Putting the Brakes on Wasteful Printing

Putting the Brakes on Wasteful Printing

Arena Group’s Professional Services Manager, Ian Fox, explains how technology can be used to reduce wasteful, insecure and unnecessary printing.

Take a look around you – what do you see? I would bet that many readers will spot overflowing recycling bins and pages sitting uncollected on printers, forgotten or unwanted. Delve into those recycling bins and it’s likely you would find documents printed several times in error, multi-page documents printed on one-sided pages (simplex). Perhaps webpages and emails printed in full, possibly in colour and over several pages including replies, Cc’s and forwarded messages. There is also a frightening possibility that you might stumble upon a confidential document that was accidentally left on a printer and eventually binned (if indeed it remained in the building).

The problem of uncontrolled printing raises various concerns;

  • The increasing cost of printing and paper places a heavy burden on budgets
  • Colour printing is on the rise, which pushes up the cost of consumables
  • Wasteful printing has a negative environmental impact
  • Sensitive documents printed without due care can pose a serious security risk

The right foundations for lower costs

Intelligent print management is becoming increasingly vital in addressing these issues and usually forms the foundation of a managed print service. Combining tools that monitor, archive and control output with the right mix of hardware, simplified maintenance, “just in time” toner supplies and transparent billing, will naturally push costs down. Not only this; a more print aware culture is nurtured, within which employees are far more considerate about what they print.

With this in mind, I’ve listed some of the features you might want to consider introducing to your print infrastructure if you have not done so already.

Rules-based printing: Defaults can be applied based on job attributes such as colour, number of pages, single or double-sided (duplex) or the applications used to print from. For example, you may set a rule that defaults emails to print duplex and in black. Printing can then be directed to the most appropriate device in the network. This lets you control output from more expensive machines.

Secure pull printing: Users send documents to a secure virtual ‘queue’ and must go to a printer to access them. Authentication at the device is necessary to review documents in the queue; this can be managed using mechanisms including password login, PIN number, proximity card/fob or biometrics. Pull printing has obvious security benefits and ensures only required items are printed.

Quotas and permissions: You may want to restrict certain functionality, colour printing or output from your most expensive devices for certain users. It is also possible to enforce quotas; this is increasingly done by education organisations to control student print volumes and manage budgets.

Cost recovery: Consider whether you need to charge print, scan, copy and fax costs to internal users or teams. It is also possible to allocate costs to specific clients, divisions or cost centres. This is useful for businesses such as legal practices who charge individual clients.

Reporting: It is possible to capture comprehensive information about overall activity on your network. Detailed reports enable analysis by user, device, server or client/cost centre.

Mobile printing: Some print control applications enable you to send documents from mobile devices such as tablets and phones to the virtual print queue for release at a printer. Crucially, this output can be reported on in just the same way as activity from computers that are linked to your network.

It’s impossible to manage what you cannot measure

Printing is here to stay, even though volumes may decline, so put the tools in place to let you proactively govern your print infrastructure. Print control provides cost transparency, improved document security and greener practices by ensuring that the right documents are printed by the right people at the right time.

Ian Fox, Professional Services  Manager, Arena Group Ltd.

More information: Contact Arena Group to find out more about monitoring and controlling print, printing from mobile devices, digitising your paper-driven processes or implementing an electronic document management system. Tel: 0844 8638000 | Email: LisaB@arenagroup.net | www.arenagroup.net