As with any investment of consequential value, it is important to understand the landscape surrounding it. What will the investment help alleviate or what will it hopefully bring in return to an organization. In the realm of office technology, you can do this by first evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your environment. By taking a deeper dive into your current position, you will be able to better understand any liabilities and potential advantages to entering into a new agreement.
It is important to start with your equipment inventory and to not leave anything out. Often times when we work with clients on walk throughs and assessments, they will mention only the devices they deem significant. The downside here is that you are most likely unaware of the dollar amounts that add up over time due to these “insignificant” devices. By adding all equipment regardless of its workload, allows a clearer picture to come to the surface when examining the behaviors and patterns. Make sure you also search supply closets for devices and supplies that may have been placed into storage or discarded.
While examining and listing to each device, take note of the meter count for both black & white and color. These will be crucial elements in determining the TCO figure. Also take note of the brand, model, and accessories of each model. It is important to clarify in your notes whether the device is able to scan, fax, or copy in addition to print.
Once you have a list of devices and the users that they correlate with, it is time to examine the usage and financial responsibilities of each device. A good place to start is with invoices for items like ink, toner, and printers. In addition, you will want to look at any contracts you are currently under with vendors. It is wise to gather this information for at least the past year as it will give you a good sample size and equate for slower and busier months. Once these figures are acquired, you can pair the expenses with the devices they were for and begin tabulating how much was spent for each.
In addition to gathering costs, you will want to go back to the devices you listed and gather another meter reading. You will want to make sure that the second meter reading is taken at least a month after the first to better represent cycles in volume. Now that you have all the meters, you can subtract the second from the first and get the estimated volume per month for each device. By knowing the volume of each device, you will be able to calculate your cost per page by taking the cost of ink/toner for the specified device and dividing it by the average volume. Just note that you will need to do this for B/W and color.
(Second meter reading) – (First meter reading) = Average volume
(Ink/toner costs for device) / (Average volume for device) = Cost per page
Now that you have the numbers, you should take a deeper look into what they mean. Looking at the cost per copy of each device for B/W and Color, is there a large discrepancy between models? Are there devices being used much more than others? Are those devices the least expensive to run out of all the models? Have you had to replace printers or devices throughout the year and why? Often times, when a printer breaks in an unregulated office environment it is replaced with a different model. Though ink/toner is usually bought in a bundle to “save” money. It is common place to find ink/toner that is no longer applicable to devices in use and therefore a sunk cost that should be added to the overall TCO.
By totaling the amounts of costs and volume, you can gain greater insight as to what you may desire in a new plan and begin addressing areas of concern. An option you may consider are pushing individual volume to shared devices that are toner based and built to handle larger volumes at a much lower cost per page. In addition, you may deem color unnecessary for certain sectors of the business and either seek B/W devices for certain employees or solutions that can regulate permissions of user printing behaviors. The key thing is to be aware that you are in better control of your printing environment because you are not ignoring it any longer!
The process of calculating the TCO of your office technology can seem overwhelming but will set you up to be in a better position of understanding your organizational needs and behaviors. If you have not been keeping tabs on your printing expenses and would like to take a deeper look into what it is costing your organization, we would love to help! Give us a call at 800-648-7081 or visit our website to schedule an appointment so we can take the burden off of you by bringing clarity and relief to your bottom line.
Drew Smith currently serves as Director of Communications for Copiers Plus. The company specializes in modernizing office equipment and increasing efficiencies in workplace communications throughout the state of North Carolina. To learn more about how Copiers Plus is providing their customers with innovative document solutions and enhanced printing transparency, visit www.copiers-plus.com. Drew would love to hear from you at [email protected].
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