January 04, 2010, 12:42 PM — New year, new resolutions. This time, you don't have to cross your fingers while you promise to lose weight or watch less TV. These resolutions are to help you manage the printing in your company, and make sure you're paying reasonable amounts for the appropriate level of printing. And, if you want to print out an exercise calendar to help you lose that weight, feel free.
RESOLUTION #1 Something that sounds easy but really isn't: count the printers in your company. I bet you dollars to donuts if you have more than a dozen employees, there's a printer in the company you don't know about. This is a “manage by walking around” task, because you'll have to look throughout your building for printers. Don't forget closets, and ask every employee who works from home now and then how many printers they have. Don't ask “if” they have a printer, but ask how many. You pay for paper and supplies for company printers, even the ones in home offices, so you have full rights to a complete inventory.
RESOLUTION #2 Centralize supplies purchasing for all those printers. When five different people buy paper and ink, you wind up spending twice as much as you should. Get a grip on total print costs. Those employees with a company credit card? They're buying ink cartridges. Petty cash boxes? Somebody's taking a few bucks to the office supply store to buy paper, and they aren't writing that down.
RESOLUTION #3 Make sure the printers you need to keep in service have service contracts, and those that aren't critical don't. You may have to drill down in your managed services bills, or the initial contract, to find out what's covered in there. Many companies find they're still paying annual maintenance on printers (and other equipment) that long ago bit the dust. Count your printers, count your covered items, and make sure they match.
RESOLUTION #4 Reconsider who has personal printers, and who uses workgroup printers. Some of those extra printers are hidden by users who should be using a workgroup printer. Plan your print resources, then check to see if the reality matches the plan. It rarely does.
RESOLUTION #5 Ask for everyone's help in printing smarter. Centralize purchasing with employee's help to contain costs, but also make sure they know they no longer need to sneak and hide supplies. Explain the advantages of faster and feature rich workgroup printers before you take away a user's personal printer. Ask for everyone's help in containing costs of paper and supplies by thinking before printing.
I promise, these steps will serve you well, and will provide benefits long after your exercise calendar got thrown away. Here's a resolution you can keep.