For many private and public sector firms, understanding the opportunities to reduce their printing can make the difference between having an unmanaged, costly print service or providing a well-managed, cost-effective print environment. In many cases, the cost saving and productivity results of the latter option can be dramatic.
Through the active measurement and management of printing, industry analysts estimate that printing costs can be reduced by up to 30%. With improved access to printing, employee productivity could increase, while the elimination of print jobs sitting in paper trays means documents are more secure and less likely to disappear. Finally, by helping and encouraging staff to print less, you are also helping your company to be more environmentally friendly. There are several steps that businesses can take in order to print less and start saving money.
Eliminate Personal Printers
There’s no doubt that personal printers are convenient. But providing all employees with one isn’t cost effective and it carries high ink costs. For instance, the difference in cost per page on personal printers vs. shared networked printers averages £0.01 per page. This equates to £500 for every 50,000 pages printed. Removing personal printers is the first step businesses can take to saving money, by migrating users to shared printers and adding user convenience by letting staff print to any printer on the network.
Most Multifunctional Printers (MFP) and copiers can scan and create a PDF. The cost recovery terminal that is attached to them can preview the scanned document, then give you the options of where to send the scan, such as via your email, or even to your Document or Case Management System, while confirmation of the scan gives you peace of mind. The efficient scanning, creating, sharing and storing of PDFs can save money, too; within one of the legal teams at national law firm Dickinson Dees, an efficient scanning solution enabled that team to save approximately £5,000 in fee-earner time alone.
Think Before You Print
Does your team think twice about printing a document? The simple act of making users aware of the impact of printing will get them thinking. If you start tracking printing and produce reports for each individual in your company, you can let them know how much money they are spending on printing. This knowledge and insight may make them think before they print, which will lead to cost savings in the long term.
Stop Printing Twice
Sometimes, as soon as you hit print, you realise you want to make a change to the document but, as the command has already been processed by the printer, you recycle the old one document and print a new one. This is a waste of paper and money. With a virtual print queue to hold documents until the user is ready to pick them up, users get a second chance to not print a document. It also makes printing to shared devices easier. At the printer, a user can select what documents they want to print and delete the ones they don’t need. This results in less wasted paper, and less wasted money.
While there is no doubt that colour adds impact to presentations and can emphasize critical pieces of information, it doesn’t need to be a part of everything you print. Judgment is key here, and you can control its use through colour printing rules that deny colour printing from certain applications, like email. You can automatically route colour jobs to a lower cost colour printer, or set guide lines around who can and who can’t print in colour. So while colour is great, wasted colour is not good for your budget.
Reduce Help-Desk Calls
A company with 750 employees spends an average of 3,700 hours of IT support on its print fleet each year. This means that up to 20% of help desk resources are spent on printer related topics, usually with loss of productivity – and a source of frustration - for users. By using a virtual print queue to process all print jobs, users have a secure way to print to whatever printer is most convenient and online. This reduces calls to help-desks, but also eliminates the need for IT to create countless print definitions on every computer, to allow for printing to multiple devices.
Buy the right equipment
A good rule of thumb is to strive for an employee to printer ratio of 6:1. If you follow the steps above, you are going to be printing a lot less. Which raises the question of which printers do you really need? While it isn’t uncommon for companies to have ratios of 2:1, the effective use of shared, networked printers can easily increase that ratio to 20:1 or more. It makes business sense to only invest in the devices you need and remove the ones that you don’t. In many cases, a multifunctional printer could take the place of multiple laser printers.
Recover printing costs
If you are charging clients for prints or processing inter-departmental printing costs, are you accurately tracking what percentage of prints are billable and what costs should be allocated where? By using Intelligent Print Management solutions, tracking who printed, for which client, or department it was for and what application the document was printed from, you can accurately determine which print jobs can be charged back.
Save money without compromising security
Beyond cost savings, Intelligent Print Management solutions brings control back to the business by enabling them to tighten up on other critical print considerations, like security. A secure print environment ensures that companies are able to honour their duty of care to protect their customers’ data, while bringing peace of mind to the business and customers alike. An added incentive for ensuring that print is managed securely comes in the form of the hefty fines issued by The Information Commissioner’s Office, which has penalised private and public sector organisations alike for document security breaches. The risk of these fines puts a renewed emphasis internally on the importance of document security, raising its status from ‘something to think about’, to an integral part of a company’s broader Security Policy.
As many businesses have discovered, following the nine steps above can safeguard a business from leaking money every time it applies ink.
Chris Strammiello, VP, Global Alliances & Strategic Marketing, Nuance Communications
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