Answer 7 Questions and Save Office Equipment Costs

In recent years, the convergence of office equipment technologies has brought with it a huge choice in Multifunctional, All-in-One devices which can scan, copy, print and fax documents – either at the desktop for independent workers or via a networked standalone device for company workgroups. This latter configuration, of course, can become a “network of networks” in larger organisations, where several devices are strategically placed for maximum throughput and optimum efficiency.

Controlling Ownership Costs: The Challenge

Along with this convergence, the challenge of controlling costs has become exponentially more difficult, when ease of access to powerful print/copy devices is an encouragement to generate more hard-copy documents, and indeed, to make use of high-level facilities which may not suit the needs of the task in hand. Additionally, the reliance of a business on a reduced set of workflow devices makes it more vulnerable to the effect of equipment downtime. The attractive concept of saving capital costs by investing in one piece of All-in-One equipment, where previously several were needed is thus countered by concerns for the “Total Cost of Ownership”, which relates to the ongoing expense of maintaining and servicing the device.

What is “Total Cost of Ownership”?

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the generic term which describes the accounting of the direct, visible costs and the indirect and invisible costs of equipment usage as well as initial acquisition. How the indirect costs are to be accounted for is a complex and controversial subject – and in essence, it can only be a long-term calculation based on experience and monitoring.

Measurement of the yield of consumable supplies (toner, drum, developer or cartridge) is of course the main focus of any TCO test methods. However, other aspects of TCO include equipment reliability (how much will a half-day downtime cost?), or simply the refilling of paper trays or replacing toner and cartridges. A great deal of exhaustive testing is required to arrive at true figure for any organisation.

Your Steps Towards Cost Savings

A major component of TCO, of course, is the actual production of hard copy paper documents. Much more paper is often produced than is necessary – in spite of the fact that most of us would prefer to live and work in a less cluttered environment. Hence it would seem that a simple step in the direction of reducing TCO would be to introduce a daily discipline whereby we ask ourselves:

– is it really necessary to print a hard copy?
– if it is necessary, what quality of paper is needed?
– is it necessary to have a full size hard copy?
– is it necessary to have the hard copy only single-sided?
– what will happen to the copy in – 1 day? or in 1 week? or in 1 month? or 1 year?
– where and how is it going to be stored during that time?
– how will it be disposed of when it is no longer useful?

It becomes obvious after asking these questions, that immediate and significant savings can be made by:

– reducing the number of documents output to hard copy for filing purposes
– thus reducing paper use, toner use, staff time in filing and retrieving, as well as the actual filing space
– refusing the temptation to print out emails
– outputting any necessary draft, temporary or file copies at reduced size: 2-up on a sheet at least
– outputting any necessary draft, temporary or file copies in duplex, as double-sided documents

Such methodology will introduce savings of great significance. They require simple discipline to introduce, and in the long run they will reinforce the commercial sense of investing in powerful, Multifunctional office equipment.