When conducting a Print Assessment, companies often do not start with a physical check of what they have. Instead they rely on their suppliers to provide them with information on devices for analysis. The problem with this approach is that suppliers often don’t track their own information as accurately as one might think, which results in organizations making decisions based on flawed data sets. Statistics show that most companies have at least double the devices they thought they had and that the vast majority of supplier provided data has significant discrepancies.Companies often only analyse costs and although most companies have been able to put in solutions to reduce costs to some extent, they still fail to review some of the most important factors that cause their costs to be high in the first place, and the Total Cost of Ownership of their print environment.
The Steps to Conducting a Successful Print Assessment are:
- Minimum Print Assessment Analysis Parameters – When conducting a print assessment, a business must be able to review the number of A3 devices against the volume of A3 prints, the number of colour devices against the volume of colour prints, the % of duplex (double sided) prints against the total print volumes and the total print volumes against the capability or recommended monthly print volume (RMPV) of the fleet of devices. In addition, the business must be able to calculate total rentals, total mono print costs and total colour print costs, which will allow for analysis in order to compare colour costs as a % of total cost and rentals as a % of total cost.
- Plan for a Physical Check – Unfortunately, no software exists that can reliably pick up and record information on all equipment brands across all networks. So plan to physically walk your sites and check your devices. Allocate resources to the project and make sure that you communicate your intentions to the business so that your resources are expected when they arrive.
- Prepare an Assessment Spreadsheet – Prepare an assessment spreadsheet to populate with the information you gather during the assessment process. The assessment spreadsheet will act as a “checklist” ensuring you collect the same data on all the devices.
- Financial Information to Prepare – If you've decided to do a financial analysis as part of your print assessment, the best place to start is usually with your accounts department. You can ask them to prepare supplier invoices while you are in the process of conducting the physical site checks and visits. Collecting the most recent three months’ invoices should suffice.
- Calculating Monthly Print Volumes – A critical success factor when conducting a print assessment, is gaining an understanding of your monthly print volumes. Please download our Assessment Whitepaper (link below) for details on how to calculate print volumes.
- Completing the Assessment Spreadsheet – At this stage, you have completed at least one site visit, checked all your devices and collected invoices from accounts. Start completing your assessment spreadsheet with the information you have. Don’t worry about missing information at this stage, you will come back to it later.
- Obtaining Missing Device Information – Once you have entered everything into your assessment spreadsheet, review missing information. Chances are, you are missing device information relating to A3 capability, whether devices are colour or not and what the device capacity is (the most common missing data set). Contact your suppliers and ask them to provide you with the missing information. Alternatively, you could try using Google searches to look for missing information, but this is a very time consuming exercise.
- Obtaining Missing Financial Information – There are various ways of doing this but the easiest is to simply ask you accounts department to fill in the gaps on the spreadsheet. If they cannot do this, you will have to revert to your suppliers to provide you with the relevant information.
- Review and Analyse Your Data – By now you should have a fairly detailed data set to review and analyse. Start reviewing the data and make sure you review the number of A3 devices against the volume of A3 prints, the number of colour devices against the volume of colour prints, the % of duplex (double sided) prints against the total print volumes and the total print volumes against the capability or recommended monthly print volume (RMPV) of the fleet of devices. If doing a financial analysis, compare colour costs as a % of total cost and rentals as a % of the total cost.
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