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        Tracking down the Print Criminals – Are your Print Costs a Steal?

        Tracking down the Print Criminals – Are your Print Costs a Steal?

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          By Lindsey Nicholls.

          There’s no denying that running an SME means keeping a strict eye on costs.  You may know, (right down to the last penny) your rates, office costs and staff costs.  However, are you aware how much you are paying for your print?

          If you do not then you are not alone as according to one survey, 90% of companies do not track their print costs. Print costs are rather like glaciers; they may look transparent on the surface but look underneath and there may well lurk a dark secret.

          Indeed, it is estimated that up to 11%¹ of a company’s turnover can be spent on printing costs such as consumables, hardware and operating costs.  Many companies have acquired over time, mismatched printers and copiers and this is invariably accompanied by a cupboard packed full of toners and cartridges for both current and obsolete machines.

          Yet the main culprits who are guilty of print crime are invariably your staff.  According to a recent survey by Kyocera Mita, the average person at work prints some 6,000 sheets of paper per year.  Even worse, 60%² of this wasted simply by staff printing off in error or leaving uncollected print around.  With some 35% of people still happy to describe themselves as “paper people”, this seems to indicate that the paperless office is still a long way off in the future!

          Green fatigue is also a malaise that is still evident in the office with several employers having to balance environmental concerns with cost-saving factors.  Rising energy costs and usage are of a greater concern to companies with such issues as recycling and waste management taking a back seat at the moment.

          So, if you or your staff are guilty of print crime then it may well be time to rethink your print management policy and save some money through these simple tips:

          1) Switch to Duplex Printing
          Just by setting your printers to duplex printing by default, you can halve your paper costs!

          2) Switch to a Multi-Function device
          Often a typical office will have a mixture of printers and copiers, scattered throughout the workplace. You can save yourself time, money and space by opting to have a multi-functional device which will print, copy, scan and email a document.  It will also save you energy since most MFD go into “sleep mode” when not being used.  They also reduce print errors too, since users can choose to delete a print job from the machine, before it prints out.

          3) Put in a Print Policy
          Companies often have usage policies regarding mobile phones, internet and email usage.  They will, strangely have nothing on print!  This is excellent news for the 73% of employees who print personal documents off in the workplace!  A written print policy or guidelines would mean more stringent control over your print and your employees would know where they stood.

          4) Manage Your Consumables
          Clear out your consumables cupboard and get rid of any obsolete cartridges or toners.  There are now recycling schemes where you can have the opportunity of recycling your toner bottles and print cartridges so there are no excuses.

          5) Print in black and white
          If you have a colour printer then ensure the default is set to mono.  If you want to further reduce your costs, then spend a few minutes formatting a document before sending it to print. By adjusting margins and page breaks, you may be able to squeeze more print onto a page and cut your costs further.

          These simple tips will help reduce print costs but for companies who want to take things further, then it may be worth arranging a professional print audit.  There are now some excellent software programs on the market such as PaperCut, that are suitable for smaller enterprises.  These act as your own print policeman and will allow you to set print rules eg for larger print jobs, you can have them re-directed to a cheaper printer.

          So just remember, it’s quite simple to have a print policy, and by following our advice, ensure your print costs are not daylight robbery!

          ¹Managed Print Services Vendor Selection Criteria, Gartner, 2009
          ²Loudhouse Research on behalf of Kyocera

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