12 Jun 2019
Office workers

Do you know how much you’re spending on print?

For lots of businesses, printing is just a fact of life. Employees print what they need to, when they need to. There may be a few recycling boxes scattered throughout the office to offset the amount of unnecessary printing that happens.

In some businesses, there may be a system in place to track printing and allocate costs to appropriate cost centres or clients.

But do you really know how much you’re spending on print?

Not just the cost of printers, paper, and toner or ink. But the true and comprehensive cost to your organisation?

There are four key elements that make up the cost of printing:

1. Equipment and maintenance

It costs money to buy or rent your equipment and then maintain it so it works reliably. These costs are usually relatively transparent or at least easy to calculate. However, many businesses have more printers than they need, or more capable printers than they need. For example, a business that tends to print mostly text-based documents is unlikely to need a fleet of printers capable of printing high-quality colour copies. Choosing the right equipment and the right number of devices can have a dramatic effect on costs.

2. Consumables

Printers can eat up consumables at a rapid rate. Paper and ink or toner need to be replenished regularly. In many offices, this takes the form of the office manager buying reams of paper or replacement printer cartridges from the local office supply store. In some offices, this responsibility falls to whomever notices the paper or ink are running low. However, this approach leads to hidden costs whereby it’s extremely difficult to account for the amount spent on these consumables.

Furthermore, allowing employees free reign to use printers as they see fit can result in huge costs. Single-sided printing, colour printing, and indiscriminate printing can all result in significant extra costs.

3. Energy use

Not all printers are created equal when it comes to energy use. Some are energy-intensive, especially older models. Newer models generally have environmentally-friendly features such as energy-saving modes and fast warm-up times, for example.

However, if you have more printers in your office than strictly needed, your energy costs could be higher than they should be.

4. IT support

In many companies, the IT department is also responsible for supporting the printers. But, as any office worker can attest, printers are the one piece of equipment most likely to require attention. From paper jams and low ink to difficulties connecting to the right printer, the IT team can often feel like they spend most of their time on printer-related issues and not much time on innovation. The cost of this time can add up quickly, both in terms of the wasted hours spent managing printers and the lost opportunities because IT staff don’t have time to pursue them.

First step: audit your costs

Some organisations can save massive amounts of money just by making a few small changes, many of them at no cost to the organisation. Others, which may already be doing some of these best practices, may need to look more closely to find savings. The first step for those companies is to conduct a full audit of your printing costs. This lets you see clearly where you could be saving money.

Here are some places to start:

Second step: implement these five ideas:

  1. Enforce rules: set defaults on every device to ensure printouts are monochrome and duplex unless the user specifically needs a different setting. Restrict access to colour printing and set limits on how much each user can print.
  2. Restrict access: by requiring a PIN or swipe card to access printouts, organisations can reduce the number of unclaimed pages that sit on printers. This has the added benefit of keeping information secure, since sensitive documents can’t be left on the printer for all to see.
  3. Customise settings: most printers can accommodate settings that save costs. For example, printers can identify large-volume printing jobs and automatically re-route them to the fastest or most efficient device.
  4. Monitor printing: if you haven’t already implemented a print management system, doing so can save money by providing complete cost transparency. Reports can show who is printing what, and when, as well as how often.
  5. Outsource printing: outsourcing larger print jobs to a local printer can often save you money and avoid tying up your in-house printers for long periods of time. It can be useful to shop around to find a printer that offers the best quality and the best price, then build a relationship with that printer. With a strong relationship, you may be able to get priority service when you have an urgent job to print.

Third step: partner with a managed print services provider

Konica Minolta offers managed print services that reduce the cost of printing by taking the burden of management out of your hands. This frees up your IT department and lets you:

  • optimise your printing infrastructure, including right-sizing your fleet and ensuring you have the right devices for your needs
  • streamline workflows to save costs
  • improve security without adding costs
  • improve sustainability and reduce energy consumption
  • free up the IT team to innovate and add value.

To find out how Konica Minolta’s managed print services can help you reduce the cost of printing in your organisation, contact us today.

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