Reducing your business’ printing costs

Switching off
While most of us probably switch off our computers before leaving work, so many businesses don’t realise that energy savings and therefore cost savings can be made with printing technology as well. Businesses should aim to utilise energy efficient products and factor in energy costs when evaluating their total cost of technology ownership. Some printers use cutting-edge fuser technology to produce the first page faster when a printer is coming out of power save mode so the print job is done sooner. Organisations can save up to 50 percent in energy consumption over traditional fusing by using this feature. The total energy consumption saved since 1993 from use of this technology represents 4.1 million tons of CO2, equivalent to removing 870,000 cars from the road for one year.

Technology that enables power save mode can reduce printing power consumption at the network level, by allowing users to set printer sleep and wake modes to reduce their entire printing fleet’s energy use.

Don’t print?
This may sound strange coming from a printing vendor, but digitising paper-based documents can help automate workflows and change the way business owners run their organisations. Scan-to-workflow solutions provide the primary method of converting information from paper into a pure digital workflow, gaining significant efficiencies and cost savings. In some workflows, all further paper touches can be removed. Gartner believes it is reasonable to expect a reduction of 50-to-70 percent in paper volumes by using digital document sending tools.

Right devices, right capabilities
Often a company’s printing fleet grows organically, with printers being added as needed. There is a tendency to replace an old printer with a multi-function unit which copies, faxes and scans just in case this functionality comes in handy. In reality, most multi-function devices may only be used for printing and often just in black and white. Businesses should assess their printing requirements (either internally or with the help of a reseller partner) and gain better control over their fleet while making considerable long-term savings. A balanced mix of ink, laser, mono, colour, single function and multi-function devices throughout the office can give employees the functionality they need to perform their jobs productively while keeping the outlay and maintenance and consumables costs down.

Do-it-yourself marketing
When it comes time to tighten the belt, companies look for the best return on investment in terms of the marketing spend. With the right colour office printer, high quality paper and in-house marketing software to provide tools and templates, there is an opportunity for organisations to print professional business materials in-house such as brochures, invitations, proposals and reports, negating the expense of outsourcing production and printing. Marketing software that includes tools and templates comes free with many printers suitable for small businesses. These businesses can save time and money by doing a lot of their creative marketing collateral development and printing in-house and marketing their offering against their competition.

HP provides tools which allow users to calculate their approximate print costs so they can compare the costs from printing externally to in-house. Users can also get help with the fiddly tasks like two-sided printing, previewing document folds, and avoiding wasting ink and paper on test prints.

In Summary
Users tend to take printing for granted; it is viewed as an essential business function and as a commodity. The reams of uncollected printing that nearly always appear alongside a printer is testimony to this fact. Very few users consider the cost impact of their printing decisions.

It’s common for users, IT departments and managers to overlook printing when assessing opportunities to reduce cost or they fail to assess them accurately.

Businesses of all sizes have access to a wide range of tools and services that can deliver considerable cost reduction, reduce environmental impact and improve efficiency.  The benefits provided by these tools and services are more significant today than ever before. Is it time that you re-examined your printing environment?

—Richard Bailey is Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, HP South Pacific (

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  • I would suggest that a large number of small to middle size companies actually disconnect the printer and only use on the rare occasion. The need for printed hard copies is now in decline as people become more efficient with managing the content on line.