How Can I Save Money by Managing my Prints?

How much money do you think your business loses to wasted prints? It might be more than you expect. Many businesses can quickly blow through allowed printing budgets in a matter of months or weeks if their prints aren’t managed properly.

What are some of these problems? Orphan prints, ignored printing rules, and untraceable print usage.

Luckily, there is a straightforward solution: managed print services. There are plenty of these print services on the market today:

- PaperCut

- Equitrac

- Canon uniflow

- Xerox Free Flow

WHAT IS PRINT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?

Print management software is a platform that allows you to control and monitor the use of your printers, copiers, and multi-function printers (MFPs). These software platforms provide you with a dashboard through which rules can be set company wide, by department, by individual employee, and by specific device.

PaperCut and uniFLOW are considered the leading print management software applications, with both being developed around the same time in the late 1990s.

HOW DOES PRINT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE SAVE ME MONEY?

No More Orphan Prints

With print management, orphan prints are a thing of the past. While the remedy to the problem of orphan prints may seem as simple as making sure that employees don’t print the same document twice without good reason, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem.

Let’s imagine, for instance, that an employee has a 2PM meeting to get to — and they need to print out a few documents before running out the door. They print their necessary documents at 1:30, but as soon as they are about to get up, their desk phone begins to ring.

Now, after speaking with a client for five minutes, they can’t remember if they printed all of the documents they will need for their 2PM meeting. Do they head over to the printer to possibly save an unnecessary print, or to they print everything again to insure they aren’t late for their meeting?

With print management, this problem is solved — the employee will be notified that they have already printed the documents they need, thus saving both time and money.

Rules-Based Printing

Through the dashboard provided to you by your print management software, your administrator will be able to set rules for individual employees, specific departments, and company-wide. These can include setting print defaults to black-and-white, two-sided auto printing, individual usage limits, and much more.

Print management software is intelligent enough to automatically determine which printer is best suited for the job — if a large print job is sent to a desktop printer, for example, print management software can reroute that job to a larger printer, where the cost per volume is more affordable.

Mobile & Personal Device Printing

Print management software allows users to print from any mobile device that is connected to your network. Print management software also allows for personal devices — no matter their operating system, location, or the file format sent — to print. This should be implemented carefully, however — only trusted devices that are connected to a VPN should be allowed to connect to your network in order to print.

A major benefit to allowing personal devices to print through your network, however, is that it makes mobilizing your workforce that much simpler.

Enhanced Security

Many layers of security can be added to your printing infrastructure through managed print software. The most common of these security solutions is attaching personal identification codes to individual employees — meaning that before a job is actually released by the printer, the employee must input their code into the machine itself.

This prevents sensitive documents from sitting in your paper tray, and possibly being stolen. In addition to user authentication, print management software also works with your network to prevent any digital threats.

While enhanced security may not directly benefit your bottom line, it does protect you from your company facing significant financial set back from dealing with a security breach, and helps to prevent your business’ brand reputation from being tarnished by such an event.

Usage Reports

Let’s imagine, for instance, that your company’s administration department notices printing expenses are way up — but there hasn’t been, according to anyone’s knowledge, a reason for this uptick in printing costs.

Without a way to measure usage, it would be very difficult to discover the reason — and even with general numbers, how would it be possible to attribute stats with no context to specific departments or employees?

Print management solves all of these problems — employees’ and departments’ usage can be tracked, down to each document. If you administration department has print management software, they can track down where these print expenses are coming from very easily, and adjust your user behavior where necessary.

Guest Printing & Green Initiatives

Other benefits made available through print management software that don’t necessarily save you money, but are still beneficial to your operations, are guest printing, and green initiatives. Guest printing allows devices that should not connect to your network to still print from a printer or MFP on your network.

So if a client needs to print out a document for a meeting at your office, but you don’t want them to have access to your network, they can connect to a printer through guest printing.

Through many of the various print management services on the market, green initiatives are available — these mainly consist of recycling waste toner cartridges, in order to reduce plastic waste and your business’ carbon footprint. The manufacturer themselves will usually pick up your toner cartridge, so your business needn’t worry about transporting this usually wasted non-renewable resource.

CONTROL = SAVINGS

When you can control and monitor your print usage and output, you are better equipped to reduce your overall print costs. While print management software does come with an upfront cost of its own, it will usually pay for itself within six months.

If you’re interested in trying print management software, consider speaking to your dealer about options. Many dealers will offer you a free trial version to give you a better understanding about your business’ specific print usage and habits.

Aaron Ewert
Aaron is a business improvement specialist for Cobb, and has been helping Virginia businesses increase efficiency and save money through office technology solutions for one year. When Aaron isn't finding solutions for businesses in the Roanoke Valley, he's playing soccer, riding the greenways, kayaking the blueways, and listening to music.