Case Study: Reducing MFP costs for Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland
Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland constantly looks for ways to improve sustainability in its business processes. Whether it’s by recovering energy released during water treatment and using it for other business units, equipping treatment plants with solar panels, or by taking measures to reduce CO2 emissions caused by employee transportation.
The organisation aims to be energy-neutral and to have minimised CO2-emissions by 2030. These sustainability goals played a major part in its search for a new printer supplier, as printing can often present opportunities to improve sustainability, for example, by reducing the paper consumption and power consumption of printers.
Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland management and employees dedicate themselves to keeping the Dutch population's feet dry, day after day. The organisation manages dykes and water in the river area stretching from the border with Germany, where the Rhine enters the Netherlands, to the village of Kinderdijk in South Holland. It uses the latest insights and innovative water defence technologies to prevent flooding and dyke breach. The water authority is also responsible for waste water treatment and managing muskrats and roads in the area.
Reviewing print consumption
Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland was looking for a new supplier to help make its printer policy more sustainable. Sharp helped Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland gain insight into the opportunities for savings which the printing policy offered at the time. Both parties collaborated to chart printing consumption and printing costs through periodical management reports. These soon pointed out which components could generate further profits. It became evident that there was a surplus of printers, as some were rarely used by workers. This enabled Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland to make an informed decision to use ten fewer printers than under the previous contract.
The reports also showed that the number of different toners could be reduced, for example by choosing black and white instead of colour printing more often. Sharp therefore advised the water authority to use black and white as the default setting, ensuring that employees are less likely to choose colour printing. This allowed Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland to purchase a more limited range of easily recyclable colour toners, thus significantly shrinking its inventory.
Steven Verdonk, Contract Manager at Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland: “If we want to set an example for other organisations when it comes to corporate social responsibility, then we need to seek out partners who can contribute to our exemplary role. This means that we always consider the way in which our suppliers approach human rights and working conditions during the production process. Environmental issues such as recycling and the power consumption of equipment also play a part. Sharp's devices, for instance, offer some of the lowest figures for power consumption on the market.”
To ensure that Sharp met all technical requirements, the new printers were subjected to a “functional test” prior to implementation. Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland was also looking for a supplier who had a detailed implementation plan, could resolve faults quickly, and train employees. When Sharp showed it could fulfil all requirements, all 27 printers were replaced in one day. Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland wrote a comprehensive manual to get workers started with the new printers. In addition, Sharp instructors were present on-site for three days to support front-line personnel.
The new printers have notably improved the user experience for Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland employees. They can now easily activate printers using a card connected to the P-counter-system. The Follow-Me system allows users to print anywhere in the building. It saves documents to a server, which lets users retrieve them at any printer by activating it with a card. These are all factors that help to reduce printing consumption, by preventing documents from being printed unnecessarily if users send them to the wrong printer in the building. Document safety is another issue that users don’t need to worry about: printed documents can only be retrieved once the individual has authenticated themselves at the device, meaning it is impossible for other users to see confidential or sensitive content.
First step completed
By reducing the number of printers by more than 25 percent, acquiring energy-efficient printers, and improving procurement and supply processes, Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland took its first step towards a printing policy that is more environmentally friendly and cost efficient. The next step consists of significantly reducing printing frequency by encouraging employees to read more documents on digital devices. Verdonk comments: “We would like to move towards employees reading documents on their tablet or computer instead of always printing them. However, this is not easily done, because people prefer reading print, especially if their documents are several pages long. We hope to be able to change this in the future.”
In the meantime, Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland continues to pursue its ambition to be energy-neutral by 2030. “The new printing fleet takes us another step closer to our goal. Now we need to keep monitoring to identify opportunities for further savings”, says Verdonk. In doing so, Dutch Water Authority Rivierenland hopes that it will contribute to the quality of both its own water area and environment, and the environment throughout the Netherlands.
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