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Centralised printers could “lower productivity”

February 18, 2015

printer officeA study from InfoTrends and sponsored by Brother found that “potential employee productivity losses” could occur if centralised printers or copiers are removed from offices.

The report, Key printing trends and their SMB impact, was discussed by Baseline Magazine, which noted that the “centralised copier or printer” in an office “may be the modern-day water cooler”, with removing it leading to “potential employee productivity losses”, with the main finding being that SMBs “could be underutilising their copy and print environments” as well as losing $336 million (€295 million) per year in productivity costs.

Respondents included executives, middle management and other positions across a range of industries, with results showing that employees working at SMBs with centralised copiers and or printers spend around 6,500 more hours a year at the printers “than workers at companies that do not centralise those functions”. In turn, time was lost “walking to and from the printer” in addition to “discussing non-work-related topics at the centralised unit”.

The multi-million dollar losses discussed earlier were calculated from the average pay of staff – around $30 per hour (€26) – as well as the approximate number of SMBs in the USA with centralised machines – around 1,728 – and the study also found that employees “are printing less than they once did”, with the average print job around five or fewer pages, even though SMBs “have the capability to print up to 100,000 pages” per month on MFPs.

In fact, most are averaging around 10,000 pages per month on each printer, and the survey results indicated that printing needs “have declined for a variety of reasons”, including “improved workflows” and “younger generations that are full adapted to mobile and networked environments”. Businesses with 500 to 999 staff saw 64 percent of respondents state that the main reason for printing less was “automation of business processes that once required print”, while 60 percent said improved IT infrastructure “was a factor”.

52 percent meanwhile had employees “who preferred electronic documents”, while other reasons included “green initiatives” and the “growing use of mobile devices to access information”. MFPs are also shared by a large number of employees, with companies seeing 39 share colour laser copier MFPs and 40 share monochrome laser copier MFPs. However, centralised MFPs “may not be the most optimised solution for all SMBs”, with some devices placed closer to staff “result[ing] in less time spent walking back and forth and less employee time spent in non-office chatter”.

Dan Waldinger, Director of Marketing for Solutions and Services at Brother, commented: “One thing that came out of this study was how the office copier has become like the water cooler. The workers coming into the workforce today did not grow up on paper. The importance of matching the technology with the needs of the organisation is the most critical message we want to put forth.

“Organisations are looking under every rock for cost savings. [Print] is an area they traditionally haven’t thought of. They are investing in tablet technology and smartphones. It’s not a far reach to talk about the printing device as well.”

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