Sustainable Innovation: Beyond the Nuts and Bolts

by: Patricia Calkins Xerox global vice president of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability

Imagine driving down the road and your brakes suddenly start to make a dreadful screeching sound. You’re not sure what the sound means but you know you need to head to the mechanic.

Thoughts of new brake pads and the cost of service run through your mind.

If you’ve picked a good mechanic, the first thing he or she will do is take a look, and go from there. After examining the car, the problem, it turns out, is a small pebble.  The mechanic’s expertise has solved the problem, avoiding the need for a complete overhaul or any new parts.

I like to think that Xerox works in a similar fashion. In addition to offering printers and copy machines, we help customers use our products efficiently.  Our expertise has become particularly important as customers put a higher premium on environmental responsibility. We now advise customers on how to save money on their document management process while reducing energy and paper usage. 

Our managed print services work a lot like the mechanic described above.  Before we do anything to a customer’s document management process, we “take a look.”  We conduct an in-depth assessment of our customer’s printing process.  Then we find ways to consolidate a variety of expensive office equipment with fewer more cost-effective ones.

Like the mechanic, we make sure the customer understands why we’re making changes.  If they know that implementing sustainable innovation makes sense logistically and financially; we’re a step closer to achieving their goals.

We ensure that our customers understand that we’re focused on finding the best solution; sometimes reducing the number of machines we sell in the process. To ensure understanding, we explain the savings and the increased efficiency of implementing green innovation.

Once the customer understands the bottom line value, they ultimately aim for sustainable innovation.  I’ve always said if initiatives don’t help the business, they won’t be sustainable by any definition.  A customer always needs to see how sustainable innovation helps their company.

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