Business printing costs are notoriously difficult to identify and track. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this number is often a mystery to even the most stringently organized offices. Printing is one area where not only supplies and consumables are often invisible, but a number of indirect costs occur which aren’t always considered in the final tally of printing costs.
According to Gartner, total print costs comprise as much as three percent of a company’s yearly revenue. Printing costs are therefore one of the biggest operating expenses a company may have. Read on to discover how to track the varied expenses which occur as part of the print environment, and how to reduce these costs.
Types of Costs
Costs in a print environment are varied and dynamic, making it difficult to identify all of them consistently. Generally, all print environments have two types of costs: tangible, and intangible. Here is a breakdown of what those entail.
1. Tangible Costs
Tangible costs include items related to physical aspects of printing, such as hardware, software, and consumables. For example, the physical printer itself is often the most visible expense simply because it’s usually the item with the greatest price tag up front. However, other tangible costs such as print management software subscriptions and supplies delivery may also fall in this category.
2. Intangible Costs.
Intangible costs are things which cannot be easily seen. For example, a fleet of printers may use a tremendous amount of electricity, driving up a utility bill. Likewise, all print environments eventually need service and maintenance.
Personnel time spent on managing printers – that is, interacting with printers in a way other than to print – is also a cost which is frequently overlooked. A printer problem may require the attention of the IT department. Conversely, an employee may choose to tackle this problem themselves.
One further intangible cost which may drive up the operating expense for a printer fleet includes the way that they’re deployed in the print environment itself. Inefficiently laid out printers, or the wrong printer for a department will slow down the workflow and decreases productivity.
How to Determine Business Printing Costs
Tracking the printing costs of an office requires looking at a whole array of features, not simply the cost of the printer and how much paper was used each month. A print environment is ultimately an ecosystem. To adequately calculate printing costs, look at it through three lenses: physical infrastructure, consumables, and human capital.
1. Identify the costs of machines and infrastructure.
Begin with a complete inventory of the entire print fleet and the infrastructure that supports it. Printers are the most visible part of the printing environment, and it helps to gain a sense of where things are. Consider:
What types of printers the office has, and where is each located?
What software supports their use and connects them to the wider office workflow?
What hardware was specially purchased to support a print environment, such as mobile devices or additional routers?
2. Track and document consumable costs.
Once the audit has uncovered the physical aspects of the print environment, move on to the consumables and less tangible elements. Most of the daily operating expenses will occur in this category. Document:
How many pages per day is each device printing?
How many and what type of cartridges are being purchased?
Who is doing the supply purchasing?
Where are consumables and supplies being kept?
If these numbers are unknown or presently unattainable, print tracking and data collection software will assist with uncovering habits and current use.
3. Discover service and manpower expenses.
The last major category of expenses occurs from human interaction with the printers:
The prevalence and cost of outsourced print jobs.
The number of times IT is called to deal with a printer problem.
The frequency at which outside specialists need to be called for problems.
How often employees stop working to deal with printer problems and whether it causes them to stay late or clock additional hours.
How Managed Print Services Save Companies Money
Managed print services can save companies money by helping reduce the number of consumables being used, and the amount of energy which employees or IT must spend dealing with technical problems. Likewise, these services can also assist with helping companies develop a printing infrastructure which supports productivity by getting the right tools in all the right places.
However, most companies can benefit from the advice of specialists. Companies that are struggling with optimizing their print environment, or who simply prefer to focus on business rather than printers, will find managed print services attractive.
Optimize Your Print Environment Today
Optimizing the print environment is one easy way to reduce business printing costs while streamlining office processes. Never underestimate the ability of a strategic and thoughtfully deployed printer fleet to transform an office space into a productivity hub.
Cartridge World Quad Cities has been supporting businesses with print environment development in the Bettendorf, Iowa, Davenport, Iowa, Moline, Illinois, and Rock Island, Illinois area since 2004. Contact us today to learn what we can do for you.