How can I reduce my printing costs? (Let’s start with what’s easy to do)

June 25, 2009

In today’s economy every business that I know of is looking for ways to reduce cost.

Many of these companies have long studied how they could reduce their companies printing costs, but due to internal political struggles these studies have often not been implemented. Now these same companies are dusting off those studies and finding the courage to make the needed changes. What changed? Two things; they finally have the support from the highest levels of their company and the end users are nervous about keeping their job, and their company financially healthy in this difficult economy. So there is very little push back today. This makes it an ideal time to implement a plan to help your company reduce it’s printing cost. But which plan?

There are both strategies that you could employ on your current equipment, as well as more dramatic changes that can be made. Some of these can be done without ruffling any feathers, the rest will require that you “break a few eggs, to make that omelet”. So let’s talk about what’s easy to do first. I am a big fan of picking the “Low hanging fruit” first. If your company has not considered the following then shame on your dealer for not at least bringing it up.

1) Set all of the Color or Color \ B&W MFDs to default to B&W (BOTH when your end users print & copy). This can be easily done on the MFD for copying, and on the Print Server when you print. Here is a hint; You can’t just set the Properties of the MFD’s print driver on the print server to default to B&W, that will NOT push the settings down to the End users. Your dealer should be able to show you how to do it.

When you default both the printing and the copying to B&W on MFDs that can do both, you immediately see a savings because you are no longer getting color email’s being printed out. People don’t print those in color on purpose, they just click print before they think to change it to B&W. There are a few departments (like Marketing typically) that may require the default to still be color, because 90% of what they print is in color, and they would only waste time and resources when they accidentally print in B&W what they need in color. But that is the rare exception.

2) This next step is a little more radical and will drive a few end users crazy, but the people who handle your company’s Green Initiative’s will love you for it. You can also make BOTH the printing and the copying on your MFD default to double sided. This could cut your paper use by 40-50%. How much paper does your company use? How much does it cost? Now notice I said “default” to duplex, not make it so that you can’t print a single sided document. There will be times when it will be appropriate for documents to be printed simplex, but the end user will need to make a conscious choice to do so, just like when they print in color. So if they print without thinking first. I know that it is hard to believe that your end users could possibly print without thinking first, but it really does happen…. sometimes,…… at least in some companies, ……. but maybe not in your company 🙂 But when they do they will get by default a B&W, 2 sided document and that will save you money. How much? That depends upon how much color single sided printing you are doing now, but those nickels add up quickly.

3) One last thing that you could do, at least with most major MFDs is set up people to print to a Mailbox, or a hold queue (on the MFD) and then have them go to the MFD and release the print job. Typically we set these up to purge the stored print documents every 3 hours – 3 days. You might be surprised at how many people print jobs and then never go and get them. Have you ever printed directions from MapQuest only to run out the door and drive away before you realized that they were still sitting in the printers output tray? You can do this with the Canon Mailboxes or the Konica Minolta User InBoxes, and I am sure that many other MFD manufacturers will have a similar feature.

Maybe in the next post we can talk about what to do if you have already done these steps, and the myths and realities of Managed Print Services.

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. Very nicely done, end users need to take advantage of tehcnology and invest in technology in the long run it will increase products and drive productivity.

    Art Post

  2. Discouraging printing of e-mails and when required, do them in B/W will also help. Many IT departments send users a usage report weekly to keep heat and light on the area. Certainly, linking the green initiative at the company to lower print and paper usage is the key. The last area has to do with lowering the number of devices used to print, which will in turn lower the maintenance and price. Contract structure regarding flexibility is critical and we feel this is missing in most customers contracts for copiers and printers.

  3. […] MFDs, PRINTERs & COPIERs a WordPress.com weblog « How can I reduce my printing costs? (Let’s start with what’s easy to do) How can I reduce my Printing costs? – Part III June 30, 2009 Let’s say you […]

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