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Optimize Your Print Environment for Cost and Productivity

For most businesses, printing remains an essential part of getting work done. While the paperless office has not yet arrived, people still sometimes prefer paper, or it may be the most cost-effective solution for some business processes.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for cost savings through changing print behavior. Organizations should consider ways they can save money by altering print habits, while weighing any productivity drawbacks resulting from these changes.

Below are a few items to consider.

Use higher-class printing devices appropriately

When used at the recommended level, higher-class print devices almost always provide a better overall cost of ownership than lower-class devices. In these cases, the actual purchase price of the machine may be high but the running costs are low, especially as these better machines are made to last longer.

Whether the print devices were purchased, leased, or part of an overall service plan that covers the cost of equipment, service and supplies, your dealer can help you analyze overall printing volume for your company or a particular department. They can then recommend the right class of device for your print volume to minimize your ongoing costs.

That said, you don’t necessarily want all workers to use the same high end device—as this could hinder their productivity, whether it’s too far away, has a large queue of print jobs, or there are multiple print jobs waiting for pickup that can create confusion and disorder.

Your technology dealer can help you place an appropriately high-class device close to the workers who most need to print in high volumes.

Make wise use of personal printing devices

The cost to acquire a personal printing device these days is very economical, but the toner or ink cost per page is frequently expensive; sometimes it is several times time the cost of consumables for a department-class device.

In most cases, personal printers should not be found on the majority of desktops. Primarily, people should be sharing a higher-class device that is not too inconveniently located.

But there are circumstances when personal printing devices make sense. Remote workers very likely will need a personal printing device; and a personal printer is also likely a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a mobility disability. Some workers with very low printing needs might benefit from a personal device, particularly when their prints contain sensitive information. When security is an issue, solutions exist to prevent higher-class shared devices from printing unless the user releases the job at the device.

Use two-sided printing (duplex mode) sensibly

Turning on default printing settings that require printing on both sides of the page is the most frequently cited action that companies report taking to save money on printing. About 30% of U.S. companies say this cost-saving initiative is in place. While this reduces paper costs, this is not the case for ink or toner. Most workgroup and higher-class devices support printing on both sides of the page. Many personal devices also feature two-sided printing, which saves approximately a penny per page.

But documents that are printed on both sides can often be confusing for people who are not used to handling them. And if they are scattered on a desk, they can be difficult to place back in order. In this case, employees are encouraged to make use of a stapler. Better yet, higher-class devices frequently come with built-in staplers. Whenever possible, forced two-sided printing should also have the stapling feature enabled.

Many devices can be configured to default to two-sided printing. If you aren’t sure how to this (or don’t want to do it yourself), ask your office technology dealer for help. It’s very possible they can set this up for you remotely.

Use B&W, draft color, and best quality color when it makes sense

Traditionally, it has been more expensive to print a black and white page on a color device than on a black-only device. But that’s changing. It’s not uncommon these days for color devices to offer black and white printing costs that are on par with black-only devices. Your office technology dealer can tell you what your costs are for black and white. If it’s time to replace a device, ask that they include options for a machine that offers on-par black and white printing costs.

Draft prints probably don’t need to be printed in best quality color mode. Most inkjet and laser devices today offer ink and toner saving modes for draft printing. It’s easy to ask your office workers to think about these things, but not so easy for them to remember to do it. And the settings are often different for different devices.

Your office technology dealer can let you know what it would take to set up rules-based printing in your organization. This will not only help your users apply the right settings for the job, but it can also route the job to the most appropriate device.

Talk to your reseller

Depending on the volume of printing in your business, it might be time to take a deeper look at what and how your company prints. Today’s office equipment dealers don’t just sell you machines and toner. They are now experts at looking at what you print, and suggesting where going digital may make sense. Then, in the areas where print remains, they can help you set up a managed print service (MPS) to reduce your costs.

Research by Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends shows that, on average, companies that fully engage in managed print services save roughly 40%. This results from a combination of reduced overall printing and changes (like those mentioned above) that cut the cost of printing.

3 takeaways

  • Use higher-class devices when printing high volumes of pages.
  • Use cost-saving settings such as two-sided printing and draft mode.
  • Bring in a professional who can optimize your print infrastructure without disrupting your business.


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