Mismanagement of print resources is a common issue in business. Keeping track of your print-related expenses can be tedious and easily forgotten. While this is probably not a surprise, the amount of money your company could be losing may shock you. Even if you have a detailed account of print usage, there are hidden costs you may not have considered.
A Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can help you manage your business printing costs by assessing your print environment from a value-oriented perspective. Document workflows that produce value need to be reinforced, while those that fail to generate value must be streamlined.
There are several ways that print management can help you control document costs. Some of which are processes that you can implement on your own. Look to the following guidelines to help you effectively manage your business printing costs.
Implement a Transparent Print Policy
Does your organization have and enforce a print policy? If the answer is no, this is the first step you should take to efficiently manage your business printing costs.
A print policy helps you communicate proper and improper print resource usage workflows to your employees. Without a standardized policy in place, you essentially give up decision-making power to each individual employee. And most often, the employee has no particular incentive to use print resources efficiently.
In your print policy, you can specify exactly how many prints each department should make and list printing guidelines. For example, specify what documents to print in color and which must be printed in black and white. Additionally, you can implement rules for duplexing (or printing on both sides of the page). This will help to save on paper consumption costs.
Once you have created your print policy, it’s important to make sure each employee understands why the policy is in place and how it helps. Simply setting rules in place without giving any explanation will incentivize employees to ignore them.
Right Size Your Print Fleet
Personal printers can increase printing costs drastically if they are not properly managed. For example, desktop printers quickly increase the total expense of ink and toner in an office. Therefore, if a personal printer is not crucial to an individual’s productivity, these devices should be minimized.
Operating off of a shared multifunction printer will likely lower costs, as well as make it easier to control supplies. Managing one or more shared multifunction printers will save time and money compared to managing a multitude of individual devices.
Control Hidden Print Costs
Your per-page print costs only tell part of the story. Hard costs make up only a fraction of your total print costs. Examples of hard costs include:
- Business office equipment
- Consumables like toner and ink cartridges
Consider the costs of printer downtime, device and network management, and employee time spent interacting with office printers. In addition, consider the preparation, collection, and finishing of printed documents. As well as, the potential time and capital losses of printer problems, errors, and mistakes. You may even be setting yourself up for catastrophic losses by leaving your printer network unsecured.
Perhaps the biggest hidden cost of managing your own printer fleet is the opportunity cost of dedicating IT resources to low-impact printer maintenance. If you hire an MPS provider to manage your business printing costs, you free up important IT resources that you can dedicate to strategic high-impact initiatives.
Improve Document Workflows
When creating a print policy, it’s important that you treat printing as part of a larger whole. That whole is the document workflow in which printing is merely a process. By treating printing resources this way, you can choose to implement workflow solutions that control document costs by adjusting or removing print-related steps.
You may find that instead of copying a handwritten customer application and sending it to accounting, you can scan it into a cloud storage platform so that accounting has immediate digital access to it. Then, further steps through the document processing workflow can take place in the same space, reducing the overall number of times an individual application needs to be printed.
Implementing solutions like this help to streamline your ability to process documents, save on print resources, be more transparent, and reduce printer waste.
The major goal managed print service vendors share is reducing the amount of printing you need to do. By aligning your company’s interests to that goal, you can ensure faster, more comprehensive document processing workflows on every level.
The example above is just one of many possibilities when it comes to managing business printing costs, and these savings extend throughout your entire organization.
Put the Right Processes in Place
Consider how eliminating the amount of time it takes for a paper document to travel from one end of the office to another can help you produce greater value for your customers – processes that took days can now be completed in a single afternoon. The right approach lets you implement these processes throughout your entire company.
Making any of these changes to your print environment can reduce print costs and improve efficiency. Interested in improving the management of your business printing costs but need some help to get the ball rolling? Feel free to reach out to one of our document workflow experts for advice.