Enterprise printing often draws the ire of accounting departments and budget committees when cutbacks become necessary or budgets come under review. Of course, this targeting is not without good reason, since significant waste often occurs in enterprising printing. In instances where document printing costs are not already a frequent scapegoat, one can nearly always find inefficiencies and wasteful spending in an organization’s in-house printing expenses.
There are several low-tech solutions organizations have tried in order to manage printing–some not without their own small benefits or rustic charm. One organization I worked for was maniacal about reusing paper that had been misprinted or overprinted. And I still think this is a good, environmentally conscious practice, which is why I continue to do this at home on my personal printer. But as a solution for enterprise-wide print waste? No.
The reused paper was only to be used for printing internal documents. Invariably, elaborate systems had to be devised on the fly by employees to make sure recycled documents were not being used to print external documents, such as customer and client invoices. Moreover, other systems and procedures had to be “developed” to avoid confusion as to which side of the now-two-sided documents was the correct side.
What a mess. While a “solution” like this does reduce paper usage by reusing paper, the waste really only shifts from paper supplies to human resources, once you account for the time employees waste trying to work within such a “system.”
Reducing Expenses through Print Management Software
A better solution, a real solution, to reducing wasted resources is to automate print management with software designed to avoid situations like these altogether. Print spoolers and print management systems found native on operating systems typically fail to offer any print management beyond basic document printing. But third party print management software, such as the OM Plus print management suite, provides functionality and communication about print job status that can increase staff productivity and decrease costs. Software such as this, moreover, can allow management to make decisions about enterprise print policies that are informed by detailed usage statistics.
Print Cost Tracking and Advanced Print Management
Using a print management software suite such as OM Plus and its OM Stats module, management and network administrators can work together with detailed statistics on enterprise printing broken down by job, by department, or even by end-user. Informed by these usage statistics, management can determine whether a particular department or even a particular user is printing excessively beyond what the department or user actually requires based on its function in the organization.
From there, management and network administrators can then develop print quotas for these departments or even end-users. These quotas then can be passed to or integrated with the print management software, so that once the department or user reaches its quota, printing will be halted. By notifying users of such quotas, management finally has a way to make users accountable for what they print on enterprise printers.
Color printing and TCO Reduction
Color printing is an expensive but often necessary aspect of document production. Often, an overlooked area of resource waste in printing can be found in jobs sent to color printers. A 50 page print job, for example, may contain 10 pages that require color printing while the other a second 50 page job only needs monotone printing. If the print jobs both are sent to a color printer, however, the jobs will use 100 pages worth of color printer resources.
The “total cost of ownership” associated with color printers, particularly toner replacement exceeds TCO of normal monotone laser or color printers. A monotone printer can print at a cost of around $0.01 per page, but printing on a color machine can cost around $0.08 per page or higher.
Not only can third party print management solutions provide detailed usability statistics and print management authority across the enterprise and down to the individual user level, but this print management authority can extend to individual jobs as well. In the example of the 2 50 page documents print management software such as Plus Technologies’ OM Plus can actually determine based on the document’s meta-data which jobs can be printed in black and white and which require a color printer.
The print management software then divides the job between printers, so that the 50 pages of monotone print in black and white prints at $0.01 per page, and the 50 pages of color print on the color printer at $0.08 per page. So instead of paying $8 to print the documents entirely on the color printer at a higher cost and lower printer efficiency, you could split the print jobs between appropriate printers at a cost of only $4.50.
That’s a savings of nearly $3.50 on just the one document being prevented from printing on the color printer. Now scale that up to the enterprise level, and try to justify why your organization can afford to manage printing using only native OS print spoolers.