To an untrained professional, one of the biggest hindrances in an office space is a non-cooperating printer. Error messages, ink spills, a down network, all of these are familiar to the average office employee. These issues are merely the tip of the iceberg. The printing industry is deceivingly complex, with mitigating factors often unconsidered by the entry-level employee. In order for companies to properly purchase and maintain printers, they must understand the three biggest printer stressors facing businesses currently, and how having a grasp on these topics will not only save money, but company time and resources. In 2019, companies are facing three huge stressors in purchasing printers beyond the everyday office issues. Environmental impact, which printer to buy and not utilizing your printer to it’s full capabilities.
Nowadays, a job entails more than just ensuring company profit. It’s a necessity to understand and have relative control over the amount of waste produced by the company and its employees. If employees are wasting resources, not only is money being frittered away and stakeholder’s trust is slowly dwindling, but the effect on the Earth and the company’s reputation is being evaporated too.
The printing and paper industry has always had a reputation for deforestation and unkindness in its sustainability towards the Earth, but the full extent is much worse than commonly known. Built and made in factories powered by fossil fuels and finite resources, every tonne of office paper produced also produces a tonne of waste products. The average employee prints ten-thousand pages per year, which is the equivalent of a tree being cut down. Even more so, it takes a liter of water to produce a single sheet of office paper. Paper is only properly recycled roughly half the time, leaving the other 50% rotting in a landfill. Space, time, fossil fuels, and water are all spent to accommodate these office resources, leaving a massive carbon footprint.
When allocating company resources, it’s essential to be proactive in purchasing or acquiring printers that are more eco-friendly and offer better sustainability to not just the company, but the world as well. The less waste a company can produce the better its resources are being dispersed, which reflects better when reporting back to the company’s stakeholders. While it doesn’t seem like a big step, tackling the environmental issues printers pose head-on can set a good precedent for all levels of the company.
Which Printer to Buy
This is seemingly the most obvious issue when buying a printer. Businesses are under a lot of pressure with a lot of different options for printers to choose from and places to buy them. Ranging from the local Walmart model to an industrial sized printer with smart cloud technology, there are a million different options for price, quality and speed. Printers don’t even have to be purchased, many can be rented from anywhere from one hundred to a thousand dollars a month.
So, does one choose quality over quantity? What office operations will the printer be used in? Will smart technology be needed to complete workflows more efficiently and effectively? What is the budget for the printers like? The size, profit level and office workflows of the business are all determining factors in choosing a printer. While it might seem more frugally sound to purchase the cheaper printers (after all, it’s natural to assume one printer is relatively similar to the next if you aren’t an expert in the field), one must take into account the longevity and connection rate of the cheaper printer. While it might cost $4,000 less, maybe it can only connect to five computers at a time, won’t last more than six months or have a bunch of maintenance issues detrimental to your office’s budget.
A lot of stress comes with purchasing a new printer as it can be a large financial decision that, if made incorrectly, could cause bills to pile up. For many businesses, printing is the third highest cost behind employee payroll and rent. It’s for this reason that you need to find a quality printer that fits your office to avoid these annoying maintenance costs. A stress that has existed since the invention of printers, companies find themselves constantly purchasing parts, cartridges and new printers due to their original one breaking down. Requiring care, awareness and unfortunately a little busy work, printers can last an exceptionally long time, giving a company their money’s worth, if research of the quality of a printer is done up front and assurance that maintenance is easy and relatively hands-off. Even when purchasing relatively cheap printers, the cost of maintenance can triple the amount spent.
When purchasing printers and supplies, cutting corners can be detrimental to your budget’s health. It’s important to be wary of the allure of cheaper printers and instead focus specifically on the volume of printer output and employee needs. A small business might be intrigued by a larger, industrial printer, but realistically only need a smaller printer to rent. One size does not fit all.
Not Fully Utilizing Your Printer’s Capabilities
Think your printer is just good for old fashioned ink to paper? Not fully realizing and utilizing your printer's capabilities can be the main issue leading to the bulk of your stress around your office printer. You might be missing out on fully optimizing your operations and digitizing workflows because you simply don’t know the best assets your printer can provide for your business.
Printers big and small can be connected to a company’s network. By connecting your printer to your network, users can scan and upload documents directly to their emails, saving everyone time from having to scan a document to a flash drive and then uploading the document to their computer from there. It also saves printing time when everything is connected wirelessly.
You can also get the most out of the life of your printer, go longer between paper orders and extended the length of time between toner cartridge changes, by simply analyzing the steps in your workflow before they get to the printer. The easiest place to start this process is with that stack of forgotten papers next to the printer. That dreaded stack of papers that just gets tossed in the shred bin at the end of the day is your ticket to finding out where you can minimize time and maximize profit. Lots of documents that need signatures? Look into implementing a virtual signing process. What about documents that were passed around for revisions? See if you can create a virtual collaboration process where edits can be made on the original document in real time, rather than having an extra step of retyping the new edits that were made on paper. All of these little things can add up to big cost and resource savings in the long run.