Controlling Printing Costs at Public Institutions
Libraries and academic computer labs are generating enormous amounts of printed documents each day. As more users continue to evolve their research to online resources and away from hard copy periodicals (that are traditionally paid for by cash or debit card via copiers), printed output will continue its unbelievable rate of growth, far exceeding the rate of decline in copying. Experienced institutions that track this data internally, report that at least 40% of this printed volume is wasted (discarded or not retrieved from the printer).
To aid in recovery of costs and to prevent wasted printing, many institutions turn to companies that provide pay-for-print systems that provide a similar function like paying for copying. This usually results in students or patrons paying for the print jobs they want and those that are not retrieved are actually never printed, since they are automatically deleted after a period of time.
If a campus with just 25 public access printers experienced the waste of just one ream of paper each day (500 sheets) per printer that would equate to 12,500 wasted sheets of printed-paper every day. This is more than 2.5 million wasted pages each year. Using published average costs of 3-5 cents per printed page (which includes the cost of the printer, printer maintenance and consumables) this means that this wasted output is costing the institution more than $100,000 each year. Each year!
The Current Problem
The growth and expansion of computer networks and the rapid growth of electronic documents distribution, supplanting the old “book” driven process coupled with the wide distribution of laptop computers and high-speed laser and color printers, has caused an unparalleled printing explosion, with unexpected out-of-control costs. This is fueling institutional demand to control and allocate these spiraling out-of-control printing expenses on an individual and project basis. Public and academic libraries, and computer centers in colleges and universities, faced with diminished funding and increased printing requirements are searching for new ways to recover printing costs and/or generate new revenue to fund new services. A new funding source, "pay for printing" is replacing lost funding and enabling participating institutions to recover costs, improve services, and maintain a continuing flow of new income.
The escalating growth of CD-ROM and Internet accessible, full text and image-based information has created excessive demand for more printed documents. Students, business travelers with laptop computers, job seekers doing research and visitors to libraries and other public research areas all require a convenient, easy to use and inexpensive method of printing in a remote environment. This means wireless printing as well.
Previously a free service, printing costs are now a huge problem that is worsening. Here are two specific reasons to charge for printing.
1. Cost Recovery
Libraries and computer centers can charge for printing, using student or patron quota accounts, cash, prepaid debit cards (copy cards) purchased at the information desk or from a vending machine, or a combination of these methods. These copy cards are already in use for copiers. Proceeds would provide speedy payback of the initial capital outlay, and provide a continuing source of new funds that can be used to add new equipment or services, or fund expansion. Color printers, with a higher page cost, can provide an easier and faster method of improving services than requests for donations. Prove it to yourself by going to a local Kinko’s and find out what they charge for laser printing.
2. Profit Creation
Just like academic institutions that seek funding from local businesses and alumni, many public libraries today are actively seeking revenue-generating programs to offset the diminishing availability of public funds to support services. Gift shops and sales of used books, board games, videos, T-shirts, commemoratives, mugs, and stationary are generating up to 20% of some library annual budgets. Sales of coffee at mini-cafes and small copy shops are now being discussed as institutions and libraries specifically, rally to find new ways to increase revenue from alternative sources.
The GoPrint Multi-Platform Self-Service, Print Cost Recovery, Network Printer Management System is the easiest way to charge for printing and recover costs. It is a kiosk optional system that works with all card user account authentication methods, all debit and smart card readers and cash/bill acceptors, and all online transaction systems. It accomplishes for printing what coin vending did for copy machines. Proceeds from printing can help save jobs, expand services, and fund new equipment purchases and increase hours of library operation. Copier vending has been established for 30 years. Network printers are now the de-facto digital copiers for the next decades.
"Libraries are under great pressure to add to their revenue. These are innovations that everyone is at least thinking about."
One User Experience
"We've been customers of GoPrint since 1997. It is probably the most intuitive, and easiest for our students to negotiate of any software interface in the library. GoPrint has paid for itself in saved waste paper. No longer do students send 300-page print jobs, and then walk away. Or, get frustrated and start pounding the print key sending 30 copies of a print job to the queue, because the printer is still busy printing that 300-page job sent by the student just before. According to the statistical reports we get from the GoPrint server, of the approximately 30,000 pages we printed just this past month, close to 6500 additional *unwanted* pages timed out and were deleted by the system. That's thirteen reams of paper saved in a single month. That's one small tree for Man, one great system for the University Library!"
The growth in printing excesses will continue as more of the research information, previously available only in print, becomes available through the Internet and computer databases. With tight budgets and limited resources, passing the cost of printing to the users, in the same way they charge for copying, is a necessity that most institutions must rapidly adopt.
"Such fees have become a tried and true way to fund technology upgrades? But the cost of providing these services was not built in or funded in the past."
American Association of State Colleges and Universities,
"Most of the 1,200 community colleges are scrambling to keep their doors open during an economic crunch that gets worse every academic year. Most of the revenues from a typical community college come from state government funding, which has failed to keep pace with rising costs."
U.S. News Article -- Crunch Time For Community Colleges
Students or patrons use PCs in the computer center or library to create documents or download files from the Internet, CD-ROM station or OPAC (Online Public Access Terminal), and to print. In rapidly increasing numbers, students access the network from their own dormitory based PC or laptop to retrieve assignments or send jobs to a network print queue.
With an almost guaranteed payback on investment within the first year of implementation, institutions can fund expansion and cut costs dramatically by adding Print Release Stations at other campus locations.
How Much Money is Printing Waste Costing Your Institution?
The following cost recovery examples are easy to use to estimate your institutional needs.
|If you print 500 pages per day (15,000 pages per month) and charge $.10 per page you will generate $1,500 per month ($18,000 annually) in recovered printing costs.|
|If you print 1,000 pages per day (30,000 pages per month) and charge $.10 per page you will generate $3,000 per month ($36,000 annually) in recovered printing costs.|
|If you print 2,500 pages per day (75,000 pages per month) and charge $.10 per page you will generate $7,500 per month ( $90,000 annually) in recovered printing co|
The competitive solutions available today vary in price and function greatly. However, one key difference that does exist is the issue of installing software to control printing on each workstation that can send a print job. While seemingly harmless in concept, this is a red flag for most information technology administrators or network managers. Your network administrators are charged with the responsibility to keep the network free from viruses and other concerns that could impede or slow usage. A major part of this security extends to the prevention of non-essential software being placed on these workstations and the prevention of direct dial-in from outside. Consequently, if something on a workstation fails or printing is somehow not functioning, it can result in a finger pointing exercise between the administration and the supplier. Whose fault it is becomes more often the primary concern rather then how do we fix it!
We’ll admit that this is a bit self-serving. However, all of it is true.
GoPrint is now shipping our fifth generation product. We’ve been developing network printer management software solutions since 1987. This new, 100% web enabled product, redesigned from top to bottom was developed to be "the easiest way to charge for and manage network printing in libraries and computer labs." Part of that statement has to appeal to the system and network administrators (not just the users) whose jobs are always made more difficult every time new software is added to their environment. Let’s face facts. Libraries and academic computer labs are typically understaffed and under funded. Adding the potential of new problems while solving another cannot be classified as progress. That’s why the GoPrint Solution is different!
GoPrint installs no software on your client workstations and no software on your file server! And, we also offer a client based popup for PCs and Macs, but it is a non-resident popup that allows release of jobs from workstations without installing our software on your workstations. That is a GoPrint exclusive.
1. Using our own dedicated print server (with dual redundant hard drives), the risk of a failure is significantly reduced. In the unlikely event of a disk drive failure, a simple reboot using the second drive brings the system into full working order without loss of productivity.
2. We rely heavily on remote access (including WebEx) to provide preventive maintenance and support. For institutions with less experienced staff, we will even dial-in to make configuration changes to the system. This may include rules changes involving selective free printing, rate changes for types of printing or print queue management changes. Using our remote access capability, we can perform "over-the-top" services without additional charge.
3. Because we use a dedicated server and dedicated client Print Release Stations to control printer management there is no risk of conflict with existing systems and no chance of contamination. All remote access calls are exclusively to the GoPrint server.4. To reduce Microsoft licensing costs and minimize virus attacks, GoPrint now offers our same software and services on Linux, Novell, Sun Solaris or Macintosh OSX platforms. No other company can make that claim.
GoPrint is the "turnkey" solution that continues to be the choice of college and university libraries, computer labs and campus wide implementations as well as for public libraries. Developed and marketed by the Company (GoPrint) that pioneered the vended printing concept, GoPrint is the only solution that works with all card readers and coin/bill acceptors, online transaction systems, provides multiple smart-purses in its state-of-the-art accounting and quota system, and offers a unique 100% web enabled Control Center and friendly touchscreen user interface, and an optional secure kiosk. More options, more versatility, and unequaled state-of-the-art technology.
With the first year’s service, support and optional on-site training included in the purchase price, the highly scaleable, very affordable, GoPrint Multi-Platform Self-Service, Print Cost Recovery, System is an amazing value, well suited for a single station, multiple sites and campus wide implementation. Remember, 99% of all GoPrint customers have achieved 100% payback within the first year of implementation.