The average business spends 5-12% of its revenue on printing. After office rent and employee pay, this represents the third-largest expense for the majority of office-based organisations. What’s more, most firms are blissfully unaware of this, and those that are have no idea that there is something they can do to reduce these costs.

Why Does Printing Cost So Much?

Unfortunately, when it comes to analysing your printing costs, it doesn’t simply come down to how much paper is being used. Printing effectively requires printing managers to be aware of a myriad of components. From the cost of resources such as paper, ink and electricity to printer efficiency and the human factor, it all adds up. In fact, most companies have so little information on their document production costs that when asked for an estimate, they underestimate the cost by 50%.

Thankfully, if you have access to the right print analysis information the situation can be improved.

What Do We Need To Know?

There are five main questions a print audit will ask. Once these details are known, an analysis can be performed to create a printing protocol that will cut document production costs dramatically.

Firstly, who is printing and what are they printing? Most employees have no idea that it costs 5 to 10 pence to produce a simple, one-sided sheet of printed-paper.

And for those who do, believing that printing costs are an unavoidable business cost may influence printing behaviours and reduce the understanding that cost is a factor. From those who print five pages of a reply email when only the first sheet is required to those who print single-sided manuals because they prefer right-hand-side reading to screen reading, a print audit can help identify them.

Next, who is printing to where? This is a question of printer efficiency. Most users will print to the nearest printer, but these in-office units are usually not the cheapest. There is also the question of human resource time and wasted printing. When an employee send 500 pages to their local printer, other employee jobs are delayed, and those who send jobs and don’t receive them may send to a second printer without knowing they need to cancel the local job.

Also, which printers are used the most? A printer’s popularity is often determined by its location. A print analysis can draw a radius to show businesses which employees use which printers. Is this printer efficient? Does it need to be a colour printer? Should it only offer A4 sheets? By encouraging employees to use different printers for more specialised printing jobs, business can support employees in making better printing decisions.

Lastly, how much is being printed? An audit will invariably throw up a few employees who habitually over-print. This might be due to a casual attitude towards cost or to frequent printing selection errors.

How Will a Print Audit Save Us Money?

A print audit will allow a business to re-allocate printers based on analysis. This means more efficient machines will service the office floor, while specialist machines will require motivation to use. It will identify employees who need to be retrained regarding printer use. It will also identify unauthorised printing, both in terms of those printing for profit and those printing sensitive information.

As a concept, a superior print audit provides a high return on investment for companies of all sizes. And once printing costs are in hand, businesses will see the results on the bottom line.