Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hidden costs in office imaging

Hidden supply costs are HUGE!

New IDC research tries to quantify the actual cost of the printed page. A blog post last week at Docusense's Cost Per Page Solutions blog pointed to the enormous impact of administration and IT costs. But there are big hidden expenses in every aspect of the printer page.

Whenever stats like these come out, the specifics are always hard to pin down in an "across the board" way. I am certain that the hidden costs far outweigh the obvious expenses of buying, supply and servicing equipment; however, I am just as sure that the percentages change when you move the survey from large corporate settings (i.e. where they would have full-scale IT support, doc management, etc.) down to an SMB.

That's our typical printer fleet management customer and we see the supply costs routinely as both very substantial and completely unmanaged. Of course, as mentioned above, the devil's in the details. Are they more than "Admin and IT"? Who knows, but consider these "Supply Costs" categories:

1. Purchasing -- Purchase order expenses; pre-purchase due diligence by buyers; monitoring of consummables' yield; returning defectives; tracking MRA credits; etc.

2. Inventory Management -- Receiving; warehousing; end-user distribution; etc.

3. Recycling -- Those who desire to be responsible environmentally will need to collect, warehouse and dispose of empties, usually involving shipping/handling expenses (or live with a 400-year decomposition period for toners in your town dump).

4. Obsolescence -- This is enormous. All the initial costs were already spent, years ago. The consummables were bought in bulk to get end-column pricing. The printers themselves are long gone. Yet all these toner cartridges are still being stored and counted in inventory and will eventually need to be disposed of. Every penny of associated expense is a complete waste!

We added three managed print services clients recently where the sales rep's found literally thousands of dollars of new O.E.M. cartridges unopened in storage rooms all around the facilities. The only problem? -- The customers no longer have those models anywhere in their organizations!

(Be watching for "toner cartridge bargain" on eBay sometime soon.)

Seriously, though, the "soft costs" hidden in every printed page are simply amazing. There are real savings within reach of any company that will simply begin managing this typically unmanaged area of their business.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Can't afford a new printer?

In that case it would do you well to consider buying a refurbished printer. Refurbished printers and copiers are brought back to the original factory specs by a certified technician with all brand new parts. In fact the majority of Expert Laser Services customers have opted for refurbished machines due to the fact that refurbished machines cost up to 30% less than brand new ones. Our refurbished laser printers and copiers come with a 90 day warrantee and are guaranteed to perform as well or better than brand new machines. In addition to running a refurbished machine you might also consider using remanufactured toner cartridges which in conjunction with a refurbished printer or copier can save you serious money over buying brand new office equipment and toner cartridges. Even if you can afford a new machine and OEM toners, why would you? If you would like more information about refurbished laser printers and copiers feel free to contact us on twitter.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

MPS-in-a-Box? Think Again!

"Do you offer managed print services?"

"Of course ... Doesn't everyone?"

Remember the old Midas commercial when a roaring, back-firing car rolls into a local service station for a tail-pipe and muffler? The customer asks, "Are you sure you have one that will fit my car?" Then the "mechanic" with a sledge hammer resting on his shoulder answers, "No problem. I can make it fit."

Off-the-shelf managed print services are like that. Someone hangs up a shingle and "Bingo!" -- they're a professional.

Today every national distributor sells its own MPS solution, office supply superstores sell theirs over-the-counter, and every manufacturer in the Business Technology Association throws their hat into the ring. Consider this post yesterday by Louella Fernandes ... manufacturers are trying to simplify their channel propositions to make MPS more accessible for resellers so that they do not need to invest in a costly infrastructure. In effect, instead of building their own service infrastructure, they can resell an MPS as a "white-label" service provided by a manufacturer."

Since nobody is selling office imaging equipment right now, everyone and his uncle is pumping their unique document-output-control, cost-containment, imaging-fleet-management solution.

Even if they don't know a thing about it.

"No problem. I can make it fit."

It blows my mind. Expert Laser Services is a long-established MPS company with a mature product we've been developing and implementing for 15 years, with thousands of devices already under contract. We've already made all those "costly investments in infrastructure" that Louella's talking about -- a fleet of tech vans and technicians, a trademarked MPS product, a couple of successful, growing offices.

Yet we are in competition with everyone from Xerox all the way down to the local one-man PC repair shop who bought MPS-in-a-Box?!

"No problem. I can make it fit."

Naw, I guess I'll quit whining. Now that I think of it, their MPS product really doesn't compete with ours.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Printer Fleet Management

According to Buyers Laboratory, “Ninety percent of all companies do not track their printing costs.” If your company falls into this category and you are feeling the crunch of the current economic atmosphere it would be wise for you to consider paying closer attention to what you spend on running your printers and copiers and if you are in fact running them as efficiently as possible, especially if you have no clue about how much you spend on toner, repairs and service for your machines on a monthly basis. Honestly though, who has the time to keep track of such things? Well, if you want to save serious money you'd better be ready to invest the time and put up with the stress that comes along with such an endeavor or, you could just "bring it all under the dome". What does that mean? It means saving yourself time and money by joining Expert Laser Services PrintDOME Printer Fleet Management Program.

We Micro-Manage So You Don’t Have To!

Routine inspections are the foundation of our program. We visit each printer in your fleet regularly. Our technician performs a cleaning and evaluation. Potential issues are identified and addressed before they become a problem, lessening downtime. Preventive maintenance visits are complemented by our PrintDOME printer fleet management software, providing constant evaluation of usage. Active monitoring assures a proper amount of toner and the correct cartridge is always on-hand for each machine not “just in time” — but well in advance of need. Again, as with the routine inspections, this eliminates opportunities for emergencies to arise. Constant evaluation of alerts, jams, error messages—the complete printer history!—provides all the information needed to effectively manage the fleet. Machines which need to be relocated due to changes in volume or usage can easily be strategically redeployed resulting in user productivity increases, improved cost alignment as well as longer usable equipment life.

PrintDOME™ Benefits are Remarkable:

Detailed Reports — Receive monthly customized, accurate management reports. Paperwork Reduction — One single P.O. eliminates 100’s of requisitions and P.O.’s for cartridge purchases and inventories, yields, quality of copies, routine maintenance and emergencies—everything. Out-source Your Printer “Help-desk” — Users’ single point-of-contact is a live person help-desk reachable through a supplied toll-free number. Direct-to-desk Toner Supply — Save time and effort at every step in the process: ordering; receiving; warehousing; distributing; returning defective/spent cartridges. Environmental Impact! — With our customers’ help we are keeping thousands of toner cartridges out of our landfills each year! Our Data Collection Agent requires very little bandwidth and is completely secure. Our approach has proven effective over years of performance and its success is easy to explain: We eliminate all the headaches. Expert Laser Services is responsible for toner inventories, yields, quality of copies, routine maintenance and emergencies, in other words we cover absolutely everything!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why recycle toner cartridges?

Below is a list of facts regarding toner cartridges. This list is intended to open your eyes to the harmful effects not recycling toner cartridges has on the earth. It is my hope that you will also realize how easy it is to recycle toner cartridges and how much money you can save by buying remanufactured toner cartridges.

· About 8 toner cartridges per second are thrown away in the US alone.

· About 70% of all used cartridges are trashed.

· Every remanufactured cartridge keeps 3.5 pounds of waste out of our dumps.

· Toner cartridges take hundreds of years to decompose.

· Remanufacturing reduces pollution of dumping and incineration of cartridges.

· Remanufactured toner cartridges cost 20-40% less than OEM toner cartridges.

· Remanufactured cartridges run equal to or better than OEM cartridges.

· Remanufactured toner cartridges are 100% fully recycled.

Expert Laser Services will pick up your empty toner cartridges for FREE.

Technorati Profile

A great printer repair technician?

When you need someone to service your office printer you want to make sure you have a well qualified individual working on your investment. Below is a simple list of qualities that you want to look for when seeking out a printer repair technician.

· Certification - You want to you find a printer technician who is certified to work on the make and model of the machine you have.

· Time - Finding a printer technician who is consistently on time is important, giving the job to a technician who takes his time on arriving to your office may cost you time and when you need an emergency repair you do not want to deal with a lazy technician.

· Honesty - A good printer technician will tell you when its cost effective to replace parts or buy a new machine. Sometimes the cost of repairs will be steep and the repairs may only buy you more time before you need to purchase a new machine.

· Experience - look for a company who offers a fleet of technicians that have several years experience, while being certified is important, the technician with five or more years of experience, is going to have a leg up on the rookie who just started today.

· Backup - Be sure to get service from a company that has a group of technicians, should an emergency arise and the first technician dispatched be unable to make your call, they can arrange for a backup to help you in your time of need.

Office printer breaks down...

So a while back you bought a nice brand new laser printer or copier and have been blissfully accomplishing all of your printing needs at a great page per minute output for days on end, week after week, year after year and then kkrzzzzzrrtt! What was that noise? Uh oh! What does this error code mean? Why isn't this machine printing? Ahhh! Well it looks like you are now in need of a printer technician. So who do you call? Before you go throwing money at the first listing you find in your local Google or yellow pages search, consider these variables. A good printer repair service will offer a first time customer a deal, especially in this economy. Secondly take a moment to check if the company sending the tech is registered with the Better Business Bureau and if there are any customer reviews available, having a good printer will not mean anything when you have a nitwit working on repairs when it breaks down. Check to see if the company in question has technicians who are certified to work on the type of machine you need repairs on. Before you hang up after calling in the service request ask how long it will be before the tech arrives and be sure to ask for an approximate cost and a direct line to call back the person who gives you the estimate. If your machine has an error code see if they have a technician or IT professional who can walk you through a simple action to remedy the problem yourself, there's no sense in paying a large fee for something you could have done with a little help from a good customer service rep armed with a codex of common error codes. Of course the most important aspect of getting your printer or copier back on track and getting the machine fixed as fast as possible by the most qualified person for the best price starts with a preemptive strike. You should definitely find out all of this information before you have a problem. You don’t want to have to deal with the stress of a serious printer problem when you need to get that report printed and on your bosses desk in fifteen minutes and you will be glad that you have the best possible candidate ready to tackle the problem shortly after it occurs.

Inkjet Printers vs. Laser Printers

It amazes me that some small and large businesses alike still use inkjet printers in some of their offices. Below you will see the statistics for the yield of both a laser and inkjet cartridge in comparison to each other. Toner cartridge - $50-$60 Yield - 2,000-3,000 pages. Average cost per black and white print - 2-2.5 cents per page. Inkjet cartridge - $20-$30 Yield - 400-500 pages. Average cost per black and white print - 4-6 cents per page.

NOTE: Above information is based on averages.

Bring color into the mix and your looking at about 70-75 cents per print with an inkjet cartridge and 10-15 cents per print with a laser toner cartridge. It can't be stressed enough how important it is to take a look at your monthly volume and carefully choose a printer for your office. Going with an inkjet printer could cost you serious money in the long run based upon what you pay per print. In addition to paying more per print there are other costly troubles to be expected with inkjet printers including woes such as finding repair services for them as to how many printer service companies will not even offer service on a inkjet printer because they are cheaply made and repairs are often more expensive than the inkjet printer itself. If you print 500-1,000 prints a month and plan on buying a new printer for your office or any other professional setting you would be well advised to go with a laser printer over an inkjet printer.

"Workhorse" Defined.

In the world of copier sales and service the term "workhorse" is used to describe select copiers. What exactly is a workhorse you might ask? The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines a workhorse in the context of which we are speaking as "something that is markedly useful, durable, or dependable". Although this term is used when speaking of various machines there are really only a select breed of copiers that truly deserve such high acclaim in respect to their capabilities and dependability. One such line of copiers are the Business by Design series of Bizhub copiers from Konica Minolta. The Bizhub “Business by Design” series of copiers are the leaders of the pack when it comes to the latest and greatest in color copies, scanning and fax capabilities. Boasting the first ever handicap accessible control panel and biometric recognition user identification system, the C652, C552 and C451 are definitive workhorses with ultra user friendly functions, allowing even a novice user to jump right into document production with the confidence of a seasoned veteran! Check out the full glory of the C652, C552 and C451 here.

"Shady" Laser Printer sales.

There are some so called "deals" in the laser printer market aimed at small businesses these days that at first glance may seem very attractive but upon further inspection are nothing more than bad investments in disguise. A lot of small business owners may be attracted to a printer like the HP P1006 because of its cost of about $180. A customer who sees this may not consider a machine like the HP 2300 because clearly it costs more. Or does it? Yes, the HP 2300 does carry a larger price tag even if one was to purchase a Refurbished HP 2300 which would run a buyer about $300. Such a price can be a turn-off especially when you see the much more affordable HP P1006. The affordability of the HP P1006 is however, an illusion. If one took notice of the toner cartridge used in the HP P1006 they would find that the 35A cartridge runs about $70 and will print 1,500 copies of which one would then be paying around 4.5 cents per print. Now if you look at the HP 2300's 10A cartridge which will cost about $135 and yields 6,000 prints one would then be paying only around 2.2 cents per print. So although the cost of the HP P1006 laser printer would initially cost less, you would be paying much more in the long run than if you purchased the larger HP 2300. If you are a small business owner you should take into account just how many prints you are doing monthly before buying an "affordable" laser printer. Buying a printer that costs a couple hundred dollars more can save you serious money in the long run especially if you have a high volume of prints per month. So before you buy your next laser printer take the time to look at your monthly output and do yourself a favor by choosing the right laser printer for your business and its respective printing needs.

Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

When the person in charge of buying toner for your office heads out to make a purchase, they have two options available to them. They can buy a brand new OEM toner cartridge which is expensive but can be expected to run perfectly out of the box or they can buy a remanufactured toner cartridge which for the most part will be significantly cheaper but according to some likely to give you unexpected print results. How can you know if its worth buying the remanufactured cartridge? By looking into the company that makes them and the customers who buy them. A good company will supply you with a list of customers if you express interest in their product and by getting said list you can do a little homework to see if their product is worth spending your money on. A few good questions to ask about the product include, how many businesses are buying remanufactured toner cartridges from this company? What businesses are buying remanufactured toner cartridges from this company? Are these businesses return customers? When a remanufactured toner cartridge does malfunction how does the company compensate the customer for their troubles? When you find that the feedback to these questions is positive you can generally feel good about buying the remanufactured toner cartridges. If you need more peace of mind you can always check to see if the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and check to see what their rating is in addition to being able to read customer reviews.

BIG productivity MFP

If you are a small business owner trying to make it in today's economic atmosphere chances are one of the more prominent things on your mind is getting the most out of each of the tools at your disposal. You need to make copies, send faxes and scan documents and you can't afford to buy three separate machines when all you can think about is how to spend less money and cut corners where you can. Enter the HP LaserJet M3027x. This multifunctional beauty has the big productivity your small business needs and its from HP, the undisputed heavy weight champion of the office equipment world. Right out of the box you can expect up to 75,000 pages per month at a page per minute rate of up to 27 ppm letter sized documents and up to 25 ppm A4 sized documents. The M3027x also features full scanning capabilities including send to e-mail, duplexing automatic document feeder, 33.6 kpbs fax, HP Jetdirect Fast Ethernet embedded print server, HP high performance hard disk, 256 MB of ram and a high yield toner cartridge all for a price that won't break the bank.

"Go Green" and SAVE money!?

Often times in these days of "global warming" and the growing concern about our environment, going green is an idea and philosophy that is being implemented in many different ways in many different industries around the world. However most CEO's despite their personal feelings on the subject have one thing on their mind when considering if they too should in fact "go green". How much will this cost, and can we make profit from doing such a thing? Indeed the cornucopia of ways to go green is expanding everyday, the thing is sometimes it costs money to move ahead with such an endeavor and sometimes said expense is more than a company may want to invest. However there are companies such as the company I work for ( and share in ownership as to how it is an ESOP ) that offer a service which truly is green and truly saves you money. Here at Expert Laser Services we remanufacture toner cartridges that are equal to if not above the quality of OEM cartridges and offer them to you at a fraction of the price of an OEM cartridge. These cartridges are reused many times before they are broken down and fully recycled. Since 1990 Expert Laser Services has provided top quality remanufactured cartridges in addition to laser printers, multifunctionals and copiers as well as service and supply programs to keep them running and save the customer time and money. From Brown University to AAA of Southern New England and many small and large businesses in between, Expert Laser Services has saved many companies from spending too much money and too much time managing printing costs. By buying our quality cartridges and or signing up for our PrintDOME service supply program, you will save significant amounts of money and will be helping to save our landfills and environment from thousands of pounds of solid waste which take hundreds of years to decompose.