Four Tips to Help You Print Less

By Bill Melo

Undoubtedly, people today are still printing more than they should. For companies, this creates unnecessary printer supply costs and waste. How many times do you walk past a printer and see piles of paper sitting in the output tray or next to the printer?

The 2009 Government Printing Report shows that U.S. federal employees print 30 pages per day, or 7,200 pages per employee, per year. 92% of the people said they print more than they need and they throw away 35% of the paper they print. The interesting thing is that these statistics are true across age ranges and departments. It doesn’t matter if you are in your 20s or 50s. People love to print. The excess costs to the U.S. Federal Government are over $400 million per year.

Among the reasons cited for excessive printing are a lack of formal printing policies, not using automatic duplex printing, and not requiring employees to enter personal codes to print. If you think about your own organization, you could probably come up with similar statistics and reasons.

Here are four (4) tips to help you reduce wasteful printing.

Monitor Print Data
Discover who is printing, what they are printing and how frequently. Print management software, such as Print Audit and Preo Printelligence MPS, allow you to monitor and manage your printing environment. They let you analyze the data so you can make decisions that will reduce your output costs such as deploying more cost effective printers or routing jobs to different devices. You can segment your data by department and individual so it’s easier to identify where you need to make improvements. People are also less likely to be wasteful if they know it can be traced back to them.

Use Company-wide Default Printer Settings
You can reduce the number of pages printed by creating print driver defaults that enforce certain settings.  For example, setting all print drivers so they print duplex automatically can cut your printing costs in half. If you default to black and white on color printers, people will be forced to choose color printing only when they need it, rather than automatically printing in color. By setting these as defaults throughout your company, people will adhere to them, since most of us just hit Print and don’t take the time to look at the settings.

Eliminate Paper Processes
Another way to reduce printing is to scan your documents on an MFP and email them. You can use software, such as Drivve Image, to help streamline business processes by sending images and documents electronically, rather than routing hard copies.

Require Users to Authorize Printing
Before someone can retrieve a printed document, require them to type a PIN into the the MFP or swipe a smart card. You can use Pharos Uniprint to track who is printing and make sure that a print job is not actually put on paper until a person walks up to the printer, authenticates and releases the job. You can also set specific printing parameters for different people. You can even limit the number of pages someone prints in a day or month. By having to authorize at the device, people will think before printing. If you never pick up your output, you haven’t wasted any paper or toner because unreleased jobs are eventually deleted.

Reducing wasteful printing not only lowers your paper and consumables costs but it makes your organization more environmentally friendly. It’s a win-win.

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