February 12, 2010, 8:42 PM — Looking at the maze of printing devices in any organization, it is clear we are still a ways off from the completely digitized work environment. Out of necessity, convenience and personal preference, the majority of today's workers still use printers, copiers and fax machines.
Some devices are new, some are old and there's often a diverse collection of multi- and single-function machines, some of which connect to the network and some that do not. One thing is for certain: this tangled web is a maintenance nightmare that is expensive, anything but efficient, and reduces IT staff productivity.
Often called the final frontier in information technology, print management can help control spiraling expenses. These expenses result not only from the cost of the printers, toner and paper, but also from additional hardware, maintenance services and power consumption.
As more organizations look for ways to reduce costs and conserve capital, many are turning to managed print services as a simple way to get a handle on largely-undocumented, unpredictable and often excessive annual printing expenditures.
Managed print solutions can reduce printing costs by as much as 30%. Solutions are customizable and provide a flexible, hassle-free way to procure printing hardware, supplies, service and support in one convenient, bundled contract.
A managed print solution begins with an audit to analyze and document usage patterns and get a handle on where inefficiencies exist and improvements can be made. Done properly, the audit details valuable information including the number and type of printers, locations, users, what services/supplies each requires and how efficiently each is being utilized, both in terms of usage, amount of machines currently in use and required ink type.
Managed print solutions provide estimates on the number of toner and ink cartridges, maintenance kits and other supplies that will be required during the next several years based on current and anticipated print volumes. These solutions can also help determine the right mix of printer types for the environment.
Consolidation is Critical
Consolidation isn't simply a matter of eliminating redundant and high-cost devices. Combining multiple devices into a single, multi-functional unit also positively affects the bottom line. It eliminates wasted paper and other consumable supplies, reduces power usage among those devices by as much as 40% and increases security by making it more difficult to print, copy or fax potentially sensitive information.
Additionally, in the case of businesses with smaller remote offices, consolidation enables the proactive management of costlier work. This includes squeezing the most efficient utilization out of color printers, even as you attempt to reduce printing volume to save on ink.