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The Professionals’ Advice – Improving Print Management and Reducing Printing Costs

Canon Europe recently commissioned a report into businesses’ and organisations’ print management activities, discovering that on average businesses are losing an estimated 17,000 Euros a year, amounting to around 663 billion Euros across Europe as a whole; all this mainly on account of poor or inadequate print management. In the grip of the worst of the recession, back in August 2008, newspapers widely reported that in a desperate effort to stem the tide of some of these irrecoverable losses associated with poor print management, organisations as prominent as Citigroup were imposing quite draconian-sounding rules on their staff members’ printing, completely banning colour copying for internal meetings and removing photocopiers from any locations in which they weren’t deemed absolutely ‘essential’. But without adopting such a strong-arm approach, what should organisations more concerned about printing costs in the medium and longer term do to ensure they’re not pouring money down the drain and further contributing to environmental damage. Below, we offer-up three more considered suggestions as to how any organisation can go about improving its print management and reducing its printing costs.

A Professional Print Audit

For several months now, several leading photocopiers suppliers have been offering a free print audit to all new customers. Using the latest version of the industry-leading print audit software, Print Audit 6 and the expertise of service engineers, many of these companies will happily visit a work-place and perform an in-depth and precise print audit completely free of charge. A print audit provides a unique insight into an organisation’s print operations and can provide an essential basis for advising on how print management could be improved going forward. By reconfiguring photocopiers, adjusting printing habits and adopting some other simple solutions – such as an automated client billing system or print user cards, a professional print audit can clear a path to simple ways to reduce printing costs and increase printing productivity.

The Latest Print Audit Software – Print Audit 6

Leading photocopiers suppliers, such as Canon Copiers, use Print Audit 6 to provide a professional print audit service. But Print Audit 6 is also available to purchase as a stand-alone package so that any organisation can have complete control over its ongoing print operations.

Many organisations are largely unaware of the significant per page differences in cost between different printing devices and photocopiers. In some instances, the discrepancies can be as much as 500%. But improving on this doesn’t have to mean scrapping existing devices. Quite often, simple adjustments to print management can reduce printing costs in an organisation by as much as 75 %. Print Audit 6 provides the crucial first stepping-stone towards those savings.

The Benefits
Print Audit 6 gives organisations complete control over their printing environment:

  1. The Print Audit print management package provides organisations with the power to see who is printing the most, which devices are being used for which jobs, what exactly is being printed as well as other important information.
  2. Print Audit allows administrators to spot printing abuses, inefficiencies and device misplacement.
  3. Print Audit print management also provides the possibility for recovering some or all of an organisation’s printing costs by automatically billing clients for the documents produced for them.

Print Audit 6 also helps save on an organisation’s own staff printing and to reduce environmental impact:

  1. Print jobs may be directed to more appropriate/cost-effective photocopiers
  2. Print Audit 6 provides the necessary mechanisms to limit colour usage by user, computer printer, number of pages, applications and much, much more.
  3. Print audit print management software can also help reduce paper wastage by ensuring users use both sides of the paper when appropriate.

Upgrading Office Equipment/Photocopiers

Office equipment is advancing very rapidly. Only a few months ago, Canon Copiers reported on Canon and materials manufacturer, Toray’s breakthrough in producing the largest ever bio-based plastic part used in photocopiers. But apart from materials science, Canon’s continuous research and development efforts mean fast and productive printing is increasingly becoming much better value. For instance, Canon’s latest imageRUNNER Advance C9000 Pro photocopiers series, which offers ‘light production’ printing for corporate environments, central reprographics departments (CRD’s) as well as professional print operations boasts a staggering 40% reduction in energy consumption compared with the earlier Canon Laser Copier (CLC) – saving on both running costs and reducing an organisation’s environmental impact. And in Buyers Laboratory Inc’s (BLI) 2010 Outstanding Achievement Awards, the reprographics industry’s leading industry awards, Canon was awarded an unprecedented four Outstanding Achievement Awards, principally for its photocopiers’ peerless energy efficiency standards. Among them, the imageRUNNER Advance C5035, an ideal machine for the medium-sized office environment, truly excelled, offering much lower energy consumption than the market average based on the BLI’s real-world testing methodology.

When an in depth print audit has been carried out, devices have been reconfigured and printing habits improved and it still appears an individual device’s performance could be letting a system down, choosing a more productive device with better energy efficiency could be the solution.

As well as following advice from industry recognised bodies, such as BLI, Energy Star provides consumers with the assurance, where it can be provided, that photocopiers and other devices with its symbol have been tested against strict and rigorous criteria for energy consumption. At any given time, only 50% of devices within the categories they assess that are on the market should hold Energy Star accreditation.

New Style Copier Leasing Agreements

With the economic climate as it has been, buying new photocopiers isn’t something many small and medium-sized businesses have been able to afford. However, many organisations will be unwilling to pass-off the various cost and efficiency savings that investing in new office technology can bring. In times gone by, much longer-term copier leasing agreements with more stringent approval criteria would have meant leasing photocopiers wouldn’t have been a possibility for many in this situation. However, since the dawn of the current recession, office equipment suppliers have successfully responded to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses by offering shorter term copier leasing agreements even on the very latest devices, which makes copier leasing today a far more viable option. With the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) recommending copier leasing over upfront purchase, as a means of both minimising a business’ sunk costs and controlling cash-flow in the short and medium term, copier leasing rather than buying helps businesses plan ahead and spread expenditure in a more manageable way. Alloyed to this, most copier leasing agreements give customers a simple ‘price per sheet’ which is paid along with the monthly lease amount and covers all toner, parts, callout costs and repairs – essentially, everything but the paper.

We’re confident that if organisations follow the advice above - by exploring better print management options with a print audit, acquiring print audit software themselves and/or upgrading to more efficient photocopiers (with a copier leasing agreement, if that’s more cost-effective) they’ll be able to make significant savings on printing costs. For any further advice on print management and further information on print audits, latest photocopiers and copier leasing options, readers should contact Canon Copiers directly.