Total cost of printing unknown at 69 per cent of businesses

Inkjet ink cartridges

Despite growing corporate concern over wasted expenditure and the environmental impact of doing business, research has shown that few companies have a grasp of the volume or cost of office printing.

In a survey of 260 businesses, including local and central government, SMEs, national and multi-national companies conducted for printer manufacturer Ricoh, 39 per cent said that their expenditure on toner and inkjet cartridges was the hardest printing cost to measure, with 30 per cent cited the cost of printer downtime (lost productivity and repair costs due to broken machines, out of paper, out of toner etc).

Sixteen per cent said could not calculate how much they had spent at all on printer hardware, software and services in the past year, adding to the spiralling cost of printing in many UK businesses.

"Rationalising printers, copiers, faxes and multi-functional devices (MFDs), providing an optimised deployment, will cut the price of printing; whilst all-encompassing contracts ensure that uncapped consumables and maintenance are provided by a single supplier, ensuring costs are controlled and visible", said Chas Moloney, associate director of marketing at Ricoh.

Analyst firm Gartner estimates that printing costs form between one and three per cent of a company's annual turnover, underlining the importance of controlling the cost of hardware and consumables as savings can noticeably affect overall turnover.

"Simple steps such as deploying print software to route print jobs to the most effective printer can dramatically reduce print expenditure. These steps need to be taken now so that 2007 forecasts can be accurate and realistic." Moloney added.