The TDSIT Blog

Controlling Color Print Costs

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

Controlling Color

There's a gaggle of benefits with color printing: increased brand awareness, more effective presentation, marketing and sales material, and of course triplicate copies of your employees' children's 30-page thesis project. OK, so we snuck that last one in, but the truth is that with an unmanaged print environment you can't get the good without the bad.

An unmanaged print environment means giving your employees license to run wild with color printing. And while most of them will use it with reasonable caution, they are still not aware of the high costs of color printing on a company-wide scale. Each time they hit print they are charging 5 to 50 cents to the company, which is a major cost when you consider the average office worker prints 10,000 pages a year (although, thankfully, not all of those are color!). Print budgets are so large in fact that they are in the top 5 business expenses, along with rent, communication, payroll and utility costs.

If you're one of the many companies looking to cut costs while getting a stronger understanding and hold on their print environment, you're not alone, there is a movement of like-minded people like you—the Managed Print Services movement. This latest trend in print management means achieving cost savings through a greater understanding, management and control of your print environment.

There are a myriad of ways to better manage your color print environment and control its associated costs:

User Restrictions

There are easy-to-install software programs that will control users color printing privileges, assigning privileges to some, denying to others, limiting many. Assign values to each department and job role, and place color-prints-per-month restrictions on most employees. 

Track Use

While tracking color printing doesn't seem like an effective cost-cutting strategy, you would be surprise how far a little knowledge would go. Knowing is the first step to cutting, but tracking use isn't solely about knowledge, it's also about letting your users know that you're keeping tabs. A simple mention that color printing will be monitored is enough to reduce color printing costs by at least 10%.

Use Defaults

The simplicity of this tip is mind blowing: set your printer default to black-and-white printing. This will force users to intentionally set color print jobs—giving them just enough time to consider if it is really needed.

Single-Page Printing

Instead of having users print a single page for every image or text box, lump these multiple sources together and print them on a single page. 
 Users won't innately control their behavior without having some type of policy to guide their choices. Instead of relying on user choice, create a print policy that defines usage protocol, detailing use by each department, role and/or user. 

Research Procurement

The bulk of color print expenses come from the costly cartridges, so ensure that they are being procured in the most efficient way possible. Research into bulk-purchasing agreements and incidental procurement process costs. If you're buying from a distributor, ensure that they are giving you the best service and deal possible. 

Applying one of these strategies will help you reduce your color printing costs, while giving you a more in-depth understanding. Implementing more than one will compound those benefits.

Click here to find out how much your color printing is actually costing your business today.

Tags: controlling color printing costs, unmanaged business printing, color printing, color copier