managed printing

“If we’re in the digital age, why are we spending so much money on printing?”

That’s what an office manager said to me recently, and she had a good point! Companies spend a great deal on digital technology. On the other hand, printing isn’t going away anytime soon. But the good news is, there’s a way to dramatically reduce your printing costs. It’s called managed printing.

As a copier dealer and managed print services company, Superior Office Systems works with thousands of businesses across the NYC metro area. And we hear the same complaint from just about everybody: “we are spending too much on printing!”

So let’s take a look at how managed printing works. Then I’ll show you how a client of ours is saving big bucks every month with managed printing. This client is a small business and their savings adds up to about $12,000 a year.

Just so you know, this is not one of those ads with tiny print at the bottom: “results not typical.” The case I’m sharing IS typical, and your business can achieve similar results from managed printing.

What is managed printing?

Managed printing is setting up your office print environment to reduce waste. Getting rid of all that waste can significantly cut print expenses.

Think you’re not being wasteful? Think again. Do you and your employees:

  • Automatically print color pages (at 8 cents each) when black and white is sufficient (at 1 cent each)?
  • Print documents and forget to collect them?
  • Print documents that could be routed or shared electronically?
  • Pay for supplies and equipment you don’t need?

Chances are, you’re doing all those things. With managed printing, you take control of your environment to stop waste and add the savings back to your bottom line.

Here are the steps we take to reduce waste and print costs with managed printing:

  1. Get rid of unnecessary and costly desktop printers, and replace with shared printers that cost less to use.
  2. Set up secure print to eliminate risks associated with printing sensitive material to shared printers.
  3. Set up what we call rules-based routing. This feature sets the default print mode to black and white instead of color when printing from certain applications (such as Excel and Outlook).

I’ll explain more about all these steps in the case study that follows.

Managed printing: a typical case for savings

To explain how we set up managed printing and show you how much you can save, I’m going to tell you the story of one of our mid-town Manhattan clients in the fashion industry.

This company has about 185 employees in their NYC office, printing about 40,000 pages monthly. The employees were using 10 desktop printers and one shared Canon multifunction copier.

Like you probably are, their office manager was frustrated by escalating printing costs. But she had no idea what she could do about it. She was also frustrated with poor service and looking for a new dealer. Luckily, she got in touch with us at Superior Office Systems because the copier was nearing the end of its lease.

Well, we always start out with a potential new customer by asking lots of questions about printing. We call this our free office print assessment. Based on the answers, we quickly realized this company was in a position to save big with managed printing.

We identified the following opportunities to reduce print costs for our client.

1. Upgrading their Canon copier (with the expiring lease) to a newer model.
Doing that automatically reduced the cost for every print, since a new model costs less to operate than a 5 year old machine. For color prints, you can save 2 to 3 cents per page.

SPOILER ALERT: Even though the new machine was more expensive ($350 higher monthly payment) the overall quarterly savings from managed printing ended up being nearly 10 times that amount! (Keep reading and we’ll explain how that adds up.)

2. Reducing expensive desktop printers.
Desktop printers may be cheap to buy, but they are very expensive to operate. Those disposable ink & toner cartridges cost a small fortune (you knew that!)… much more than copier toner per page. They’re also more expensive to maintain and repair.

With this client, we were able to eliminate 4 desktop printers, and have those employees print to the shared copier. The old desktop printers averaged 3 cents per page for black and white and 16 cents for color. Moving that volume to the copier reduced the cost to 5 cents for color, and under a penny for black and white!

However, there’s a common issue with taking away desktop printers. Employees sometimes resist because they are worried about the risk of printing sensitive documents to a shared device.

That’s a problem we solved with secure print.

3. Adding secure print software.
Upgrading the copier gave us the opportunity to install Canon’s uniFLOW software for our client. Among other benefits, this software provides secure print capabilities. With secure print, pages don’t print until the employee arrives at the copier to pick them up. So, our client’s employees no longer had to worry about sensitive documents getting into the wrong hands at the copier.

How does secure print work? Every user has a code, or ID card, that he or she uses to access their printed pages at the copier.

TIP: This feature also eliminates forgotten print jobs left on the printer (which get thrown out and have to be printed again!). That’s another managed printing cost-saver since it reduces your total pages printed.

Learn more: The Office Manager’s Guide to Secure Document Printing

4. Reducing unnecessary color printing with rules-based routing.
How many times do you print a page in color, when you don’t really need the color? Excel spreadsheets are a good example. Content from an email is another. By default, your printer drivers are set up to automatically print color, which adds up to a tremendous amount of wasted color toner. We could see that our client was printing a lot of excess color.

Wasted color printing also increases copier service contract costs, which are based on “clicks” or number of printed pages. You pay more if you print more color.

To reduce all that wasted color printing, we used Canon uniFLOW to set up rules-based routing.

With this feature, our client could have all pages printed from Excel, Google sheets, and Outlook (or other programs) automatically print in black and white.

Employees see a pop-up warning when they try to print a job using settings that fall outside the rules you set up. Of course, employees can override the setting to print a spreadsheet in color if they really need to. (It’s also worth noting that when employees know they are being watched, they are much more careful about following the rules!)

Printing a color page cost 7 cents on the old copier. And 16 cents on the desktop printers! Printing those pages in black and white on the new copier now costs less than a penny each.

You can see how the savings add up with managed printing. In fact, our client’s total monthly savings from our managed print services was about $1000 every month!

managed printing services

Who can benefit from managed printing?

Our example shows that even small businesses can save big with managed printing. If your business is larger and you have multiple shared printers, your savings are multiplied that much more.

As you can see, to save with managed print services, average cost per page is an important factor. So companies that print more will save big. If you print a lot of color, you’ll save more. That means businesses with more than 200 employees that do graphics, advertising, and publishing are great candidates to save with managed printing.

We also find that corporations and law firms that publish lots of pages in black and white can also save a great deal. Companies like these with more than 500 employees can benefit from managed printing.

In most cases, the ideal time to look into a managed printing environment is when you have one or more copiers with leases expiring soon. That way, you’ll be ready to make equipment changes that can result in big savings.

If you want to upgrade a poorly-performing copier to reduce costs, but you still have time left on your lease, you might qualify for a lease buyout.

What’s the cost for managed printing?

There are managed print services providers who charge a lot of money to optimize your print environment. We choose not to do that.

Here at Superior Office Systems, we offer managed printing for no extra charge when you lease equipment from us. Our prices are competitive, so we’re not building in the cost there, either.

Our goal has always been to provide the best service we can to our clients (hence our name!) and managed printing services is just one way we do that.

How to get started with managed printing

As we mentioned earlier, our free office print assessment is the first step to reducing your printing costs. We’ll discuss your printing needs and challenges, and figure out how we can help you save money.

Sign up now. We look forward to meeting you!

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