Do you know how much your company

Do you know how much your company is spending on printing, copying and faxes? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone. In many businesses printing is something that tends to happen below the management radar, so there’s little or no control over its costs and efficiency.

Of course, you can only take control of something if you can measure it, so understanding your existing set-up is the first step.

What Is a Print Audit?

A print audit from a company like is conducted to gather information on printer use, how printing resources are accessed and the operational costs that are involved in these activities.

It’s important to define the remit of the audit at the beginning of the process. Does it, for example, need to include things like photocopying and faxing? Does it take account of printing jobs contracted out to third parties, such as printing brochures and sales material?

The first stage of a print audit is usually to collect usage information from existing systems. Printer hardware always includes some form of copy counter which can be interrogated to find out how many pages are being produced. In the case of multi-function devices, this information should also be able to tell you how many of the pages produced are prints, how many are copies, and the proportion of jobs produced in monochrome and colour.

As well as the volume of printing, it’s also important to know where the jobs are coming from. You may have networked printers that are accessible by many people and also individual machines attached to desktop PCs.

You also need the audit to look at the cost of printing – not just the capital cost of the equipment, but how much you’re spending on consumables, on power and on maintenance costs. The costs of contracted-out printing need to be examined too. For many companies the total cost of their spending on print activity can come as a bit of a surprise.

Where Next?

Armed with the audit information, you can begin to look at streamlining your operation and bringing your printing costs under control. In some cases this may mean making just a few minor changes in order to optimise your print operations. In others it may require a more radical approach.

If an infrastructure change is required, then you have the opportunity to use the audit results to position printing equipment where it’s most needed. You also can take greater control of who is allowed to create prints and in what format. There are security implications here too: if your company deals with sensitive information, then you’ll want to have control over what is printed out. This in turn will help with compliance when it comes to implementing new regulations like GDPR.

All businesses are under pressure to cut costs. Understanding your print requirements is a step towards ensuring that money isn’t being thrown away on inefficient operations and unnecessary printing. Carrying out a print audit is the first stage of moving towards a more efficient and cost-effective office printing culture.