The first part of this series introduced the strategic aspects of a successful print solution. It’s important to understand the key details of this critical phase.

When I said you need to “know your stuff,” I don’t mean you need to be a print expert like Pharos. I mean you need to know what “stuff” you have in your organization – the number of devices, the number of employees, the number of pages printed each year, and so on. In aggregate, these data points provide the basic framework to compute your organization’s baseline spending on all print-related activity.

You need to start with this comprehensive reference point so that you can understand your current state, clarify your desired future state, begin to see your ROI opportunity, and ultimately look back on your annual savings and efficiency gains.

Even if you only know how many employees you have, it’s a start. We can help you with the rest. Our benchmarks suggest that on average, most organizations print more than 550 pages per employee per month. Multiply your number of employees by 550 pages per month and your average monthly print output begins to emerge.

Of course, a volume estimate is just scratching the surface. The cost for this volume varies based on manufacturer, model, and device utilization, but you can expect current monochrome costs to be around $.0275 per page and around $.125 per page for color.

Yes, color printing is often 3-5 times more expensive than monochrome. Color usage varies by industry more than any other data point. In the healthcare industry, we rarely see color output exceed 10%, but in the big brand manufacturers, color print is typically around 35%. In banking, specifically wealth management, we have seen color output as high as 65% of all print. In higher education, color consistently represents about 15-20% of volume when combining student printing with faculty and staff printing.

Using that 550 pages per month per employee estimate, now factor in your industry’s likely color output, and the numbers grow still more. Then take this average cost per page for monochrome volume and color volume and add $.00625 per page for paper. Armed with these conservative estimates, you can begin to see how printing costs are much higher than many business leaders realize. There’s a much greater opportunity to save than first meets the eye.

Many organizations overlook a key component of the price per page factor that I mentioned earlier. We sometimes hear, “Printing costs us less than $.01 per page!” The missing ingredient is how the device was acquired. Is your fleet purchased, leased, or rented? There is a fixed cost in each option, be it the lease payment or the monthly depreciation charge. This fixed charge varies from 40-60% of the total cost, depending on how each device is utilized.

For some of our large customers, these annual baseline costs total in the tens of millions. Based on a company’s business-critical printing workflows and culture, we help them reduce this volume by 35-60%. These savings are realized year after year.

Along with this annual savings comes efficiency improvements including less paper, less energy, less infrastructure, less waste/trash removal, and less risk. More specifically, less risk that confidential information is printed and then forgotten at a device, potentially getting into the wrong hands. Secure pull printing technology prevents this from happening. This important risk avoidance factor probably deserves its own line, especially in healthcare, financial, insurance, and manufacturing companies.

So, now you know a little bit more about the typical cost of printing and some of the many factors at play when you begin the process of optimizing your organization’s print environment. The next part, and I believe the fun part, is the strategic design – paving the path forward to lowest cost, greater efficiency, better security, and more sustainable printing workflows. [ Read Part 3 ]

Let us help you establish more mindful and sustainable printing habits in your organization. You’ll be surprised to see how much more efficient your printing operations can be and how much money you can save your organization every year. Start the conversation today!