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The Real Cost of Printers

Learn the strategies that businesses are using to lower their printing costs

HP Laser Printer

HP Laser Printer

Years ago, with the advent of personal computers it was predicted that information documents would eventually be handled and managed electronically, and thus, lead to a more paperless office. Today however, hard copy & printer volumes actually continue to double every five years!

Experts say that unmanaged office products can be like a black hole to a company’s bottom line. The following will attempt to explain some of the reasons for this, along with recommendations to help you better manage your office equipment with a lower TCO (total cost of ownership).

First it is useful to understand the three main costs associated to these devices:

1. Supplies (Toner / Ink Cartridges / Consumables)
2. Service & Maintenance
3. Capital Cost of the Equipment

What most people don’t realize is that 80% of the total cost of most print and copy devices is represented by numbers 1 & 2 (Supplies and Maintenance). Most of the time, customers are very focused on the up front cost of their office equipment, but are less aware of the long term costs associated to these devices. This is usually fine if your print volumes are relatively low, but for the average small, medium or large business user, this is an issue worth paying attention too.

Here are a few suggestions on how companies are beginning to control their printing costs:

Right size your number of devices:
Ideally, businesses should be reducing their number of print devices, while matching the output to the needs of the organization. Printer to people ratio’s tend to range from 1:1 to 1:8. More people sharing laser printers or multifunctional photocopiers translate into smaller fleets, which mean “fewer devices to purchase, track, service, fuel with electricity, and keep loaded with paper and supplies”.

Substitute desktop devices with multifunctional products:
By consolidating fax machines, printers and copiers into a single device, companies can reduce the size of their footprint as well. Multifunctional devices also generate prints at a fraction of the cost of most desktop printers.

Negotiate a “Cost Per Print” contract with your supplier:
With the right supplier, you can negotiate the sale, service and supplies of their copy, print and MFP devices into a unified contract. This means you are ultimately paying a fixed cost for each print or copy you produce, instead of buying, managing, and purchasing supplies for individual devices. This makes accounting and tracking of expenses much easier, while also doing away with the problem of managing office equipment as a capital asset.

Measure your current volume of prints and copies

If you are looking to gaina better understanding and control over your print devices, a good first step is to categorize and monitor their activity. Go to http://www.4office.ca/sims and download FREE printer software that can scan your network, count all active printers and provide useful information on toner levels and meter reads.

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