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There are six simple questions you need to address to transform your printing environment for the better.

Xerox Printing

A proactive approach to business technology is the best way to stay ahead of the competition, manage costs, and boost both efficiency and ROI. There is no way to avoid investing in technology, so why not do everything in your power to make sure you’re consistently getting the absolute most out of every penny you put into building your infrastructure?

And it’s not just things like IT security, data management, business continuity, and accessibility that need a little attention in order to give you and your team everything you need. Every aspect of your IT environment matters – including your printing environment.

When was the last time you checked to see how your print network was performing? Or even thought about your printing hardware unless you had to refill the paper tray, replace a toner cartridge, or troubleshoot a connectivity error? I’m guessing never. It’s okay – it’s definitely not just you that tends to overlook printing when thinking about your technology infrastructure. It’s such a basic and, by comparison, low-tech aspect of your IT that it’s easy to assume once a printer has been set up, you can ignore it until it breaks down or needs to be replaced.

But the truth of the matter is that you could be losing out on efficiency and productivity because your printing environment isn’t everything it could be. Luckily, transforming your printing environment is as simple as addressing these 6 criteria in order to boost optimization, color, security, mobility, and document management.

1) Device Optimization

Start with the basics, and consider how you’re using your printers and how many you really need in place to meet your needs. Can one centralized printer meet the needs of your employees, or does each department need their own? Do you have multiple devices in place that could be consolidated into one multi-function printer? Could several basic printers compliment a single multi-function device to meet the needs of each office or department? What’s right for you depends on the size of your team, the layout of your office, and how much or how little your team relies on hard copies of data or documents to complete their work.

2) Color Printing

Depending on the type of work you do and the types of materials your staff needs to print off, color printing may be entirely unnecessary. However, if certain departments or employees need color printing available to them, do you have a way to control how and when color printing is used? Colored ink is pricey, even with wholesaler or business discounts. It’s important to not only make sure colored ink isn’t being wasted on black and white printing, but also on personal use.

3) Secure Printing

Once again, the level of security needed depends on the kind of work you do and the types of documents your staff prints, scans, or faxes on a daily basis. If you’re subject to HIPAA or other industry compliance requirements, basic security might not quite cut it. You’ll need to consider how sensitive data is shared within your office, and who needs access to that data. As important as protecting your network from outside threats is, you also need to consider how things like PHI and private, personal, or financial data is handled within your own four walls. If only specific employees need to have access to patient or client data, security measures for the printer itself – like pin codes or ID card readers, might be needed. This can keep sensitive data from lying in the print tray for anyone to grab. This is especially important if your printer or printers are in easy-to-access areas like hallways between offices or behind the front desk.

4) Mobile Print Systems

Do you offer your team productive print options like mobile printing? While traditional workstations are still the norm in most offices, more and more employees are working from mobile devices both in and out of the office. Giving your staff the option to securely connect to your wireless printer from their tablet, smartphone or laptop can be a serious timesaver. Instead of having to email documents to themselves that they need to be opened on the office computer before they can be printed, your employees can print directly from their device in a matter of seconds.

5) Print Management

Cost management is something to consider in every aspect of your operations. However, some items are easier to maintain than others. Paper and toner are both expensive supplies to retain in stock, so keeping tabs on when and how they’re being used is important. Even the best employee is tempted to take advantage of “free” printing for personal use, and while the odd page or two might not seem like a big deal, these little – or sometimes not-so-little – print jobs can add up fast. Without tools in place to monitor printer activity, keeping track of your resources is next to impossible.

6) Document Processes

Finally, you need to consider what’s being done to keep up with the latest technology trends. Are your processes up-to-date with today’s technology? Do you actually know what that technology looks like or how it can help? There is no shortage of hardware and software available to improve processes and streamline printing resources. If you’re not staying on top of what’s at your disposal, addressing the first five items on this list won’t help you nearly as much as it could.

The easiest way to find the answers to these questions is to run a Print Efficiency Test. Once you know where you stand, you can start making changes to improve your printing environment.

Did you enjoy this article? Here are three more articles from our blog that you may enjoy as well:

7 Ways to Reduce Your Paper Usage

Is The U.S. Government Planning A Special Tax On Paper Waste?

IT Is Changing – IT Budgeting Is Too

Published on 2nd July 2018 by Shawn Maggio