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Digital transformation and sustainability: The importance of full lifecycle thinking 

Sustainability is much more than a by-product of digital transformation – the two concepts are deeply interwoven and genuinely power each other forwards. 

Despite huge cost-saving, performance, lifespan and environmental benefits, the pace of transition is perhaps held back by the perceived complexity of digital transformation. And sustainability is often difficult to clearly determine – especially in the case of technology products.

To help businesses create long-term technology plans that power productivity and cut costs, Brother has launched a series of digital transformation reports - on topics like creating digital workflows, implementing the right solution, maintaining a secure printing and sustainability for office technology.

A major theme of the series is sustainability, in particular the importance of full lifecycle thinking. So, to help shape business thinking and improve procurement processes we decided to explore how these two important concepts are aligned.

Interlinked: digital transformation and sustainability

When digital transformation is implemented alongside sustainability initiatives, the results can be profitable for businesses and the environment. As an example, simply by migrating technology services to the cloud, firms could save money, use 77% fewer servers, 84% less power and reduce carbon emissions by 88%1.

More excitingly, in its truest sense digital transformation is about improving productivity, efficiency and processes with data. In the area of digital transformation and sustainability, intelligent, connected systems will help us improve against non-financial benchmarks such as CO2 emissions and waste management.

Over the coming years, sustainability will continue to move up the global political and corporate agenda. As it does, business efforts will be even more greatly scrutinised at customer, regulatory, supply chain and even financial levels. We are starting to see sustainability and ethical reporting becoming commonplace, making the sophisticated data mining capabilities of leading-edge, meticulously procured systems more important than ever.

Full lifecycle thinking – the sustainable print procurement opportunity

Corporate sustainability aims don’t tend to lack ambition. What’s more, they are often integrated with procurement processes. However, overall impact could be limited by the way office technology statistics overwhelmingly focus on the operational lifecycle.

When purchasing hardware such as printers, a good way to improve procurement in line with your company sustainability goals is to broaden the criteria. A comprehensive print procurement checklist should cover non-operation phase considerations such as the impact of manufacturing, shipping, packaging, recycling schemes and indeed the quality of the manufacturer’s own CSR programmes.

71% of SMBs agree it is important to evaluate sustainability of hardware across its entire lifecycle to truly get a measure of environmental performance2. Full lifecycle thinking is the essential next step for the sourcing of high-performance equipment. Explore the importance of full lifecycle thinking and possibilities of sustainable printing by reading our implementing digital transformation report.

Office of the future image depicting skyscrapers in a city business district from the ground looking up to the sky during the day

The long-term mindset – digital transformation and eco friendly printing

Some businesses may be apprehensive about how complex digital transformation may seem but, simply put, it is achieved by procuring better, longer-lasting, more interoperable IT hardware and software.

Business and home users looking to implement sustainable printing practices have already embraced the concept of recycling and remanufactured genuine print and toner cartridges. The next logical step towards full lifecycle thinking and running an eco-printer, is the goal of keeping the same device working for as long as possible to maximise sustainability and ROI.

Conducting modular repairs on machines that are faulty, rather than replacing the entire device is a key way businesses can extend the lifespan of printing technology to meet sustainable printing aims. Modular repairs that include parts and technology upgrades could further extend the lifespan of printers making this a route to both digital transformation and eco friendly printing.


Power to transform your business for good

In a world where technology is constantly evolving, taking a holistic, long-term view of procurement now goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a leading-edge system.

Digital transformation plans developed to prioritise future flexibility should place a huge emphasis on sustainability and full-lifecycle thinking. This will improve your office technology procurement strategy as well as your overall environmental performance.

Critically though, taking a flexible long-term approach will enable your business to capitalise and reap the benefits of digital transformation and sustainability by experiencing first-hand what happens when they power each other forward.

The true payoff for businesses? Powerful systems, connected information, greater business insight and of course continually improving environmental performance – all make for happier customers. Customers that not only benefit from an excellent experience, but have great perceptions of your brand.

And after all – isn't this what every business strives for?

For help creating a sustainable procurement strategy for your business, why not download the sustainability report from our digital transformation series. 

To find out how Brother can help you to meet your eco friendly printing goals with environmentally conscious print sourcing and procurement, take a look at what we’re doing to create positive change.




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