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7 Factors That Determine True Business Printing Costs

Patrick Ritchie

Businesses are always looking for ways to trim budgets and improve efficiencies. Often, it’s the bigger expenses that get noticed and, therefore, tackled first: labor, inventory, equipment, etc. But hidden operational expenses can add up significantly and, unaddressed, can make the difference between profit and loss.

One such expense is printing costs. Many businesses chalk them up as a necessary expenditure. But when a thorough assessment of paper and toner usage and maintenance of multifunction printers and other printing equipment is conducted by a qualified Managed Print provider, most are shocked at the wasted resources, time and money.

Wondering if your organization’s print costs are out of line? To find out, you’ll first need to understand how to determine those expenses on a monthly basis.

Here are factors that need to be considered, along with tips for reducing unnecessary expenses:

1. Equipment Lease or Purchase Price

If you’ve purchased your own printers and copiers, you’ll need to look at more than just the figure on the bottom of the invoice. Additional expenses should also be factored in, including unexpected repairs, parts and service costs. You’ll likely find that, as time goes by, those residual costs will escalate as older machines break down more frequently and simply cost more to run. Obtaining parts for many older machines will also become difficult as the equipment and parts become obsolete.

Consider revisiting any service agreements you have for existing equipment, and check with a Managed Print provider to assess if leasing or renting will result in greater savings. Leasing or renting printers can help even out cash flow by providing an inclusive service agreement with a set monthly fee. Labor and parts are included, and even toner is calculated into most plans.

2. Toner

As mentioned, if you have a standard service plan with a Managed Print provider, toner for your multifunction printers is likely included as part of your plan. Inkjet desktop printers, however, are sometimes forgotten about because they’re usually inexpensive or may not be linked to a network. Because of the high cost of toner used in inkjet printers, eliminating their use where possible can result in significant savings.

3. Black & White and Color Usage 

Modern multifunction printers can not only provide reports regarding how many copies are printed, but how many of those copies are in color versus black and white. Color copies can cost three times as much as black and white. Reviewing these reports regularly can expose opportunities for savings. Consider that, even if a document has a single word or logo in color, the entire document is considered a color copy.

To minimize unnecessary color printing, make sure the default settings on your printer are set to black and white. A Managed Print provider can set up quarterly reviews to assess your usage and provide recommendations for minimizing unnecessary color copies. 

4. Paper

A simple look at an invoice can help you determine your actual paper costs. What’s a bit more difficult to determine is how much of that paper is unnecessary or wasted each month. Studies estimate that anywhere from 17–45% of paper printed in offices ends up in the trash by the end of the day.

Even though paper may only cost an average of half a penny per sheet, it adds up quickly, especially for larger corporations. Considering the average office worker uses a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, you can quickly realize the potential savings. Printing on both sides of paper can cut costs in half, and implementing print management software along with printing best practices can help eliminate most wasteful printing.

5. Energy Use

Energy use of printers is often underestimated, especially with a big fleet. In general, older machines cost more to run, and not all newer devices operate the same. As is true with most home appliances, many multifunction printers are ENERGY STAR rated.

Canon, for example, was recognized for qualifying nearly 100% of its product line to ENERGY STAR specifications. Some machines operate with one-third the energy of comparable devices with the use of sensors that put a machine in sleep mode when not in use and wake it up when needed. Consider upgrading your equipment to new, energy efficient models to experience the energy-saving benefits they offer.

6. Employee Time

Labor is often considered a soft cost and is sometimes difficult to accurately calculate, yet it’s an important element in the equation. Consider that some IT departments spend up to 26% of their time fixing print issues such as repairing machines, fixing network interruptions, managing downtime and troubleshooting. Implementing Managed Print can eliminate these soft costs and allow your IT professionals to focus on critical functions.

7. Security Risks

Cybersecurity is a major concern of most organizations, and the costs of a security breach can put even the most lucrative company out of business. Securing network printers is imperative. But did you know that 55% of all data breaches are paper-based, meaning people can walk up to a printer and simply pick up a printed document with confidential information or intellectual property? To safely print confidential documents on a shared printer, ensure that measures such as pull printing, card readers or PIN access are in place.

It’s likely that once you gather all the data from these various factors, you’ll realize the negative impact that wasteful printing practices and outdated equipment have on your bottom line. One of the best and most accurate ways to calculate your total print costs is to request a free assessment from a Managed Print provider. If you’d like assistance with this process, please reach out to the experts at the Gordon Flesch Company.

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