reduced lifecycle waste by up to 94%[1], chiefly by swapping ink cartridges for super-high-yield ink supply units, known as the Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS). Each of these ink supply units can print up to 84,000 pages, so minimising physical waste greatly. When presented with these facts, almost three quarters of European business decision makers and influencers changed their mind and chose inkjet over laser.

It is imperative that we – as a manufacturer – understand the needs of different stakeholders as we design and build our print technology so it is fit for the future workplace. Concentrating on sustainability, for example, without also recognising some users’ more pressing need for raw speed would be counter-productive. In the same way, it wouldn’t make sense to redesign ink replenishment if our machines’ productivity were hampered by simple print jams. Epson innovation has always targeted user needs throughout an organisation. And as the buyer journey evolves, that has never been more important.

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