Out-of-Control Printing Costs

Few business administrators realise the extent that out-of-control printing costs are busting the budget. Most administrators don’t know how the organisation’s printers are really being used and thus can’t control printing costs.

Dataquest figures show that the average cost of producing documents is equivalent to 40% of a company’s labour cost. Other industry analysts estimate the total cost of printing to run between 5% and 15% of a company’s annual revenues. What makes these costs grow is the number of wasteful or non-business related print jobs that should never be printed, this includes unnecessary colour printing, JPEG photos and fantasy football scores to multiple copies of large PDF files when just a few pages are required and not making use of the printers functionality, e.g. duplex printing. Also if the printout doesn’t immediately appear more prints are often sent.

The problem is that personally monitoring every staff member’s print outs for business relevance and cost is intrusive, labour intensive, and can disrupt more important tasks.

Printer manufacturers, for their part, often build some control functions into their printers and MFPs, but these controls are typically limited to their brand or an individual machine, are complicated and thus not effective in most business environments. Also printer manufacturers often sell inkjet and low-end laser printers as loss-leaders to generate a high-margin revenue stream from consumable ink and toner. While initially cost-effective printers can end up costing many times their purchase price in annual cartridge replacements. Relying on the printer manufacturer to control printing costs is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Despite these huge expenses of uncontrolled printing and effects on profits, most corporations view it as “the cost of doing business” since it’s impossible to control without the right information and tools.

By implementing printer control software independent of printer manufacturer that tracks, applies quotas and reports print usage and costs across the business network, massive savings can be identified.

The system should allow administrators to restrict printer use by amount, job size, file type, or other specifics, but with an easy, centralised way to view, essentially, everything printed on the network, see how much it costs, who’s doing it, which printers are used, and so on. The system should work across the network (and desktop machines) and track, manage, control, and account for the cost of printing on all printers irrespective of type and brand. Based on such data analysis staff can be encouraged back to shared network based, more cost effective printing.

Because the software program makes printing costs instantly available for benchmarking and allows administrators to customise printing quotas and apply restrictions organisations can quickly identify and control printing costs.

On Track for 50% Annual Savings

Lufthansa Technik is a global leader in the repair and overhaul of aircraft landing gear, flap tracks and landing gear related components. Lufthansa Technik Landing Gear Services (LTLGS) is the British element of the company’s worldwide operations.

LTLGS came to ITQ with two very common challenges. Over time, its London office had acquired a fleet of printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines from a wide variety of sources. There was no commonality of brand, supplier, service terms or capability. It was also clear that documents were often printed unnecessarily.

ITQ installed a Safecom print management solution that helped reduce LTLGS’ print costs dramatically. With the new system in place, LTLGS has been able to reduce its monochrome print volume by 25%, its colour volume by 50% – and because documents are only committed to paper when staff arrive at the multifunctional, documents that are not needed are never printed, reducing wasted printing by 100%.

Safecom does more than eliminate unnecessary print costs; it also tells LTLGS’ management where print costs originate. Whereas printing used to be seen as a free resource, departments and staff are now aware of the true cost of their activities and can take appropriate steps to minimise it. LTLGS’ IT Department is also one of the main beneficiaries of the print system installed by ITQ. The diversity of the earlier fleet and its associated software made it impossible to manage effectively; it consumed a disproportionate amount of their time, this is now back under control.

To see how you could benefit see our website and other examples of dramatic efficiencies and cost saving.