A clear, airtight budget used to be something to strive for, but now it’s an expectation. The overall tightening of business budgets is happening across industries, with every line item requiring explanation and verification.
Budgeting is a science. There’s formulas, processes and protocols. But, what areas are exempt? Are some expenses written off because they’re needs-based or because they’ve "always been handled that way"? If you’re in a similar boat as a lot of regional, national and global retail businesses, your print expenses may not be getting the attention they deserve.
Print Expenses in Retail Environments
The retail print environment is different from most other industries, primarily in terms of geography. Retail operations are typically spread across a broad geographic footprint.
The geographical layout of retail print environments allows for a level of autonomy that’s just not seen in other industries. Often, it's left up to the individual store to request supplies, maintenance and repairs — either by contacting corporate’s help desk or by sourcing these needs independently and submitting invoices for reimbursement. Either option leaves corporate with a less-than-perfect picture of their print environment and a difficult job of forecasting future expenses.
Budgeting Print Expenses
Print expenses can be one of the more difficult areas to budget for due to the lack of transparency within retail print environments. For retail chains with hundreds or thousands of individual devices spread across multiple states and stores, keeping a tight lid on everything related to print can quickly become a headache when tracking expenses like:
Supplies (toner, staples, paper)
And those are just the hard costs. There’s also significant soft costs associated with an inefficient print environment, especially in personnel costs. Not to mention gathering usage statistics (by device and locations) which provides valuable insight into the functionality of the retail print environment as well as quantitative data for decision-making.
Managed Print Services
Without a clear picture of their retail print environment, corporate is repeatedly put in the situation of being reactive instead of proactive. Managed Print Services takes the management of retail print environments off your plate with a predictable, predetermined monthly investment. Supplies, maintenance, repairs and personnel costs related to print are replaced with detailed, in-depth reporting analytics. Plus, retail environments and their corporate headquarters can benefit from Marco's All-You-Can-Print Services, where the need to track print volume becomes a thing of the past.
Take a look at your print costs quarter by quarter, month by month or even year by year. With Managed Print Services, you’ll have access to your print expenses at all intervals. And when you look those expenses, ask yourself if they are manageable, predictable, transparent and actionable. If they’re not, Managed Print Services might be right for your business.