Sustainable Printing – The Supply Chain Approach

As a long-term advocate for business sustainability, I’m super excited to experience firsthand, a rapidly growing number of businesses who are also beginning to take it seriously.

While there may be many “big ticket” sustainability issues that the Government has to deal with, I believe that we all have a responsibility to future generations to do what we can to help. It is surprisingly easy to take some small, simple steps that have a positive impact with many reducing business costs at the same time…win, win!

This article is the first of a series that highlights how Intertype uses the Three “Rs”…Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to minimise our own environmental load while helping our clients achieve their own sustainability goals.

Leverage the Sustainable Printing Supply Chain

You probably already know that Intertype’s approach to supply chain management of client applications delivers many big wins in total cost reductions while improving return on investment. This same approach also identifies and unlocks some big sustainability wins as well.

The reality is that a printed item usually only represents a small element of a much larger supply chain, however, it can be a huge determinate of the supply chain effectiveness.

The following represents a simplified and high-level, sustainable printing supply chain for a marketing communication piece.

  1. Business Objective
  2. Communication strategy
  3. Graphic design
  4. Printing
  5. Print Finishing
  6. Distribution
  7. Response management

The printed item becomes the “lynchpin” element to deliver the business objective by being the visual manifestation of the communication strategy. If the graphic design and printing process aren’t correctly aligned then the cost for printing, print finishing and distribution will all increase while the response rates will most likely decrease.

By adding a business sustainability element to the supply chain you can easily see how the business objectives can still be met while minimising environmental load.

Here are two common examples that we often deploy that have delivered major wins for Intertype’s customers and the environment.

  • QR Codes

Adding a QR code to the printed piece will enable the recipient to quickly and easily visit a web landing page and respond (ie purchase) directly from a website. This improves conversion rates and cash flow while reducing the cost of response management

  • Remove plastic

All too often I see marketing pieces that are finished with matt or gloss celloglaze. Celloglaze is a thin layer of plastic that can have great environmental consequences. At Intertype we replace celloglaze with varnish which means that the printed piece is now plastic-free, biodegradable,  recyclable and carbon neutral. Best of all, response rates aren’t impacted and the print finishing costs are reduced.

That’s a win…win…win every day of the week

Stay tuned for more articles on the simple things businesses can implement that saves them money and improve ROI while helping the planet we share.