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The Real Benefits of Print Management

12 Sep, 2007 By: Trevor Hofer imageSource

The Real Benefits of Print Management

Despite the fact that print management has become a ubiquitous term, there is
still considerable confusion about what exactly it is and what its benefits are.
There are many people who confuse print management and fleet management
solutions, but the two perform very different functions.

Fleet management (or device management) solutions are used to collect meter
reads on imaging devices and perform service functions such as supplies
management and service history tracking. 

In contrast, a comprehensive print management solution allows organizations
to capture and control every print job that occurs in an environment.  Print
management solutions also enable organizations to control who can print to where
and can be used to alter user behavior by setting printing limits, restricting
color usage and forcing duplexing.

Is your dealership stuck in a rut and offering print management solutions
strictly to cost recovery customers?  These solutions are no longer just a
value-add to offer to professional service firms. As this article will explain,
a print management solution can be a powerful revenue generating and cost saving
tool that can benefit any dealer and organization by performing three key
functions: Workflow analysis, cost reduction and cost recovery. 

Workflow Analysis–Sell more equipment. Optimize your customer's print

Many dealers are already conducting rapid assessments using scanning software
on USB drives and are under the impression that this is all that is needed to
perform a thorough print analysis.   Rapid assessment is very useful for
capturing instant snapshots of the print environment and this capability is
valuable for opening doors.  However, it only scratches the surface when it
comes to uncovering equipment sales opportunities.  

There are analysis tools available that are designed specifically to allow
office equipment dealers to perform a more detailed, time-limited silent print
analysis. This is best accomplished using software which is installed onto
individual workstations at a customer's site to enable ongoing tracking. 

Some people are intimidated at the thought of having to install software onto
their client's workstations.  However, most large organizations already have
mass installation methods in place that will make this process painless and
relatively non-intrusive compared to software solutions that must be installed
to print servers.

Analyze all printing

Tracking printing at the desktop level will allow you to analyze all of the
devices at a client's site, including local, networked and direct-to-IP
printers.  Since desktop printers are the most expensive to run, it is important
to monitor how these devices are being used.  Some of the biggest surprises come
out of an analysis of this type of printing.

Are your customers printing to their inkjet printers instead of your
multi-function device?  A rapid assessment tool won't reveal this type of
information, but a comprehensive print analysis using a client-based tool such
as the Print Audit Assessor will. 

Gather critical workflow data

A comprehensive analysis tool will gather valuable workflow information to
help answer questions such as:  Who is printing the most?  Where are they
printing to?   What size and types of jobs are they printing?  When are they
printing and are there any bottlenecks?

Without this workflow information, it is very difficult to determine which
devices are currently being misused.  Having a clear picture of the current
state will help reinforce your proposals regarding new equipment and any other
changes that are warranted.

Prove the need for new equipment

Assessment provides reporting that details what the current state of
printing looks like in your client's environment.  This can then be used to
calculate what would be gained (saved) by implementing changes.  Dealers are
able to make proposals based on their clients' real print data, rather than
generic, one-size fits all, industry stats.

Cost Reduction–Direct volumes to your devices, reducing your client's

After a print analysis has been completed and new devices have been placed,
are you taking measures to ensure that the new devices are being used to their
full potential?  Is your cost per copy program getting the majority of your
customer's volumes? 

Many dealers drastically underestimate the amount of volumes they are losing
to their competitor's devices. After a thorough print analysis, one of the
largest office equipment dealers in the United Kingdom recently discovered that
their printers were only receiving 20 percent of their customers' volumes. Prior
to the analysis they had assumed that number to be closer to 60 percent. 

The problem as they understood it was one of human nature – people will print
to their convenience printer, rather than the device best suited for the job. 
Instead of assuming that you are getting most of a client's volumes –ensure that
you are by putting a “gatekeeper” in place, to monitor and alter user behavior.

Redirect print volumes to your devices - A print management tool with
reduction features can help to change the printing habits of users and encourage
them to make better printing decisions.  For example, if a user tries to print a
large print job to their personal printer, a pop-up window can encourage or
force them to print to your more efficient, multi-function device instead.

Pop-up window:

Give your customers control and increase their ROI - Your clients will be
more likely to buy a color device if they know that it won't be abused.  A
reduction tool will give your customer a variety of cost saving options.  For
example, they could configure the print management software to force users to
print on both sides of the page when printing to certain devices.  It could also
be configured to disallow color printing from specific individuals or to
disallow black and white printing to color devices.

Clearly cost reduction tools are a win-win situation for the dealer and the
customer.  For this reason, many dealers have begun bundling print reduction
tools with their devices to ensure that they are being used to their fullest.
Those dealers who are utilizing print management tools are quickly taking over
entire accounts.

Cost Recovery– Overcome sales objections.  Add value to your

Many dealers are already familiar with cost recovery solutions.  Cost
recovery is most common in professional service firms such as architects,
engineers, law firms, realtors and advertising agencies.  These firms typically
charge their users or clients for printing and photocopying expenses.

Surprisingly, many of these companies still calculate out-of-pocket expenses
by manually logging print jobs with a clipboard kept by the printer/plotter. 
This method has been proven to be very inaccurate -– case studies have shown
that people simply forget to record the data up to 80 percent of the time. 

Any dealership can take advantage of cost recovery opportunities to overcome
sales objections and add value to proposals:

Facilitate equipment sales - Cost recovery solutions tend to be an easy sell
since they usually pay for themselves in a matter of weeks or months.  In many
cases the ROI is so significant that in providing these solutions the dealers
are helping to generate additional revenues that the customer can use to
literally pay for new equipment. 

Simplify your client's chargeback process - Manual print or copy tracking is
a time consuming process that companies will gladly give up.  Most companies can
greatly simplify and increase the accuracy of their bill back process by
installing a print management solution.   Cost recovery solutions can automate a
company's chargeback process by automatically recording printing and
photocopying costs and integrating the data with most accounting and billing

Getting Started

Have you been missing out on many of the benefits a print management
solution can provide?  The good news is that there are powerful solutions
available that are easy to get up and running, without any formal training.  A
complete solution with the workflow analysis, cost reduction and recovery
features discussed in this article will reward both you and your customers.

A word about support

Your reputation is on the line when you sell or promote any product.  Make
sure that you are fully satisfied that your client will be in good hands with
the print management partner that you choose.  Try the software in your own
offices and test the support yourself.

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