Here’s how to use printer management technology to your advantage by analyzing your printer usage, and then using the data to make smart decisions for your company to keep printer and supplies costs under control.
If you have shopped for a new printer lately, you might notice a couple of traits most of the new models have in common. For one, they are almost all multifunction machines (print/fax/scan/copy all in one) and two, most of the models now feature touch screens which allow for advanced document-handling capabilities.
While it is true that people are printing less these days, businesses still have (and will continue to have) a need to print. What we are seeing is the printer manufacturers giving businesses the ability to have more control over the printers they own and the printing process that goes on in their offices.
Printers and their supplies have long been a budgetary black hole for companies – it was hard for companies to know how much they were spending on these expenses. I’ve seen estimates of these expenses being as high as 5% of revenues. Modern technology is giving businesses the tools they need to be much smarter about their printers, allowing those that take advantage the chance to realize real savings.
Is your business printer expense out of hand? Here’s a look at 4 ways your business can get them back under control, courtesy of James E. Gaskin writing for IT World.
Managed Print Services
Managed Print Services (MPS) is a general term used to describe specific software that is installed on your network that monitors your printers. It can help you measure how much printing you do, and if it is well-optimized. For example, are all of your employees sending everything to the color printer? You can use the information MPS provides you to find these kinds of issues and take corrective action.
MPS software can also tell you when you need more toner, so you won’t run out or have to keep tons of it on hand just so you don’t.
I don’t mean make your employees buy their own printers and supplies, although that would surely be one way to save your company money. What I mean is that each department should be held accountable for what they print. Whether that means taking the supplies from their budget, or making sure they are educated in ways to conserve printing and supplies. It’s up to each company which way they go, but everyone using the printers should have some sense of ownership of the process.
Monitor the monitoring
This reinforces my first two points. Managed Print Services, or even modern printers on their own, give you lots of information. Use it to your advantage. For example, make sure the printer getting the most use is the least expensive one to operate, or use the information to make smart decisions about what machines to replace. You can gain a lot of management efficiencies by upgrading to a newer printer. New printers are faster, more energy efficient, and can include document workflows that can improve your company or department’s efficiency.
One of Office Essentials’ customers who switched to MPS used their newly gained information to make a policy that states emails can only be printed to a monochrome printer and not a color one. This was apparently a rampant issue in their organization and led to immediate savings.
Have one printer vendor
Office Essentials helps our customers, whether they are Managed Print Services users or not, with both their printers and their supplies. We help them form a complete picture of their printing needs and make educated buying decisions when it comes to printers, extended warranties, and supplies. Sometimes you don’t need as powerful a printer as you think. Sometimes extended warranties make sense, and sometimes they don’t. If you are working with several different vendors for different aspects of your printing requirements, none of them is likely able to understand your complete picture and help you make good buying decisions.