Taking a closer look at 3 industries

PwC Sweden performed three in depth case studies that focused on the reality of the modern print process.

The study was carried out in 2016 and focused on companies in the following sectors:

  • Consulting services
  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Food production

Following investigation, PwC made a number of observations relating to print management:

  • Printing involves approximately 5-10 percent of staff
  • There are large differences in the management and monitoring of office printing versus commercial printing. In general, office printing is closely managed and monitored while commercial printing is not
  • Excess printing, defined as unused printed collateral, is estimated to be approximately 20 – 25 percent
  • From a sustainability perspective, printing is not perceived as a focus area among the studied companies, partly due to a lack of monitoring of printing and low availability of print data
  • The print management process is characterized by a lack of management overview
  • The print management process is characterized by poor coordination between functions (e.g. sales and marketing)

PwC closely examined the pain points and issues faced by one of the companies and identified three clear opportunities for improvement in cost & efficiency, brand consistency and sustainability.

Cost & Efficiency

  • A very large amount of people were involved in printing, indicating an inefficient printing process that resulted in unnecessarily high costs.
  • It was difficult to assess the total level of costs associated with printing as the costs tended to be hidden, falling under various budgets and departments such as marketing activities, office material etc.
  • The headquarters lacked control over the amount of excess print. The amount was assumed to be relatively high as both representatives from the local offices and the headquarters reported disposing large quantities of materials (outdated product brochures for example)
  • High shipping costs due to the transportation of printed matter from the company’s headquarters to local offices.
  • Difficulties ensuring timely shipping when printing centrally, hence the large amount of local printing.
  • Storage and shipping associated with not printing on-demand were considerable factors.

Brand consistency

  • The company experienced difficulties ensuring brand consistency as a result of sales offices printing locally.
  • Limited control was possessed over whether the printed material in use locally was up-to-date.


  • The environmental risks connected to the print management process were related to the risk of excess printing and the transportation distances in connection to the distribution of printed matter across Sweden.

Key insights from the study

Unnecessarily costly – the inefficient set up of printing generates unnecessarily high direct costs. The problem is linked to both existing print houses and to large transportation distances caused by centralized printing.

Time consuming – both in terms of distributing centrally printed materials to local offices but also in terms of the large number of people involved, across many different functions and at different locations.

Ultimately, there is very little overview of the processes or the costs associated with printing.

The results are unnecessarily negative impacts on the environment, both due to excess print (waste) and excess transportation (emissions and noise).


This report has been made according to the terms and conditions agreed in an engagement contract between us, Öhrlings PricewaterhouseCoopers AB, and Gelato AS. To the greatest extent permitted by law, we do not accept any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of any third party acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this report or for any decision based on it.