Document workflows are constantly changing. More and more businesses are finding ways to cut printing costs by moving to digital solutions. We are doing more with mobile devices and document management software but, alas, the printed page isn’t dead… yet.

Since the introduction of tablets and e-readers, some of us haven’t picked up an actual printed book in ages, if at all, while others still prefer the look and feel of a printed book. Office printing is no different. While some businesses are successfully implementing paper-free environments, many more than what we think still rely on paper workflows for at least some of their business needs. One thing all businesses can agree on is the financial impact of both scenarios. “Paper-less” offices may spend less on printing but often funnel those saved printing funds towards software and hardware solutions in order to reach their reduced-printing goals. Document Management software, tablets, and scanners take the place of printers and paper. But for offices utilizing paper driven workflows, the conversation regarding printing costs is sometimes forgotten.

Analyze Print Costs

As a Managed Print provider, Van Ausdall & Farrar specializes in providing businesses with a more efficient way of managing their current print environment through service & supplies under a streamlined agreement. If you have copiers in your office, you are probably already familiar with the concept. Pay a fee each month based on your print volume and all service & supplies are included. Not only is it simple, but it can save thousands in costs. Ordering toner here-and-there on an as-needed basis usually means you will get invoiced here-and-there. Toner invoices come in, get routed to A/P, get paid, and then filed away. It’s typically so infrequent that no one considers looking at them to uncover their true printing costs. We at Van Ausdall know this because it is what we do. We analyze printing costs for companies every day and the most common reaction we see upon delivering the data to a customer is “Wow. I had no idea it was this much.”

Next comes a sometimes uncomfortable conversation. In many cases, OEM cartridges are to blame. Purchasing OEM (original equipment manufacturer, or name brand) toner from retail locations can be extremely expensive and some end users demand them.

All too often we hear;

“Our machine only works with OEM”

“We’ve had too many problems with non-OEM in the past.”

Given that there are hundreds of off-brands out there, we can certainly understand the occurrences of a bad experience with non-OEM toner. But, be aware that not all non-OEM toner is made equal.

Remanufactured Cartridges

We can break non-OEM toner into two categories; remanufactured and compatible. Remanufactured cartridges are recycled empty cartridges that have been cleaned and refilled. While good for the environment, the failure rate and quality is typically less than desirable. Remanufactured cartridges are one of the main reasons for the response “we’ve had too many problems with non-OEM in the past.”

Compatible Cartridges

Compatible cartridges are the generic counterpart to the OEM brand. Rather than being refilled shells of empty cartridges, they are manufactured as new… without the expensive label. Failure rates of compatible cartridges rival OEM rates by only failing a small percentage more than OEMs on average.  This is the main reason Managed Print providers only utilize compatible cartridges, NOT remanufactured cartridges. If you are speaking with a Managed print Provider and they are using remanufactured cartridges… RUN!!! You may save more money, but the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ still rings true. What you save in hard costs will be lost in soft costs as your employees pack up and send bad cartridges back from whence they came on a regular basis.

Embrace Compatible

Don’t fear compatibles. Just ensure that your Managed Print provider only sources quality compatible cartridges and give non-OEM a chance. The savings will speak for themselves and more than make up for the one additional failed cartridge per year. If your employees still remain unconvinced, funnel a portion of your MPS savings towards a monthly office party. Parties work every time.