The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is, in short, what a printer or MFP really costs your business over its entire lifetime.
While doing your research and taking measures to ensure you get the right device for your business in the first place is the best way to minimise TCO, there are other things you can do to keep your TCO down.
Read More: How to calculate your printer TCO
4 tips on how to reduce your printer’s TCO
Monitor your output and ongoing costs
According to a report released by the Gartner Group several years ago, 90% of companies don’t know how many printers they have, or how much they are spending on print. Don’t be another statistic!
The first step towards reducing your TCO is knowing exactly how much you’re printing, and how much you’re spending. Monitoring your paper and consumable purchases is a relatively easy way to get a good handle on this, but if you want a more precise overview of your output, such as how much colour printing you’re doing, then a document
management solution can provide this information at the touch of a button. Once you’ve established a baseline, you can then work on making improvements.
Do a print audit
When you install a print system, you check that every user has access to the print functionality that they need. But businesses change: employee numbers grow or shrink, people adopt new ways of working, and new applications change the way that people use the devices. If your printing network has been in place for more than a year, it’s a good idea to carry out a print audit to make sure you have the optimum set-up.
You might find there are devices being overused, in which case you might need to invest in an extra device in order to maintain productivity. You might find devices are being underused, in which case you might consider consolidating to a single device shared between more users. You might find there are devices receiving an inordinate amount of
service calls, in which case it might be time to think about an upgrade.
Make use of your driver’s settings or get a document management solution
There’s a lot of unnecessary printing and copying that goes on in any given business. People accidentally select the wrong settings; they forget to collect their printouts; they print things in colour that could just as easily be in black and white. All these behaviours result in unnecessary use of paper and consumables, which means more wear-and-tear and more waste. But these behaviours are difficult to police.
Fortunately, technology can help.
Printer drivers often come with settings to help you to minimise unnecessary output and waste. For example, limits can be imposed on how many pages certain employees can print, or on their ability to print in colour. You can also set how certain documents are printed; for example, emails could always be printed in draft mode, so they use half the amount of toner. You can also ensure the most appropriate device is used for a print job by automatically routing large jobs to lower-cost, more energy-efficient departmental printers and copiers.
There are also many document management solutions that not only help reduce document output, but also increase security and improve workflow.
Print-release software, for example, allows print jobs to be released at the device by the user. Because you can release the job from any device that is not being used at the time, you’re not wasting time waiting for the device to get to your job in the queue. It also eliminates unnecessary printing – no longer do uncollected printouts sit forlornly in the
tray, waiting to be thrown away. Improving workflow with such software can also help eliminate the need for devices with high TCOs, such as personal printers.
Invest in a managed print service
A managed print service (MPS) is the fastest and easiest way to fully optimise your entire document environment, thereby minimising waste and ensuring your document workflow is as efficient as possible.
First, your current output is carefully assessed, then a custom solution that specifically caters for your business is designed and implemented. User training is part and parcel of an MPS, and supply management and maintenance become automatic, so you no longer have to handle these administrative tasks in-house. MPSs also involve regular assessment, so you can feel confident your print environment is always operating at its peak.
By ensuring that you get the most appropriate device for your needs, and that you have a solution that keeps unnecessary output and waste at an absolute minimum, an MPS can reduce the amount of consumables and maintenance required, and prolong the life of your device – all of which brings your TCO down.
Regular monitoring and auditing of your printing environment and the implementation of appropriate document management solutions can prevent inefficiencies from creeping in, and ensure your printing environment is always operating at its peak.