We’ve all been hearing it for years now “the paperless office is just around the corner!”. While this statement may have brought apocalyptic visions to printer manufacturers it certainly hasn’t eventuated as proclaimed. From where I’m standing the humble office printer isn’t leaving anytime soon. That means accepting the inevitable, that the cost of running a printer is here to stay too. Let’s look at some measures to help save money on printing in your business.
If you are unaware of how much printing is costing your business you’re not alone. A white paper by IDC in 2011 found that “When all printing costs are uncovered, it’s often a shock to CIOs to learn that company print spend is substantial, typically representing 1%–3% of an organisation’s revenue”.
Does that figure sound too high? The key to the statement ‘All printing costs…uncovered’. While it’s easy to track visible direct costs of printing such as hardware, maintenance and supplies (toner, ink and paper), indirect cost can be harder to track such as the cost of hardware footprint, consumable storage, the drain on IT support or helpdesks, fragmented purchasing practices, device variety and organisational printing culture.
While there are ways to reduce printing costs through investment in improved hardware and software there are many ways you can save money on printing in your business without spending a cent. So while we may be some time from going paperless, as Greg Milliken wrote in a piece for Wired “Let’s Be Realistic and Move Towards ‘Paper-Light’ Instead of ‘Paperless’”
Luckily at Find IT Here we can help claw back some of the lost revenue one print at a time. Read on!
The obligatory top 10 ways to save on printing, courtesy of the Web.
There is a familiar response on the web when searching how to save money on printing. How effective are these? And more importantly how easy are they to implement in a business environment? Let’s take a look at the most common.
- Printing in draft, Eco-mode or grey scale to reduce toner consumption.
- Further reduce toner by changing font type and/or size.
- Use duplex printing where possible to reduce paper costs.
- Preview before printing and/or print selection only can reduce both paper and toner costs.
- Change paper stock to lighter GSM.
- Ignore temptation of the ‘Toner Low’ message. Let your consumables run till empty
- Switch to quality compatible or remanufactured consumables
- Never print again, utilise cloud and other solutions
- Print on demand where possible
- Reduce the variety of printers in your organisation
They all sound straightforward enough, surely following these to a tee is a way of reducing your printing costs? Well Yes and No. As an individual, it is possible to follow all these and see immediate results. From a business wide approach it’s not quite as simple or more to the point as enforceable with multiple users.
The 3 key focus areas to reduce business printing costs.
While all 10 are valid suggestions and even more are available, to make sense of them and implement them in business process we need to regroup the list and make it workable.
Simple Business Changes you can make right now
There are a few purchasing changes and simple management changes that will provide immediate savings without much impact on your current business process, such as;
Let your consumables run till empty.
Make someone a champion of managing your print hardware, specifically controlling the supply of consumables. Providing free for all access to your consumables stocks is a sure way of throwing money away. Why? Most printers generally start displaying ‘Low toner’ warnings with anywhere from 25% to 30% toner remaining. Avoid consumables being replaced before they are empty by smart management of supplies.
Print on demand.
If you print your own marketing collateral then moving to a print on demand method can also save considerable costs and reduce wastage of outdated material. Again, having someone manage the request process ensures trigger happy print fingers are not involved.
Switch to compatible or remanufactured consumables.
Change to quality compatible or remanufactured consumables, especially for mono printers. We are not talking about messy refills, there are reputable companies making high quality OEM cartridges in ISO rated factories providing warranties that far exceed genuine manufacturers warranties, while providing savings of more than 50% on your current costs.
Change paper stock to lighter GSM.
Reviewing your paper stock, even reducing paper weight from the standard 80gsm to 75gsm can save anywhere from $0.50 to $1.50 per ream resulting in considerable costs over time.
Find your list of documents to ‘Never Print Again’.
Chances are your business already possesses the software at your user’s fingertips to significantly save money on printing in your business and for certain documents never print them again.
Print to PDF.
This feature has been included with both Windows and Mac Operating systems for some time now. While lacking in some of the more advance features, it is sufficient for converting most file types to PDF. Are you still printing hard copies of invoices and worse still sending them by snail mail? What other documents do you print to distribute that could just as easily be emailed as a PDF?
Complete forms with Adobe Reader DC.
This free reader continues to provide great features that will reduce print costs. One main feature I use on a regular basis is ‘Fill & Sign’ to complete PDF forms. Even documents not optimised for form filling can still use the ‘Fill & Sign’ tools to place fields where required and then type text. A signature image can be added or use your finger or mouse (if your deft enough) to create a signature. Need another’s signature, no problem just save and email it on to the next person.
Scan, save, share and collaborate in the cloud.
Are you using the free cloud storage accounts to your benefit? Or are you maximising your Office365 subscriptions? Why print hard copies for records when you can save to the cloud and make them accessible to all. Need to collaborate on a document or project? Share a folder with colleagues in OneDrive, DropBox, Google drive or a myriad of other services. Better still share your OneNote or Evernote notebook to collect ideas from variety of sources without printing a single page.
Drive organisational change, lead by example.
When you look back at the top 10 list you can see that much of the changes rely on changes to habit by users. Printing in draft, changing fonts, printing duplex, preview before printing and so on.
One of the most effective methods to reduce your business printing costs is to start driving organisational change. Start simply by running paperless meetings and training sessions. Encourage the use of notebooks and tablets for note taking at these sessions.
Begin to better understand your existing printing hardware and software alternatives to printing. Then start to train staff on how to effectively use print saving features or more importantly how to incorporate alternatives to print in to their role and daily tasks.
You will be surprised by the pace of change once you take the initial slow steps of habit change. Take note these organisational changes don’t just reduce spend on printing, they increase productivity.
Let’s start the journey to save money on printing and wind back lost revenue to print.
The most important way to save money on printing in your business is to understand what your current printing costs are. Fortunately for you Find IT Here have helped others businesses in your situation reduce their printing cost and ultimately change habits. We can work to identify costs and then help implement strategies to reduce them. Free of charge.
So, there you have it. Reducing what your business spends on printing isn’t rocket science, if anything it’s one of the low hanging fruit in measures that reduce lost revenue.
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Do you have any strategies to save money on printing in your business? Please feel free to share these by leaving a comment below.