“Why Should I Consolidate My Printers Into A Multifunction Copier?”

Un-managed printers can be one of the largest expenses in a company. So large in fact, that a Gartner report suggests that 1-3% of company revenues are spent on document output.

These un-managed printers that we are talking about are the low-cost inkjet and laser printers you purchase at your local electronics store for under $100. They cost so little money that soon enough, every one of your employees has a printer sitting at their desk. The problem with this situation is that once the initial cartridges are empty, the cost to replace those cartridges costs more than the printer itself! Even worse, these printers easily break down and rarely have a warranty long enough to cover the cost of the parts.

After years of experience in this industry, we have heard all of the arguments in favour of printer. The first is that desktop printers boost productivity in the office. It’s convenient for employees to print from their desks without having to walk to a centralized office copier. Some employers also fear that staff will waste time chatting around the copier, similar to the office water cooler. The second argument in favour of desktop printers it that they offer privacy. An accountant or HR Manager often prints confidential information that can’t risk sitting in the tray of the copier. Thus, a printer in their office allows printed documents to be retrieved confidentially and instantaneously.

These arguments are fair. However, our argument against desktop printers is that they simply cost too much money to operate. Here are our reasons why:

Cost of Ink of Toner Cartridges: The profit margins in desktop printers are very low. Printing is an extremely competitive industry and the top manufacturers constantly fight for market share. Manufacturers and re-sellers will often sell printers below their cost. They do this because their profit margins exist in the cartridges! Most printers will only come with cartridges at 25% of life. It won’t take very long before you need to spend an additional $100 to $200 on replacement cartridges. Even if you use your printer infrequently, the ink and toner will eventually dry up, requiring you to purchase new cartridges anyways.

High Cost Per Page: The cost per page on a cartridge is extremely expensive. If you divide the cartridge price by the cartridge yield, the math is often $0.04-$0.05 for a black print and $0.15-$0.20 for a colour print. This is approximately 300-400% higher than the cost per page of a multifunction copier.

Cost of Drums and Repairs: Cartridges are not the only consumable in a printer. A drum will need to be replaced every 4 to 5 sets of cartridges you use. Other parts that could break or need replacement include the imaging unit, the transfer belt and the output tray. Sometimes the cost of these parts are high enough that it is more economical to simply replace the printer altogether!

Cost of Locating Suppliers and Paying Invoices: There is a cost attached to employee labour time. Many companies attempt to reduce their print costs by shopping around with multiple non-OEM cartridge suppliers. Time spent contacting these suppliers can add up to several hours per week. On top of this, your Accounts Payable department will spend additional time paying separate invoices to these multiple suppliers.

Cost of Un-managed Printing: Without specialized software, it’s impossible to track how much printing your employees are doing on their desktop printers. On the surface, cartridges and printer supplies appear inexpensive and therefore many supply purchases are unapproved. Yet, the hidden cost of office printing is said to cost companies up to 1 to 3% of corporate revenue.

Consolidating your printers into a centralized multifunction copier is one of the answers to dramatically reducing your printer costs. A multifunction copier offers a much lower cost per page which will immediately reduce your costs. Copiers also offer built in print management features such as tracking and accounting which will allow you to manage and limit staff printing. This is especially useful for limiting colour printing costs.

There are dozens of white papers and case studies available on the web showing the functional, financial and environmental benefits to consolidating your printers. We will always endorse consolidation because the hard cost savings can help companies increase their profits and invest those funds into more important areas.

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