Is the rise of the paperless office killing printing?

There has been a lot of speculation for years as to whether the print industry will suffer as a result of more and more companies moving towards paperless offices. HP reported disappointing figures this quarter, and were particularly affected by the decline in printing supplies.

The results of a recent survey asking small business owners whether they could go paperless showed that nearly 50% said that they could go fully paperless by the end of 2015. Use of the cloud to manage documents is also reported to be on the rise. With this decline in the need for companies to print, the future appears bleak for those in the printing industry – particularly those who are reliant on profits from consumables.

So, is printing dead? Perhaps in the traditional sense, it is dying; however, many manufacturers have embraced the changes in printing habits, and are thriving as a result.

Manufacturers like Lexmark and Konica Minolta recognised the opportunities that paperless presented early on, and far from being impacted by these changes they have ensured that their customers’ needs are being met by engineering devices that are capable of connecting directly to the cloud.

There are, of course, some industries in which paper will always be required. For companies that cannot go paperless, new devices allow for a more cost-effective and efficient way of working regardless. Printing is more secure than it ever has been before thanks to multiple authentication methods, and is also more eco-friendly, with the majority of devices having power and toner saving functionality.

Mobile printing has also increased significantly, and the benefits are clear. Businesses that have deployed a mobile printing solution are able to provide a higher level of service to their clients by accessing documents directly from their device no matter where they are, reducing strain on admin departments and speeding up processes throughout the organisation.

Previously, many businesses owned a number of devices all performing different functions such as print, scan and fax. The multifunction devices now available can handle these functions, saving the business time, space and money. Multifunction devices come equipped with built-in web browsers, meaning that employees can access documents stored in the cloud straight from the device – even if they are not connected to the network using services such as Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint.

The demand for printing is certainly not declining for manufacturers that have recognised and embraced the evolving needs of their customers. It is simply a case of seeing it as printing smarter, rather than printing less.