A growing business, while a sign of great success, can also create unexpected challenges. Sometimes it’s easy for business owners to see what they need to be prepared for and sometimes challenges can come from left field.
One of the areas that businesses seldom plan for in advance is how growth will affect printing. It might sound like a minor concern however printing can account for more operating budget than it needs to unless businesses have the right processes and solutions in place.
Seven of the most common challenges growing businesses experience with regard to printing include:
1. Increased print volume. As the business grows, it will likely consume more paper and toner because a higher number of employees naturally translates to more printing. Some of these costs are unavoidable and, as revenue grows, it may not seem like an untenable increase. However, the costs can soon mount up. Keeping these costs under control is important especially as hidden costs like energy usage and device wear and tear can catch business owners off-guard.
2. Lack of visibility into printing. As the business gets larger it becomes harder to see who is printing what, and how much they’re printing. While, in the past, it may have been easy to see when someone was printing excessive amounts, now it’s hard to track unless specialist software is in place.
3. Uncontrolled printer fleet expansion. As more people join the organisation and pressure on print devices increases, it can be tempting to just buy more devices. And, if some staff members have to regularly print sensitive documents, it might seem like a good idea to put a printer on their desk. This can lead to out-of-control spending on the printer fleet with too many devices to maintain.
4. Bad deals on new technology. When the business was small and only needed a couple of printers, the local office supply store may have been able to provide the equipment needed. In a growing business, this is no way to manage costs. Depending on the number of printers needed and the type of functionality required, it may make more sense to move to a contract that includes the supply of equipment and support services, known as a managed print service.
5. Increased pressure on the IT department. The IT department is likely the first port of call when people have issues with their printing. In fact, up to 40 per cent of IT help desk calls can be print-related. This is fine when it’s just a handful of people but, as the business grows, the demands on the IT department will start to become untenable. And, IT staff need to focus on innovating and helping drive business growth, not on helping people unjam the printer. So, it makes more sense to outsource printer support via a managed print services contract.
6. Demand for mobile functionality. Mobility is increasingly important for many businesses and, as the business grows, staff will likely demand mobile functionality that extends to printing. Employees need to be able to print wirelessly, from mobile devices, and remotely. And, they’ll need to be able to do it all securely.
7. Increased security risks. Security is no less important for a tiny business than for a large one however, as the business grows, it may become more of a target for cybercriminals. The volume of valuable information the company has access to will also grow. It’s important to keep it safe. That includes printer security, especially as printers become more connected and smarter, and retain more information on built-in hard drives.
While these challenges can seem tricky to overcome, most of them can be addressed with a managed print services (MPS) contract. MPS can deliver cost savings and increased control in many ways including improved print management and governance, fewer calls to IT for support, and maintaining proper security.
Shane Blandford, Director of Marketing and Innovation, Konica Minolta