What a Print Environment Assessment Is and Why You Need One

By: Marco
September 2, 2022

How often do you review your company’s print productivity, distribution, and output? If you’re like most companies, you either don’t do it often or at all. Two-thirds of companies don’t track their print costs, and those costs typically consume 1-3% of their annual revenue.

In this blog, we’ll outline how a thorough print assessment can uncover hidden print costs and vulnerabilities, and how an experienced Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can assist you through this entire process.

What Is a Print Assessment?

A print assessment will offer you an overview of what printing equipment you have, how it’s being used, and where costs can be reduced. A thorough MPS provider will also identify any security risks associated with your current print environment.

Some of this information may sound elementary, at least on paper. But 90% of businesses don’t know how many printers they have, let alone how they’re being used. Because no two organizations have the same equipment or use it in the same way, a print assessment is the only way to determine where significant improvements can be made.

What 6 Steps Should Be Included in a Print Assessment?

A thorough print assessment can take some time, but considering that print costs can be your third biggest cost after payroll and rent, it’s definitely worth it. While some MPS providers only perform four or five of these steps because print risks have increased significantly in the past few years, Marco’s experts include all six for every client.

1. Itemize Your Printer Fleet

Documenting your current printer fleet is the first step. This information will help you analyze all the variables that affect printing costs and efficiency. The steps include:

  • Counting the total number of inkjet printers, laser printers, copiers, multi-function devices, faxes, and scanners located throughout your office
  • Mapping their locations
  • Documenting each device’s manufacturer, make, and model
  • Documenting each device’s age, network capability and connection

Additionally, consider the number of machines you have versus the number of employees in your organization. This ratio varies by industry but traditionally, most organizations find that they are providing one machine for every four employees. On average, we’ve determined that a more efficient ratio is one machine for every ten employees, but the right ratio for your business will depend on your specific print needs.

2. Assess Your Print Usage Needs

Is more expensive ink being used to produce a large quantity of black and white documents? Is your staff printing out documents in color that don’t need to be? You’ll never know unless you do some digging. A print assessment might reveal many surprising ways supplies are being used inefficiently.

A print assessment should also help you understand what printers are currently being used for what purpose. If they’re being used inefficiently, you can revise your company’s print policies accordingly to save quite a bit of money.

3. Review Your Monthly Print Costs

Monthly invoices related to service or repair, equipment, and supplies (like paper, toner, and print media) all contribute to an organization's overall cost of printing. Uncovering it all can be a tricky process, as most organizations have multiple invoices with multiple vendors. But gathering this information is critical in helping you understand what’s being spent and how often. Your print provider will also uncover problem machines and recommend replacement options to better optimize your environment.

4. Evaluate Employee Burden Rates

Time is money, but it’s not always part of the equation when organizations evaluate their print costs. How much time does your staff spend managing your fleet, and what are those hours really costing you? To get more insight about these costs, track the time spent on the following tasks per employee:

  • Managing printer inventory
  • Ordering supplies
  • Fixing equipment malfunctions
  • Scheduling ongoing or emergency service calls
  • Processing monthly, quarterly, or annual print-related invoices

5. Calculate Outsourced Print Costs

Are you outsourcing any print jobs? Why and how often? You might be outsourcing because your current equipment is inefficient or lacks the capabilities, but outsourced jobs are typically more expensive. Your assessment might indicate the need for new equipment that can reduce outsourcing and save you money in the long run.

6. Optimize Print Security

There’s an age-old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When it comes to printing equipment, this sentiment is starting to get some businesses into trouble. Old printing equipment may represent a significant cybersecurity risk, and according to a recent report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a single data breach is now $4.35 million. If your organization is using a printer that’s over seven years old, it’s time to replace it. Trying to get another year or two out of it could end up costing you, and a newer printer will also use less energy.

Evaluating your current print security posture isn’t only about cybersecurity. Studies indicate that 30% of printed documents are never picked up from the office printer. Not only does that lead to a significant waste of supplies, but if those documents contain, say, payroll information, that’s a much bigger problem. If this is happening at your organization, print tracking software can help you reduce waste and increase security at the same time.

The Easiest Way To Get a Print Assessment

Unless you only have one or two printers, a print assessment can be quite time-consuming. It’s absolutely worth it, but it might not be worth it for you to do this task yourself. Your time may be better spent elsewhere, and print assessments are something that our print technology advisors do very efficiently.

At Marco, we’re happy to help you assess these print expenses, identify what’s best for an organization of your size and need, and recommend a complete printing solution that will save you money.

Are your print devices causing more issues than they solve? Schedule an Assessment

Topics: Copiers & Printers