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August 27, 2010

Low Cost Printing for Schools – Taking Total Cost of Ownership to the Classroom

Despite the tight budget strains, educators and students alike want more services and higher achievement levels. Dated technology and administrative infrastructures may cause lowered productivity as well as increased cost of operating under the old technology.

Schools throughout the last decade have been able to harness technological advances to benefit the overall teaching process. While some forms of technology may have a cheap price label, hidden costs are often involved, whether schools are thinking about a new operating systems or state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards.

Walk into a budding classroom or administrative office and you will see a proliferation of printing equipment, ranging from colour laser printers, mono laser printers, ink-jet printers and copiers. Recent news in IT Pro alarmingly highlights that 69 percent of businesses are unaware of total cost of printing. However, printing is an area where schools can reap significant savings through properly assessing its printing requirements and the total cost of running a printer, also known as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The sheer amount of different models on the printer market often confuses bursars wanting to deploy the most cost effective, robust printing solution. If schools were evaluating printers only by each unit’s purchase price, most of the administrative offices as well as classrooms would be running ink-jet printers. However, ink-jet printers in the busy education environment are rightly considered as a false economy. Where as the investment is low, the costs for ink-jet consumables; such as ink cartridges, maintenance and paper, can quickly mount up to exceed that of a top-of-the-range laser printer.

Factor in the hidden costs

Mono- and colour laser printers have quickly become standard in the education environment due to their print speeds as well as the rugged durability they offer. However, TCO is something that is often overlooked by IT managers and bursars involved in printer acquisition projects. Schools should be aware of the hidden costs on printing, such as:

- Network Management:

Most printers today come network ready, and where networked printers can effectively reduce TCO; a growing population of printers will require more network management.

- High usage and Consumables:

Users who tend to use the wrong printer for their print jobs can significantly increase TCO. Most schools today utilise both mono laser printers for word document processing and colour laser printers for worksheet material and/or presentation slides covered in the lessons. Schools also need to be aware that sending print jobs to a smaller printer will, overtime, overload the printer leading to increased consumable and maintenance costs.

- Maintenance:

Technology with moving parts will need maintenance at some point of its lifecycle. Printer service can represent up to 50% of the overall printing costs. Maintenance, along with consumables is a key factor when considering a printer purchase.

Reduce your printing costs

With the demand for bespoke lesson plans, in-class materials and the rise of desktop publishing courses, colour printing is more in demand than ever and schools need to take a more strategic view of their printing needs.

Choosing the right printing equipment for either the class room or back office is not as daunting as it may seem as there are effective ways in which schools can effectively reduce TCO. For example, by choosing the right mix of robust mono laser and colour laser printers. With effective utilisation of both types of printers, schools and educators can effectively drive down the TCO, as mono laser printers provide crisp text at a lower cost than a colour laser.

There are many ways in which TCO can be effectively reduced:

- Choose the right consumables:

Toners can be a burden on IT expenditure. Often, schools opt for standard capacity toners due to their low purchase price, even though print cost can rise as high as 14 pence-per-page. Most manufacturers offer high capacity toners, which can reduce printing costs up to 35% by simply buying in bulk. In a time where environmental issues are top of mind for us all, look around for a reputable vendor who will offer free recycling services for empty toners.

- Warranty and Maintenance:

Many manufacturers offer extended warranties and service initiatives with various benefits. Initiatives, such as our Service For Supplies programme provides end users with the comfort of knowing that they can effectively reduce their running costs by receiving next business day, onsite support for the life of the printer and free maintenance for the price of their consumables.

- Easy to use printers:

Schools need to make sure that the printers they choose are easy to operate by both staff and students alike. Staff needs to be able to change toners and paper as well as comfortably operate the printer through the printer control panel. Printers with simple user interfaces can significantly reduce queues to the printer, when students are waiting for their work to print.

- Manage the printer network:

Schools can save money on printing by implementing an effective print strategy, by looking at which printer’s receive the most jobs, which users and departments make the most print jobs and what percentage of print job are in colour. Most vendors should be able to offer monitoring tools for all of these.

- Choosing the right manufacturer:

Each school is different and requirements vary on individual basis. Make sure that the manufacturer or dealer you deal with understands your needs and does not try and sell the fanciest printer that may not match your printing needs. The wrong printer in the wrong place will have a significant impact on TCO.

With the effective utilisation of both colour laser- and mono laser printers schools can develop a printing strategy, which is not only fast and effective, but easy on the budget as well. Each printer manufacturer and dealer should explain TCO to their customers so that mutual understanding and trust is established. Total Cost of Ownership can be tackled with advice from the leading supplier and implementation of the right printers.

Making the right decision in terms of investment means buying a printer that fulfils the application requirement. The right printer for the job brings about many advantages. It can improve work presentation, reduce project time and most importantly save money.

To correctly calculate a printer’s total cost of ownership. Combine the acquisition price, cost per page, reliability, and support. Each printer will excel in more than one area, but all must be considered when defining TCO. Most reputable printer vendors will be able to provide estimations of their printer’s TCO.

About TallyGenicom

TallyGenicom is one of the largest companies in the world focused exclusively on supplying computer printers, supplies and service to commercial and industrial users. All TallyGenicom products are designed and manufactured to perform critical, business-specific printing tasks in industries such as healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, warehousing and retail. Major international corporations such as Wal-Mart, American Airlines, Tesco, Daimler Chrysler, Blockbuster and Volkswagen use TallyGenicom printers because of their customized design, rugged construction, proven reliability and durability.

TallyGenicom world-wide headquarters are in the United States in Chantilly, VA near Washington, D.C. Its European headquarters are in Ulm, Germany. In Europe the firm has operations in Paris, Vienna, Milan and Basingstoke in the UK. Asian operations are located in Singapore and Jiangmen, China. The company markets Tally, Genicom and TallyGenicom products worldwide.

For more information on the company, please visit www.tallygenicom.co.uk

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