mike oleary_resized
Michael O’Leary Nov 11, 2015

Four steps to control printing expenses

Print management is an important business function for banks, but it’s often overlooked. Despite the emphasis on security these days, companies too often ignore the security and confidentiality of internally printed materials, and they don’t see the hidden costs of indiscriminate printing behaviors.

To secure print workflows, educate employees and reduce the cost of printing operations, bank managers need to start with the right print management strategy. Here are four steps to accomplish that:

Determine a baseline. Many companies have no idea how much they spend on printing, nor do they take the time to determine how much of their printing is actually business-critical. Establishing an enterprise-wide baseline enables you to reveal problematic printing behaviors, identify issues with your device fleet and related consumables and recognize all of the costs associated with print. Obtaining baseline data is a fairly straightforward process. Secure print management software captures comprehensive device information and employee printing activity, typically over a 90-day period to provide a sufficient sample size.

Find a print expert. Consider investing in a print technology partner to help reveal your enterprise baseline and compare it to industry benchmarks and best practices. Partnering with a print expert is a critical first step toward understanding your enterprise print data and developing a holistic strategy to optimize print workflows, secure ideal vendors and create a more efficient and sustainable print environment. These solutions can significantly reduce your total cost of ownership year after year.

Integrate security measures. Bankers don’t need to be told how critical it is to ensure the security and confidentiality of their printing devices and internal documents. What they might not know is that securing print workflows also reduces the overall costs associated with printing. When employees need to authenticate with their ID card to use a device and release their documents, unnecessary printing drops significantly. We’ve found that this security layer alone reduces enterprise-wide print volume by as much as 30%.

Roll out an education program. You can’t get the most out of your print management strategy unless all employees understand why the system was put in place. Educate your staff on optimal printing choices and how printing affects your organization’s costs and sustainability goals. Share relevant data with them, such as the fact that it takes 10 liters of water to create one sheet of standard copier paper. People want to do the right thing, and we’ve found that employees usually respond enthusiastically to internal campaigns.

While these steps may seem fairly straightforward, many banks are hesitant to adopt certain IT practices for a number of reasons. First, an erroneous perception persists that embracing change will increase annual total cost of ownership (TOC). Banks may also be concerned that they won’t be able to control the number of applications being deployed across their environment or that these apps will eventually become outdated and need to be replaced. 

Given such apprehensions, it’s easy to understand why some banks wonder whether the return on investment proffered by print management software can ever be realized. However, by implementing a data-driven print management strategy and any necessary software, banks can optimize print workflows, streamline their device fleet and create a culture of mindful and responsible printing, which isn’t a bad way to reduce their TOC.

Mr. O’Leary is a vice president at Pharos Systems International, a Rochester, N.Y.-based print management software company. He can be reached at moleary@pharos.com.

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