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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't Buy Another Printer, Copier, Toner, or Managed Print Services Unless You Have One of These.

"Roll the Dice"

I often describe the office print environment in one word, "overcapacity".

Even as manufacturers (Ricoh, Xerox, Canon) start to make smaller footprint devices - it wasn't that long ago when copier reps would mock those little devices - businesses have more print and copy capacity than they need.

It is like the Tragedy of the Commons.

My point: we've been over-purchasing (or over-sold) print devices for decades and it's because the decision process has been unmanaged.

Well, that's not one hundred percent accurate - copier acquisition, printer procurement, supplies fulfillment, and service request procedures have, for the most part, been managed - they've just been managed by VENDORS AND SUPPLIERS.

Not customers.

Think about it -
  • Who tells you the lease buyout figure?  
  • Who determines the "best" device for your needs?  
  • Who conducts the 'agnostic' assessment?  
  • Who interfaces almost daily with your end-users? To you they are end-users, to the vendors, they represent 1,500 images a month.
Expecting your copier, printer, or toner supplier to build a program that supports your cost reduction program is like expecting the wolf not to eat the rabbit.

It is worse than you think.  It usually is.

"I'm a thief in the house of love, and I can't be trusted..." 

The people who tell you they are trusted advisors have been trained into believing they are - it's called an 'elevator pitch' or 'value prop'.  They have materials with names like 'battle cards' and 'target account reviews'.  They're tutored in finding your pain and trained in the art of increasing the 'share of wallet'.

They study you.

Football teams have playbooks, employers distribute handbooks and every baby crib or gas grill includes a printed(!) set of assembly directions. The IT realm has ITIL, manufacturers utilize ISO, and Ricoh has Kaizen so how is it that major corporations rarely have a plan for print/content management?

Why do you not have a print playbook?

"I don't care if the odds ain't in our favor..."

I'll tell you why you do not have a print policy but first, let's talk about what a Print Policy(PP) is not.
  • A print policy is not a set of rules designed to redirect print jobs, although your PP may include rules.
  • If you think a standard list of printers/copiers is a print policy, you're wrong.
  • Purchasing toner off a GPO, through a portal, is not a print policy.
"Put the champagne on ice, it's just another roll of the dice..?"

Here is what you should have before you make your next output-oriented decision:

"A Print Policy is the documented outline of procedures, illustrating the organization’s current output-related decision-making processes. This policy is endorsed at the highest level of executive management, contains milestones, and supports the organization’s business goals."

- GRW, 6/15

Examples of what may be included in a Print Policy:
  • Environmental Impact of print
  • Procedures for requesting a new printer/copier
  • Assessment process
  • Training for end user/service support
  • The decision process for purchase, lease, and supplies
  • Standards: Hardware, lease term, SLAs, etc.
  • Deployment parameters
  • How to place a service/supplies/helpdesk call
  • Workflow and printing strategies
  • How to move the copier decision from Purchasing to IT
Design your policy organically.  This doesn't mean internally. No, it's smart to seek outside perspectives from folks who believe and align with your overall mission - those not enslaved by equipment quotas, like direct vendors.

This is not an easy proposition and expects to pay for the work - the ROI could be six months.

Successful PPs are supported by the highest position in the organization and marketed internally and to clients/customers/patients as a positive, strategic approach to enhancing the customer experience.

Want to know more?  Reach out to me, at


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  1. You excluded user experience/staff satisfaction - not all value is measured in pounds and pence (or dollars and cents)...

  2. Hey Nic -

    All inclusive Print Policies would certainly include as many UX aspects as possible - for your clients' end-users AND their customers...


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