Most technology buyers today make their printer purchasing decisions without the knowledge required to ensure good returns on their investments.

Neil Rom, MD of Printacom, sole local brand representative and importer of OKI Printing Solutions in South Africa, says that all too often, the only consideration taken into account is upfront purchase price.
“When in fact this is not the most important factor to consider,” he says. “It’s far more important to consider factors such as the monthly print volume, level of quality, paper size and what  users will require from their printer, including the amount of user intervention.”
Rom says that buying the least expensive printer on the market can be disastrous the moment the company gets a couple of months down the road and has bought its first set of consumables.
“This is best illustrated with an example,” Rom says.
“Take the least expensive colour laser printer in our arsenal for instance,” he says. “While it’s perfect for small businesses with low monthly print volumes, printing anything over 3000 pages per month would make it a rather expensive option.
“With an acquisition price of R3 000.00, this printer may well be attractive to most organisations. In ongoing costs however this unit will cost the user R1.00 per page, depending on contract. That’s roughly R3 000.00 per month, if they’re printing 3000 copies. So, over a one-year period, the cost of buying the printer and running it (the total cost of ownership) will cost an organisation R39 000.00.”
By contrast, he says, moving just one model up in the ranks, the acquisition price goes up to around R7000.00, but the per page cost drops to 70c per page and often with printers in this price range, one also gets the benefit of additional features like duplexing.
“Using the same 3000 page monthly volume,  that means over a one year period the entry level-priced printer would cost the company R6 800.00 more.
“For a saving of R7 000 is it not worth paying R4 000 more at the outset?” Rom asks.
Rom says his analogy holds true for every printer in Printacom’s arsenal, providing the print volumes and quality levels are carefully considered.
“And this is one of the primary reasons we work through a reseller channel. In our opinion, the channel is there to advise users of their options and assist them by recommending suitable printers for their needs. ”
A last consideration Rom says that customers should make before they embark on a printer purchase is the future of their company and the demands they may well be placing on their output solution in the years to come.
“Per page prices are coming down every year, so it’s important that buyers embark on a refresh cycle every three to four years, if not sooner.
“Hanging on to a printer for too long, just like making the wrong printer-buying decision at the outset could be very costly and mean that the organisation is not taking advantage of the latest innovations that bring amongst other things, lower running costs,” he concludes.