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ISM Article

Measuring Up Coverage

9 Oct, 2001 By: Buyers Laboratory, Inc. imageSource

Measuring Up Coverage

you remember the paperless office? Nice concept, but it didn't work. Just walk
down the halls of any business. The whirring, clicking and clunking you hear is
paper being printed and copied, by the billions of pages, by the tons.


next, it was the Internet. This should reduce the flow of paper. Not a chance.
If anything, the Internet has increased print output. It's too easy to send
documents anywhere in the world where inevitably, they get printed ... in color
... lots of color ... using lots of toner.


reality is that even in today's digitally wired world, printed documents are
still the lifeblood for organizations of all kinds and sizes. A company whose
existence is dependent upon the printing and distribution of mission-critical
documents can't afford to ignore this fact.


print environments present a unique and difficult situation for Information
Technology management. Large multinational organizations as well as small-and
mid-sized companies are managing a complex mix of network environments
consisting of multiple operating systems, business applications, and numerous
networked output devices. All of these organizations are faced with the same


need for a uniform solution for managing and controlling enterprise printing


recently introduced software programs allow end-users to measure page coverage
and ultimately, they claim, estimate toner usage of documents printed in
networked environments: the Toner Usage Statistics System (TUSS) Output
Management program from Square, USA {Ramsey, NJ – (201) 785-2200} and the
Print Auditor Coverage Expert (PACE) from Service Level Management {Orlando, FL
(407) 894-1788}. Both programs offer the ability to measure page coverage either
for expense management (to internally track printing costs, for example) or for
billing (charge-back) purposes.


is a look at both products and what they offer:



Like various types of print-usage tracking software available, TUSS identifies
the user on the network and counts the number of pages printed by that person,
in addition to tracking other information about print jobs, such as the user's
department, size and type of paper used, and black-and-white or color output.
TUSS's ability to measure page coverage, however, is a feature not offered by
most other print-usage programs on the market today.


USA states that TUSS takes its page coverage analysis a step further than other
programs on the market by factoring in toner waste, a variable that takes into
consideration the technology of the printer being used, such as drum size and
rotation, which it claims will provide a better estimate of actual toner usage
than simply measuring page coverage. (The size of the drum, for example, may
cause the drum to rotate more times to cover an 8-1/2” x 11” original, which
would result in more toner waste than with a larger drum that is required to
rotate only once for the same size of paper).


difference with TUSS is that it takes into account the different technologies
[i.e., size and rotation of drum] that each model of printer uses to put the
pixel on the page,” said Richard Chiu, Square, USA's director of technology.
“TUSS bases all of its calculations on exactly what device is doing the

According to Koos Hussem, Square, USA's president, TUSS incorporates printer
specifications such as the number of pages printed per each toner cartridge, an
essential factor in figuring overall toner cost. The end-user has an option when
factoring in this number: use the information provided by the original equipment
manufacturer (OEM). Or consult a test lab such as Buyers Laboratory Inc. (BLI),
which includes toner yield test results (based on 6 percent coverage) in every
test report it publishes, or input information based on actual experience
following the consumption of one or more toner cartridges, the latter of which
is the most accurate method for measuring toner usage. The end-user, for
example, could generate a report after a toner cartridge is empty to determine
the total number of pages printed by that cartridge at an average percentage of
coverage, which TUSS would calculate.


also measures the four base colors (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) per page,
Hussem says, and tracks various media types printed on, allowing the end-user to
apply a separate cost for each. TUSS generates cost-per-page reports
incorporating all of these factors, and because the TUSS software platform
consists of a central accounting server, it eliminates the need for client
software, a benefit in network printing environments with hundreds of network
printers and perhaps thousands of users. For example, TUSS identifies a user
when he or she logs onto the network and captures any print job generated by
that person.


allows you to monitor, measure, cost and archive all network printing activity
on multiple networks,” said Hussem. “It's an ideal solution for both
mid-range and high-volume network printing environments.”


can be set up with a variety of charge-back billing options, such as declining
balance or even customized models, and offers a number of different
administrative and/or financial reports. These reports provide a detailed
overview of all print jobs and their costs, and can be grouped according to a
number of factors, including user, department and type of job (i.e., duplex,
size, and color). Administrative reports can analyze print traffic by printer,
printer usage by department, and the location of printers within buildings, just
to mention a few. TUSS can also restrict access to some users and balance print
loads by distributing jobs to underutilized printers. According to Hussem, TUSS
runs across a mix of platforms and supports a wide range of operating systems,
including HP's MPE, HP-UX, Sinix, Solaris, SCO, IBM AIX, Compaq/Digital Open
VMS, Compaq/Digital Unix and Microsoft's NT Server.


USA is a branch of Square, an enterprise applications software manufacturer
founded in 1974 in the Netherlands. Today, Square has offices in the United
States, United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. The company has worked with
Xerox, Konica, Deloite & Touche, Danka and Canon, among others. Visit
Square's Web site at www.outputmanagement.com.



While PACE also measures page coverage by pixel, it should be noted that PACE
only measures page coverage and does not perform additional functions offered by
the TUSS program; these additional functions, such as balancing print loads, are
performed by PACE's counterpart, Print Auditor (also designed by Service Level
Management), which acts as an overall print management tool. Alone, PACE
measures page coverage and generates a report on each file that details coverage
in percentages of cyan, yellow, magenta or black.


you're an organization with a network of ten or more printers, then PACE is a
worthwhile tool,” said Joe Sykes, Service Level Management's international
sales director. “The more printers an organization has, the more expensive
printing becomes. PACE can help alleviate some of those costs.”


Level Management (SLM) offers two versions of PACE: a full version that resides
on a network and captures information from every document being printed by every
user; and a “standalone” version that resides on a laptop, for example,
which enables the end-user to print electronic documents to file, giving page
coverage analysis on the spot. Sykes said that PACE takes the “guesswork”
out of estimating page coverage, although the PACE program does not perform
calculations to estimate toner yield.


[usage] has always been guessed at and has always been the only undetermined
factor figured into cost-per-page contracts,” Sykes said. “With PACE, the
guesswork is taken out of the equation.”


to Sykes, PACE was found to be a minimum of 95 percent accurate in testing. SLM
officials said this rate of accuracy results from the fact that PACE, like TUSS,
captures raster data from RIPped print jobs so the information taken into
account for each file has essentially been “read” by the print driver and
processed by the print controller.


print management on a network, SLM offers Print Auditor, available through IKON
Office Solutions. While IKON acts as the Print Auditor distributor and conducts
site surveys to show how the program may help reduce costs, SLM sells the
product to individual end-users. Like other print management programs, Print
Auditor tracks information pertaining to the user, job and device, and provides
complete reports on who is printing to where and how much it costs, based on
figures input by the end-user (similar to TUSS). PACE provides the end-user with
the number of pages printed and their average page coverage. According to SLM's
North American president, Shaun Hampton, two manufacturers are currently
considering offering the program with their printer lines.


Level Management was founded in 1994 and maintains offices in the United States,
United Kingdom, and Australia. The company specializes in software for the print
industry, creating tools designed to help companies more effectively manage
their existing office print systems. Visit SLM's Web site at www.print-auditor.com.



Pricing for PACE starts at around $500 (not including Print Auditor),
while TUSS starts at around $5,000. It should be noted that TUSS's price
reflects its wide array of capabilities, most of which are not available with
PACE, but only through SLM's Print Auditor program.


both companies listed above target their products to end-users and
dealers/manufacturers, the dealers and/or manufacturers stand to gain the most
from these products. For end-users, estimating page coverage is ultimately a
moot point; after negotiating a cost-per-page deal, for example, the end-user's
toner supply is already covered by the contract and therefore keeping track of
page coverage is unnecessary.


dealers and/or manufacturers can benefit from these programs in two ways that
could be a disadvantage to end-users:


Monitor a customer's page coverage prior to entering into a contract and charge
a higher cost-per-page rate based on the average page coverage.


Continuously monitor a customer's page
coverage and charge extra when the customer exceeds the amount of page coverage
specified in the cost-per-page contract.



best advice to an end-user when confronting the page coverage issue: Be careful.
Don't get caught up in the hype that surrounds the page coverage/toner yield

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