Do Benefits Come Out of Your Printers? They Will With Lean

Like IBM and HP, Xerox is a technology company that transformed itself from just being a hardware provider into a services company as well. (You may not think of Xerox as a technology company, since it doesn’t make computers, but what else would you call printers, copiers and fax machines?)

What is interesting about Xerox is that they promote Lean Six Sigma as an essential part of their expertise. There are plenty of lean consulting firms, but not many (if any) that are focused on document and information management.

Xerox understandably boasts about its accomplishments. I’m writing about them today not to discuss whether Xerox is a good company, but to note how lean initiatives can yield big benefits in regard to something as unglamorous as printing.

Procter & Gamble hired Xerox to manage its worldwide print operations. According to the Environmental Leader website, Xerox “has been able to help P&G cut operational costs 20-25 percent by helping control when and how printers, copier and fax machines work… At P&G, it’s predicted that the improvements will cut printer-related power usage by 30 percent and paper consumption by 20-30 percent.”

Earlier this year, Xerox issued a news release describing its work with KeyCorp.

The financial services company reduced operating costs by more than $6 million over six years, working with Xerox to better manage the volume of documents flowing through its 120 offices - and the costs associated with printing, sharing and updating them…

Using a Xerox Lean Six Sigma-based assessment, Xerox Global Services and KeyCorp evaluated employees' daily work processes to design a document management strategy that saves millions on print costs. By decreasing the number of output devices, like printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners, from 10,000 to 3,500, KeyCorp also boosted productivity, reduced paper consumption, decreased power usage and eliminated tons of landfill waste…

While I believe any statement in a news release should be taken with a grain of salt, I’m sure KeyCorp wouldn’t have agreed to the release unless there were some truth to what is being said.

Even the most ordinary or mundane operations can be improved with a lean approach.

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