March 9, 2007
Ten signs your company’s document spending is out of control
If your company or organization doesn’t have a comprehensive document management plan in place, you are not alone. Most do not. However, simply implementing a plan based on an analysis of your organization’s document requirements can significantly reduce costs. Cost savings can approach 30 percent. The steps to creating an effective document management plan are: analyze the current document process, including workflow, types of documents and communication methods; review the analysis to find the best opportunities for cost savings and efficiency increases; settle on a plan of action; implement the document management plan; after a pre-determined time, re-visit the plan and make adjustments as necessary.
Many companies or organizations have acquired document output devices such as copiers and printers as a result of a reactionary process. Usually that process involves acquiring an output device based on a specific, isolated need. Often the requirements are based on business conditions that have recently changed, resulting in a technology acquisition that is not sufficient when business conditions change again.
The resulting mix of machines and vendors can result in high labor costs for tracking and ordering supply items. The increased inventory due to the need to have additional supply items in stock also becomes necessary, draining capital away from revenue producing activities. Quantity discounts are also not possible, since purchases are spread across multiple vendors.
Ink jet printers are cheap to buy. Some computer stores even give them away via rebates and other offers. In the end, ink jet operating costs can be up to ten times the cost of today’s more efficient output devices.
Since ink jet devices are so inexpensive, many employees will acquire these printers “under the radar.” The machines can often be reimbursed via expense accounts or with a company credit card at the local office supply. The end result is a very expensive method of producing documents.
If you see printers on desks or in cubicles, chances are your organization has too many devices to be efficient. While the ratio of devices to individual employee differs depending on industry, a typical best practices target is one device for every five or six employees. This ratio will ensure that all aspects of document lifecycle management are running at peak efficiency.
The presence of any analog copier represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs. Older analog copiers utilize far more parts than digital copiers, resulting in significantly higher operating costs. Reliability is also a factor, since older copiers can breakdown more often, negatively affecting office productivity.
Today’s digital multifunctional devices feature much lower operating costs. Also, since most digital document devices can be connected to a network, they can perform double duty as copiers, printers or even fax machines. In addition to lower operating costs, digital copier/printers also contribute to increased document efficiency.
Any printer over two years old should be evaluated for consumable efficiency and cost. Some older printer consumable costs can be double or triple the price of today’s newer print devices. Design is also a factor, since many older printers utilize an-all-in one consumable design that is very expensive to operate.
7. Presence of both printers and copiers in the same general location
Device redundancy is a real efficiency killer. If you see printers and copiers located in close proximity to each other, it is typically a sure indicator that each machine is not running at optimum levels. Typically, machines in this configuration are older, which also increases the likelihood that the combination is costing too much.
Today’s digital copier/printer devices can easily and efficiently produce both print and copy volume. Not only are these new devices more efficient, they often are faster, which results in increased user satisfaction.
If you see a fax machine connected to a phone line, chances are you are looking at a significant cash drain. Today’s fax machines can send information over the internet for free. Significant long distance and telephone charges can be eliminated with a new fax device.
Additionally, many multifunction copier/printer devices have fax capability as an option. In some instances, it may more efficient and less expensive to eliminate a standalone fax altogether.
Knowing the amount and types of documents being printed is the key to understanding what needs to change to impact document efficiency. A thorough knowledge of the organization’s printing workflow can provide insight into how many output devices are necessary and what types of devices are best suited for each purpose.
Finding and eliminating abuse of print devices can also have an impact on cost and efficiency. When users know that their print volumes are being tracked, there is less likelihood that they will engage in abusive print practices. Users tend to respect what is inspected. Print tracking software is available that will identify printers on the network. This software can provide valuable information that can indicate the type, volume and nature of documents printed. There are even some types of software can that can automatically determine the cost per page based on how much print is present in each document.
If paper is the only option, users will by default produce and re-produce mounds of paper documents. There is a better way. Today’s digital multifunction devices can output to a number of electronic document types. These electronic documents can be stored on a computer or emailed directly to recipient(s).
Electronic documents are significantly more efficient to transport and store than their paper based counterparts. Office space used for filing cabinets can be recovered for more productive uses. Finding stored documents is much easier than digging through folder after folder. Many electronic documents can be distributed, read and filed without ever being printed.
ComDoc is a member benefit provider for the Columbus Bar. For more information about this member benefit, contact Uma Zielinski at ComDoc at 614/628.8400.