It’s tough to stay competitive in the legal world. Important collateral needs to go out at the right times and to the right people. You can’t afford to be a minute late on your non-stop schedule. Many files can come with paper flowing in all directions.
With large volumes of paperwork, the sorting and processing of this information can be overwhelming.
These time-consuming administrative tasks, which might not seem all that grave on the surface, create hidden liabilities and costs.
Many law firms, however, aren’t tracking print and paper costs. With your busy plate, you have little to no time to implement a strategy for your printers and MFDs (multi-functional devices). You might not even be aware of the security threats that are possible when your documents—paper and digital—aren’t stored, transferred and monitored properly.
Document management costs skyrocket when firms fail to:
- Manage paper workflow and storage
- Implement proper security measures
- Recoup print costs
Why are these being overlooked by so many firms? For one, they don’t account for the time that’s stolen away by inefficient document management.
Another reason: investing in more efficient office equipment can be intimidating. If your printers are doing their most basic job, why replace them? We have a grocery list of reasons, but the most crucial here is this:
Modern printers can actually help reduce how much you print—and help you save money.
But without even purchasing new office equipment, one of the best ways to gain a competitive edge is by automating and commoditizing every process that’s eats into your fee earners’ time. When they’re shuffling through documents, they could be winning cases.
Start with these tips to better manage your documents and print costs.
Tip #1: Create a digital environment
Boxes and cabinets in the office full of ROT files are nobody’s cup of tea. Off-site paper storage comes with overhead costs.
In short, excessive paper—that can be converted into digital files earlier in their lifetime—is a major source of your hidden costs.
Remedy this with rule-based scanning and routing. These mechanisms ensure that all of your documents travel to the right places as soon as they’re scanned. More and more clients, courts and other law firms are now accepting electronic files. Start making digital documents the norm.
Tip #2: Reduce your number of devices
Fewer pieces of equipment lead to less power usage and less total maintenance time.
In the place of multiple printers and multiple scanners, modern firms are switching to more powerful, multi-functional devices (MFDs). MFDs accomplish printing, scanning, copying, and faxing all under one machine.
When powered by the right software, your MFDs can automate the ways you send specific kinds of files, standardize naming conventions, and save hours of administrative work.
Tip #3: Think before you ink
Have you ever printed a document just to read it once and toss it out afterwards? Or to proofread it before throwing it in the shredder? How many times have you made a bunch of copies “just in case” you lost the ones you needed—or printed in colour when you only needed black and white?
That’s a lot of waste—and more dollars in supply costs than you want to see.
There are print technologies available that track the efficiency of your device usage but thinking consciously before you send files to the printer is one simple action you can take against excessive print costs.
Tip #4: Track paper trails
It can be tough to tell how many people are printing and to track the sources of paper waste in the office. When employees are aware of how much printing is costing their firm, they’re more likely to cut back.
If you’re highly concerned about paper usage in your firm, find a way to start tracking and analyzing how much each person is printing and share those reports individually.
Tip #5: Reduce colour printing
Sometimes, you can’t get around printing in colour. But not everything you print needs to use those costly colour cartridges. You can set up colour printing rules on your devices—like denying colour printing straight from email or other applications. Look for the option to automatically route print jobs to black and white. Or, stop printing in colour altogether.
Tip #6: Digitize your workflows
Law firms are plagued with inconsistencies in the way paper documents are scanned, named, stored, transferred, and emailed. Scanners can automate each of those steps, you reduce errors and miscommunication.
Custom designed workflows turn long, laborious processes into just a few clicks. Using centralized software to streamline your paper flow makes your day-to-day activities a little easier.
Digitized records and cases save hours of manual work on administrative tasks. With less manual paperwork, a law firm can have more face time with clients and focus on increasing revenue and their competitive edge.
Establishing a routine, streamlined and repeatable paper workflow is one of the key practices that’ll boost your productivity and reduce costs. Managed print providers can implement faster printers and software that streamlines scanning and file transfer.
Ready to reduce your print costs? A knowledgeable managed print service team can provide strategic advice on the products and services that save money for your firm. Find out how your firm can benefit from managed print.