If you’re an office manager, you may wonder why it seems like you’re ordering toner cartridges and copy paper all the time. Manufacturers promise a certain page yield from each toner cartridge they make, but few ever produce the expected amount. That’s because an average of five-percent document coverage is tough to achieve.
If you’re in IT, managing the output and efficiency of multifunction printers may not be high on your list of priorities, but, chances are, you need to attend to it. A print audit is the perfect solution in both cases.
A thorough copier and printer usage audit will provide you with objective data and results and should involve the following steps:
- Development of a floor plan that pinpoints the location of each laser printer, copier, multifunction device, inkjet and fax machine. This is the macro view that takes the total health of the printing environment into account.
- Fast, easy (and often remote) installation of a safe, lightweight printer audit software on a server or workstation. The software should poll your copier and printer fleet regularly; I recommend hourly queries. This is the micro view that checks for meter readings, toner levels, service conditions, warnings or alerts, and maintenance intervals.
- Secure transfer of the query data to a database for analysis.
- Continual feed of evaluated data into a secure, web-based interface that gives you single place where you can view all your printers, regardless of manufacturer. (If you’re in IT, you’ll appreciate the coolness factor of this.)
- Creation of a go-forward plan that may include reconfiguring of printing resources. With just several weeks of reporting, a good printer audit can help you quantify your machine volumes by month and year. Based on the copier model, you can determine cost of operation.
After your print audit, you may decide that managed print services can help you lower costs and improve document production efficiency. An MPS agreement gets you more than just a good deal on toner. You get total care of your entire printer and copier fleet with a reasonable, cost-per-print plan. That’s great news if you’re on a cost-cutting mission.