Businesses Face Variety of Printing Cost Challenges, Survey Finds
Office printing specialist Lexmark International announced results
from a survey, which identified popular printing problems facing small
to medium-sized businesses. The survey was conducted by MarketTools in
the United States on behalf of Lexmark and was fielded in June and
November of 2009 and surveyed business users.
Small businesses reported that buying expensive printer ink could often
cause headaches. Lexmark recommended a way to avoid those headaches by
switching to a printer that offers more economical ink cartridges. The
company said another great way to avert the pain is to look for rewards
or loyalty programs that can earn you free consumables. Lexmark noted
it offers a Rewards Program that provides users with free Lexmark ink,
toner and imaging kits. Companies such as HP and Canon offer similar
programs that also include options for extended warrantees and 24/7
customer service lines.
The survey also revealed the cost of print media is a headache - SMBs
complain about the increasing cost of paper. One way to reduce paper
consumption is to convert and move paper documents digitally, whenever
possible. For example, many printer companies' inkjet and laser devices
offer user-friendly scanning solutions, such as Scan-to-Email and
Scan-to-Folder, that help reduce the amount of paper used, streamline
processes and bring greater productivity to the user or workgroup.
Also, using two-sided printing and Eco-Mode can help reduce paper
usage. There are several ways for SMBs to help reduce the amount of
paper (and energy) they use-HP offers a number of Energy Star-rated
products that reduce energy consumption, paper usage and are made of
Midmarket companies also noted paper jams as a challenge. The Lexmark
survey revealed paper jams were the No. 3 concern of SMBs. Maximizing
ink and toner use was another high priority for cost-conscious
businesses. A device will likely start giving the users signals
that ink or toner is running low in advance of it needing replacement.
As the ink or toner runs low, printer quality may start to diminish but
may be sufficient for draft or proofing of jobs. Lexmark said it
recommends judging the print quality by reviewing the printout
carefully, in conjunction with the signals the printer is giving users.
Also, look for devices with individual color cartridges and have backup
supplies on hand to cover any big jobs.
Another concern the Lexmark survey uncovered was replenishment
frequency of printing supplies. "Frequent trips to the store and
searching for a cartridge to replenish supplies is another pet peeve on
the minds of SMBs," the report noted. Therefore, several print
specialists offer high-yield options for most of its inkjet and laser
devices, reducing the number of times cartridges have to be replaced.
And for those navigationally challenged SMBs, most printing firms offer
a cartridge finder solution to help companies locate a nearby retailer
that carries specific supplies.