Reducing printing costs in your business

According to the market intelligence firm, IDC, the cost related to printing represent 1-3% of annual turnover of businesses. It is nevertheless possible to reduce the printing costs, by embracing a comprehensive approach and changing work habits. Here are some ways to change the printing process and adopting best practices.

Optimizing the printing process

Audit your needs

Make an inventory of the number of printers, determine the type of printing done, the volume of pages printed each month and the cost of consumables (e.g. paper, printer toners)

  • Assess users' real needs: including the possible use of additional functions (copy, scan, fax, etc ...)
  • Consider the replacement of some process involving printing (prioritize on the use of digital copies of your document, whenever its possible) .
  • Consider centralizing printing on multifunction systems, or outsourcing them to a specialist provider (for some specific type of printouts).
  • This analysis phase can help to pin point problems in the printing process (unsuitable equipment, redundancy, poor practices of employees).

Reduce the number of printers and opt for multifunction devices

The use of individual printers usually causes several problems:

  • Additional costs (e.g ink, fairly low performance, repair costs more important)
  • Risk of heterogeneity among your computing assets (different settings)
  • Local congestion
  • The use of multifunction printers is recommended, but it involves the training of employees (technical knowledge in multifunction devices, acceptance of change work habits).

In addition to numerous technical criteria to be assessed before choosing a multifunction printer, it is important to take into account the cost of consumables (and the frequency of renewal of cartridges / toners) and the purchase price of the unit .

It is therefore important to check:

  • Printing capacity of cartridges
  • The presence of separate ink tanks slots.

Reminder: laser printers are cheaper to use than ink jet printer (although they are more expensive to purchase).

Adopting best practices.

Encourage duplex printing

According to a Gartner study, making use of duplex printing can reduce paper consumption up to 30% in enterprises. This feature is supported by the MFP.

Make use of "multiple print"

This feature offered on some printer, reduces the size of pages to print, and arrange them on a single sheet, in a smaller size (Up to four reduced pages on a single sheet of paper). It is especially appropriate if you just want to have an "overview" of a document.

View the document before printing

A feature available on most desktop applications, to quickly check if the document (or web page) doesn't contain unnecessary printable areas, resulting in the consumption of too much ink (images, colors, appendices, etc...).

Selective printing in black and white

Word processors allow you to select and print specific pages of your documents. Print settings can also excluded graphics and images to save ink.

Avoid copying and pasting from web browsers

Performing copy and paste of contents of a web page to the page of a word processor usually leads to loss of several information: pictures, article format, typographical rules, etc..
The result is often unsatisfactory and leads to an overconsumption of paper to get an adequate rendering.

However, web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari) offer either extensions or native functionality to print Web pages correctly.

Archive documents in the PDF/A format

The PDF format is a recognized standard for the paperless filing of documents with legal/technical value.

A hard copy documents is not always necessary, and the creation of PDF thus allows you to avoid unnecessary consumption of paper.

PDF/A-1 is recognized as the correct format for the long-term archiving of documents. It can be generated from free (OpenOffice) or licensed applications.

Software to optimize the printing process

Several software can reduce ink consumption and better manage the printing process:

Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.
This document, titled « Reducing printing costs in your business », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (