Pomeroy IT Solutions on managing printing Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2008

At any given company, most of the management staff would tell you that document management is crucial to productivity. Yet, many companies don’t have aproper document management solution inplace and others have never even examined their document processes.

Research from an information technology research and advisory company shows that printing costs are 1 to 3 percent of a company’s gross revenue. Consequently, a $100 million company is spending $1 million to $3 million each year on its print devices — printers, copiers, faxes, etc. — and the consumables of those devices — software, paper, etc.

High printing costs don’t just come from wasted paper, either. Different departments manage different devices, devices are procured from various vendors, and rental and maintenance costs are not identified or measured. Additionally, devices and their components are often misused and under-utilized. All of these are issues a company must face if it wants to streamline business and enhance the bottom line. The task can be rather daunting; however, there is help —managed print solutions.

“Most companies don’t know what they’re spending on printing,” says John Turner, consultant for managed print solutions at Pomeroy IT Solutions. “Managed print solutions will help identify how much you’re spending on print and show you where to cut costs and how.”

Smart Business spoke with Turner about managed print solutions and why they’re so important in today’s business world.

Why are managed print solutions so important in today’s business world?

For years, we’ve been hearing about increasing technologies and the move to a ‘paperless world.’ Ironically, companies are using more paper today than they did 20 to30 years ago. Simply put, the proliferation of technology allows more access to printing. Thus, companies need to manage printing costs. This is where a managed print solution comes in. By identifying how much money is spent on printing and why, a company can reduce hard costs while moving to a more efficient and effective method of electronic data management. A managed print solution can typically save a company 10 to 30 percent on printing costs.

If a company implements managed print solutions, how does the process work?

The first step is to identify where the biggest problems are, and then do whatever is necessary to eliminate those pain points. Next, a comprehensive audit is conducted to determine exactly how much is being spent on printing — including costs for devices, paper, cartridges, toner and maintenance — during a typical business cycle, which is usually anywhere from 30 to 60 days. The data collected from the audit will then be used to determine how much the company is spending on printing compared to similar businesses in the same industry. Subsequently, recommendations are made, focusing on reducing costs while improving productivity — reducing cost per page, enhancing output volumes, ending the waste of consumable stock and reducing support costs.

There are many ways to improve a business’s printing methods. Sometimes, it’s as simple as buying new equipment, streamlining printer locations, reducing document flow or switching from inkjet printers to laser ones. Usually, though, it will take time to change a company’s printing culture. For example, employees will have to get used to fewer printers and new printing locations.

How does a company monitor printing costs?

The final component of a managed print solution is the implementation of a software-monitoring device that will keep track of day-to-day printing. This will keep track of everything you need to know when it comes to printing — excessive or unnecessary printing, consumable levels, maintenance needs, etc. By continually monitoring assets, devices will perform to optimal levels. Downtime will be reduced because any time toner is needed or a part or maintenance is needed, alerts will be sent and the necessary items will be automatically ordered and sent. This benefit reduces the need to stockpile consumables or have several service calls for one simple problem. Monitoring gives companies the ability to be more proactive in responding to issues quickly and correctly.You’ll always know how much printing is being done and where, and you can place restrictions on the number of pages printed, the use of color printers, etc.

What are some other benefits and/or drawbacks to managed print solutions?

With efficient, cost-effective and well-maintained devices, employees will be happier and more productive. Plus, your help desk will become more efficient, since it won’t be responding to everyday printer issues. Besides that, you have to look at the total cost of ownership. Newer devices are more cost efficient, so a company can actually save money by replacing older devices, even if those devices are already paid off. It has long been thought that ‘a printer is a printer is a printer,’ but that is simply not the case. Printer consumables and downtime negatively impact a company’s bottom line. A managed print solution will help your company move to the more efficient electronic transfer of documents, speeding up business and enhancing the bottom line.

JOHN TURNER is a consultant for managed print solutions at Pomeroy IT Solutions. Reach him at (859) 586-1515 x4169 or jturner@pomeroy.com.