Assessing Your Office Printing Needs

Every business needs to have printing facilities to be able to function. Look around any office environment and you are sure to find a printer and a copier – essential equipment for day to day operation. But how do you determine what printing and copying equipment you actually need in your office? What are the most economical systems for your needs? Which office copier will handle your copy volume demand without coughing it’s mechanics across the office floor? On many occasions office printing and copying equipment is selected by opinion, without much consideration of the facts.

When considering replacing the office printing and copying equipment, a more informed approach will help select the correct equipment to suit your needs. Draw up a check-list for your requirements and ask others to check that your have listed the facilities that they need – as well as ensuring that you haven’t included benefits that your office will not need. Do you need larger paper sizes, colour or black and white images, networked into the office workstations or computer server, etc?

If you already have a copier installed, then check the monthly counter readings from the machine to give you information on how many copies are being produced each month or annually. Calculate how much copy paper your company consumes, between the copier counter and the copy paper consumption, you should be able to work out an average number of copies produced per month.

Do you have a number of individual office printers scattered about your offices? If so, then these are also adding to your print and copy requirements – as well as adding to the running costs of your printing facilities. If these are inkjet printers, then the cost of each page produced is probably disproportionately high compared to other printing methods. Laser printers, although cheaper to run than inkjets, will also have a relatively high cost per page. Having determined your copy and print volume requirements and the facilities needed from an office copier/printer, then you’re better equipped for starting your search for the most appropriate machine for your office. You may wish to consider including a networked copier / printer / fax / scanner in your considerations, giving a central point at which the office requirement for printing and copying is centralised – creating a cost saving return across all users (this technology is commonly called a Business Hub).

To assist with your decision making process, many office equipment specialists are now able to perform an analysis of the costs of operating your existing office print and copy facilities through bespoke software technology. This service will give you the information to make informed choices to obtain the most advantageous copying and printing equipment to cover your everyday needs – and it is normally done without cost or obligation. If you need assistance in calculating the number of copies/prints each of your office machines is producing, they can install print auditing software onto your system for you. This will generate a detailed report and costings of your present printing volumes.

In the longer term, this same software technology can be installed onto your office system to provide a constant feedback of office print and copy usage, along with relevant costs. A good example for this software function is that before you had telephone call handling systems (PBX’s), nobody knew where their call volume went. Once the PBX's came along, the phone company could break down your calls on the billing. So you could analyse that a salesman with a high call volume would be expected, yet the guy in the warehouse with unusually high call volume would be questionable. Apply this situation to a company’s printing and copying consumption and you can see where the usage and wastage is occurring.

Many companies have saved significant amounts of money simply by applying this software to their office systems. In some cases, they have even discovered use of costly printing facilities that they didn’t even know they had!


Issued: 03 April 2009.



Many office equipment specialists are now able to perform an analysis of the costs of operating your existing office print and copy facilities