By Andrew Hall, Marketing Manager, OKI Systems UK Ltd.
Major capital investment in new office equipment was one of the first casualties of the cuts for many central and local government offices. Which means that for five or six years now, they have had no alternative but to make do with increasingly inefficient and outdated technology.
Sometimes devices such as printers are so old that they are no longer supported by the vendor. Or someone has to manage a complex web of variable maintenance contracts and order different sets of consumables for each device.
So in these cases, maintaining the status quo could be a false economy. Printers have progressed in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Typically these now have a smaller footprint and are far more energy-efficient than previously. Also, print, fax and scan are now combined in one multifunction device, to save even more space and overheads.
To benefit from these advances, government offices can now buy printers and printing as a service, which can grow or contract as required. Evidence shows that this kind of arrangement can save up to 30% of printing costs.
Taking this route means that instead of making a large, upfront investment, the organisation buys printers, supplies, maintenance and support in one all-inclusive and rolling contract. This arrangement enables continual tracking of costs and helps control budgets, as well as freeing up staff to focus on core tasks rather than wasting time trying to fix and resolve issues.
However, perhaps the most important part of this service is that subscribers have ongoing access to the expertise of the vendor. OKI, for example, works with its managed print services clients, to devise a print policy that minimises downtime and ensures the best use of the latest models.
This first involves an audit of existing printer stock and output volume. It’s surprising how many large local authorities, for example, don’t really know what they have, who uses it and what for, let alone how they are maintained. Only when this information has been gathered and collated can the provider give best practice recommendations and devise a tailored implementation plan.
The best service providers can add significant value, advising on the right mix of devices and their best location. They will also recommend some simple measures to ensure printers are configured and set up properly. This strategy will be constantly evaluated, ensuring print processes adapt and keep pace with changes across the organisation, while costs are kept to a minimum.
The costs of printing are often overlooked, but purchasing print and printing as a service helps identify them, minimise them and then keep them under control into the future.