Today, state and local governments are more serious than ever about reducing print costs and becoming more eco friendly. Managed print services coupled with printing policies are key. Laws in states like Washington help too. Their government agencies are now mandated to recycle all paper and use 100% post-consumer recycled paper products. This small change reportedly saves Washington’s taxpayers $1M per year.
Print Policies: One Part of the Answer
Many state and local governments have issued print policies to reduce waste. These initiatives typically include universities, libraries and courthouses adopting pay-for-print services in order to shift costs away from the government as well as other internal agency directives to cut paper and toner waste. This cost reduction awareness at the state level trickles down to government institutions and agencies and plays nicely into larger state initiatives on generalized recycling and waste reduction.
California and Washington are two states that despite large cities and populations, consistently rank high for ‘Greenest State.’ In 2013, the University of California Office of the President launched an efficiency review, addressing all areas of waste from energy consumption to BYOD policies and included print. The review resulted in initiatives and ideas ranging from requiring users to print double-sided documents, to restricting color printing, discouraging duplication and distribution of meeting handouts, recycling toner cartridges and requiring user and department sign-ons for tracking.
Print Cost Reduction Solutions
What if adopting print policies wasn’t the only answer for local and state government agencies to save money on print? What if looking at the network, updating the fleet and using technology in a managed print environment could augment print policies and save even more time and money?
The answer is: managed print services can.
Step 1: Audit the Printing Fleet
It’s easy to end up with a diverse mix of devices in a printing fleet. Not just a variety of equipment but a variety of capabilities, brands, and vendors, each one with service agreements, configuration settings and features that have to be managed typically by one (overloaded) IT department. With no plan, expired devices are often replaced without consideration for future needs. Or in other cases, too many printers are sitting on desks instead of consolidating and sharing devices across a network. In addition to print policies, knowing where you’re starting from makes fleet inventory an important step.
Step 2: Develop a Print Strategy
Printing technology has evolved quickly but many local and state governments are slow to adopt a print strategy despite plenty of evidence that doing so saves money. When device capability aligns with user needs and are networked, usage can be managed and audited through reporting dashboards. In addition, newer devices can now self-diagnose certain service issues, send reminders when toner is running low and alert IT departments and service technicians accordingly. This allows staff to be proactive in ordering supplies and scheduling service, as needed which reduces downtime and inventory. All of those incremental, small, technology driven pieces are important in a print strategy and work together to save hidden costs like time and resources.
Fleet Audit and Print Strategy in Action
The City of Arlington, TX is a perfect example of how implementing a print strategy saves significant costs for a sizeable city government. With 350,000+ residents and 3,000 city employees in 75 locations, they recognized a need for change.
A fleet audit resulted in trimming 900 devices by more than half and replacing outdated hardware with new technology equipped devices that drive savings. In addition, careful analysis and strategy development included a managed print services component. Tracking and reports related to paper and toner usage were developed which gave information to the city to inform their print policies. This decreased monthly printer output by 21% and reduced color printing by 85%. Within 12-months Arlington reported a double-digit reduction in annual print related spend.
There is no Magic Wand for Print Strategy
Every city, county and state government printer fleet configuration and management set-up is unique. The needs may be similar across agencies but strategy has to be developed from scratch if big savings like Arlington, TX realized are to be achieved. Gathering the building blocks of a print policy and fleet audit are the first two steps. After that it’s time to look at device capabilities versus the needs of the users, identify the simple fixes and develop a comprehensive plan that will continue to evolve.
NWN specializes in managed print services and print strategy and implementation for enterprise and government agencies. Have questions? We’re here to help.