Almost two thirds, or 64 percent, of small businesses can’t track how much their print devices  cost them nor can they track their usage. And if you are not able to track these basic stats in your business, you will not know how much is being wasted.
The How to Optimize Your IT Budget With Smarter Document Management  (PDF) report and The State of SMB Document Management  survey by Xerox (NYSE:XRX) provide valuable insights and solutions to printing in a digital world.
Benefits Of Monitoring Your Printer
The survey was carried out in the US, France, Germany and the UK, with more than 1,000 small and medium sized businesses taking part. The goal was to find out how these companies were managing print and documents. The breakdown of printer usage represents what is taking place in small businesses. Of the businesses interviewed, 56 percent reported billing and invoices as paper intensive process in the organization, 53 percent said business and financial reporting was similarly paper intensive, and 51 percent said HR forms and employee files were flying out of their printers in huge numbers.
Forty-seven percent complained employees printing email added up to a sizable part of their printer use, and the same percentage claimed legal signatures were a big drain on paper and printer usage. A little over 40 percent of businesses reported purchasing approvals, marketing materials and customer quotations took up a good amount of paper and printing resources.
For small medical, legal, architectural and design firms, the print output can be much higher the survey showed. And more often than not, these businesses don’t have a Managed Print Services provider taking care of this labor intensive task.
Another glaring statistic from the survey was the amount of time wasted with processes involved in printing? Waiting for jobs at the printer, running out of supplies or going to printer shops to pick up documents add up to a considerable amount of time. The cost, of course, may not be visible, but it is there.
Xerox says in the US the wait time for a document at a business with a shared central printer is about three minutes for each employee. This comes out to 13 hours every year per employee. So even a small business with 10 employees can experience 130 hours of wasted time.
The first one is to find an Managed Print Services partner to help them manage their printer usage more efficiently. In a post on the official Xerox blog, Xerox Channel Marketing Manager Lisa Graham writes  of the need for businesses to become more proactive in assessing printer use. “Print assessments can quickly identify cost savings and efficiency improvements,” Graham explains.
Everything from abandoned documents on printer trays to buying supplies, unnecessarily printing in color, and other inefficiencies are costing you.
With digitization transforming almost every part of your business, a trusted Managed Print Services or other partner can incorporate digitization, document workflow, mobile printing, cloud technology and security.
As a separate but related issue, the report indicates 90 percent of businesses have been breached because of unsecure printing.
At the end of the report, Xerox recommends companies of all sizes find the right Managed Print Services partner, but this may not be possible for small businesses. The report provides valuable information for those that can’t afford to hire such services as well.
By choosing the latest printers with tracking and monitoring solutions, implementing best practices with good governance, and educating your workforce, you can effectively manage the problems associated with unregulated printer use. Some solutions include standardizing settings so all copies are in black and white, integrating with cloud and mobile workflows, automating workflows and coordinating the purchase of supplies.