Major Costs in Printing and How to Reduce Them

Posted by Chris Poole

The total cost of printing (TCP) for any business can be a difficult figure to determine. Organizations might understand that it’s best practice to find new and effective ways to reduce printing costs, but they don’t always know exactly how much they’re spending on TCP in the first place. And that uncertainty can make it hard to identify where cost-saving opportunities exist.

Even organizations that use managed print services, whose providers often provide an itemized cost breakdown at the end of each quarter or month, can still be unaware of steps they can take to reduce printing costs and create a more cost-effective, streamlined print environment.

Although specifics vary from survey to survey and industry to industry, there are some general takeaways regarding TCP that apply to almost any organization, from enterprise-scale global companies to modestly sized SMBs.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that consumables like paper and toner only comprise a relatively small proportion of total print spending. A joint study by Citigroup and Environmental Defense in 2004 found that TCP is actually anywhere from 13 to 31 times the purchase price of paper alone. That figure is unlikely to have shifted much since then, as many organizations continue to rely on inefficient print-management solutions such as print servers.

But if consumables only account for a fraction—albeit still a significant one—of TCP, what are the other factors that impact the total cost of printing? As other in-depth printing studies have shown, these factors can be grouped under support, administration (or print management) and productivity. Being able to categorize them accordingly is helpful in developing practical strategies to reduce printing costs.

Support: A 2011 report sponsored by Xerox noted that the average cost of a helpdesk call is between $20 and $25. That accounts for the time the support rep spends troubleshooting the issue as well as the productivity sacrificed by the employee to make the call.

Though it might not sound like a king’s ransom, when those $25 instances are multiplied by all the helpdesk calls in an organization—between 35% and 50% of which are print-related, according to the same study—the aggregate costs can really add up.

Administration: One estimate puts administration’s contribution to TCP at close to 60%. This includes print-management tasks like printer installation and configuration as well as driver management.

The larger and more complex the organization, the more cumbersome print administration tends to be. In response, organizations have to remunerate existing IT staff for the excessive workload or hire and train additional IT professionals. The cost of overtime or additional full-time employees (FTEs) just to handle print management is a major driver of administration’s high proportion of TCP.

Productivity: Having to call the helpdesk isn’t the only way in which end users can get pulled away from their work. Productivity is also lost when the print-management software crashes or the print server has to be rebooted on account of spooler or driver issues.

One Gartner study pegged the cost of network downtime at $42,000 per hour for enterprise-scale organizations. That figure was largely corroborated by a 2011 survey by CA Technologies, which found that, depending on their size, companies lost on average anywhere from $55,000 up to $1,000,000 each year due to IT failures, including print downtime.

With this in mind, we’d like to offer our own tips to reduce printing costs by implementing PrinterLogic.

How PrinterLogic Helps to Reduce Printing Costs
The centrally managed, direct-IP printing model of PrinterLogic’s advanced print-management software brings next-generation efficiency to any print environment. Both its low-footprint on-premises solution and its SaaS cloud-based solution allow organizations to eliminate print servers from the moment of implementation, which saves them the perpetual costs of maintenance, operation and upgrade.

Take BankPlus, for example. This Mississippi-based community bank leveraged PrinterLogic to eliminate 65 print servers throughout its highly distributed organization, putting an end to the servers’ ongoing expense and lack of reliability without forsaking print functionality.

And that’s just one of many ways that BankPlus reduced printing costs with PrinterLogic. As the bank eliminated print servers, it discovered that calls about downtime, driver issues, printer installations and printing problems vanished along with them.

BankPlus isn’t alone. Time and time again, our print-management software solutions have been shown to lead to drastic reductions in the number of print-related help-desk calls thanks to the power of managed direct-IP printing. PrinterLogic’s seamless integration with any environment and end-user empowerment through its self-service installation portal nips perennial print-management challenges in the bud.

By achieving higher end-user productivity through unparalleled uptime, more efficient administration with a centralized and intuitive management console, and less need for print-related IT support as a result of all the above, PrinterLogic can help organizations of any size reduce printing costs and shrink TCP more than they ever thought possible. PrinterLogic’s native mobile and BYOD printing capabilities can then bring even further gains as workplaces continue to evolve.

Whether your organization uses managed print services or relies on a single individual to handle every aspect of its print management, PrinterLogic can provide multiple ways to reduce printing costs and drive down TCP beyond merely cutting back on consumables usage (although, yes, it does that too). Download a free 30-day trial today to experience the ROI-generating potential of PrinterLogic yourself.