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Now is the Time for a Printer Fleet Assessment

Patrick Flesch
09/23/2020
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We all need more support these days. Workers everywhere are being asked to be more flexible and more available but somehow get work done more cost effectively. If your technology — especially your printer fleet— can’t keep up with changing demands, then your organization might be headed for a crash.

A Printer Fleet Assessment helps any organization get a clear view of a printer network, accurately analyze usage, monitor workflows, predict consumption levels, schedule maintenance and troubleshoot problems so your network stays up and printing.

ASSESS THE SITUATION

Printers and multi-functional devices can be a drain on resources for many organizations if not properly managed. Running more print devices than you really need costs money, especially if the devices are out of date or frequently out of action. As many organizations have no centralized control or management of devices, it can be difficult to identify where savings could be made.

A printer fleet assessment should look at the cost of ownership and identify where your printers are an IT resource drain and whether the cost to support printers is excessive. This might sound like a simple cost/benefit analysis, but over the years we’ve discovered some of the subtle ways organizations with unmanaged printers are not getting the best value. Even worse, there are a number of ways those printers even put an organization at risk. Some of the important factors to look at are whether you have:

  • Redundant print devices
  • Security risks
  • Avoidable printing waste
  • An inability to print from mobile devices
  • Multiple suppliers creating multiple invoices
  • Expensive supplies inventory

A serious Managed Print Program starts by being sure you have the right number of devices in place in your company. We have also found that many companies don’t have the right mix of machines to get work done effectively. Often, that is because a company is locked into a supplier or brand and haven’t looked for other options. In fact, we’ve found that 78% of our clients use a mix of products from our different partners. Without diversity, companies are poorly served their unique needs are not properly addressed.

SECURITY ASSESSMENT FOR PRINTERS

Today’s multi-function printers (MFPs) can send, scan and store documents, connect to networks and even run operating systems such as Windows. Unfortunately, printing devices are often not protected with the passwords, firewalls and other safeguards necessary to keep them safe. For this reason, printers can be a weakness in your security armor. If not properly protected, printers can become a backdoor for hackers to break into your organization’s network undetected and steal your sensitive and confidential information. In fact, according to Quocirca's Global Print Security Report, an estimated 60% of companies have suffered a print-related data breach.

Managed Print Business Analysts can identify if there are gaps in your print security and suggest a tailored solution to eliminate risk factors and keep your devices and networks safe. This might involve implementing hard-drive encryption and swipe-to-print software and firmware, scheduling regular assessments, and restricting entry points from malware or viruses.

ASSESS YOUR SERVICE

Is your company maintaining machines or using a break-fix service provider? In a break-fix model, a technician may come to fix your broken MFP when needed. Unfortunately, if technicians only look to repair the immediate symptoms, either the problem reoccurs, or new issues start to emerge. That is reactive maintenance.

A proactive Managed Service won’t just fix the issue at hand, but searches for other potential problems (like worn parts) during the same service call and predict the risks that might lie ahead. Ideally, the services should take steps to prevent possible machine failure in the future – which is more efficient for you and maximizes your productivity in the long term.

WHERE ARE YOUR SUPPLIES HIDING?

Without planning or effort, printer supplies can be a real pain to manage. Getting the right supplies to the right device requires an approach that is well-managed. It is not uncommon at all for companies to have no supply management plan in place, so supply cabinets get filled with unused/obsolete toner bottles and cartridges. Supply ordering can be confusing. Supplies do not always get to the end user effectively and instead, end up on the loading dock without final delivery instructions.

When we talk about getting the right supplies to the right devices consistently and without delay, we are talking about issues that are addressed in a good Supply Management program. In addition, having a plan for handling all of the empty cartridges and containers is important. Every year, 10,000 sheets of paper are used by the average office worker, 50% of printed pages never get read and 26 million tons of paper are added to US landfills. Reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact of your operations should be a key priority for your business.

Does your company suffer from any of these troubles? If you would like one of our business analysts to contact you to set up a free assessment of your printer fleet to find out if your environment is optimized, efficient and sustainable, contact us today.

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