by Simon Hill, Sales Director UK & Ireland, Document Imaging Group, Nuance
For law firms, understanding the opportunities to reduce their printing can make the difference between having an unmanaged, costly print service and providing a well-managed, cost-effective print environment. In many cases, the cost saving and productivity results can be dramatic.
Through the active measurement and management of printing, industry analysts estimate that printing costs can be reduced by up to 30%. With improved access to printing, employee productivity will increase, while the elimination of print jobs sitting in paper trays means documents are more secure and less likely to disappear. Finally, by helping and encouraging staff to print less, you are also helping your company to be more environmentally friendly. There are several steps that legal firms can take in order to print less and start saving money.
Eliminate Personal Printers
There’s no doubt that personal printers are convenient. But providing all employees with one isn’t cost effective and it carries high ink costs. For instance, the difference in cost per page on personal printers vs. shared networked printers averages £0.01 per page. This equates to £500 for every 50,000 pages printed. Removing personal printers is the first step legal firms can take to saving money, by migrating users to shared printers and adding user convenience by letting staff print to any printer on the network.
Most Multifunctional Printers (MFP) and copiers can scan and create a PDF. The cost recovery terminal that is attached to them can preview the scanned document, then give you the options of where to send the scan, such as via your email, or even to your Document or Case Management System, while confirmation of the scan gives you peace of mind. The efficient scanning, creating, sharing and storing of PDFs can save money, too; within one of the legal teams at Dickinson Dees, an efficient scanning solution enabled that team to save approximately £5,000 in fee-earner time alone.
Think Before You Print
Does your team think twice about printing a document? The simple act of making users aware of the impact of printing will get them thinking. If you start tracking printing and produce reports for each individual in your company, you can let them know how much money they are spending on printing. This knowledge and insight may make them think before they print, which will lead to cost savings in the long term.
Stop Printing Twice
Sometimes inevitably, as soon as you hit print, you realise you want to make a change to the document but, as it’s already processed, you recycle the old one and print a new document. This is a waste of paper and money. With a virtual print queue to hold documents until the user is ready to pick them up, users get a second chance to not print a document. It also makes printing to shared devices easier. At the printer, a user can select what documents they want to print and delete the ones they don’t need. This results in less wasted paper, and less wasted money.
While there is no doubt that colour adds impact to presentations and can emphasize critical pieces of information, it doesn’t need to be a part of everything you print. Judgment is key here, and you can control its use through colour printing rules that deny colour printing from certain applications, like email. You can automatically route colour jobs to a lower cost colour printer, or set guide lines around who can and who can’t print in colour. So while colour is great, wasted colour is not good for your budget.
Reduce Help-Desk Calls
A company with 750 employees spends an average of 3,700 hours of IT support on its print fleet each year. This means that up to 20% of help desk resources are spent on printer related topics, usually with loss of productivity – and a source of frustration – for users. By using a virtual print queue to process all print jobs, users have a secure way to print to whatever printer is most convenient and online. This reduces calls to help-desks, but also eliminates the need for IT to create countless print definitions on every computer, to allow for printing to multiple devices.
Buy the right equipment
A good rule of thumb is to strive for an employee to printer ratio of 6:1. If you follow the steps above, you are going to be printing a lot less. Which raises the question of which printers do you really need? While it isn’t uncommon for companies to have ratios of 2:1, the effective use of shared, networked printers can easily increase that ratio to 20:1 or more. It makes business sense to only invest in the devices you need and remove the ones that you don’t. In many cases, a multifunctional printer could take the place of multiple laser printers.
Recover printing costs
If you are charging clients for prints or processing inter-departmental printing costs, are you accurately tracking what percentage of prints are billable and what costs should be allocated where? By tracking who printed, what client, or department it is for, and what application the document was printed from, you can accurately determine what print jobs can be charged back. Teacher Stern LLP has been using Equitrac, a cost recovery tool, for almost twenty years. Christine Ardis, Teacher Stern’s IT Manager, said: “It is easy to use, and an excellent and very efficient cost recovery tool. It tracks all photocopying, scanning and printing for reporting and cost recovery purposes, allowing the business to recoup costs from the client. The information we extract from it really helps the team in accounts with their reports, billing and invoicing.” Christine is adamant that “…the cost recovery Equitrac has realised, has more than paid for the initial licences.”
Following the steps above, can safeguard a business from leaking money every time it applies ink.