on 17 October 18
All companies have some need for printing documents, but the very fact that modern networks make printing so easy means that it’s something which can easily spiral out of control. It’s surprising that many enterprises don’t know how much printing they’re doing or how much it’s costing them.
While the odd couple of sheets here and there may not seem much, in even a modestly sized business the amount of paper, ink/toner, printer maintenance and even power used over the course of a year can add up to a considerable amount.
Knowledge Is Power
So is your printer network out of control, and how do you find out? There are a number of questions that any IT or office services manager should be asking:
- How much are we spending on copies and print in a year?
- Do we know who prints what?
- Can we control who has access to printers?
These are the basics. If they can’t be answered, or if the answer to the latter two is no, then you definitely need to look at your printing and take action to bring it under control. There are some other things to consider which, although not directly related to printing, will have an impact on print strategy.
- Do you have specific issues surrounding document compliance and security?
- Does your business need to reduce energy consumption or CO2 emissions?
- Is there pressure to reduce costs across the company?
Undertaking a review of your business printing needs can have an impact on all of these things, so it’s important to see it as part of a wider picture.
What to Do
Having decided to take back control, what do you need to do? The first step is to carry out an audit of the printing that’s being carried out in the organization. This will help you to understand not just where your money is being spent but also who is printing what. It’s inevitable that some departments will have greater printing needs than others, and being able to identify these differences will help you plan your future strategy.
Having determined what you're printing, you need to look at how it’s being done.
- How many printers do you have?
- Are they owned or leased?
- How many suppliers are there?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to look at whether you’re satisfied with your current arrangements. This needs to take account not just of costs but also of how satisfied you are with the service you’re getting. If you’re leasing, do you think you’re getting a good deal from the supplier? If you have multiple suppliers, you need to look at whether you could make savings by consolidating all your needs and getting them from one place.
If your business printing has been allowed to develop organically over a number of years, the answers to the above questions may yield some eye-opening results. Asking the questions is, however, the first step to bringing your business printing under control.