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Tracking Systems Provide a Clear View of Document Management Costs

11 Feb, 2009 By: Randy Allen imageSource

Tracking Systems Provide a Clear View of Document Management Costs

tough economic times all businesses look for ways to run their operations in a
more “lean” manner. Reducing the bottom line can be accomplished in a number of
ways, from downsizing staff to trimming company benefits.  Increased document
solution efficiencies, and the “going green” approach may not be at the top of
the cost-cutting roster for most businesses, but by implementing a print
management program, 10% -15% or more can be saved in operational costs.

It can happen in ways the average business owner might not
stop to think about – even with such simple steps as looking at the cost of
cartridges that the desktop printers use. There’s more to it than that, of
course, because it takes quite a few printer cartridges to add up to a 10%
savings on operating expenses.

Yet it doesn’t take long for those costly cartridges to add
up, and suddenly that $129 “big box” desktop printer isn’t quite the bargain it
once was.

That’s an obvious example, but there are others that the business owner might
not think of, such as generating color documents – should you go to a commercial
printer, or does it make sense to purchase the equipment and bring it in house?

Golden to Green

Everyone remembers the “good old days” when color copiers first came on the
scene. They were considered a way to expedite a document or two, but were so
cost prohibitive that no one would have ever seriously viewed them as an
acceptable alternative to a sheet-fed press. That is not necessarily the case
today, though, with advanced technologies and lower document-generation costs.

Businesses need to look at all phases of their document generation, from the
cost of equipment and supplies through the necessary technical and service
support. There are additional potential savings that can be achieved, also, by
in-house mailing programs.

A business owner starts by taking a critical look at operating systems – how
efficient is the present equipment, what is the cost per page to produce
documents, and how can a company decrease the cost to produce these documents?

With the current emphasis on “going green,” businesses more than ever are
feeling the pressure to convert to paperless, or at least get as close as they
can. And for the paper that a business does generate, it makes good
environmental sense to do so as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Using a single source to oversee this process is a good start toward reducing
costs. And the larger corporations that generate a significant volume of
documents owe it to themselves to evaluate the cost of what they are doing.

Tracking Operating Costs

Currently, print management software is available for corporations and
institutions that use multiple printers and copiers. There are a number of
programs on the market that can monitor all machine printed materials and track
the number of copies each piece of equipment uses. Print management tracking
systems can also monitor paper consumption and accurate usage of scan, fax and
copy output. And, new software systems also help evaluate and sort mailing so
that even the final product, on its way out the door, can be produced more

There can be a wide discrepancy between the operating costs of desktop
printers, copiers, and multifunctional devices to generate an individual
document. The smaller, laser printers that are available at virtually every
office supply company carry low price tags but the cost of replacing cartridges
can be very significant.  A system that tracks documents would ‘red flag’ any
excessive use of machines with high per-page costs. And with most office
environments now using color, it’s critical that businesses have current
technology that allows them to generate documents in the most efficient manner.

Color, Costs, and MPS

Once, color was the domain of web offset printers – today it can be
accomplished in small quantities through improved color copying methods. If a
company generates consistent small volumes of documents – perhaps a real estate
agent showing a picture of a property for sale, for example – it may be more
cost-effective to purchase a color copier than to continually go to a printer
and pay setup costs and the fees associated with offset printing.

The availability of print management systems can allow a business – any
business – to achieve greater cost controls and efficiencies, making existing
equipment more economical and perhaps opening eyes to the need for updated

Companies should either undertake a self-evaluation where their document
generation needs are concerned, or utilize the services of a trusted advisor in
the field. Office product and service dealers can do their clients a great
service by promoting the concept of print management, and a properly educated
consumer will be less resistant toward a higher initial investment if he/she can
see the return on investment.

The industry has changed and the concept is gaining favor. Print management
offers dealers a chance to be competitive in their industry and also help their
clients save on their bottom lines – a “win win” all around.

Randy Allen is VP of Marketing at ASI Business Solutions, a Dallas
provider of office equipment and technology. For more info Ph 972-888-1500 /www.asibiz.com.

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