Your company’s IT group has important work to do: keeping everyone else working, for one thing. And keeping your digital infrastructure secure. When they have to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with printer problems, that takes them away from more critical tasks.
How can you reduce the amount of time your IT staff spends fixing paper jams, user error and other productivity-killing printer problems? Optimize your print environment to prevent many of those problems from happening in the first place.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most common printer problems, and solutions that save you time and money.
5 ways to minimize time-wasting printer problems
1. Replace desktop printers with shared MFPs
Individual desktop printers might just waste more IT time and money than any other item in your office. Compared to shared multi-function printers (MFPs), desktop printers cost much more to operate and are far less reliable when it comes to printer problems.
Desktop printers tend to be finicky. They’re inexpensive for a reason: they are designed to be disposable. Low-cost desktop printers are made with lower quality parts and don’t have the modern features that make MFPs easy to use. So your employees and your IT staff waste a lot of time dealing with printer problems like the paper jam, outdated printer drivers, and printer offline problems.
The supplies and parts for desktop printers are very expensive, which puts the total cost per print at as much as .03 for black and white and .25 for color. By contrast, cost per page for modern MFP devices is typically around .009 for black and white and .055 for color. What makes this even worse is the fact that you end up stockpiling supplies for every brand and model of desktop printer in your fleet, just to avoid the panic that results when the wrong person runs out of ink at the worst possible moment. What happens every time one of those printers breaks? You buy a new model and toss out all that expensive ink or toner.
So, save yourself time and money by tossing the desktop printers that cause so many printer problems, and moving to efficient and reliable MFPs.
If you’re worried about users complaining that they need to print confidential documents, check out this article that reveals the solution:
2. Replace lemons in your printer fleet
As we mentioned, modern MFPs tend to be reliable, but what if you wind up stuck in a long-term lease with a machine that’s lemon: constantly breaking down? Unrelenting printer problems can be a big drain on productivity, both for your IT team and for the employees who rely on the device for their work.
The good news is, it might be possible to get yourself out of that contract and replace that lemon with more reliable equipment.
Learn more: How to Get Out of a Copier Lease
3. Go with user-friendly devices
A big part of the IT support burden for printer problems is dealing with user questions about how to use the equipment. However, today’s modern printers are getting easier to use. The best manufacturers of copiers and multi-function printers are designing them with familiar interfaces that users can easily understand… without training or the help of your IT team.
Learn more: New MFPs Work Like Your Phone
4. Get print management software
You can prevent a lot of printer problems using print management software. Here are just a couple of examples:
- Eliminate print servers with cloud-based printing. That means no time or money spent on hardware, software, and maintenance.
- Reduce the urgency to fix printer problems. When you set up a feature called follow-me print or pull printing, users can retrieve their print job from any printer. So, if one goes down or is tied up with a big job, they can simply walk over to another printer. This takes a big burden off the IT team to deal with minor printer problems immediately.
BONUS: Managed print can greatly reduce your spending on printer supplies and service. That’s because you can cut down on wasteful printing.
Learn more about how this works: Managed Printing Saves Thousands on Office Print Costs (Case Study)
The best part? It’s easy to implement managed print and you might already have the software needed to do it. If you stick to a leading brand (such as Canon) for your entire fleet, you can use Canon’s uniFLOW software (included with your equipment lease). Even if you have a mixed-brand printer fleet, you can use a tool like Papercut or Box to implement helpful and economical printer management features.
5. Get a service vendor you can count on
Your service vendor ought to be taking the burden of supporting printer problems off the shoulders of your IT group. Here’s how they should be doing that:
- Fast response. If they can’t get to you within a few hours (tops), your employees will be calling your IT help desk so they can get their work done.
- Fast problem resolution. If a service vendor arrives in 2 hours but can’t get the part needed to fix the problem until the next day, that doesn’t do you much good.
- Help over the phone. Some problems are quick and easy, and your service provider should be willing to save you the time and cost of a service call by answering simple questions right then and there when you call.
- Preventative maintenance. Equipment breakdowns can be prevented with regular maintenance. Your service provider should monitor your devices remotely, and respond to any alerts before you even know you have a problem. And certain parts should be tracked and replaced as they near end-of-life.
If you’re not getting this kind of service for your printer problems, it’s time to look for a new service provider. If your service contract is not tied into your leases, you should be able to get out of the contract.
But, how can you tell if you’ll get good service from a new vendor? It’s not as hard as you think. Read this helpful guide to find out how: How to Evaluate Office Copier Service & Support BEFORE You Buy.