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Print Audits can help manage printing costs

?­It is thought that printing and photocopying can cost a business up to 3% of it's revenue, which seems a large amount, especially when many businesses have no idea how much each printer is costing them. This is why print audits can be extremely useful as they produce detailed reports, allowing businesses to target wasteful prints and replace any inefficient printers or photocopiers.?­

Print audits can be carried out simply by plugging a Rapid Assessment Key into the USB port of any computer. The computer is scanned to find all the printers, photocopiers and fax machines that are networked and a report is produced showing how many prints each device has produced in it's lifetime and the cost of these prints. At around 3 years old, this process is fairly new but can efficiently assess all the prints being done, showing which printers are inefficient and where the most prints come from.

The initial scan creates a report showing data from all the printers and photocopiers networked, with each device having its own set of data. This data typically includes the number of pages printed from each device in it's lifetime, which is broken up into how many of these were colour and how many were black and white, the cost and the number of pages printed per cartridge.

Typically, after the initial scan, a second scan is completed after a set amount of time, usually a month later, and these scans can be compared to create a complete breakdown of the prints being done from each device. Although the initial scan shows overall use, the print audit can take this a lot further and create very detailed reports and comparisons between each scan and the efficiency of each device. The comparison between the initial and second scan shows the total new prints done in the time period since the first scan and how much these prints have cost from each device. This comparison allows the average amount of prints to be worked out and how many of these are black and white or colour and for average costs to be analysed (taking into consideration the average coverage of each page).

A variety of other reports can be created from the print audit, including cost reports, colour and mono volumes breakdown, toner levels, estimated toner coverage and top ten printers by volume. These reports can give an extensive view of the efficiency of each printer or photocopier, meaning that inefficient devices that use the most toner and cost large amounts of money can be replaced by efficient machines.

Considering how much printing and photocopying can cost a business and how frequently these devices are used on a daily basis, carrying out a print audit could make a big impact on printing costs in most workplaces. Once it has been discovered exactly where most of the prints are made and how much they are costing, several measures can be taken to act on the results found, including implementing printing quotas and restrictions and only using the most efficient printers and photocopiers, which helps many businesses to reduce their printing costs.