Usage tracking key to analysing and managing expenditure as businesses look to print smarter
Egham, 26th November 2012
Egham, 26th November 2012
The way in which SMBs buy printers and manage their print infrastructure must change if they are to benefit from smarter printing practices, according to the latest IDC White Paper, SMB Buying Considerations for Smarter Business Printing, October 2012, sponsored by OKI Europe.
In a challenging marketplace, sales of laser/LED printers to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) across Europe have increased by more than three per cent, as companies take advantage of new technologies to bring more print tasks in-house (IDC Hardcopy Device Usage: Applications Driving Print, 2011). "This is excellent news, reflecting the ability of print solutions providers to respond successfully to the changing needs of the market," believes Terry Laidlaw, managing director, OKI Europe.
"The survey highlights how the growth in popularity of colour in particular is because SMBs can now produce colour documents on in-house laser or LED printers cost-effectively, without compromising on the professional quality that is expected from external print houses. However, in many cases businesses do not know how much printing takes place in their organisation or how much this often ‘forgotten’ expenditure is actually costing them.
"With ever-increasing pressure to take control of spiralling costs in an uncertain economic environment, printing is an area that businesses should urgently review in order to benefit from significant savings quickly and with minimal negative impact on their business."
In an age where vast quantities of information is consumed and shared, there is a growing volume of printing taking place as users print this information in order to digest it more easily. This often results in printing more copies than required, or using colour when mono would do just as well.
Businesses need to gain a better understanding of the amount of printing that is taking place in their organisation and to control it. To do this, SMBs should consider software options that can identify, track and manage printing. "As IDC has identified, the first step to controlling costs is to identify what these costs are," confirms Laidlaw.
"By installing tracking software which sits on the network, the business can monitor and manage print volume by department or user. For example, it can pinpoint which employees are printing, whether the print jobs are colour or mono and the number of pages in each case, the time of day jobs are sent and the type of files being printed."
Armed with this information, usage software can then enable the setting of rules that can help control print output and so reduce on-going costs. These can include:
The cost of external print services should be included in any analysis of overall print costs and requirements. The availability of print devices that enable more printing to move in-house means that SMBs can print what they need when they need it, rather than printing large volumes in order to get the necessary economies of scale which can lead to wastage and a requirement for extra storage space which can often be limited within SMBs.
In addition, it may make better economic sense to purchase an A3 rather than an A4 colour device, as this will enable the business to produce a wider range of brochures and other marketing materials in-house. These can also be produced and amended as necessary, enabling the business to be more proactive in responding quickly to changing customer and market demands.
"It is not surprising therefore that A3 sales to SMBs out-performed the market, with volume sales up by eight per cent in 2011 and set to continue this growth over the coming year," says Laidlaw. "Not only are smaller businesses using A3 to print high-quality banners, posters, packaging mock-ups and direct mail, but they are also able to produce anything required in larger scale, such as spreadsheets or technical plans.
"As the IDC SMB research shows, despite the rapid growth of sophisticated devices enabling us to view information electronically, there is still a huge demand to communicate messages and digest data on paper. However, for SMBs to take full advantage of this opportunity and improve their competitiveness in a continuing tough economy, it is essential that they realise the benefits of the latest print technologies like those offered by OKI Europe, providing cost-effective in-house printing without compromising on quality as well as keeping a tight control of all print output."
The full white paper is available for download at:
OKI Europe is a division of OKI Data Corporation, a global business-to-business organisation dedicated to creating professional in-house printed communications products, applications and services which are designed to increase the efficiency of today’s and tomorrow’s businesses. OKI Europe's annual group turnover accounts for over 50% of OKI Data Corporation’s group turnover.
The company is well-established as one of Europe’s leading printer brands, in terms of value and units shipped. OKI Europe’s award winning, product portfolio comprises six distinct segments: Colour and mono printers, multifunctional devices, which combine printing, copying, scanning and faxing functionalities, as well as Serial Dot Matrix printers, faxes and specialty printers for point-of-sales and manufacturing. Established in 1990, today OKI Europe employs approximately 1,100 people in 21 production sites and sales offices and is represented in 60 countries throughout the EMEA region.
OKI Data Corporation is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd., established in 1881 and Japan’s first telecommunications manufacturer.