Getting a handle on print costs

Less than 10 percent of South African companies are aware of their actual print costs, an area that if properly controlled can help save up to 30 percent on total office printing costs. So says Kevin Johnstone, Business Unit Manager: Managed Print Services at IT systems, software, hardware and consulting services provider, Datacentrix.

“Printing costs generally represent between one and three percent of gross revenue for an organisation,” explains Johnstone. “These figures are brought sharply into perspective when you consider that 22 percent of documents are never used and 34 percent are used for less than five minutes. This means that 21 percent of paper purchased by companies is wasted. In addition to this, the visible cost of printing, or hardware, only accounts for 27 percent of the total cost, highlighting the woeful under-management of this area.”

According to Gartner, document management processing expenses can be harnessed through the adoption of strategic technology offerings like Managed Print Services (MPS) and fleet document management systems. The research company also states that  – although most organisations could, in principle, manage office print actively and effectively, in reality many lack the time, the staff, the experience, the tools, and the focus, and simply will not do it on their own.”

According to Johnstone, the simple fact is that, in today’s times, organisations are being forced to focus on their core business. “Companies are often unaware of how many printers they have or what they are paying for related support and consumable costs. In the corporate sector it is the rule, rather than the exception that companies fail to take advantage of economies of scale or a single support structure.

“By partnering with an expert within the MPS space, companies are better equipped to cast a critical eye on their print and imaging environments, enabling them to ascertain current paper, toner, maintenance, depreciation, insurance, rental and settlement costs and optimise the solutions utilised in order to reduce company costs and improve user productivity.”

These benefits are realised as users are in close proximity (within 12 metres) of a printer/copier/scanner and fax machine and have access to the latest speed and functionality. Security is tightened as confidential printing becomes a reality with password protection. Through an MPS partner, businesses can also reply on the proactive management of toner stock and reliable print services governed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlining service delivery. In addition, monthly usage reports will allow a company to keep a tighter handle on usage and costs.

“A well-organised internal document output capability is of key importance to the successful operation of any business and forms an important aspect of its communications,” says Johnstone. “It is of the utmost importance that local companies realise the positive impact that can be made through this type of management service.”

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Getting a handle on print costs