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How many printers does your business need?

Getting the right number of printing and imaging devices for an organisation is a key part of controlling costs. Too few, and staff may waste time walking across a large office or even to a different floor to collect their print-outs. Too many, and many devices may sit under-used for most of the day.

Organisations should aim for an average of one printer for every 4.4 employees. This can be achieved by eliminating the use of desktop printers that are locally connected to individual users' machines.

This isn't a hard-and-fast rule - and it's affected by the output rate in pages per minute (ppm) that printers can manage.

A workgroup printer should generally be capable fo handling around 20 pages of output, so it the nature of a business means its staff print out much less than that, a device can be shared between a larger pool of users.

And big isn't always better - a high-spec printer capable of servicing a large number of users will be a wasted investment if the company really doesn't need that kind of capacity.

Unless desktop printing is specifically required due to the need for confidentiality or accessibility for disabled users, printers should attached to a centralised network. This not only increases the ability to analyse printer use, it adds flexibility when new employees join, or members of staff require temporary access to the features of specific devices.

Finally, companies can save resources by rationalising the types of device they use. By opting for multifunction printers (MFPs), firms can make a wider range of features available to a greater number of users, while still reducing the overall size and cost of their printer fleet.

This article was brought to you as part of THINQ's Business Printing Hub in association with HP. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.