Using Floe is one small step you can make to move towards a carbon-neutral future.
As every organization seeks to reduce their carbon footprint, we must embrace new and innovative ways to make a difference. It will take a host of changes to business processes and policies to small baby steps towards a carbon-neutral future. Using Floe for SAP communication is one step that every SAP customer can take to help them reduce the environmental impact of their business activities.
Historically, organisations used to print and post communication to customers, suppliers and employees; outputs like purchase orders, invoices and pay slips. And, incredibly we still see this happen today: Just last year (November 2021) we received by post a remittance advice from one of our customers. Of course, receiving a remittance advice is always a happy moment, but the knowledge that customer of ours was still printing and posting them was a sobering moment, particularly because we received it while COP26 was being held in Glasgow.
It’s truly astonishing that this is happening at all. It’s a terrible waste of paper and energy. The argument to move to email output is easy and obvious, and of course most organisations already made that move some time ago.
The solution most organisations chose was electronic document delivered by electronic mail: Email with PDF attachment. PDFs could be rendered using the same output technology (SAPScript / Smartforms / Adobe forms) in SAP, and could be printed by the recipient. But we don’t print them any more: We no longer need an electronic document format designed to be printed.
So, in most cases, there is no longer any need for a PDF attachment. And there is an enormous potential saving in computer power in replacing the PDF with a pure email solution.
The comparison comes, in the main, from the relative size of an HTML email versus an email with a PDF attachment. A complex, rich-text email is not likely to be more than 30KB, whereas a complex PDF is likely to be 300KB: In general, the PDF is always 10 times larger in size.
The PDF document has to be ‘rendered’ – created from a template, and that takes CPU power in the SAP back-end, separate ADS server or cloud service. Sometimes this can be quite intensive; it depends on the technology. But, however the PDF is rendered, it is taking computing power that isn’t required when there is no PDF.
Email server – outbound
Email server – inbound
Transmission to email client
At every stage of the journey, the email with a PDF attachment is more costly to the environment than the ‘pure email’ equivalent.
Given the new commitment to a carbon-neutral future, in a short space of time, we will find this approach archaic, and as astonishing as printing and posting.
And of course, this is just one small step. Sending one email without an attachment won’t make a difference. But how many attachments does your system send every year: Ten thousand? Ten million?
And now, in 2022, can you justify the additional computing power required to send PDFs? You won’t notice a cost difference of switching to pure email, but there will be an environment difference, for you and all your business partners. The resulting usability greatly improves too.
If you outsource your SAP output production, do you insist that your supplier does not render and send PDF?
If you have a commanding position in your supply chain, do you insist that your customers and suppliers never send you emails with PDF attachments?
The bottom line is that implementing Floe enables you to remove PDF attachments, so it helps you reduce your carbon footprint. Now, given that information, do you choose to ignore it or take action?