Paper is one of those essential business supplies that many don’t think about. It’s basically always there when needed and, if not, paper is pretty easy to acquire. Most businesses with a relatively high volume of printing would have paper delivered regularly or simply visit the local office supply shop in an emergency.
So, what happens when paper isn’t as easy to obtain as it has been in the past? What happens when the shelves at the supply store are bare? Or maybe the prices have skyrocketed since the last box of printer paper was purchased. In any case, this can be a shock to any business that’s not prepared. This kind of shock is what many are experiencing right now thanks to the ongoing paper shortage.
Thankfully, there are print management solutions to help businesses weather the storm.
Why is There a Paper Shortage?
Paper has never really been something people have thought of as being in short supply. Paper is everywhere, used in countless products. It’s easy to take paper for granted because it has just always been there.
However, several reasons for the paper shortage have all occurred at the same time to create a perfect storm of sorts. By themselves, any one of these issues could probably be overcome. But together; they have seriously interrupted the ability for many businesses to get paper quickly and at a low cost.
One of the most significant reasons is the general supply chain disruption that has been occurring across many industries. Paper can travel a long way before it reaches printers. Trees for producing paper often come from Canada and the Pacific Northwest. They are then sent to paper mills which are scattered throughout the world. In some cases, trees can be sent to China for processing and then the finished product is shipped back to North America. These boxes of paper are competing with every other product that also needs access to shipping routes including smartphones, furniture, vehicles, commodities, and just about anything one can imagine.
There has also been a number of unprecedented forest fires in areas that supply many of the trees used for making paper. Areas of Canada and the United States saw record breaking heat in 2021 which led to trees being lost or areas being inaccessible while the fires burned. Combine this low supply with the shipping challenges and it’s easy to see why paper is harder to find and more expensive.
Save Paper by Going Digital
One of the best solutions to reducing paper usage is to simply not print. Many of the top printers available today offer digitization solutions to make document management easier. Instead of taking copies and passing them to everyone who needs one, try scanning the document to a shared network drive and allowing people to view the document there.
Not only does this help reduce print costs, it’s a great way to reduce the environmental footprint of the office. Plus, with document management solutions becoming more and more advanced, there are even opportunities to implement document automation for automatic sorting and sharing when appropriate.
High paper costs may be the kick that many businesses need in 2022 to lean harder into document management and using their printer’s technology to its fullest.
Utilize Efficient Print Options
Of course, it’s not always possible to completely do away with printing. Reducing paper usage through digitization is great but what happens when something needs to be printed? Is it time to write a blank check? Hardly!
Modern printers from top brands like HP, Ricoh, and Sharp offer print functions to help reduce paper usage while still giving that physical printed product. Duplexing is a great example of this. With duplexing, the printer can print on both sides of the page without intervention by employees. The process occurs automatically simply by enabling the feature in the printer’s settings (if available).
This one small change cuts paper usage by 50%. It’s a very easy way to use the printer’s existing features to find a solution to a global problem that businesses of all sizes are facing.
Don’t Let Rising Print Costs Keep You Down
Like many other products, paper is going to experience some supply challenges in 2022. The good news is that there are ways to manage the effect this can have on the bottom line. With some basic mindset changes when it comes to printing and document management, print costs can be managed without slowing down business. To learn more, contact the print management experts at Doing Better Business today.