Should You Have a Print Audit

Even though we’ve all been repeatedly promised that the paperless office is just around the corner, businesses are still printing documents in what seems to be every increasing amounts. Whether these document are for internal use or for customers and suppliers, there seems no sign of it going away.

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But if these items are being printed unnecessarily, this is amounts to a good deal of waste and wasted money. Despite this fact, many companies simply don’t know how much they’re spending on printing services, so they could, and if fact more than likely are, throwing money away.

So why have a print audit carried out? Most businesses have several printers, plus a copier and a fax machine, all of which amounts to several machines all using paper, consumables and energy. When you take into account the purchase cost of these machines, some of which may only be used occasionally, you can see there’s considerable potential for savings.

What Happens during a Print Audit?

A print audit is carried out using tools and systems to measure what is being printed, how, where and by whom / which department. Armed with this information, it’s then possible to work out the total cost of ownership for your existing printing systems. It can also identify machines that are being under-used.

Also, once you know how your existing printing network is being used, you can see how the process can be improved. In some cases only a small adjustment needs to be made, perhaps something to even out the workload to make better use of existing resources. Carrying out an audit can provide this vital information and allows you to come up with a more intelligent solution and thus save you time and money.

Improving Print Strategy

As we all know, Information is power, soonce you know where your printing resources are going, you’ll be better able to manage and control them that much better. As discussed this may simply mean a better distribution of resources, whilst in others, it may require a more drastic solution. An example of this is the contracting out of some large volume jobs, like promotional materials for trade shows.

With all this in mind, many companies have opted for a managed print solution where they rent or lease machines instead of buying them. This can lead to great savings on running and maintenance costs, simply by having a smaller number of higher-capacity machines. It can also lead to implementing a centralised strategy where the machines that are used for printing, copying, scanning and faxing are all placed in one location.

A managed solution also gives your IT administrators more control, all print requests being logged, with reports being produced which show where the workload is coming from. Another important factor is that in environments where contractors and othernon staff members have access to the network, this centralised solution can be used to control access by permitting print access only with a password, PIN or physical token.

Printing and copying is often a major hidden cost for business and only by understanding where the money is being spent can you hope to bring this expenditure under control. A print audit is the very first step toward making your business’s printing a positive benefit rather than a huge drain on resources.