When it comes to priorities, printing doesn’t usually sit high on the ‘to do list’ for many small business owners. Here's why it should.
Printing is similar in some ways to the ways offices deal with telephone or broadband infrastructure; it largely only becomes a priority when something goes wrong. Who can honestly say they’ve spent a huge amount of time deciding which printing device is best for their business?
Paying a little closer attention to printing however can pay-off. Australia-wide, it’s estimated we use more than 3.5 million tonnes of paper each year. That’s a huge amount of paper, and when you think about the volume you print each week that also represents a significant cost to your business.
Printing less can have a significant positive impact on your business’ bottom line, even if you reduce what you print by just a little. The challenge for many is knowing where start. To get you started, here some tips from us, seeing as this is our business:
1. Audit what you print
If you’re going to have any success in printing less a good place to start is by first assessing what you print for business. A simple way to do this is tracking the number of reams of paper you go through on a weekly and monthly basis. This tracking should be done for both black & white and colour printing.
To help with this, simple technologies can be implemented that provide an understanding of your printing habits. For example, tracking devices can be implemented to address questions such as:
• Who is printing what in your business?
• What type of document is being printed the most?
• Is the majority of printing being done in black & white or colour?
Once these questions are answered, it’s much easier to know what you should do to start printing less and check whether the printing device/s you have in your business best suits your needs.
2. Do your homework before you select a printer
Selecting a printing device might sounds like a simple purchasing decision, and it’s easy to automatically go for the cheapest option. While that may be the right route to follow, before you buy it’s worth asking yourself the following questions:
• How many printers do you need? Do you really need multiple printers or are your needs better served by one multi-functional device?
• What are the on-going costs associated with maintenance for the device you’re considering? While a device might seem cheap, have you factored in long-term maintenance costs? Also, is the device covered by a warranty, what does that involve and how long does it last for?
• How much does new toner cost for the device you want? Purchasing toner can be expensive, especially if you get through a lot each month. It’s therefore worth factoring in tonner costs into your printing operations so you know where you stand.
3. Set some ground rules for printing
Once you’ve got the right printing device/s in place, it’s worth spending a little time on how you will ensure your business prints less over the long-term. To help, some businesses set printing ‘rules’ that employees follow. What these ‘rules’ look like will depend on your business but they could include ensuring everything is printed double-sided and only using colour printers if absolutely critical.
Enforcing the rules by regularly updating employees (especially new ones) is important. And remember, if you’re the leader of the business you also have to abide by the rules!
Matt is a Solution Service Manager at Upstream Print Solutions, which pretty much does what it says on the box.