December 17, 2009, 6:59 PM — This is actually less about printers and more about the technology philosophy of your company. If you wonder who has time to develop a “technology philosophy” then you obviously don't have one, and your control over your printing cost is nil. That's not generally a good thing, so let's help you develop a “printing philosophy” as a start.
Small companies tend to be more lenient about technology when the budget allows, giving users what they want, generally. That often leads to every computer user having their own printer, often cheap disposable printers like we discussed the other day (Cheap Printers Cost Too Much). No decision was made to issue printers to each user as standard equipment, but they all managed to get them somehow. You can identify these companies because they buy all manner of different ink cartridges and other supplies for multiple printer brands and models.
The right way to make this decision requires you to examine how and why you print today, and how you want to print in the future. A consistent printing policy will save you time and money by standardizing on printer brands and models, meaning you standardize on service policies and accessories like ink and toner.
You won't be able to develop a printer policy overnight, so don't try. Take a few days, look at how people are printing now, and plan how you can enhance, not just replace, the current printing system. If you take something away from people, like their individual printers, you have to give them something in exchange, like faster, smarter, or easier printers.
You will spend less on fewer but better printers when you include the cost of acquisition, service, and supplies. Less money for more printing sounds good to me.