10 Rules-Based Printing Tips to Reduce Your Firm’s Print Costs

By Joe Miller

If you're reading this, you might have already heard about rules-based printing, and then you're wondering how it can help you.  Beyond the productivity, control and information gains that a rules-based printing environment brings, you can also reduce your overall print footprint (a footprint that determines how large your printing expenditure is and will continue to be).  Shrinking your print footprint is the only sure-fire way to lower your overall costs.

There are 10 major ways that rules-based printing can be leveraged to reduce print costs:

Print Job Routing

Route specific types of print jobs to the printer that is best suited for them.  For example, routing to the low-cost printer for large-run, low-quality black and white jobs can cut your costs by having the most cost-effective printers running the highest volume runs.

Duplexing Enforcement Rules

Enforcing duplexing printing is critical to cutting costs—because your users won't always do it on their own.  Enforcement of double-sided printing cuts down on your paper costs by 50%—a major savings given that paper is one of the biggest costs of printing, along with toner.  Since toner is another major expense, use your rules-based environment to enforce gray-scale printing.  Another targeted savings tip is to create a rule to use economy mode whenever possible.

Internet to B&W

E-mail and internet-based print jobs do not require the same high-quality printing as presentations and customer-facing documents.  To save a bundle on your printing, create a rule that directs all web pages and e-mails to the most cost-effective, black & white device.

Restricted Use

Restricting device access by user and/or by application is important to cutting down on needless high-quality, high-expense printing (since certain applications do not need high quality).  Low-quality candidates include print jobs coming from smartphone apps, browser searches or databases.

Make it a Rule to Be Green

Being green is popular these days, and the world of printing is doing a lot for the business world when it comes to greening themselves.  Being green has become a company-wide initiative for many companies, and for good reason.  Certain industries are rewarded when they reach specified green targets (and can prove it).  But being green is not only popular—it saves money!  By using rules to use less toner and paper, you can reach your green initiatives while cutting down on your toner and paper use by half, i.e., halving your print budget, as well. 

Change your Print Culture

The key to rules-based printing is that it enforces policies that your users might not enforce themselves.  But something happens when you enforce print rules on your environment and users—they change.  Your entire print culture changes as people begin to realize just how much print waste they created in the past.  This change in print culture will eventually begin to align with your current green initiatives, and your culture will become one of reduced waste and increased savings.

Policies for Centrally-Managed Custom Print Rules

Rules are rules, but at some point, some user is going to need to create a custom print job.  This means you need to create rules/policies for the rule breakers, i.e., rule-breaking policies that can be centrally managed.

User Education

Users are smart and can make informed decisions when empowered with the right information...but they have no idea how much printing costs the company.  Part of changing your print culture—and print spend—is educating your users as to just how much each print job costs, and what the savings are if simple jobs are redirected to lower-cost devices.  The savings from this simple awareness is unbelievable. 

Rules for Secure/Pull Printing

It’s a thorn in every print manager's side to walk by printers and see uncollected print jobs sitting around for eternity.  You can use your rules-based print environment to create secure/pull printing.  Pull printing is a “follow me” style of printing where users first hit print, then decide what printer to use.  After they've chosen the printer, they need to physically go to it to authenticate themselves before their job is printed—drastically cutting down on abandoned print jobs. 

Measurable Results

The most important feature of rules-based printing is that it gives you measurable results.  Any IT manager understands the perils of having measurable results to show to the board when it comes time to play orphan Oliver and ask for “some more sir”.  Rules-based printing initiatives give you the measurable proof that they are working, with dollar figures in hand.  These dollar figures can then be easily routed to other, more exciting, initiatives. 

The savings from a rules-based print environment is significant.  Start reaping the benefits today by implementing a rules-based environment at your company. 

Joe Miller is the Chief Technology Officer for Flo-Tech.  Flo-Tech is a managed print services provider with over 25 years of experience providing law firms with optimized print solutions.  Joe may be reached at [email protected]. 

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