Optimising document and business processes

Optimising document and business processes

Our vision is to be the company that transforms tomorrow’s documents into knowledge. We will do this by integrating data, documents and business processes to harness knowledge for our customers — this is our mission and the foundation of Integrated Document Services.

Fuji Xerox Australia is redefining how our customers see ‘the document’ as a container of data that could be paper or pixel-based. As a leader in sustainability, our challenge is also to define the nature of the sustainable document, and work with our customers to manage, measure and reduce its environmental impacts. This complex issue is at the heart of the sustainability of our print and paper — we are exploring different facets of it across our business.

Sustainability of print and paper

In the office environment our goal is to help customers manage the environmental impacts of their document processes. We do this by offering:

Sustainability Consulting Services

  • Benchmarking clients against best environmental practice
  • Recommending sustainable print strategies
  • Engaging stakeholders in the adoption of those strategies

Managed Print Services that create environmental value

  • Guidance on responsible paper procurement
  • Print fleet consolidation creating immediate energy reductions ranging up to 30 percent
  • Environmental reporting on energy use, print volumes and end-of-life waste disposal

Embedded environmental applications with our products and solutions

  • StreamSense automatically adjusts the energy settings of devices to their most efficient levels based on usage patterns
  • EcoCopy automates double-siding and multiple-upping settings in one easy to use step

Paper, Pixels, Processes

In 10/11 we initiated the first phase of a research project called Paper, Pixels, Processes. The objective of the research was to shed new light on the paper-versus-pixels debate, which had been narrowly focused on:

  • the assumption that electronic communications are more environmentally sustainable in all circumstances
  • an environmental-only view of sustainability, rather than a consideration of the broader considerations such as cost, customer experience and process efficiency.

What we found

Our initial qualitative research found that, increasingly, organisations are looking to implement truly sustainable document strategies, but are looking for guidance about what that really means. We found that organisations are trying to integrate environmental sustainability considerations into business process review and optimisation, but this needs to be balanced with cost and customer drivers. Our research produced a framework which would allow organisations to make sustainable document strategy choices.

The framework encourages organisations to consider:

  • The environmental impact of document strategy, whether it is paper or pixel based.
  • The cost profile of different document choices and the impact this has on return on investment.
  • The process implications of document strategy decisions, both on internal and external business processes.
  • The impact on customer experience arising from different document decisions and whether a one-size-fits-all approach can be adopted.

Our research found gaps in existing environmental life cycle assessments (LCAs). These tended to be narrow in their focus with several limitations:

  • They do not cover the full spectrum of communication types (they tend to be based on invoices or billing statements).
  • They tend to examine transient documents only (short-life and usage documents as above).
  • They tend not to factor the impact of end-user device or electricity consumption into the LCA.
  • They tend to be based upon unique scenarios which cannot be more broadly applied across organisations.
  • They tend to make broad assumptions which create a high degree of sensitivity to the results.
  • They are narrowly focused on environmental implications only and do not consider the broader sustainability aspects such as communication effectiveness.

As such, recommendations from these research papers cannot be fully relied upon as they do not present the full gamut of facts and decision-making criteria to businesses. Our research, and existing literature, also found this emerging ‘middle ground’ of document strategy choices. Rather than an either-or-decision, our research found that, increasingly, organisations and customers are using both paper and pixel communications to lift the overall customer experience and process usability factors. Based upon the outcomes of this research, we have identified the need to enable customers to make informed decisions based upon their unique environments and are pursuing further work in 11/12 to this end.

LCA comparison of carbon footprint: printed versus online statement (grams of carbon).