Thanks to inflation, paper costs have been rising rapidly. If you need to print things for your business, which most businesses do, this can put a drag on your budget. Fortunately, with print management, the costs of paper can be contained despite inflation.
What Is Print Management?
Almost every business and organization needs at least one computer printer. Once an organization starts building up a printer fleet, the challenge becomes managing these printers. With professional print management, a third-party vendor with expertise in printers coordinates and maintains your printer fleet for you.
You will hear print management called by different names, most commonly Managed Print Services or MPS. (At CDS Office Technologies, our Managed Print Services are called Print Management Plus.)
The exact type of services provided by Managed Print Services depends on the provider, but generally a special print management software is set up to oversee and maintain the printer fleet. Print management software usually includes remote monitoring so that a dedicated team can keep tabs on what is happening with your organization’s printers.
In addition to managing and monitoring printers to make sure they are working properly, print management can also keep track of how much paper is being used, as well as when toner and ink is being depleted. When access controls are put into place, printers can also be monitored for who is using them and how much.
The Rising Cost of Paper
This brings us to the main point of this blog. Paper costs are rising dramatically. Even though the worst of the COVID pandemic is over, the reverberations remain in our economy. Paper costs were already increasing, and then the war in Ukraine has further dampened the global economy. Energy costs have been rising, which impacts the cost of paper production and transportation.
According to a poll in Printweek, 32% of commercial printers surveyed said that they saw a rise in printing costs of more than 20% in just one year. The vast majority, 7 out of 10, saw rates increase more than 10%.
Commercial printers are responding to the increase in paper costs in many different ways. Some are buying reams of paper in advance. Commercial printers are also storing pallets of paper to keep on hand for their main clients.
While businesses can pass on some of these costs, there is a downside to this, as at some point customers and clients can only pay for so much of an increase in costs. This can end up driving down demand. Therefore, a prudent business will try to maintain costs on their end in order to avoid passing too much of a cost to the customer.
Be Prepared for More Paper Price Hikes Across the Board
The increase in paper costs doesn’t just impact commercial printers and businesses. It’s extending to basic necessities such as toilet paper. Many recall the massive toilet paper shortages of the beginning of the COVID pandemic. And while such obvious toilet paper holding hoarding isn’t a constant threat, at any given point in time, the public could panic and start to make a run on toilet paper products at the grocery store. This also impacts the cost of printer paper because ultimately paper comes from the same source.
And while some enterprising people are thinking of alternatives to toilet paper such as water-based bidets, there is no way to replace a piece of paper in a printer. You can’t print a brochure on water; it has to be paper.
Reducing Paper Waste as a Way to Handle Higher Paper Prices
For commercial printers, it might not be feasible to completely reduce paper printing, because that’s why the customers are coming to the shop: to get brochures and posters printed. But even commercial printers can reduce paper waste by finding ways to reduce waste in printing out sample copies and comps.
Other organizations who are using paper for internal documents, brochures, and informational packets for customers and clients can more easily reduce the use of paper. Of course, simple decisions can be made to send an information packet out as a PDF file, as opposed to paper. But beyond that, simply reducing day-to-day paper waste is one of the best ways to manage rising paper costs.
This is where print management comes in. A common problem with most businesses and organizations is when employees abuse the work printers to print out their own personal stuff. Printing out a one-page form once in a while isn’t a problem, but many people will use the company printer to publish their church bulletin or their sewing newsletter or their kids’ sports flyers.
While it might be a nice perk to offer employees when paper is cheap, you’ll have to put a kabosh on it if it’s wasting all of your paper budget. (Or require employees to BYOP – Bring Your Own Paper.)
It’s also often common for one department or team to overuse their paper privileges by sending out memos by hand that could have been delivered by email.
Print management can help monitor how printers are used and when there is an over usage at a particular station. If user access control is implemented via Managed Print Solutions, then you can find out exactly who is printing what and when.
Getting Started With Print Management
Inflation is increasing and paper costs are rising dramatically. Print management can help contain costs by monitoring paper usage and reducing paper waste. With Managed Print Services, you can get visibility into what is happening with your printer fleet so you can save on paper costs.
CDS Office Technologies is a leading provider of Managed Print Services based in Illinois. Our Print Management Plus solution can help bring visibility into your printing efforts, pinpointing areas where paper waste can be easily reduced. We serve small businesses, large businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. For more information on print management, please contact us today for a consultation.