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Using a free printer management tool can save you money [HP]

Client Computing | Posted on June 23, 2011

Printer management usually isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you’re thinking about places to save money and improve efficiency, but it is definitely something to ponder.

Unless you’ve only got one or two printers on your network, you need a tool for managing your print environment. Printer management software, like HP’s Web JetAdmin helps enterprises manage remote printers, reduce costs and increase security. All without any exhorbanant software licensing fees!

The cost and spend factor is not insignificant. Most organizations spend at least 2-3% of their annual budget on print, yet most could not actually put a number to that spend. Paper and ink or toner are major contributors to the cost of office supplies in the modern enterprise. A quick check of the wastebaskets next to printers will show you how much of that expense is wasted in unnecessary and incorrect print jobs. That kind of waste adds up quickly. But don’t forget all the IT time. Driver deployment and configurations can be time killers so leveraging a more automated tool or pushing out a universal print driver can be like a time machine.

For one thing printer management cuts down on unnecessary color printing. Although costs have come down considerably, the cost per page of color printing, especially color laser printing, is several times that of monochrome laser printing. In most enterprises color printing is only needed for a few jobs and often by just a few departments, such as HR or marketing. But all too often monochrome print jobs get sent to a color printer, running up costs and clogging the printer queue, slowing down the jobs that do need color. Customized printer management software can limit who can access the color printer and reject or potentially reroute jobs that don’t need color.

Unnecessary color printing isn’t the only kind of waste. Most enterprises can save money by duplexing (printing on both sides of the paper) and cutting paper use in half. Assuming, of course, that users remember to check the “duplex” command when submitting the print jobs. (Or uncheck it for single-sided printing when needed, resulting in the entire job having to be reprinted.) Print management software takes care of selecting duplex printing automatically.

Do-overs are another source of waste. If a user forgets to select the right settings, such as printing a spreadsheet in portrait rather than landscape format, the job has to be reprinted. That wastes toner and paper.

Then there’s game of “find the document”. You know you printed it out, but you end up hunting all over the office to find which printer it went to. This is frustrating, time-wasting and inefficient. With printer management software you can assign printers to users so each group of users knows where their jobs will be printed.

Security is another concern. If you don’t have control over your printing environment, confidential documents can go to the wrong printer, resulting in unintended exposure of confidential information. One common way to deal with the problem is to give people who print out confidential documents their own printers. This works, but it means extra printers on the system. And we all know what that means right?!? With print management software you can designate a security group of users and have their documents printed to a single printer in a secure location. The result is security without the extra cost of printers.

Then there’s the problem of abuse by users. Some users will take advantage of the enterprise printing services to run unauthorized print jobs for their own private use. This can be anything from printing out personal letters, to a would-be authors running 300 page copies of their Great American Novel, or the last minute online boarding pass complete with full color adds, to the guy who is using the company color laser printer to print off his bachelor party pix, or recent big game collection or family vacation photos. This sort of behavior can be anything from expensive to illadvised. Printer management software lets administrators keep track of who is printing what and in what quantity to give better control over printer use.

Finally, from the standpoint of the people who have to administer printers, printer management software is a Godsend. A good printer management tool, properly set up, will eliminate a great deal of the scut work involved in keeping printers running efficiently. While most printer management software won’t do anything an administrator can’t do manually, it can do it faster, easier and often more economically.

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