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In the defence of paper: industries that need printing

Business

In the defence of paper: industries that need printing

In what is arguably the best trend ever to have taken hold of the public, the war on waste is a global issue. The villain of the piece is usually portrayed as plastic, with the substance filling oceans, choking wildlife, and poisoning our food supply.

But while plastic is often portrayed as the bad guy, it isn’t the only material being put under the spotlight. Paper, particularly in printing, is often under scrutiny too. ‘Do you really need to print this email?’ we’re often asked at the end of email signatures.

Some printing is, however, not only wholly necessary, but incredibly important. Certain industries rely on printing as part of their processes. Without printing, these industries in particular would feel the sting…

Sectors that rely on printing — prints per day

According to a study carried out in 2017, the sectors that printed out the most pages per day, on average, were:

Retail

Average pages printed per day:5,255

It’s no surprise that the retail industry comes out on top. From receipts and coupons to reports and employee records, this sector will no doubt need a high level of printing capability in order to tick over day-to-day. Though the sector is digital alternatives, with digital employee records and some stores offering emailed receipts to customers instead, it is highly unlikely that the sector will become paper-free anytime soon.

Customers often prefer a physical copy of a receipt, with some outlets citing concerns for privacy and high email volumes as reasons against email receipts.

Healthcare

Average pages printed per day:3,684

The level of paperwork required for healthcare varies around the world. But the level is still pretty high, when you consider all the things that need a physical copy, from prescriptions, sick notes, registration, admission forms, health records (though these are often digitised now), and more.

Plus, it’s not uncommon for patients to receive printed documents from their GP with information and advice regarding their ailment.

Large enterprise

Average pages printed per day:3,431

A slightly broader category constitutes the middle of the top five. Large enterprises have an average print job size of 33.4 pages, though the scope for possible documents being printed is much larger here. It could be reports, such as internal audit documents. For some companies, it may be shipping and packing notes.

Transport

Average pages printed per day:3,197

Like retail, transport is not a surprising sector to see on this list. Moving goods (or people!) from one point to another always needs a lot of paperwork, particularly across borders. There’re inventory lists to consider, consignment notes, passes, travel documents, dangerous goods notes, tickets, export cargo instructions, waybills… the list goes on! Often these documents need to be printed to receive a physical signature, such as certificate of origin documents signed by the Chamber of Commerce.

Tech

Average pages printed per day:2,673

Clearly, we’re not quite at the stage where everything can be easily seen on screens or holograms, negating the need for print. In fact, even within the technology sector, physically printing information is still an important asset. But the technology nearly 50 per cent less per day than the retail sector — evidently, the sector is beginning to transition towards a paperless environment. For now, the need to print out certain important documents in order to complete tasks is still present.

Prints per employee

Interestingly, the highest average pages printed per day per employee looked a little different:

  • Oil and gas (30)
  • Large enterprise (14)
  • Healthcare (12)
  • News (11)
  • Real estate (9)

Noticeably, there’s a large gap between the number of prints per employee in the top two positions (oil and gas, and large enterprises). This wide difference could be down to particular processes within the oil and gas industry — by the very nature of the product they are handling, it can be expected that employees need to print out labels and forms frequently in regard to hazardous materials, importing and exporting, and equipment status labels.

Why not digital?

There are a number of reasons why sectors are still choosing to printeven in the digital age:

  • Information— as a means of sharing information quickly and effectively, print is still a reliable choice for businesses.
  • Interactivity— with new innovations available, print can now be blended in with digital; it doesn’t need to be one or the other. For example, Augmented Reality (AR) can be combined with print for a highly effective marketing technique.
  • Impact— as a physical experience, print has the benefit of catching attention in a number of creative ways. Plus, it is often a cheaper route.

It is clear that so many industries rely on managed print solutions and high volumes of print every single day. As a means of communication and process completion, printing is still a valuable and viable method across a number of sectors.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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