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How To Capture Monitor and Control Printing Costs and Save $32K

Posted by Glenn Gibson

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October 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Printing is an essential part of every business. But if not properly regulated and controlled, it can also be a hidden drain on the profits of small business.

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 Australian small business. For a business turning over $800,000 per annum, that’s $32,000 a year! 

More alarmingly, two out of every three small business employers are unaware of their printing costs.

But if you’re the Financial Controller of a small business there are three simple things you can do to slash those unchecked printing costs and pour those profits to the bank balance, not ink cartridges.

1. Capture: Identify who is printing what and how often

The first step in effectively managing printing costs is to identify where they are coming from.

Keeping track of who is printing what and when is critical, but it can be a daunting task. If there are more than a handful of staff, several floors or members of the team working flexible hours, it’s easy to miss the visual cues of excessive or costly printing habits (such as someone waiting at the printer for 10 minutes or walking around with piles of printed pages).

One of the best ways to accurately capture printing activity is to use so-called ‘follow-me’ printing technology, which uses third-party software that is installed with the printer. It holds a print job at the printer until the employee physically prompts the device to print by entering a code or using a swipe card. This means that each job can be tracked back to an individual, department or even client or job code. It also affords staff the convenience of collecting their prints from any device on the network, reducing time wasted going to and from the printer. At Fuji Xerox Printers, we call this Tap ‘n’ Go printing and it’s technology that can take print management to the next level. Learn more about Tap ‘n’ Go here.

2. Monitor: Generate regular printing reports quickly and easily to provide a clear break-down of activity

Once you’re able to capture details on who is printing what and when, producing an activity report will provide valuable insights into the business’ printing habits and trends.

Printing activity reports can offer an overview of print volumes, colour versus mono pages, the cost per page, and the name of documents printed for a specified period. You may also be able to organise information by date, printer, employee, department or client code. Once you understand the business’ requirements, you can create custom reports to provide a better understanding of printer usage.

Using the report findings, you can develop a suitable print policy and establish a benchmark from which to improve. Generating a regular and accurate activity report can help to manage printing costs by:
  • Identifying usage trends to establish whether or not you have the right printer controls, settings and policies in place.
  • Highlighting sudden changes in printing activity.
  • Keeping track of printing costs as they occur.
  • Making staff and departments responsible and accountable for their printing costs, which usually results in them self-regulating unnecessary printing. 

3. Control: Implement simple cost-cutting changes to the print policy that will help save the business money

The office 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 acceptable to print 50 family photographs or print in colour whenever they want. 

Using the insights you’ve gleaned from capturing and monitoring print behaviour, you can introduce changes to the print policy that can deliver significant cost savings for the business.

Find out more about reducing your printing costs and boosting profits for your small business with our free eBook.

Download Our Guide On the Smart Series Capture Monitor Control

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Topics: Printing Costs, Capture Monitor Control

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