Businesses use different sets of policies to help them deliver a consistent experience to their employees - and ultimately to the customer. These policies govern the process human resources departments use for hiring, what devices employees can use, how the company will handle vacation and corporate holidays, and who is allowed access to proprietary information. These policies create a standard that can quickly be referred to and influence decisions quickly. For these reasons, you should use a defined print policy to help you measure the impact of printing in the office and identify any threats to the security, finances, or efficiency of an organization.
What Is a Print Policy and Why is it Important?
In short, a print policy sets out – in writing – the rules for printing in your business. We’ll discuss the details of what your print policy should entail further down, but know that its purpose is to provide the same types of guidelines for your company’s printers that you have for other important hardware (e.g. your computers).
Like other pieces of important hardware, printers can be victims of abuse. Printers are a common after thought in most offices, but printers create hardcopies of important and confidential information. Because they so often blend in with the office environment, many people do not realize the vulnerabilities that are left exposed to malicious or accidental threats. A financial statement left in the output tray, an employee’s W-2 form left on the scanning bed, or the embedded web server left without a password on the network. These are all threats to an organizations security.
Lastly, it’s important to have a print policy because, without one, you have no baseline to measure your use against – at least not in detail. You may notice that your printing needs are slowly growing, but you won’t necessarily understand which department is responsible for that growth and why. Without a print policy and data to measure, you may face a serious budgetary burden you could have addressed months or even years ago with a print policy.
7 Questions You Need to Answer to Create an Effective Print Policy
Given the importance of an effective print policy, some businesses go the easy route with an online print policy template. They add some of their process information et voilà - they believe they have successfully protected themselves from future problems.
However, your company is unique and has equally unique printing needs. So, instead of retrofitting a print policy template to meet your company’s requirements, take a moment to answer the following seven questions and you’ll have a much easier time creating an effective policy.
1. How Much Does Each Department Print?
Don’t simply look at your company’s overall printing needs. Determine your needs by department and then set guidelines that make the most sense for each. Commonly, a few departments do a bulk of the printer while others go weeks months without printing.
2. How Much Color Printing Is Each Department Doing?
Color printing can quickly become expensive. Of course, for some departments it’s essential. For others, it might be best to limit their use or prohibit it altogether.
3. Do Your Printers Rely on Default Values?
For the most part, your company’s printers should print in black and white by default. Check to ensure this is the case so you’re not wasting money.
4. How Does Your Company Buy New Printers?
Your print policy isn’t just about printing. It should also cover how you buy new printers and ongoing supplies. Most modern businesses outsource this essential need via managed print services (MPS) to save time and money on printing. MPS also ensures that they always have the equipment and supplies their company needs to run smoothly.
5. Who Services Your Company’s Printers?
Similarly, your printers require maintenance to continue operating for years to come. Include this costs in print policy to ensure you have the budget to cover these costs than to end up spending more on replacing printers prematurely.
As a side note, utilizing Managed Print Services is another way to improve the life of printers and cut costs on printer maintenance by guaranteeing frequent print service and maintenance by an expert.
6. How Will You Communicate Your Company’s Print Policy to Employees?
Do you already have a method for effectively communicating new rules to employees? If not, now’s the time to create one. It’s vital that everyone in your company understands your print policy and adheres to it.
7. Who Will Be Responsible for Maintaining Your Company’s Print Policy?
Likewise, put someone in charge of maintaining the policy. This means regularly reviewing it and ensuring it’s meeting your company’s needs. It also means making changes as necessary and sending out the revised version to employees. Partnering with a Managed Print Services provider allows you to frequently review and update your Print Policy with the advice and help of experts who will review your print environment and make suggestions to help you print more economically.
Treat Your Company’s Print Policy as a Priority
Once you’ve answered the above questions, you should know everything you need to create a print policy for your company, disseminate it amongst your staff, and update it as necessary.
Create your print policy today. If you’d like help creating a print policy and utilizing the technology and supplies to execute it, lean on ImageNet Consulting's Managed Print Services. Contact us today and let’s talk about your business's requirements.