Do you understand the total cost of printing in your organization? Do you have the experience and knowledge to control your print spending? Don’t panic, most companies don’t have these skills or knowledge. The average employee costs a business $520 per year in printing, so if you have 100 employees, that’s $5,200 per year in printing alone. Now add in the cost to support those printers, network drops, helpdesk calls, supply storage space, electricity and maintenance costs. Also consider the time your employees spend trying to keep supplies in stock or not having them in stock – all of this is expensive and hard to track. According to the Gartner Group, on average, 351 items contribute to the total cost of your printing. How can a business that specializes in XYZ track all of those costs? These factors are driving the industry of managed print services (MPS). Companies are popping up all over the country claiming to offer some level of MPS. Some will come in and stock your toner closet for you, some will maintain the printers themselves and some will remotely monitor them and dispatch a technician before you even knew the printer was down. There are many options available these days, which is why you need to understand what is available to you before signing up for a fleet management program.
First, know what you are looking for. Do you want someone to walk in and take over? Make sure they have the promised capabilities. Ask for references or a trial period and make sure there is an out clause for non-performance. This is the most commonly offered platform. The company will come into your organization and offer fleet optimization services. This service consists of loading a device monitor on your network (make sure you ask for the security whitepaper or equivalent information). Next, they will spend 30 days or less monitoring the devices on your network to determine what your current total cost of ownership is. Be prepared to provide supply invoices and other relevant documentation to validate the information they gather. Then a current cost will be presented and agreed upon. At this time the company should be prepared to offer you several options.
- A current vs. proposed state including costs
- An optimized fleet with your approved device to employee ratio
- An option to have no technology change and just manage your current fleet
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and challenge the plan this has to be your optimal state so make sure your employees’ needs will be met.
Ideas for your Optimization Strategy
On average, there are 2.5 employees per one device; try to get somewhere in the four-to-one range to be the most cost-effective and efficient. In some cases where there is a large MFP meant for high volumes, a 20-to-one ratio would be acceptable. The vendor should be able to make recommendations based on industry standards and current usage patterns. Decide how far you want employees to have to walk to get their prints. Decide if you want to put a print policy in place. A print policy is a set of rules for the entire company to follow to reduce your spending on printing. An example is “any job over 10 pages must be double sided” or “any job that requires color goes to the big multi-function printer.” These types of rules can reduce cost as well help to make employees more productive. Another good optimization strategy is to stop purchasing toner for the small, expensive printers. When the toner runs out and the user puts in a request simply say that, “it is no longer our policy to support those products,” this will help to drive the print volume to the larger less-expensive devices. These types of changes, to be effective, must come from the top. If the CFO is running his own machine it is harder to get the user to comply to a print policy that says no more desktop devices. Make sure the whole company is on board from the top down before you make any big changes. FBN