Thursday, March 4, 2010

Print Management Solutions to Avoid Docuwaste and Improve Efficiency

It is estimated that in 2006 European businesses wasted over 9 billion euros through inefficient business practices, up from 8.4 billion euros in 2004. Much of this waste is put down to “Docuwaste” – a massive over-indulgence in print usage which waste untold reams of paper and gallons of ink and toner – for no financial gain to anyone.


However, there is some evidence in the UK, where Docuwaste actually decreased by 4% in the same period, that businesses are taking note of this massive problem. This could be down to the fact that a large number of financial organisations in the UK need to control print output for compliance reasons, and are using Print management software applications to monitor, control and actually charge for printer use.


Such print management software applications are often introduced as part of a managed print service by external suppliers. But applications are now often included at no additional cost with printers (e.g. Hewlett Packard’s Web Jetadmin). Such systems don’t simply work “reactively” to provide detailed reports on device usage, but they can also be used proactively to ensure that any printing policies (e.g. duplex double sided printing) or to restrict access to certain features (e.g. colour printing) or to set print quotas per team, workgroup or department.


More about print autorouting


Why not ensure that print jobs are sent to the printer best suited to the task? This can be done using an auto-routing programme, such as is provided with any reasonable-quality print management software suite. Thus in an example scenario, where a user wants to send a 2 page document to a desktop printer (ideal for the task) then the software would allow this. However, if the same user tried to send a 200-page document to the same printer, the software will alert the user, and send it to the more appropriate high speed departmental or workgroup Multifunctional high speed device.


Email printing control


Print management software rules can also be set for specific applications, so that an administrator could enforce a policy not to print email messages, for example. Or it could be configured so that email messages were only ever printed in black and white, thus avoiding a colour click charge every time an email with a coloured logo or a highlighted email address was printed.


Other efficiencies introduced


How about the time wasting which can create hidden costs? By automatically routing jobs from an out-of-order printer to one that actually is working can be one example. Another example is the prioritising of print jobs for designated individuals with important deadlines to meet.


Secure print solutions – “follow me” printing


More than half of those who replied to a recent Fujitsu Siemens’ survey said that they had printed the same document several times by mistake and 43% said that they had mistakenly picked up someone else’s printout. Such wasteful – and frustrating – problems can be avoided using Secure Print Programmes. These are more generally known by the term “follow me printing”. What happens is that the print job is held on a server on a server until the owner releases them by entering a code or swiping a card on a network printer. Because the document is not printed until the user is at the machine, prints do not have a chance to fall into the wrong hands or get removed by someone else.


Chargebacks


Another major advantage of print job tracking is that it becomes possible to charge customers or departments for the prints they make. Cost recovery solutions, again a part of any good print management software suite, can be used to charge customers by invoice or through pre-pay systems.



Jimi St. Pierre writes for several Office Equipment suppliers in the UK, including office printer supplier Principal. Helpful advice on print management software can be found as part of Principal’s comprehensive Print Supplies website at => www.principalcorp.co.uk/