Managed IT

Top Printer Management Challenges (+How to Overcome Them)

Top Printer Management Challenges (+How to Overcome Them)

by Obi Nwaneri - March 19, 2024

In 2024, organizations across industries remain reliant on printing. From small businesses to large corporations, printers play a critical role in day-to-day operations. 

However, business print management, especially in multi-site environments, comes with its fair share of challenges that can disrupt workflow and cause frustration for IT professionals and employees. It’s a complex task for any organization, especially when faced with rising costs, security concerns, and the growing shift toward remote work. 

Let’s discuss some of the top printer management challenges faced by organizations and explore effective strategies to overcome them. 

1. Lack of Visibility into Rising Printing Costs

Ninety percent of companies don’t know how much they spend on printing and the number of printers in their fleet. These costs include not just the obvious expenses like paper and ink cartridges, but also hidden costs such as maintenance, energy consumption, and even the time employees spend waiting for their print jobs or troubleshooting printer issues.

Without a clear understanding of where and how resources are being used, it becomes difficult to control costs effectively. Often, organizations aren't aware of the full extent of their printing costs because these expenses are spread across different departments, multiple locations, or hidden in general overhead costs. This lack of visibility hampers the ability to identify wasteful practices, optimize resource allocation, and accurately budget for printing needs.

Solution: Implement Managed Print Services (MPS)

Managed print services offer a transparent, data-driven view of printing costs, providing the insights needed to drive efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately save money. According to a Gartner study, MPS can reduce printing costs by up to 30%. Here's how:

Comprehensive Cost Tracking: MPS provides detailed reports on your organization's printing habits, breaking down costs by department, user, and even specific devices. This granular level of data allows you to see exactly where your printing budget is spent.

  • Identifying Inefficiencies: By tracking print volumes and patterns, MPS can help identify wasteful practices or inefficiencies. For instance, you might discover that certain departments are printing far more than necessary or that color printing is being overused.
  • Predictive Budgeting: With the data gathered, MPS can help predict future printing needs and costs. This allows for more accurate budgeting and can highlight areas where cost savings could be made.
  • Automated Supply Management: MPS often includes features like automated supply replenishment, which ensures you only order and pay for supplies as needed, reducing waste and unnecessary expenditure.
  • Reducing Maintenance Costs: MPS also monitors the health of your printers and can schedule maintenance before costly repairs are needed, further helping to manage expenses.

2. Print Security and Regulatory Compliance 

Unsecured network printers and multifunction devices pose significant security risks and are a potential entry point for cyber attacks. If exploited, they can lead to data breaches and financial losses, as well as damage to a company's reputation. Twenty-seven percent of all security incidents were print-related in the past year, according to the latest Quocirca Print Security Landscape report.

Many industries, such as healthcare, finance, and legal, have strict regulations on the handling and disposal of sensitive documents. For instance, healthcare organizations need to comply with HIPAA, finance firms with GDPR, PCI DSS, and SOX, and legal firms with attorney-client privilege laws. Failure to secure print environments can lead to hefty fines, legal consequences, and, most importantly, the erosion of consumer trust. 

Solution: Select Devices with Robust Security Features 

Look for devices that exceed industry standards for cybersecurity and have built-in security features such as audit trails, firewall protection, secure pull printing, and encrypted data transmission. This ensures that only authorized users have access to the printer and can print sensitive documents securely. 

At Meridian, we recommend Konica Minolta’s line of Bizhub multifunction printers, which have received numerous security certifications.

3. Unnecessary Print Hardware

Maintaining an oversized fleet of printers can lead to high operational costs and inefficiencies. With the rapid advancement of technology, many organizations find themselves with outdated equipment and expensive print servers that are costly to maintain and operate.

Moreover, managing a large fleet of printers can be a complex task, requiring significant resources and expertise. This can distract IT teams from more strategic initiatives and lead to decreased productivity.

Solution: Undergo Print Fleet Optimization

Print fleet optimization helps organizations streamline and consolidate their print infrastructure. This involves conducting a thorough print audit to identify unnecessary devices and replace them with more advanced and energy-efficient models. By optimizing the print fleet, organizations can reduce operational costs, improve efficiency, and free up IT resources for more strategic tasks.

4. Environmental Impact of Printing 

Printing can have a significant environmental impact, contributing to deforestation, energy consumption, and waste generation. As organizations strive to become more sustainable, reducing the environmental impact of printing is a key challenge. 

Unfortunately, there are often misconceptions about the need to print. Many employees print documents out of habit or due to physical discomfort with reading on a screen. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Wasteful printing habits lead to excessive paper, ink, and energy consumption resulting in unnecessary environmental and budgetary impact.

Solution: Encourage Eco-Friendly Printing Practices

An MPS provider that values sustainability can help organizations implement eco-friendly printing practices to reduce waste. These may include promoting duplex printing, enforcing rule-based printing policies, and recommending printers with energy-saving features. An MPS partner can also assist in the recycling of used supplies and the environmentally friendly disposal of old equipment. 

By partnering with a sustainability-focused MPS provider, businesses can not only reduce their carbon footprint but also save money. It's a win-win situation that promotes both ecological responsibility and financial efficiency.

6. Hybrid Workforce Support  

With the rise of remote work, supporting a hybrid workforce has become a key challenge for organizations. Providing reliable and secure access to printing resources can be difficult when employees are working from various locations. Without proper mobile printing capabilities, this can lead to inefficiencies and frustration.

Solution: Transition to Serverless Printing 

With serverless printing, employees can print documents from any location, on any device, without the need for a central print server. This eliminates the need for employees to be physically present in the office to access printing resources. It also reduces costs associated with maintaining and upgrading print servers.

Serverless printing also allows for more flexibility and scalability as organizations grow and add more remote workers. By transitioning to serverless printing, businesses can effectively support their hybrid workforce while reducing costs and improving overall efficiency. 

7. Automating Print Workflows

Manual print workflows can be time-consuming and prone to errors, leading to inefficiencies and decreased productivity. However, automating print workflows such as document capture, scanning, and print job tracking is a complex task, particularly for larger organizations with legacy systems. It requires intricate knowledge and seamless integration with existing business systems and applications. 

Solution: Invest in Cloud Print Management Software 

Cloud print management software is designed to help companies automatically route print jobs,  track usage patterns, streamline document capture, speed up the quoting and order processes, and improve overall efficiency. By automating print workflows, organizations can increase efficiency, reduce errors, and gain greater control over their print environment.

Ready to Simplify Printer Management?  

Managing print fleets can pose several challenges. However, with the right strategies and tools, organizations can overcome these obstacles and achieve a more efficient and cost-effective print environment. Address these challenges head-on, and you’ll ensure your printers remain a valuable asset rather than a source of frustration.

Organizations interested in simplifying print management should request a complimentary print assessment. By completing the evaluation, you’ll receive actionable insights and take the initial step toward streamlining your processes.

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