Understanding your printer requirements
Have you ever taken the time to really analyze your printer requirements? How many printers do you need vs how many you actually have? What are the print volumes? Is the output load balanced or do you have printers that are overused, while some remain idle for hours on end?
Depending on the population of your printer fleet there are many ways to take stock of what your volumes are which will give you a much clearer understanding of what your printer requirements actually involve.
The most basic tool to understanding your printer requirements is a plain old spreadsheet. List the printer fleet in one column and twelve sequential months thereafter and begin to obtain monthly meter counts for each printer. By accessing the printer’s counter menu, you can get the current meter counts on each machine. If you happen to know the TCP/IP address of each printer the task of getting readings becomes much easier. Every printer has a web management page that has the current statistics all in one convenient place without the need to ever leave the comforts of your desk.
Probably the best choice would be to use a 3rd party monitoring software device such as PrintFleet or FMAudit. With these systems you will get a very clear view of your usage and how the printers are actually being used. Peak times, paper size requirements, and supply usage are just some of the additional reports that can be provided. Since the system runs in the background on any connected Workstation or Server, this is a one time “set it and forget it” type of installation.
Having the ability to look at your printer requirements in real time will give you a complete view of your fleet. Armed with all of the proper information, you are now able to make smart choices as it pertains to adding, removing, and relocating printer equipment from within your fleet. If there are printers being under ultilized, they can be moved to more critical areas of your business. If there are printers that are being over used, they can be replaced with heavy duty printers or add additional equipment to balance the load.
No matter which technique you use having a better understanding of your printer requirements will not only make your workflow far more efficient, in many cases it will actually produce a cost savings by having the right equipment exactly where it is needed.
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