New Ways of Thinking Can Save Your Operation Money
Sometimes, we need to look at the past to get ideas about moving forward.
Back in 2014, a teenager from Pittsburgh made headlines with a science fair project about fonts. The official font of the United States government is Times New Roman. Fourteen-year old Suvir Mirchandani calculated that by switching the font to Garamond, the government would use 30% less ink. The estimated savings, $136 million a year.
This story made me smile for several reasons. First, I love science fairs. Students are using newly-learned concepts to investigate and understand the world around them. They’re approaching problems without preconceived notions of what’s possible. The enthusiasm the students have for their projects is infectious and enlightening.
Second, a teenager is interested in print! Young Mr. Mirchandani’s proposal wasn’t to stop printing everything, but print smarter. Even a person born in the digital age understands the importance of paper documents. We may use smart phones, tablets, and laptops to communicate with each other, but we also use paper. And probably will for many years to come.
Lastly, that I was able to use this to get customers to take a second look at their documents. For years, software vendors and printer manufacturers have encouraged customers to consider fonts, type size, and page coverage. Working on the basic principles of printing and composition isn’t exciting or glamorous. Yet by focusing on the fundamentals, we can uncover changes that will improve efficiencies and create savings.
Take a fresh look at your documents. Consider every component, from composition to print to mail. Bring in people from outside your department to provide feedback. Hold a brainstorming session and look at the impact of each idea. Don’t be stopped by negative comments like “But that’s the way we’ve always done it,” or “That won’t work here.” Instead, encourage thinking that starts with, “What if we ... ”
By bringing in new ideas, even the most efficient operation can save money. The savings may not always be $136 million, but it’s worth the effort.
Input for this piece was provided by Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, President of High Rock Strategies:
Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.