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Moving to Network Printers: How to Justify the end of Personal Printers?

By ·
Good Morning Everyone,

We are a local utility with roughly 80 PCs spread out across a handful of sites. We currently have a few network printers (various brands), but have a much larger number of personal/desktop printers.

I'm currently working to build up a case to get rid of most of the personal printers, and instead use a handful of network printers. So far, I've created a spreadsheet that compares the cost of a personal printer to a network printer for a given number of users over a given amount of time. I've tried to include as many costs as I can think of (ink, paper, base cost, user time) but would really appriciate any advice from anyone who has already pulled this off (or is currently doing so).

I would even more appriciate any answers folks have to the usual user complaints such as lost productivity, inconvinience, etc.



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Toner is the big one.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Moving to Network Printer ...

Toner costs for personal lasers are outrageous. If you're going to lease network printers the cost of toner and staples is often included in lease cost. Sometimes the leasing company will track use and resupply for you. Standardizing on a couple of models instead of a variety of individual units means fewer types of toner to keep in stock.

Do your help desk techs spend much time repairing personal printers? Leased network printers usually include service calls.

Lost productivity? Where I work printers are often surrounded by unclaimed pages. If its the same where you work, how are people losing productivity on something they apparently didn't need? Inconvenience is usually offset by the savings.

Depending on the units you get, you can also ditch desktop scanners and copiers since many network printers will also perform those functions.

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I agree

by In reply to Toner is the big one.

My number one reason for going away from personal printers is the support it takes to maintain them, but a close number two is the cost. I'm looking to purchase the printers, but include some level of maintenance agreement.

On the few networked printers we have, they do collect unclaimed pages, so I'd say you are correct.

The printers I've been looking at (HP LaserJet CM2320n) do copy/scan/print so they are a nice replacement for the current personal all-in-ones.

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Offset the costs

by CharlieSpencer In reply to I agree

by selling the old personal ones to employees.

Our few remaining personal printers (HR and Finance) are all the same model. Our purchasing dept. has orders to buy only the toner used in that model. We have a few 'unauthorized' personal printers but the users understand the care and feeding is their personal responsibility.

Oh, regarding lost productivity: point out that when a network printer goes down, the users can switch to another one. When a personal printer goes down, the user is screwed. Make a point to install at least two network printers on each client so they'll be ready when their default crashes.

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Another nice idea

by In reply to Offset the costs

I had planned on allowing users to keep their existing personal printers until they break, to try and help "ease" the transition, but selling them is an idea I'll bounce around.

I've been writing down my official top list of reasons to migrate and I was just about to write the ease of switching to another network printer when I read your comment. Glad I'm seeing my ideas line up with the thoughts of others.


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If you wait for them to break, you'll never get rid of them.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Another nice idea

You'll just keep buying toner forever. I've got HP LJ 4 (the only model of personal we have left in use) in storage that still function.

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Surely the All-In-Ones can't last that long

These are all some flavor of HP deskjet all-in-one. I *will* be slowly stealing them away for some of our remote sites that don't have enough people to justify a network printer.

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Couple of ideas

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Moving to Network Printer ...

The first thing you may want to do is speak with someone in accounting, and figure out how they handle depreciation of assets; and if there is an organizational preference towards leasing or purchasing capital assets (and seeing what dollar threshold they consider to be a capital different firms handle that differently, too).

Using that information, you can start running models showing the current cost per page printed in the organization vs. a set of alternatives (purchased network printers, leased, hybrid model---which is what we use).

If you can demonstrate a considerable cost reduction by moving to network printers (which you should easily be able to do given the information you provided), most of the intangibles (productivity, confidentiality, etc) will get glossed over, in all likelihood.

Speaking of confidentiality, in every firm I've been at that has switched from a distributed printing model to a more centralized one (many to few), that has been the #1 argument against moving forward. So, to head that off at the pass, I'd advise you to look at printer models that can be made to require an access code to print out certain print jobs.

Best of luck!

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Interesting Ideas

by In reply to Couple of ideas

I've tried to apply some type of dollar amount to each "task" I can think of a user doing with regard to a printer (replacing paper, ink, walking, etc) to help show that the "perceived" problems really aren't there.

The confidentiality is an interesting one I'll look into. At the moment, I had intended to just have a dedicated printer for the finance department to run checks and other confidential items, but the pass code bit sounds pretty slick.

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It adds accountability

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Interesting Ideas

If you issue each user a code, you can see who has printed how much. Helps eliminate romance e-books from getting printed at either 7:30 am or 5:15 pm! :)

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depends on your situation

by jck In reply to Moving to Network Printer ...

i'd say look at long term cost...toner, paper, electric (newer being more efficient?), and most of all...replacement/repair.

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