Posted by Glenn Gibson
When was the last time you looked at your business’ print policy? If you’re like many of the small businesses we work with, it has probably slipped down your list of priorities.
A print policy is an important part of controlling printing costs and usage. It is a set of guidelines that stipulates the expectations, rules and behaviours for office printing. It explains procedures for black and white versus colour printing, double versus single sided printouts and personal printing.
The absence of a print policy can give rise to unproductive attitudes about printing, which ultimately drive up printing costs. If nobody’s watching, some may think it’s alright to print 50 family photographs or print in colour whenever they want.
Introducing some parameters around printing is a simple and quick way to start cutting printing costs. As soon as staff printing is being monitored, unnecessary printing will begin to decrease, saving you money, paper and energy. To begin developing a business printing policy, ask yourself these six questions.
Some departments require higher printing volumes than others. For example, finance will need to keep hard copy records of invoices and contracts; while there may be less of a need for operations to access printed materials, especially if the majority of their processes are software-based.
Colour printing costs significantly more than black and white, so it makes sense to put some restrictions in place. The marketing department will likely require colour printing when designing brochures and other collateral, while human resources and finance can usually rely on just black and white printing.
As a general rule, every printer in the office should default to double-sided printing. This is a simple way to automatically reduce paper volumes and costs. Users can easily change the settings for any dedicated single-side print jobs, if required.
Designing a procurement policy for printers and consumables can help to manage arbitrary purchases that may not align with the broader IT investment plan or cost you more in the long run.
Having a clear plan in place for troubleshooting printing problems can help to keep a lid on unexpected service calls and costs. It also means that issues can be sorted out quickly, minimising the impact on the business.
As part of establishing a print policy, think about how you can communicate it to staff. Along with other important IT policies, don’t let it simply sit on the server for no-one to see. Weekly emails with IT usage or security tips and reminders can be a good way to engage staff.
For more tips on reducing printing costs, read our recent 4 Printing Costs Small Businesses Often Don’t Consider post.