Small, day-to-day printing is normal for most offices, even if they rely on print shops for larger, higher-quality projects like brochures, letter campaigns, pre-addressed envelopes, and photos. While this is typically done to increase efficiency and reduce costs, printing outside the office is oftentimes more expensive than printing in-house. After all, the printing company you hire establishes pricing to cover upkeep costs, equipment depreciation, supplies, employee salaries, and their profit margin.
Printing can take up a significant portion of many office budgets, so anything you can do to reduce costs is a good idea. Investing in the right equipment and partnering with a managed print provider can be a good start to this process.
The quality of today's printers enables them to produce greater quantities at greater speeds—even with expanded finishing qualities. This has reduced the need for offices to outsource printing projects. With the right equipment in-house, you can complete more printing projects than ever before.
Determine your printing needs.
Start by identifying your needs and goals. First, ask yourself the following questions, and work with the outsourced printer to determine the answers:
- How large are the print jobs I normally outsource?
- How often do I have large print jobs?
- What resources would I have to inventory (paper, extra toner, etc.) to bring these jobs in-house?
- Does my printing equipment have the speed to handle project demand?
- Does my printer have the finishing capabilities needed, such as stapling, folding, and paper size handling?
- Would staff training be necessary for efficient equipment operation?
- Would I need to schedule projects so that day-to-day printing operations aren't affected?
If you regularly have large printing jobs that your current printer can't handle, upgrading to a model with greater capabilities may prove very cost effective. This is an especially good choice if your current printer requires frequent maintenance or is at the end of its life.
If bringing your larger print jobs in-house would interfere with your daily printing needs, you may need to consider adding equipment to your fleet. A multifunction printer designed to specifically handle these large-volume projects may be a good option.
Throughout our time as a managed print service provider, we’ve learned a handful of tricks that allow you to print for less right in your own office. Here are four areas to focus on:
- Using and Buying Toner Effectively
There are endless purchasing options available for toner. You can buy it from a provider, order it online, or pick it up in an office supply store. Each printer manufacturer has branded cartridges, but there are also off-brand options. Or maybe you are trying to save some money upfront and choose to purchase remanufactured cartridges or refill kits.
With all these options, it's easy to see that toner is big business. Big enough that it's important to watch out for toner scammers — also known as toner pirates. Toner pirates target businesses by selling them fake, outdated, or nonexistent toner cartridges and invoicing businesses for payment. What they're banking on is that whoever receives the invoice will simply pay it without another thought, leaving your business to deal with the losses.
We recommend purchasing toner through a managed print services program or, at minimum, getting it through an authorized supplier. These tend to be the most cost-effective and efficient routes to supplying toner for printers.
- Saving Paper
The average office worker uses a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year, according to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That's 20 reams of paper per employee, per year. If we just estimate the cost of one ream of paper at $5.00 (which is a low estimate), each employee costs you at least $100.00 a year in paper alone. That doesn’t even take toner costs into consideration, which vary between 2 and 15 cents per page!
An easy way to start printing for less is to try and cut back on paper usage. Setting your default print preferences to 2-sided will immediately cut this paper cost in half for most jobs. Additionally, you can set up individual user boxes that require giving the printer permission to print the job when the user arrives at the printer, so that no one is printing something and forgetting about it. This can help eliminate the stack of prints that never get picked up.
- Controlling the Print Environment
Choosing the proper equipment and location in your office can also save you money. Providing efficient equipment that can handle the print projects your business requires will allow you to eliminate inefficient department machines as well as personal printers—both of which are generally more costly. This will help you save on supplies and maintenance while creating control and accountability within your print environment.
Combining these changes with a Managed Print Services (MPS) program can enhance these benefits. Tri-Copy can install software that can track usage, which can help you identify additional cost-saving opportunities.
- Eliminating the Need to Outsource Print Jobs
Finally, the advanced printers often used in businesses have many of the same abilities a print shop provides. Many multifunction devices can:
- Handle a wide variety of paper sizes and weights
- Produce high quality color
- Utilize advanced finishing capabilities such as stapling, punching, sorting, and more
Although they won’t completely replace print shops, because their state-of-the-art equipment is designed to produce many unique projects, multifunction printers will allow you to bring some of your print projects in-house. If you currently outsource projects, you can expect to cut costs by making the switch to in-house printing.
Today’s printing technology enables us to perform a wide variety of tasks and projects for a relatively low cost. In our experience providing managed print services, we’ve learned some tricks that allow you to print for less, without sacrificing quality—right in your own office.
Printing for less can be accomplished if you have the right equipment and control of your print environment. Contact Tri-Copy to set-up a free print technology assessment to determine what changes your business could implement to save money.