We probably don’t have to tell you that printed documents can cost your business a lot of money. However, printing is a necessity for keeping your small business running as organised and efficiently as possible. Everything that goes into using a printer can quickly add up and really affect your bottom line. In fact, the Fuji Xerox Office Printing Habits Report found that printing costs can account for up to four per cent of revenue for 90 per cent of SMEs.
Yet the truth of the matter is that companies often spend more than what they need to on printing because they don’t know how to control and reduce costs. Excessive printing can come down to a variety of issues such as: unnecessary printing and personal printing, lack of training or outsourcing colour printing. Costs may also be associated with the amount of time the IT team spends on printer issues.
Interestingly, two in three SME employers don’t even know what their print costs are, yet our 2016 Consumer Insight’s Survey shows that 23% of office workers say that the cost of printing frustrates them most when it comes to printing in the office. If your business regularly uses your printer, it’s important you know how to manage costs. In this blog, we’re going to show you three simple steps to reduce your printing costs and improve the profit of your small business.
Step 1: Capture
The first step in reducing your printing costs comes down to identifying who is printing what and how often. This isn’t an easy task, especially if you have many staff, and different departments with flexible working hours.
However, it is possible to capture printing activity when you use ‘follow-me’ printing technology. This technology utilises third-party software that comes installed with your printer. It essentially holds a print job at the printer until the employee physically prompts the printer to print by entering a code or using a card. This allows you to track each job back to an individual or department.
Capturing details on the printing habits of your office is an important step in finding out about any unnecessary printing costs. That way, if a certain staff member or team is excessively printing, you know who to talk to about making some changes.
Step 2: Monitor
Once you’ve captured and identified your office printing habits, you can then move on to step 2: monitoring. A simple and effective way to monitor the printing habits in your office is by creating a regular printing activity report that provides a summary of your office printing (think: print volume, colour vs mono, cost per page etc). If you have the resources, you can organise the activity report by date, printer, employee and department. By generating printing activity reports, you will be able to monitor behaviour and then implement an office print policy.
Other benefits of creating a printing activity report include:
- Identifying usage trends
- Highlighting sudden changes in printing activity
- Keeping track of printing costs
- Keeping staff and departments accountable for their printing
There’s no set number of how often you should be generating printing activity reports. However, the more often you create a printing activity report, the better control you will have over your office printing costs.
Step 3: Control
Now that you have captured printing behaviour and are monitoring printing habits, you can start implementing some easy, money-saving changes with an office print policy. Having an office print policy is one of the most important factors when you’re trying to manage your printing costs.
Your printing policy should be a basic set of rules that highlight the expectation and rules for office printing. It should include rules like:
- Colour vs mono printing
- Personal printing
- Big job printing
- Double sided vs single sided printing
You can enforce your printing rules in a few ways, such as updating the settings on your printer (for example restricting one sided printing), training your staff on how to best use the device, and educating them on how to reduce office printing costs.
Most modern printers will allow you to apply automatic rules to all office devices. For example, the Fuji Xerox SMARTSeries can integrate add-on technology that automatically analyses each document by size, quality and colour needs and sends it to the most cost-effective printer.