Understanding the opportunities to reduce printing can make the difference between delivering unmanaged, costly print services and providing a well-managed, cost-effective print environment. The results can be dramatic, and by actively measuring and managing printing, industry analysts estimate that printing costs can be reduced by up to 30%.

With improved access to printing, employee productivity will increase, while the elimination of print jobs sitting in paper trays means documents are more secure and less prone to disappear by mistake. Finally, by helping employees print less, you are also helping your company to be more environmentally friendly. Here are some steps to printing less, and saving money.

  1.  Eliminate personal printers

Personal printers are convenient, but providing all employees with one isn’t cost effective and carries high ink costs. For instance, the difference in cost per page on personal printers vs. shared networked printers averages £0.01 per page. This equates to £500 for every 50,000 pages printed. Save money by migrating users to shared printers and add user convenience by letting them print to any printer on the network.

  1.  Scan more

Most companies now accept digital files in place of paper ones. Multifunctional Printers (MFP) and copiers can scan. The cost recovery terminal that is attached to them can preview the scanned document, then give you options of where to send the scan, such as via your email, or even to your Document Management System, while full audit trails and confirmation of the scan gives you peace of mind.

  1.  Think before you print

Do users think twice about printing a document? The simple act of making users aware of the impact of printing will have them thinking. If you start tracking printing and produce reports for each individual in your company, you can let them know how much money they are spending on printing. This knowledge and insight may make them think before they print.

  1.  Stop printing twice

Sometimes inevitably, as soon as you hit print, you realise you want to make a change to the document, but as it’s already processed you recycle the old one and print a new document. This is a waste of paper and money. With a virtual print queue to hold documents until the user is ready to pick them up, users get a second chance to not print a document. It also makes printing to shared devices easier. At the printer, a user can select what documents they want to print and delete the ones they don’t need. This results in less wasted paper, and less wasted money.

  1.  Cut colour

There’s no doubt colour adds impact to presentations and can emphasise critical pieces of information. However, it doesn’t need to be a part of everything you print. You control it by using colour printing rules to deny colour printing from certain applications, like email. You can automatically route colour jobs to a lower cost colour printer, or set guide lines around who can and can’t print in colour. Wasted colour is not good for your budget.

  1.  Reduce help-desk calls

A company with 750 employees spends an average of 3,700 hours of IT support on its print fleet each year. This means up to 20% of help-desk resources are spent on printer related topics with loss of productivity for users. By using a virtual print queue to process all print jobs, users have a secure way to print to whatever printer is most convenient and online. This reduces calls to help-desks, but also eliminates the need for IT to create countless print definitions on every computer to allow for printing to multiple devices.

  1.  Buy the right equipment

A good rule of thumb is to strive for an employee to printer ratio of 6:1. If you follow the steps above, you are going to be printing a lot less. Which raises the question of which printers do you really need? While it isn’t uncommon for companies to have ratios of 2:1, the effective use of shared, networked printers can easily increase that ratio to 20:1 or more. It makes business sense to only invest in the devices you need, and remove the ones that you don’t. In many cases, a multifunctional printer could take the place of multiple laser printers.

  1.  Recover printing costs

If you are charging clients for prints or processing inter-departmental printing costs, are you accurately tracking what percentage of prints are billable and what costs should be allocated where? By tracking who printed, what client, or department it is for, and what application the document was printed from, you can accurately determine what print jobs can be charged back.

Following the steps above can safeguard your business from leaking money every time it is applying ink.