Will electronic invoicing create a boom in printer sales?
Moving away from paper invoicies to electronic invoices isn’t just about delivering business efficiency and the automation of business processes. It’s as much about eliminating paper and saving the planet – right? And in places like Mexico where e-invoicing is soon to be compulsory, we should see a dramatic improvement in the carbon footprint of finance departments all over the country shouldn’t we?. What will happen to printer sales? Will printer manufacturers go out of business? And what about print supplies?
It’s ironic but, as a direct result of the introduction of mandated e-invoices, there may well be a boom in printer sales in Mexico.
For those unfamiliar with Latin e-invoicing, it’s fundamentally different from what you might see in America or Europe. The nuances are different in each country but essentially, each electronic invoice has to be validated by government and when goods are shipped, at any point in the journey from supplier to buyer, the shipment can be checked against the government held record. This means that the goods need to be accompanied by paper copies of the e-invoice – including a bar code.
So what? – you might think. But as Scott Lewin explains in his blog, this could have significant implications for suppliers. In addition to having to produce a government defined format e-invoice, suppliers need to be able to print a human readable version of the XML as well as a bar code. They need to ensure that those paper documents are with the shipped goods so they need to print them local to where the goods are physically loaded. If there are multiple loading points – warehouse, stores etc – that could mean multiple printers. So more printers may be required but this is also a new business process. Those printers need to be managed and supported. Failure to show valid paper documents to a customs officer or police officer could mean those goods get impounded so it’s not just a new business process, it’s a business critical new process.
The paper and print industries in Mexico can sleep soundly. Far from what one might have intuitively expected, the introduction of mandatory electronic invoicing is unlikely to have any negative impact on printer sales and may even lead to an increase demand for printers and print supplies.
Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin