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Dell Offers Tips to Save Money on Printing
Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Dell’s Senior Product Manager for Imaging and Printing, Mr. Orlando Lacayo, who shared some solid advice for businesses looking to control the amount of budget they spend on printing. As anyone who has worked in an office knows all too well, the hum of the printer can be near constant, so what does that cost a business?
As Mr. Lacayo pointed out, there are some hidden costs associated with printers that my not occur to those individuals making financial decisions—or even just ordinary office workers for that matter—which can have an impact on a financial bottom line. In no particular order, the four that Lacayo notes are energy, consumables, space, and staff productivity. Taking it a step farther, here’s a rough breakdown of costs associated with printing and some related questions departments and companies need to ask themselves:
After going over all of the aforementioned problems, Mr. Lacayo also provided an extensive list of quick tips and changes that can be acted on quickly to—at least initially—save on printing. The most obvious, and probably the easiest one to accomplish is to either set via printer administration, or request from employees to make the default print mode to be duplex (two-sided). Another solution that may not be as obvious is simply changing the font used in documents. Printing documents with either Century Gothic, Times New Roman, or Calibri (default font for Office 2010) can save as much as 30% in toner costs when compared to printing in Arial.
Similar to duplex printing, users can be shown how to engage N-up, or multipage printing which is available from basically any printer. Options usually include the ability to print 2, 4, 8, or even 16 pages on a single sheet of paper. When preparing draft documents, N-up, and duplex printing can provide significant cost savings.
This leads into the next point which is the use of draft mode for non-essential printing. Obviously a quarterly board report to be handed out to key stakeholders is going to be printed as nicely as possible, but if someone just needs to take a quick look at something on paper, draft should be more than sufficient. Today’s printers have an incredible ability to make even draft output look good. Another annoyance probably experienced by anyone who has ever worked with printing directly from the Web or Excel is content getting cut off. Using “Shrink to Fit” when printing can help alleviate this aggravation.
Returning to the idea of changing default settings, it is also a good idea for administrators or users to make black and white or mono printing the standard choice. It could also be a good idea to lock down color printing to specific users which can be done across the board over a fleet, or with software (e.g. Dell’s ColorTrack).
User can also take advantage of some of the technological advancements today’s printers provide like the ability to Fax to E-mail, scan/print to PDF and share to a network drive, cloud storage, etc. Using these tools, documents can be accessed from a variety of places as well as only printed when truly necessary.
In terms of consumables, users and businesses should give serious consideration to purchasing either high-yield, or extra high-yield toner and ink. This type of toner/ink cartridge will offer better value than standard yield cartridges by lowering the total cost per page. While on the subject of lowering things, it would be remiss to not encourage the purchase of Energy Star certified equipment which will help offices save on the power consumption.
What we have just gone through are short-term goals, now let’s turn our attention to some long term, strategic changes as suggested by Mr. Lacayo. First of all, companies should take a serious look at the number of printers deployed in an office environment. For instance, how many users have a personal printer at their desk, and how many actually need one? Lacayo says that ideally there would be 5-8 users grouped together to share a network printer. The number of users is directly proportionate to the duty cycle of a particular machine.
It is also important to simplify the infrastructure by limiting the number of print vendors which will in turn simplify the consumables and management by IT departments. If a printer is over 5 years old, even if it still prints, it may not be the most efficient, and chances are the maintenance required for uptime is starting to become tiresome and expensive. Companies should also consider routing the purchase of all printer supplies through a single person who can in turn purchase in bulk which will save both time and money.
Ideally, a company should determine an overall print strategy which includes, perhaps most importantly, the ability to track what is going on with it. This includes not only the machines themselves, but also the amount of time (and time IS money) needed to train users and install drivers and related software.
According to Lacayo, the equation looks something like this: