5 Signs That It’s Time for a Print Assessment

Print Assessment

Print assessment benefits

Most organizations already understand that print assessments are extremely beneficial when shopping for a new office technology vendor; print assessments provide insights into your current workflows and help optimize your print fleet. Unfortunately, many organizations only perform a print assessment when they are considering changing print vendors. This misses one of the greatest print assessment opportunities: continued optimization and cost savings. So, when should you revisit your office technology with a print assessment? Here are five signs that it’s time for a print assessment.

You haven’t been tracking device usage

If you’re in this boat, you will want to conduct a print assessment soon. If you don’t know how much you’re spending on printing, then you don’t know if you’re spending too much.

You have been with the same office technology for longer than you can remember

Even if you aren’t looking to change vendors, a fresh set of eyes can also offer additional perspectives and insights into new printing trends or cost-saving ideas. Even if you’re just revisiting strategies with your current vendor, a print assessment can help you strategize for the future.

You are outsourcing print jobs

Plenty of companies outsource large and/or color print jobs because it just isn’t cost-effective for them to invest in a high-quality color printer. We recognized this and developed our overflow copy center for companies that weren’t ready to bring that production in-house. However, what originally prevented you from investing in a high-quality color printer may not be applicable anymore. In fact, it may even be cheaper to bring some of those print jobs in-house now! Color costs have decreased dramatically and if your organization has grown in size or profitability, then an in-house device may make more sense.

Your IT Department has changed

Whether it’s a change in leadership or a department restructure, a change in your IT Department is a good indicator that is time to audit your print fleet. Doing so ensures your revised IT Department is familiar with your fleet and it allows fresh eyes to have an opportunity to examine your fleet for inefficiencies.

Your office is overflowing with paper documents

A print technology assessment isn’t all about the equipment. Our office technology experts also analyze workflows to simplify document storage. We provide solutions like OCR capabilities and document scanning technology to help your office thrive in today’s digital world.

Ready for your free print assessment? Fill out our office technology assessment form or call us at (612) 861-4000.

Benefits of a Wide Format Printer

benefits of wide format printer

The State of Wide Format Printing

Almost every business today has at least one printer capable of producing standard sized documents. But today’s documents come in all shapes or sizes. From construction plans to school banners, modern workplace document needs often transcend traditional print sizes.

Historically, this has meant sending these specialized wide format projects to a print shop and paying them a premium. While this may make sense for smaller organizations, many businesses can benefit by investing in their own wide format printer. And with the continued decrease in wide format costs, it is now more affordable than ever to do so!

Do I need a wide format printer?

In deciding whether to you need a wide format printer, you should consider your current wide format projects. For example, how often do you send specialty projects such as banners, blueprints, large photographs, or marketing posters to an outside print shop? If you are doing so more than a couple times a year, then you will likely benefit by bringing that production in-house with a wide format device.

What industry are you in?

The second aspect you will want to examine are the needs of your industry. While most businesses can benefit from a wide format device, there are four main industries that will see the greatest return on their investment.

Construction/Architecture

Those in construction or architecture use large format printers to create large format documents like blueprints or construction models. These large format documents make it easier to communicate plans internally and with potential clients.

Education

If you are in education, a wide format device is the perfect way to print banners for special events or activities. A wide format printer makes it easy to show support for your local team or communicate your next big school event.

Advertising

In advertising, a wide format printer gives you the ability to print mock-ups of advertisements. Having a draft ready will add clarity to your presentations and sales pitches.

Photographers

A wide format printer can give you a way to share your work with others if you are a photographer or artist.

Where to buy a wide format printer?

Want to learn more about our expansive selection of wide format printers? Check out our wide format print catalog or contact one of our office technology experts.

Still on the fence? If you are printing wide format documents, but are not ready to invest in your own wide format device, consider partnering with our commercial printing services center. We will take care of your projects for you at a competitive price.

Effortless Education Cloud Printing with Ricoh MFPs

Education Cloud Solutions Made Easy

Most education institutions will readily admit they need to integrate Cloud solutions to keep up with changing student and staff demands, but many have avoided doing so anyway. Why? In many cases, education organizations conclude that Cloud solutions are just too messy and difficult to enact.

In some cases, these institutions are correct. Vendors often make Cloud printing more difficult than it needs to be, especially within the education sector. However, Cloud printing doesn’t have to be complicated. Cloud enabled Ricoh multifunction printers make adding Cloud abilities to your current print environment easy. And when you combine these Cloud enabled devices with Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment software, you’ll have access to numerous powerful Cloud capabilities. Best of it all? Ricoh’s Cloud for Education solutions are painless to install and simple to use.

Cloud Solutions for Education Empower Your Organization By Providing:

  • Scan to email
  • Scan to Dropbox
  • Printing to any connected cloud device
  • Scan directly into Blackboard Learn
  • Mobile printing
  • Simplified user privilege management
  • Vibrant intuitive touch interface
  • Zero data loss over 6 years

Watch the video below to learn more about the power of Ricoh education Cloud solutions


Are you ready to harness the power of the Cloud for your institution? Our education consultants are here to help! Visit our education page to see an overview of our education solutions. When you’re ready to get started, call us at 612-861-4000 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to helping your organization succeed!

Two huge benefits of printing in-house

benefits of printing in-house

Are you worried you’re spending more than you need to on printing? Tired of the logistical headaches associated with outsourcing your print jobs? Do you feel like you lack control over the finished product? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to consider bringing printing in-house with an office device.

Yes, but…

At this point you’re likely thinking “Being able to print my projects off in-office would be amazing, but I won’t receive nearly the same quality and it’ll cost me way more!” While this may be true for larger print jobs, in most cases, a production printer or even MFP can deliver comparable quality for less.

We’ll explore the cost benefits of moving away from outsourcing in-depth in a later article, but the savings associated with increased control shouldn’t be overlooked. Read on to learn more about two benefits of printing in-house — control and flexibility.

Out of control outsourcing

A major reason companies often choose to fill their printing needs through in-house office equipment is control. When you send jobs off to a printer, you’re forced to order a pre-set number of prints. While this method is great for large projects that rely on lower per-unit cost, it can easily backfire.

For example, companies that send print jobs to outside vendors usually end up ordering significantly more copies than they need. This, of course, is due to the fact that they don’t want to risk running out of whatever it is that they’ve printed.

Unfortunately, these excess copies usually end up getting tossed. Not only does this waste money, but it also increases your environmental footprint. As more companies realize the benefits of going green, most are beginning to see this as truly a no-win situation.

How flexible is an outsourced print strategy?

Now let’s take the above issue a step further. Imagine you’ve just ordered five hundred copies of a marketing flier from a commercial printing company. After using only three hundred of these fliers, however, something changes and the information on the leaflet is no longer relevant.

You’re now left with two options; either you continue to use the outdated flier or you can cut your losses and throw them away. In either case your business loses — customers either receive obsolete information or you’re flushing money down the drain.

Encountering this problem once is bad enough, but organizations that rely on outside printing often experience this over and over again. To make matters worse, this problem is completely avoidable.

What is print on demand?

When you possess an office printer, you’re empowered by something called print on demand (POD). Essentially, this means that you have the ability to print what you want, whenever you want. Instead of ordering five hundred fliers, you’re now free to print off your documents as you need them. In doing so, you minimize the risk of unneeded extras or dated information.

Print-on-demand allows you to avoid trashing excess or outdated copies by giving you complete control of your printing environment. Find a typo on a brochure? Change it. Need to update the details of a promotion? Not a problem. When you print in your office, you ultimately save money just by having more control and flexibility.

While these factors are beneficial to any organization, they’re especially valued by retailers and marketing firms. These organizations are constantly printing off promotional materials, so being able to make changes on demand is a must. However, flexibility is a competitive advantage regardless of industry. Thus, most organizations stand to gain by bringing their production in-house.

Take control of your costs

Are you ready to get control over your printing costs and enhance your office’s flexibility? Our experienced technology consultants can help. We’ll conduct a thorough needs assessment and provide best-fit device recommendations. We’ll then work with you to provide a solution that meets your unique demands and keeps your costs in check.

With ten Midwest locations, we’re always nearby. Call us today at 612-861-4000 or fill out our office assessment form to get started.

What is managed print services?

what is managed print services?

This is part one of our new managed print services blog series. Stay tuned as we answer questions about MPS, its benefits and some common MPS software solutions.

Whether you’ve heard of managed print services (MPS) before or are just learning about it for the first time, we promise our new MPS series will have something for you. In this introductory article we’ll define what managed print services are, their benefits and how you can get started with one.

What is managed print services?

Managed print services is a program designed to monitor and optimize your office’s printing environment. It accomplishes this through analysis of your current equipment, gathering information about your company’s needs and providing comprehensive strategies to improve overall efficiency.

Managed print services take a long-term approach by continuously monitoring your devices and their use. In doing so, your MPS provider maximizes productivity by taking control of your printing environment. They accomplish this by performing tasks like automatically delivering toner, providing routine maintenance and studying usage data. In short, having a managed print service means you’ll spend less time worrying about your printers and more time focused on your on core business.

Managed print services generally include:

  • Conducting an assessment of your current printing environment.
  • Monitoring and optimizing your devices.
  • Delivering supplies — like paper and toner — as needed.
  • Streamlining printer access.
  • Alerting you of potential issues and offering solutions.
  • Providing advanced data about equipment.
  • Training employees on equipment use.

To learn more about managed print, visit our MPS page.

Do I need a managed print service?

So now that you know what a managed print service is, how do you determine if you need one?
While almost every organization can benefit from print management, whether or not you need MPS is largely dependent on three factors:

1. Number of employees
2. Size of printer fleet
3. Document dependence

Organizations with a large number of employees and/or printers are most likely to see immediate substantial benefits from an MPS program. This is due to the difficulties these organizations often face trying to manage a large fleet and/or ensuring that their equipment is adequate enough to meet their staff’s needs. Both tasks are time-consuming and difficult to perform without imaging equipment expertise.

Additionally, organizations that work in document intensive fields, such as law firms and healthcare groups, are also more likely to benefit financially from MPS solutions. These organizations have extensive printing needs and downtime means lost profit. If you can’t afford downtime, managing your own equipment and supplies can be an unneeded headache that really could cost your business down the road.

At the very least, every institution can benefit from a managed print consultation. Most MPS providers will conduct one free of charge and it’s a great way to gain insight into your current printing environment. At the conclusion of a managed print study, the provider will present you with device usage data and strategies to reduce your printing expenses. Therefore, regardless of your industry, an MPS study is always worthwhile.

How much will a managed print service save me?

While the answer to this question depends on your organization’s unique situation, there are some general statistics that serve as a good baseline. A recent InfoTrends study found that organizations in the legal, healthcare and financial sectors slashed their printing costs by close to one-third. Here’s the breakdown by industry:

Legal – 41 percent.
Financial – 33 percent
Healthcare – 27 percent

How can I get started with MPS?

Alright, so you’ve decided to take the next step and start shopping for print management partner; what steps should you take to get started? The first step is to contact an MPS company to gain additional insight into your printing needs. If you were to contact Metro Sales, for example, we would perform a comprehensive print study of your organization. We would do so by installing non-invasive software to monitor your device usage and gain a better understanding of where your inefficiencies lie. From there, we’d recommend devices and strategies to help reduce printing costs and improve office productivity.

What should I look for when choosing a managed print services provider?

While cost is obviously important, you should also consider many other factors when choosing an MPS solutions provider. Remember, managed print is really a partnership between two organizations; you’re trusting the MPS company to monitor usage and keep your equipment running smoothly. As such, it’s paramount that you truly feel comfortable with your MPS partner.

To that effect, we recommend that you learn as much about the MPS company as possible. Ask for their relevant industry experience and industry specific references. In this way, you can get an accurate read on how well suited they are to deal with your sector’s unique demands.

Finally, consider any additional solutions you may wish to enact. Government organizations, for example, often desire secure printing solutions. Print quotas, meanwhile, are very popular among educators. Take some time to study some of the more common software options and make a list of the features you’d like to implement. This will definitely help streamline the shopping process.

Curious about what managed print services could do for your organization? We’re offering a free office technology consultation to help you find out. Request one today by calling us at 612-861-4000 or filling out our consultation form. Thanks for reading and we’re looking forward to helping you improve your office!

Have a question you’d like us to answer about MPS? Leave a comment below and we’ll gladly provide an answer.

10 Tips to Reduce Printing Costs (and your Environmental Footprint) Today

reduce printing costs

You don’t need to invest in new office equipment to reduce your printing costs. While this is one of the easiest ways to cut your printing expenses, it is by no means the only way. In fact, there are plenty of less expensive strategies that you can implement on your own to tamp down costs. As an added bonus, all of these tricks will decrease your environmental footprint as well. Here are ten of our ten favorite tips to get you started.

1. Switch to a narrower font

Yes, the type of font you use really does impact your bottom line! This is due to the fact that some fonts, especially those known as “broad” fonts, use more ink than others. Switching to a narrow font, such as Times New Roman or Garamond, reduces ink consumption and puts a little bit of money back into your pocket. Check out this article for more information on the most ink-efficient fronts.

2. Enable shrink to fit

While this option isn’t always available — most browsers don’t support it anymore– it’s still an underutilized word processing trick. Say you have a 4 ½ page document that you want to print. Normally, this would mean you would print off five pieces of paper to accommodate the final half page. Shrink to fit solves this problem by condensing your document so that all printed materials print on four pages instead of five. Think about how much paper that could save you over the long-run! Follow these detailed instructions to enable shrink to fit in your version of Microsoft Word.

3. Install EcoFont

EcoFont is a software solution that, when installed on a workstation, places tiny holes in the font of a print job. Experiments have found that users, on average, enjoy roughly a 25 percent decrease in ink costs when using the software. EcoFont itself claims users can experience up to a 50 percent reduction in ink usage.

You can learn more about Ecofont on their official website.

4. Turn on duplex printing

It’s amazing how many organizations are still not taking advantage of duplex printing on a regular basis, despite the fact that it is now a standard feature on most modern machines. The good news, however, is that it’s easy to turn it on. All you have to do is change your default print settings to “two-sided” or “print on both sides” in your browser or word processor and you’re ready to go. With the click of a button you’ve effectively slashed your paper utilization in half.

5. Default to fast draft printing

Printing a text-heavy Word document or a physical version of a document for review? If so, fast draft printing is an excellent option. Fast draft saves ink by omitting images and printing in lower quality black and white. Thus, it’s an ideal solution for temporary or low-use documents such as directions, lists or project drafts. To enable fast draft, go to print options and select fast print, sample print or a lower dpi setting.

6. Use the handout printing feature

Chances are that you’ve used handout printing before for PowerPoint presentations. Did you know that you can use handout printing for documents as well? The easiest way to do this is to set your page to landscape orientation in print preview and select the option that allows you to print two pages per sheet.

7. Cut and Paste

Before printing, consider whether or not you need the whole document, or only a few parts. If you’re printing a long document or multiple files for a few sections, try copying and pasting them into a shorter document to eliminate waste. Doing so will allow you to avoid printing necessary pages that you’re not going to use anyway.

8. Use a managed print service

Alright, this isn’t really an option you can implement on your own, but it definitely will help you reduce costs. Managed print services allow you to track usage, encourage responsible printing behaviors and reduce equipment inefficiencies. It’s a simple software solution that’ll make your life easier. Contact our managed print department or visit our managed print services page to learn more.

9. Outsource color printing to a professional printer

If you’re printing a big project, like an annual report or marketing mailer, you could save some money by sending the job to a printing company. Often these companies offer rates that are more affordable than the cost you’d pay for your machine’s color ink, especially when it comes to big projects. Plus, you’ll usually get higher quality results as well! If you’re interested, our document services department offers a variety of printing services. View the full list of offered services here.

10. Print in black and white

Yes, it’s old-fashioned, but it’s on the list because it works. Black ink is simply cheaper than its color counterpart. If you don’t need presentation quality, you’re just printing a word document or a draft of a project you’re working on, black and white is the way to go. You should also make sure you select black and white when printing a text document as well. Often, printers will mix together colored ink to recreate black ink when “print in color” is selected in the settings. When this occurs, you’re unnecessarily draining your colored ink reserves.

Have more questions about reducing printing costs? Our cost reduction experts are ready to be of service. With more than forty years of experience in the office technology industry, Metro Sales has developed a reputation for helping organizations slash their costs through innovative imaging software and equipment.

Reach out at 612-861-4000 or by filling out our quick contact form.