• The Company

        Established in 1951 and headquartered in London, Ontario, 3M Canada (www.3M.ca) is one of the first international subsidiaries opened by 3M Company. 3M Canada has sales offices in major cities across Canada and supports customers through a national service network.

        3M supplies innovative consumer and business products including:

        • tapes and abrasives;
        • cleaning supplies;
        • projection, electrical, electronic and communications equipment;
        • protective, safety and security products; and
        • medical and oral health care products.

        Innovation helps 3M pursue its sustainability objectives such as reducing its environmental footprint and developing solutions that address environmental challenges for customers. “Sustainability is important to 3M. 3M was practicing environmental stewardship long before sustainability became a public priority” says Jeff van Geel, Manager, Strategic Sourcing, 3M Canada. “We provide customers with practical products that address environmental challenges, and sustainability is important when we purchase products and services.”

        Sustainability is part of 3M’s Healthy Communities Framework which includes health, educational and environmental programs and opportunities.

        The Challenge

        Sustainability is implicit in everything 3M does, including the purchase of office equipment. The challenge 3M faced when refreshing its document-management fleet was how to achieve the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO) and improve sustainability, without sacrificing reliability, speed, or service.

        Some companies purchase output devices based on the cost of equipment, supplies (paper and toner cartridges) and service. 3M looked at those costs plus overall quality, productivity and sustainability (including paper and energy use and recycling) in its request for proposal (RFP). “We factored all elements into a comprehensive RFP so we could source our fleet requirements at the lowest TCO. That just makes business sense,” says van Geel.

        After reviewing proposals from several companies, 3M chose multi-function products (MFPs) and software from Ricoh Canada Inc. Ricoh offered a competitive bid and its reliable, versatile document-management systems exceeded 3M’s RFP criteria.

        A few key considerations beyond price helped sway 3M:

        • Ricoh’s multi-function units are Energy Star compliant; they go into energy-saving sleep mode after completing a job, but wake up in seconds when a new job is started.
        • Duplex printing allows users to save paper by printing on both sides at speeds comparable to printing on separate sheets.
        • Ricoh’s certified recycling programs allow 3M to continue to reduce its impact on the environment.

         Ricoh’s @Remote Intelligent Management System was also a factor in 3M’s decision to partner with Ricoh. It automates service and maintenance tasks (including meter billing) and minimizes costs by identifying opportunities to migrate print volumes to lower-cost devices. The @Remote Green Reports make it easy for 3M to see how device use meets environmental and cost-saving expectations and helps 3M take action to minimize its carbon footprint.

        The Results

        The results are impressive. From August 2010 to January 2011, @Remote reports indicated that 3M employees had saved 278,336 pages (33.5 trees) and avoided CO2 production to the tune of 3061.7 kilograms of CO2 by using duplex printing for more than 50% of print jobs. Those numbers will increase as 3M investigates electronic document-management processes that will reduce paper use even more. “@Remote shows our employees the fruits of their sustainable labour, and that motivates them to do more for the environment,” says van Geel.

        @Remote monitors devices and automatically sends usage stats and service and toner alerts to Ricoh for billing and service. 3M employees don’t have to wander from device to device to read meters or troubleshoot devices. “This boosts productivity and lets employees focus on 3M’s core business,” says van Geel.

        At the end of their life cycle, 98.4% of Ricoh MFPs are recyclable; the rest of the units, such as LEDs and switches, are reusable. Ricoh’s certified recycling program is auditable, so 3M knows with certainty the degree to which it is reducing its environmental footprint.

        “Over the last few years, companies have gone from looking at sustainability as a niche issue to viewing it as a requirement,” says Alan Wheeler, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability for Ricoh Canada Inc. “Ricoh’s environmentally friendly value-added features help companies achieve sustainability goals—without sacrificing quality or reliability. And we reduce TCO. Suddenly sustainability is saving companies money.”