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July 21, 2017

WHEN PRINTER MAYHEM STRIKES

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Written by Liz Sumner
Managing Director

Printer-MayhemThanks to a well-known car insurance company, we all know that “mayhem” can wreak havoc on the roadways. But, just like getting stuck trying to change a tire in a heavy rainstorm, you can get stuck bending over a printer, 

trying to change out an ink cartridge, jiggling the USB cable of a non-networked printer that won’t print, or yanking out a paper jam…and then that paper jam turns out to be a co-worker’s birthday party invitation for their kindergartener.

ONE BROKEN PRINTER IS TEDIOUS...BUT A FLEET OF BROKEN PRINTERS?

Most of the time, you’re not even standing next to the printer when printer mayhem strikes. You try to deal with the network baggage of hundreds of expired print drivers. You try to jumpstart stalled procurement processes, getting tedious approvals to purchase parts and accessories for all manner of printer brands and models. You’re frustrated by the fuel economy that’s not living up to what you thought you invested in: that is, the cost overruns nailing your budget associated with page counts, supplies and service. When you look at the quarterly invoice for color pages, all you can think about is how many six year-olds got invited to that birthday party.

ARE ALL THOSE ROGUE PRINTERS EVEN SECURE?

If those forces of printer mayhem weren’t enough, now there’s a new one to worry about: your network security. All your hard-won gains in securing your network against viruses and spyware and outside intrusions may suddenly be vulnerable through that desktop laser printer that one of your senior executive’s assistants refuses to part with from their desk – because it’s on the network! Your colleagues clamor for the ability to print from their mobile devices and those mobile devices keep proliferating.

Beyond the wear-and-tear on the equipment itself and your budget, dealing with printer mayhem puts wear-and-tear on your, and your technical team’s, professional time and focus. Even if you know there’s ample opportunity to address the waste, grappling with your printer fleet for the purposes of modernization, cost reduction, or process optimization doesn’t feel all that strategic. It tends to fall toward the bottom of this list, behind other IT projects that your professional colleagues and you believe will make a bigger, positive business impact.

SO, WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

  1. Hope Real Hard. Perhaps printer mayhem will go away, just like all the monsters under the bed did when you got a bit older.
  1. Bite the Bullet. Put a handful of your best people on it and wrestle a plan into place for: model and drivers rationalization, supplies replenishment, pro-active maintenance, procurement and invoice consolidation, network security, and hands-on support. Present the plan to senior management and spend months implementing it, but breathe a big sigh of relief when you finally pull it off.
  1. Find a Partner. Let your partner put a handful of their experts on it and breathe a sigh of relief knowing they will pull it off for you.