You can't manage what you can't measure, and once you start measuring, things have a way of turning around quickly. That's been Keybank's experience, where recent efforts to track corporate printing down to the employee level has measured up to $2 million in annual savings, a reduction the bank says translates into saving about 70 acres of mature trees annually.

KeyBank's SmartPrint initiative to reduce printer paper and ink usage included the deployment of Equitrac Office, which tracks every print instruction issued by employees and produces a monthly report on their printing usage.

"Over the past 18 months, we've reduced our annual page impressions from 211 million to about 125 million," says Angie Masini-Sloan, KeyBank's svp and director of corporate IT procurement.

Equitrac Office sits on a network server between employees' desktop PCs and centralized, multi-user printers, capturing information on each print job such as whether duplex or single-printing is being requested, what Web page is being printed, and who issued the instruction. It can be used to establish rules such as blocking certain categories of employees from printing in color, enforcing duplex-printing, or only sending faxes to email.

According to Masini-Sloan, KeyBank wanted to make staff more accountable for their use of printing. "Our goal in SmartPrint was to control printing volumes," she said in a Webcast held by Plantation, Florida-based Equitrac.

Each of KeyBank's 16,000 employees is emailed a monthly print activity report, detailing how much their printing has cost the bank. In addition to the overall page-count reduction, KeyBank has reduced its color printing by 35 percent since the installation of SmartPrint.

Prior to deploying Equitrac Office, KeyBank replaced personal desktop printers across the organization with multi-user devices. "We went from 12,000 desktop printers to around 3,000 multi-person printers," Masini-Sloan says.

For an initial 90-day period, KeyBank only used Equitrac Office to monitor staff printing behavior. It became clear that staff had no idea how much printing they did. In one office, KeyBank carried out a 30-day trial, which revealed that 40 percent of printing was for personal use. "Once they started getting monthly reports and saw how much they were printing, they were keen to change their habits," Masini-Sloan says.

Once the 90-days evaluation period was up, rather than impose a set of rules, KeyBank decided to set "soft targets." This involved asking everyone to cut their color and black-and-white printing by a certain percentage. The percentage reduction target was the same across the bank. Employees' monthly printing reports show the extent to which they have either met, exceeded, or fallen short of their target.

Masini-Sloan calls SmartPrint the foundational success of its newly established Green Council.

"Based on the success of SmartPrint, KeyBank is planning programs to reduce costs for travel, communications and meetings, such as SmartTravel, SmartTalk, and SmartMeeting," she says.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.