Most organisations today will testify to the difficulties they’ve encountered over the past decade in managing their print fleets and keeping the associated costs of company-wide printing to a manageable level.

Neil Rom, MD of Printacom, sole brand representative and importer of OKI Printing Solutions in South Africa, says that on a daily basis his company deals with customers who are striving to keep their print costs down and reliability levels up.
“And without fail, the majority of the problems discovered on closer inspection of these customers’ print fleets stem from over and under-worked printers; and their use of printing technology that’s long overdue for replacement,” he says.
“There’s a general rule of thumb that holds true in the printing industry that says quite simply, the less an organisation spends on the acquisition cost of a printer, the more expensive that printer will be to run over the long term.
“Following on from that, it’s safe to say the overworking of cheaper printers (with higher consumable costs) will result in a much higher monthly print bill. And that’s not even considering the decreased reliability an organisation is likely to experience by overworking such a printer.”
Similarly, printers tend to become more expensive as they age, he says.
“There’s irrefutable proof that older printers are more expensive to run,” Rom says, “since technology moves on and in doing so, becomes more reliable and more cost-effective.
“Where three years ago, pay per print models were weighing in at R5 per colour ‘click’, today it’s not uncommon for even a low volume contract to offer users 80c to R1.00 per ‘click’,” he says.
For these reasons Rom says companies are doing themselves a disservice by not getting their print fleets regularly audited by a third party.
A good audit, says Rom, should analyse the customers’ consumables spend for each model of printer in their fleet, indicate whether that is an acceptable level of spend and then provide advice on how their fleet should be restructured or bolstered to account for the shortfall.
“And surprisingly, it doesn’t always result in the need for a new print fleet,” he says.
“Many of the audits we’ve conducted for customers through our ‘OKI Print Audit Services’ business unit have resulted in good savings, just by shuffling and redeploying printers where they will yield better returns.”