Paper consumption and printing can come with huge costs if misused. Whether you are an energetic startup with tight margins or a multinational enterprise, minimizing the amount of paper your office departments unnecessarily use will cut into your costs and free up budget room for other things. Implementing a few conscious print procedures in your organization will help save money as well as reduce the carbon footprint of your company.
What is Print Optimization?
Often, print optimization is mentioned during discussions of printers and software that are responsible for variable data printing. It is a model that typically isolates text and graphics that will be similar to single documents in a print run from those that will be different on each document. It also allows the printer to process a code describing text and graphics only once for similar documents instead of doing it all over again in each print run.
Print optimization is based on the printing industry’s best practices. Using a combination of efficient faxing, printing, and copying, coupled with IT accommodating project management principles, a company can create a progressive print cost saving strategy inclined towards better services, short term benefits, and lowered costs. Print optimization management (software) lies on the principles of environmental sustainability, user-friendly interfaces, rapid ROI (Return on investment) and corporate solution. The process takes a proactive approach in monitoring services, ensuring continuous improvement and automation of business and printing processes. Accordingly, the main idea behind print management is to produce variable-data documents much faster than when a company was not using the optimization technology.
How to Optimize Print to Realize Significant Savings?
Let’s have a look at some steps to follow when optimizing the print environment -
1) Choose an economical printer to Save Printing Costs
More often, we choose printers based on the manufacturer’s claim of speed and quality. However, there are various other features you need to consider if you are looking to cut paper and printing costs.
First and foremost, be aware of the expenses in replacing the ink cartridges and also if high capacity versions are easily available. Standard cartridges may be seen cost effective initially but a high capacity cartridge will allow you to print more pages. If your business requires high volumes of printing every day, a high capacity cartridge can prove to be 30% cheaper than the standard one.
Another point to consider is whether you require a color printer or will a black and white printer will suffice. Black and white printers are not only cheaper but also cost you less when it comes to replacing ink cartridges. Also, knowing how energy efficient is the printer will save your money on its electricity bills.
2) Define the paper quality as per the document quality
Paper comes in a variety of grades and thickness. It usually starts at 60gsm and goes up to 160gsm. While the thinnest paper will not produce results with the same clarity as higher grade papers, it is perfectly adequate for most of your everyday printing which is much cheaper than higher grade papers.
As per a research conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature, switching to 60gsm instead of 100gsm for everyday usage could save you 47% in paper costs. It is worth saving your paper of 100gsm and over for the occasional really important document, rather than allowing employees to use it every day.
3) Control printing access for employees to Save Printing Costs
Not all the employees will require access to the printer. You can define which designations would require access to the printer and the IT team can either restrict or give the access accordingly. Also, setting up individual user profiles on each computer or laptop is a sensible idea if you want to save money. This will enable the administrators to identify employees who might be misusing the printing access.
A lot of the management software available today also allows you to apply limits on the amount an individual or group can print. Raising awareness that unlimited print resources are not available will cut down on wastage due to all users checking their documents more carefully for mistakes before printing them.
4) Make use of print preview before giving the print command
Print Preview is an effective money saving tool which often underused. By showing you exactly how the final document will look, it makes it easy to select just the parts you need to print rather than printing the whole document if you don’t really need it. Also, this helps the printed documents to have only the required content.
For example, if you are printing a resource material directly from a website, it will allow you to check whether you will be printing out blank pages with nothing but the web address on at the end. It will also help you choose if the document needs color or monochrome version.
5) Ask the question “Do I really need to print this?”
In this digital world today, most of our communication happens virtually. It has also changed the way we consume paper for business. Encouraging employees to make use of digital media instead of printing can drastically save Printing Costs & paper consumption. One way to do it is by encouraging employees to carry their laptops for the meetings instead of printing their content.
6) Make Duplex (Back to Back Printing) as your default setting to Save Printing Costs
Documents printed every day or for internal use can be printed on both the sides of the paper instead of on one side per sheet. Every printer today has a duplex option. Setting the default option to duplex can save up to almost 50% of your paper costs. Important documents, especially for external communication can be printed on one side per page.
7) Single side waste printed papers can become notebooks for daily scribbles
A lot of paper is thrown out once there requirement is over. The ones with one side blank can be converted into scratchpads and given to employees for scribbling their daily notes. A waste paper can be reusable. This will help the company to Save Printing Costs and most importantly their paper requirements.
Fair warning if these papers contain confidential content which cannot be made easily accessible to anyone should be discarded.
8) Multiple pages printed in single sheet Saves Printing Costs
Most software packages, including Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, have a setting that enables you to fit two or even four pages of text onto one sheet of paper. Activating this setting can double your print economy or more, while still being legible.
9) Use a smaller but legible font size to Save Printing Costs
Reducing the font size is a simple and easy way to reduce the use of paper and save on printing costs. Switching from a twelve-point font to ten will make a surprising difference, while still being perfectly clear to read. It is also worth considering which font you use as a default. Some fonts, due to their thickness, consume more ink and paper than others.
For example, the most economical font is Times New Roman, which on average produces 44% more prints from an ink cartridge than Verdana.
10) Use Draft mode while printing to Save Printing Costs
Setting your printer to Draft as the default setting will drastically reduce your ink consumption. It automatically reduces the resolution at which it prints documents to 300dpi, which is perfectly adequate for everyday printing. The name varies from one manufacturer to another.
It may be “Toner Save” or “Economy” but it is usually under the “Paper/ Quality” tab in “Properties” on your printer settings. A draft printing can also increase your print speed.