Printing – the balance sheet blind spotJanuary 9 - 3pm
Most business managers don’t realise the impact printers and copiers have on their balance sheet and their operational expenses.
There is a body of research which indicates that print costs can be far more significant than many of us realise, with at least one report citing the average cost to be as high as six percent of a company’s annual revenues.
To put it in perspective, one rough rule of thumb in business is that a company’s annual marketing budget should be between one and three percent of sales revenues.
Clearly, marketing is an important revenue driving activity. It simply doesn’t make sense for a company to spend more than its marketing budget on running a printer and copier fleet.
Halting the advancing hordes of printers, faxes, scanners and copiers is not just an essential cost-cutting exercise – putting the right kind of solution in place can also be a productivity multiplier.
There are also many things a business can do to reduce the total cost of ownership of its print- related hardware.
Printers can consume large amounts of electricity depending on the model and whether they are in stand-by or print mode.
Businesses should consider the accumulated effect of having multiple printers turned on and the potential savings of consolidating a print fleet into one or two more energy efficient, yet advanced, high-speed printers.
Take advantage of the energy saving features that put machines to ‘sleep’ in idle periods. This can save hundreds of dollars each year on energy consumption and reduce a business’ carbon footprint.
It may also be a good idea to ask staff to turn off their computer screens – a simple monitoring and reward program may encourage people to get into the habit.
Each copier and printer takes up space, and space is expensive. Rent is charged on a square metre basis and every business machine takes up the best part of a square metre.
Therefore, it’s not too hard to work out the ‘share of rent’ cost of copiers or printers. Consolidating many copiers or printers to fewer, higher performance machines can increase available office space.
Copiers and printers on networks need to be managed just like any other network device. The more equipment a business has, the more complex the network required to manage them.
Moving printers, or provisioning departments with network printers, also requires network management tasks to be completed. Rationalising the number of devices by replacing them with fewer high performance machines can substantially reduce the workload on your network administrator.
Every copier or printer needs toner. They also need other parts such as laser drums, which must be replaced regularly.
With multiple copiers or printers, your company will be buying many different types of consumables, often on an ‘as needed’ basis. That’s an expensive way to do business, particularly when paying marked up retail prices.
If usage policies are not set, staff will often send large print jobs to desktop printers to avoid queues.
This can also add to costs as smaller printers tend to use more expensive consumables.
Wrong person, wrong printer function
One of the most common print-cost black holes is the lack of controls or limits set on high-speed, colour printing devices.
It’s been estimated that 17 per cent of all pages printed are accidental – that’s 340 wasted pages for every 2000 printed.
These paper costs alone will add up and so will the cost of toner if the prints are in colour.
A common concern for large businesses that have colour printers is that everyone will print in colour all the time. It’s important to create policies that restrict who has access to colour.
One area which companies fail to allocate costs is printer support. This is a large part of the total cost of ownership of a printer and it is critical to understand and determine the overall operational costs.
Printers need to be cabled, users need printer drivers installed, consumables need to be added, and paper trays need to be configured along with a multitude of other tasks. It takes time and knowledge for even the smallest desktop printer to be installed.
Solve that with managed print services which includes the cost to install and support all devices and administer its warranty if required.
Identity theft, corporate crime and fraud continue to increase and there are costs involved in administering and managing breaches in security. Printing documents securely is fast becoming a ‘must have’ feature for printers.
Keeping printing costs in-house
Professionals in medium and large enterprise and government workgroups may need to conduct a wide array of printing tasks for various departments such as sales and marketing, finance and legal, and administration.
They are often challenged with tight print-windows and have strong requirements for quality.
Outsourcing jobs can be costly and time consuming. To keep a tight rein on printing costs in print-intensive organisations it can be more cost effective to print and finish documents in-house – given the appropriate equipment.
Printers that grow with your business:
As an organisation expands and printing requirements become more sophisticated, you need a print fleet that can grow with your business requirements.
This means being able to easily add functionality and productivity-enhancing options such as stapling, storing, hole punching and booklet- making.
A collection of printers scattered throughout your office may not seem like it adds up but once you investigate the accumulated running costs, it can be surprising just how expensive they can be in terms of adding unnecessary costs.
It is worthwhile to assess current print costs and investigate how you can reduce them but also improve efficiency and productivity at the same time.