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How to track and control print costs in your business

Have you ever stopped to think about how much your business relies on printers and multifunction printers? It’s probably a lot more than you realise.

In fact, print cost management is a major concern for many businesses and is often overlooked when initially purchasing a new printer.

Unfortunately, most companies are continuing to buy printers based on their sale price. While you may think this is the most cost-effective way of choosing the right printer for your business, it's not always the case.

Taking the time to work out your printer’s expenses over its lifetime, will help you make the best decision.

Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

If you have been tasked with buying a new printer for the business or asked to work out the operating costs, there are a few things you need to consider.

1. Hardware costs

This relates to the cost of the printer when you buy it. If you are leasing the printer, then this would be the cost of leasing over a certain period of time (however long you decide to lease the printer for).

2. Printing costs

Think about how much paper your company will go through during a month as well as toner cartridges. Don’t forget to figure out how much colour and black and white ink you use. Colour printing of graphics has been shown to increase printing budgets anywhere from 20-40% each year (Gartner Group). 

Also, think about the type of paper that you use - do you use plain white paper? Or does your business require a thick glossy one? Can you print double-sided to save paper instead of single-sided?

3. Printer power consumption

Consider your printer’s star rating. A printer's energy consumption is a main point to think about when you are looking to improve or buy a new device. If you are conscious of the environment, there are environmentally friendly devices available that will help to cut down paper usage and e-waste.

You will also need to think about servicing costs. Choosing a cheaper printer may look good in the balance sheet but it can cost you more in servicing costs and downtime.

If you don’t have the time to spend working out the numbers, Kyocera’s print costs calculator can do all of the hard work for you. Here, you can compare two printer models to see which one is better suited to your needs.

Tracking and controlling print costs

Implementing the above steps will give you good insight into the costs of operating your printer or multifunction printer.

To get a more complete assessment, it might also be worthwhile to have a deeper look into your printing habits and that of your staff. There could be some areas where you can tighten the strings and reduce any unnecessary expenditure.

1. Who is printing?

One of the easiest ways to track print costs is to see who is actually printing. Tracking office printing habits helps you to identify if any particular department or employee is excessively printing and can cut back. This isn’t always an easy exercise, especially if you have more than one office printer.

There is ‘follow-me’ technology that you can use to capture printing activity. It allows you to specifically track what jobs are being sent to the printer and by whom. From here, you would be able to identify any issues and reduce unnecessary printing.

2. Monitor usage

Another great way to control office print costs is to create regular printing activity reports. This gives you an overview of the printing habits throughout the office.

To really narrow things down, take the time produce detailed reports for each printer and department (where possible). The reports should show you print volume, black and white vs colour printing, and print costs per page.

The usage reports will also provide valuable insight for higher management on what printing processes need to be put in place and enforced to keep print costs down.

3. Take control

If you are in charge of managing office printers and their expenditure, then it is time to take control once you have tried the first two suggestions.

Start by implementing print cost management policies that the office can follow to help cut costs. This can include:

  • limiting colour printing unless needed
  • introducing a double sided print rule
  • limited big job printing
  • no personal print jobs unless authorised by a manager

In conclusion...

Taking the time to reassess your printing needs and implement some print cost management strategies will help save your business money that can be spent on more important things. By investing the time to review your printing costs, you could produce significant cost savings, grant more operational visibility and even streamline current office processes.

Printing is typically the third-highest business expense after rent and payroll, but it's often overlooked or calculated using only the sticker price. Download our Guide to Calculating Total Printing Costs to learn how to correctly assess your device's total cost of ownership and avoid unnecessary expenses.