Reduce your IT costs – part IV

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Written By: admin

Its Monday and we need to do something a little bit practical today. Now I understand that you have gotten a huge benefit from the first three parts. But now we need to do something today and start looking for immediate hard dollar savings. We are going to look at your printer infrastructure.

Printer department

Now I don’t run the printer department. That’s fine, read through this information, and share it with your peer that does handle the printers. And also see how the steps will help you with the areas you do manage in your IT organization. And if you are the CIO, then direct someone to implement these steps on your behalf.

Physical inventory

How many printers are in your organization today? By make, model, features, duty cycle, usage and location. If you don’t have this information, get working on it immediately. If you don’t know what you have, how are you going to manage it?

How do I inventory my printers?

Email all employees asking if they have a personal printer. Any people that reply yes send a second Email with the above items to fill out, or if you have the time or talent available, a link to an online web form.

Issue and cease and desist order

Immediately stop any purchases on printers and printer accessories such as extra trays or duplex units, and printer maintenance contracts or contract renewals. This needs to cover IT purchases and those outside of IT. In your organization this most likely means working with finance and procurement to make this happen. This needs to stay in place until you get that inventory completed above. Don’t stop people from purchasing paper, toner or ink, but advise them to purchase in smaller quantities if possible. Now if not the time to have someone suckered into a sales persons plea for an end of the year order with a huge discount turn into you having a year’s worth of ink.

Are you printers centralized or distributed?
You need an architectural drawing showing the printers, print queues and print servers for your UNIX, Windows, mainframe and other OS environments.

How many printers is enough?

If you have a printer that is busy all day long, that is great. If you have a printer that is idle all day today that is way wrong. A printer that is used less than 30 minutes a day is just as bad. Now you have to adjust this for logistics. Obviously a remote office will have its own printer. But a small remote office doesn’t need 4 printers for 15 people. And it certainly doesn’t need 10 printers. Now you will hear people say that they are managers and need a personal printer for their confidential items. Great, if these managers have a pooled or shared admin, put the printer next to the support staff personnel.

We are not going to see immediate huge hard dollar savings on those $99 printers you have to every manager and director. Or will you? Yes, if they are left on all day long and do not have any green features to power off.

Servers savings?

Why yes, those printers are either using direct IP printing or they are printing to servers and printing to print queues. Can you switch to direct IP printing and eliminate those servers? Can you centralize the print servers and save on the server hardware in any way?

Where we will see the bang for the buck is with all of those leased multi-function printers sitting in every floor of every building in your enterprise. Are they being used? Did you over purchase? Are you shelling out thousands of dollars a month on these devices so they can sit idle and a few people don’t have to walk an extra few feet to a printer? Now this will require you getting HR involved to make sure you are responsive to ergonomic needs and staff logistical needs. But any printer multi function device you can eliminate saves you hard cash immediately.

But I have a printer 3 year lease, now what?

It is time to bring that vendor in and start negotiating their costs, support and number of devices. How much are you paying for that service contract? What are your support levels? Do you have a team of full time paid professional consultants on site doing printer maintenance? Do you need that level of support? Can we move back from a 1 hour to a 2 hour SLA?

How much can I save on my IT budget?

I would love to tell you that you can save $100,000 a year in hard dollar savings by doing just this one step. But I can’t. You need to do the research, get your environment documented, and decide what is the best fit for your enterprise. I will tell you that a 100,000 duty cycle multi-function device that never faxes and only prints 3,000 pages a month is a HUGE waste of cash. Stop the leak.

What can I do with the printers I have now?

Immediately switch all of your printers to duplex printing. On all printers that do not have a duplex unit, look into the pricing, and determine what the ROI is on the device addition in paper costs. And since you know the printer usage volumes, you can determine the payback time. If it is less than six months, make the investment. Now set all of your print queues to duplex by default. Issue a memo reminding all employees to print duplex. And don’t tolerate someone ignoring the policy.

Color? Why?

Color costs 4x to 20x the cost of a black and white printing. Don’t waste money on color, and send out the memo to all employees to make drastic cut backs in the use of color printing.

Printouts at meetings?

Let everyone know that the reason you have people laptops to bring to meetings was also to let you stop doing handouts at those same meetings. And expect all managers and project managers to take the lead on this when they can. Now not everyone at a meeting will have a laptop. Projector anyone? Bring copies only for those needed?

This is not something you can fix on Monday only. But get it started, make the changes, and get the ball rolling.

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