Whether your organisation is large or small, having an effective printing policy in place makes good business sense. Implementing a policy is easy, and every small business should really consider putting one in place in order to save costs, ensure security needs are met and take into account environmental considerations. Each business will have slightly different priorities and it’s important that your policy reflects this so think carefully about the areas you need to address before drawing up the policy.

Below you will find a guide that discusses the various areas covered by a printing policy and should see you coming out the other side with a more streamlined, more secure and more environmentally friendly operation.

Cost Savings

Currently many businesses are looking to cut costs in a number of different areas and one way of doing this is by controlling resources. One resource that can easily be managed is printing and its various outputs including paper, toner etc. This is where a printing policy can really come into its own.

  • As part of a policy a company can encourage its employees to only print when necessary using print management software that helps manage printing centrally and allows the monitoring of printing resources such as paper and toner. This means you do not end up buying more than you need, or conversely running out at a critical time.
  • Businesses can also enforce duplex (double sided) or black and white settings, thereby reducing the amount of paper, ink and toner used.
  • It’s also important to use original branded products for your printer; this will ensure that your printer works to optimum output and also that you can utilise the full yield capacity of the cartridge.
  • In order to further cut costs, a business can introduce Managed Print Services (MPS), a service that allows businesses to forecast costs in advance as they are warned when toner is low or paper may need re-stocking.

Environmental Considerations

For those more environmentally conscious organisations a printing policy might be used to increase the level of recycling or encourage employees to print less and switch off their electronic equipment.

  • Device management software can be put in place that turns off electronic equipment when you leave the building – this not only helps the environment but also saves businesses money on their electricity bill at the end of the year. With studies showing that electricity costs have doubled for businesses over the last decade, this is more relevant than ever.
  • In addition, surveys have shown that 9 out of 10 people would recycle if it were made easier, showing that the simplest of measures can be effective such as positioning a recycling bin near printers.
  • Paper is an incredibly important raw material and more than 70% of the paper and board manufactured by the UK industry is made from recycled paper, demonstrating the real need to recycle.
  • Educating people on the benefits of recycling is key. For example, the fact that the UK uses a forest the size of Wales every year in paper, can help get them involved in any recycling programmes you are implementing, or at the least make them think twice about printing that email out in colour. Also, having posters next to printers is a simple but effective way of increasing the effectiveness of a recycling programme.

Security Needs

With the news increasingly full of reports of cyber-attacks and cybercrime, security remains at the forefront of most IT discussions.

  • When it comes to printing, companies can use certain technologies that help keep printed documents safe and secure. Multifunction printers (MFP), for example, come with in-built features such as Secure Print to ensure documents cannot be viewed/printed until the right code is entered. Again, this, combined with the environmental aspect can encourage employees to think twice before printing.
  • You can extend this feature further by using card access control for “Pull Printing” with extra software that ensures documents can be printed securely on any connected device on the network.
  • Organisations can take additional steps if they need to protect important customer data, for example using encryption tools to ensure that those who might manage to hack into your system cannot access sensitive information and confidential data.

Creating your printing policy is a great start but ensuring your employees are aware of the new rules is also vital. Taking the time to educate team members about the regulations and the reasons behind them ensures that the policy does not become redundant. First and foremost, a simple edit to an email signature asking people whether they really need to print that email can help save paper and resources. A printing policy can be created in a very short space of time and will allow your business to quickly reap the benefits of cost savings and staying green.