SMBs most affected by unmanaged printer operations

CIOL Bureau
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MOUNT LAUREL : Ninety percent of small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) nationwide consider their business printer to be indispensable or important, and rely more on printing than any other size company, according to the OKI Printing Solutions Future of Printing Survey. While bringing printing in-house is growing in popularity, the management of printers and printer costs are falling to the wayside costing companies a significant amount of annual revenue and taking away from overall profitability.


Companies working on limited budgets are most affected by unmanaged printer operations. However, the OKI Printing Solutions survey confirmed that printing is a core function of every SMB office. To better streamline costs, companies must understand workflow management and incorporate processes that increase efficiency.

Key results from the survey included:

  • More than half of SMBs expect to print about the same amount or more often in the future as they do today
  • Seventy-seven percent of SMBs still prefer to review printed documents, whether in combination with reviewing on-screen or alone
  • Respondents at small businesses report a higher percentage of non-work jobs printed than those at other company sizes (15 percent versus seven percent at large companies), adding to higher printing costs

"There are a variety of printing-related resources catered towards the success of SMBs, ultimately getting document workflow back on track, said Candice Dobra, Vice President, Product Marketing for OKI Data Americas. Technology advances in printing have led to sophisticated print quality, greater media flexibility, faster speeds and lower operational costs. As a result, the printer has actually become a tool to improve your bottom line and enhance workflow efficiencies, not harm it.

To ensure that print operations support profitable company revenue and efficient workflow, SMBs should consider the following five steps:

  • Invest in a print managed services program. A managed services assessment will educate SMBs on their printer use and total costs, opening the door for adoption of new management tactics. OKI Data Americas offers the most comprehensive and objective program in the industry, using 47 criteria to analyze printing infrastructures and the factors driving those costs.
  • Monitor printing activity. With proper management, the perception that color printing can be costly will be diminished. Many product features and software tools will help monitor color usage and control color access. OKI Printing Solutions, for instance, offers software tools free with printer purchases, like Job Accounting, to track color printing costs and monitor and control print usage.
  • Incorporate MFPs into the printer fleet. Multi-function printers (MFPs) are being designed with enhanced features to streamline workflow all within compact, smaller footprints. With such advanced capabilities, SMBs have more opportunity to bring printing in-house, consolidate their infrastructure and rid extensive costs lost to third-party vendors.
  • Clean up wasteful printing. Cut down on wasteful website printing by utilizing web printing software, like OKI Printing Solutions WebPrint, to automatically scale web pages to fit standard paper sizes so they print right the first time. This could save businesses considerable time, money and paper.
  • Find a partner who will consult, not sell. When looking for product manufacturers and dealers, find a vendor who will take an overarching look at your business and IT infrastructure. A bigger picture will present the most cost-efficient strategies.