Who's paying attention to all those printers?

January 07, 2022 | Kyle Kopp

Let’s be honest, you’re paying close attention to the big copy machine that everyone uses.  You pay monthly for the lease portion and every quarter when you get that bill for any overages you ran outside of what your maintenance agreement covers, you carefully inspect it to find the cause of any surges so you can address it right away.  You know the technician who visits by name, and you have the number to call for supplies on speed dial.  You’re even talking to your account rep about adding some software to digitize your files and another that can control the amount of print and copying your staff does on that machine so you can reduce any waste.  But what about those printers?  Oh. … you forgot about those.

On average, most companies can expect there to be around five desktop printers onsite for every copier or mulit-function device.  Don’t believe that?  Take a second to look around, I’ll wait.  …..





You see them now?!

Depending on your organization’s size, that could add up to quite a few, most of which are hidden away on desks and credenzas in offices you weren’t even aware of.  And what happens when those machines need service?  More than likely the user calls your IT team to take a look, rather than a certified printer technician.  According to Gartner research as much as 50% of internal IT requests revolve around desktop printers, accounting for almost 15% of IT department labor hours.  But with these devices there’s only one of two options to resolve: a time and material call from a local dealership at $150 per hour plus parts, or your IT team buys a new printer and discards the troubled one. Either way, with five printers in your office for every copier, that can add up.  What about supplies?  Typically, the user will purchase what they need from a retail box store and expense the purchase through HR.  Who’s watching out for that?  Does anyone in your organization know how much has been spent on toner and ink through this process?

You're not alone.  90% of companies have no idea what they spend on maintaining their offices printers, and for most companies this hidden cost is their third highest expense behind business operational charges and payroll.  That can account for up to 3% of the organization’s total revenue with most underestimating their costs by as much as 40%!  A little more curious about those printers now, huh?

Looking beyond the obvious cost of those printers, how much more is wasted by lack of oversight?  The average worker prints 34 pages every day, 17% of which go unused entirely, 60% of which are discarded that very same day.  With the cost of prints on a desktop printer outpacing the cost of prints on a multi-function copier by nearly three-fold, that’s approximately $6 in waste per employee, per day.  I’ll let you do that math for your own organization based on headcount to get a total there.

🙀 Scary, right?!

So, your spending money on servicing and replacing machines you don’t even know about.  Your reimbursing expenses for supplies you have no control over.  You’re spending your IT team’s time trying to resolve issues with these devices and now you’re overspending on unnecessary prints at a rate nearly three times what it could be if printed on a more efficient device.  So, what do you do now?

Well, you may not be able to simply throw these printers out of a top floor window as you were hoping for just now.  But you could still save as much as 30% of your budget simply by partnering with an outside managed print provider.  This will allow an expert to come in, assess the entire fleet and consolidate what you have down to only what you need.  That’s a savings right off the top.  From there, you remove the burden on your IT team to manage problems, saving their labor hours, eliminate the hidden costs of expensed supply purchases so you know your true budget as well as gain oversight on who’s printing what, where, and how.  And during ongoing management of the fleet as you move forward, you can start to implement better internal practices to reduce the impact of the fleet on your budget.  Perhaps you identify those 60% of unnecessary prints and move them into a digital strategy that requires no printing at all.  Perhaps you reroute the most expensive printer jobs to a lower costing device elsewhere in your facility.  Perhaps you identify unnecessary color printing and reset your defaults to black and white only.

All these steps could go a long way in helping you manage your expenses and provide better results for your organization.  But none of them can happen without having those printers managed by someone who knows what to look for and how to handle them.

Contact us today for a free assessment of your current fleet and see how we can help improve your organizations handling of these hidden printers.