It’s no secret that organisations are seeking to cut down on costs and what better and more effective way to do so than starting with the print environment. It is known that the typical organisation’s second most costly expense lies within the print environment.
What is needed is a centralised, strategic approach – one that is based on a thorough assessment of the costs, volumes, support needs and employee effort associated with the workflow.
With such an assessment, companies often find that they can:
- reduce the number of printers and copiers hanging on their network
- cut support and supply costs
- optimise their equipment leases and maintenance contracts
Let’s have a look at some steps to follow when optimising the print environment:
1. Gain Control
The first step is to simply understand your print environment. Most organisations don’t even know how many printers and copiers reside within their business.
In gaining control of your environment, you need to understand exactly how many devices you have (MFP’s as well as desktops), what you spend on the total devices as well as the volumes being printed. Once you have the above, you can put together a “right-sizing” strategy to ensure that unnecessary devices are removed and remaining devices are used to their full capacity.
2. Start with certain departments
Employees are not always prone to changes made to their work environment and usually hold on to their desktop devices as it “makes life easier” for them on a day-to-day basis.
There are several Management Software platforms available to manage these concerns. This typically allows users to release print jobs with a pin code or employee card, which means confidentiality will be protected on documents being printed.
Placing one or two centralised MFP’s in a certain department (based on volumes printed and the capacity of the devices) will be a good starting point. This will allow users to walk to the device and securely release their print jobs. This will not only result in a more effective and sustainable environment but also ensure that your MFP is utilised to a better capacity, thus resulting in cost savings due to lower running costs and less consumable spend.
Once successfully implemented, this strategy can be rolled out to all the departments within the organisation.
3. Tracking of Print behaviour
This is a very important step. Tracking of printer and user behaviour can reduce costs substantially, as the software allows you to enforce print policies to manage costs. It also gives management insights into print intensive users/departments so that these items can be addressed.
Colour printing for example could be reduced by forcing certain internal print jobs to be printed in mono. This will not only allow a reduction in colour print costs, but you could implement a strategy to reduce the amount of colour devices within the organisation.
For a long term “optimisation” strategy it could be useful to look at what users are printing and what internal prints can be avoided completely.
4. Set Specific timelines
Your “optimization” strategy might take some work. Working towards a certain goal and educating the employees about the “optimisation” goal will allow for more efficient print behaviour.
Set short term goals to reach your overall optimization goal, i.e. reduce the HR print volumes by 20% by November 2017.
Share your successes with the company, but also be sure to highlight spikes in volumes/costs to the company so that users are aware that these items are being monitored.
5. Review and track progress of your strategy
It is important to track the progress of your strategy over time to ensure the effectiveness and success thereof. Adjust and re-enforce specific items within your strategy as and when they arise.
If the company is focusing on a digitisation drive, for example, be sure to integrate the print optimisation strategy with this to ensure a long-term success.
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