Ireland’s ‘most ethical’ IT retailer cuts waste with Epson

Irish SME proves profitability through sustainability

MicroPro Computers is a mid-sized computer sales and repair company Dublin with a staff
of 25 people, mainly fully qualified hardware engineers.

MicroPro Computers is a mid-sized computer sales and repair company in Dublin with a staff of 25 people, mainly fully qualified hardware engineers. Founded in 1991, they sell and repair everything from laptops and PCs to tablets and printers, with a heavy focus on extending the life of IT hardware in order to support a more circular and sustainable industry. Founder of MicroPro Paul Maher instilled his ambitions of sustainability to iameco, a subsidiary company that made its mark by developing the world’s first ecologically designed computers, which boast a carbon footprint that is 70% less than the average PC. Iameco has enjoyed several environmental commendations and was recently dubbed by Forbes magazine as 'The Most Ethical Laptop You’ve Never Heard Of'.

At MicroPro, sustainability takes form with a focus on the repairability and upgradeability of IT hardware.

Paul Maher says: “We noticed that in the IT industry, most pieces of equipment were being thrown out after three years. What we like is modularity: taking out one section and putting in another without breaking it, and ultimately reducing the habit of replacing things.

When we started focussing on sustainability nearly 20 years ago, people didn’t care about it. Now people are beginning to see the importance of reduced waste and energy consumption. Our consumer customers are more easily swayed by cartridge-free EcoTank printers that are more expensive to buy but save them money in the long run thanks to high-yield ink bottles, which also help them avoid any concern around recycling ink cartridges. People understand that cheap and cheerful cartridge printers can be a more costly and time-consuming investment if they’re frequently printing. For businesses, we can meet the demand for reduced print costs through managed print services while cutting their consumables through Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS), another high-yield printer range from Epson that runs off business inkjet rather than high-energy consumption laser.”

Ireland-based travel agents Just Split were previously using laser printers across their five branches until they were replaced by MicroPro with business inkjet models from Epson, giving them the advantage of 96% lower energy consumption and 98% less intervention compared to a laser printer. However, their high print capacity meant they were consuming ink on a frequent and costly basis and so they needed a new solution from MicroPo.

What followed was the installation of five Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R5690 RIPS printers fixed with Epson’s managed print service, Print365. This meant that print costs became fixed on a monthly basis and Just Split could continue the benefits of minimal waste and intervention thanks to the high yield ink pack system, and low energy thanks to the business inkjet technology. Just Split are now in their second year using Print365.

Jim Vaughan, Managing Director of Just Split, says: “We’re very happy with the product, I can’t think of any negatives. As MD I’m also responsible for the IT installations at Just Split so my focus is to avoid overspend and to minimise downtime. A lot of our print is put in the hands of the customer, so keen colours and overall quality are things I’m not willing to compromise on. Prior to the Epson kit we were losing a lot of money through ink and media, and we suffered a lot of downtime through product repairs and this just wasn’t great for business. MicroPro offered a solution that dealt with our concerns around productivity and cost, and the reduced eco footprint that came with this was a great benefit that any company would welcome.”

Paul Maher continues: “I always see Epson on the international stage of sustainability and I remember at the Electronics Goes Green show in Vienna a couple of years ago, I was walking around with an Epson branded bag the team in Ireland had given me and it caught the eye of Epson’s CSR director Henning Ohlsson. He was there introducing the office papermaking system PaperLab, so he tapped me on the shoulder, we got to talking and I knew I was in business with the right people.

Five years ago, around 98% of the consumer printers we sold were cartridge printers and maybe 2% were cartridge-free EcoTank printers. Now, 98% of our consumer printers are EcoTank. I love working with the Epson team – they’re so approachable and they’re a great match for MicroPro as we continue our endeavours to help create a more sustainable existence.”