There are good reasons to maintain a print room in-house: security of data, ease of use, efficiency, quality control – and of course, saving your organisation money. It’s this last attribute – cost efficiency – that print room managers assume will always be true for in-house printing. But can you actually prove to senior management that your print room passes the value-for-money test?
This boils down to two key things. Firstly, could you show that your internal customers are charged less than outside printers would charge? And secondly, do your prices cover the costs of running the print room? If you can’t give a confident “Yes” to both, it’s time to do some benchmarking.
By comparing your print room’s charges with those of external suppliers, you can check whether its direct costs are being recovered sufficiently to fund its operations. This type of benchmarking helps you to set critical performance baselines, such as SLAs and KPIs, and assists when negotiating with senior management for investment in new equipment and people.
First and foremost, ensure that you start with the right inputs. In a typical in-house print operation, these will fall into two main categories:
Macro costs: Costs of general running of the print room, including: annual totals of sheets and images printed and finished; consumables costs; equipment ownership and maintenance; and direct staff costs.
Micro costs: Costs of individual jobs that broadly represent typical annual production, including sheets/images printed and finished; internal per-unit price; and total number of units produced annually.
Aggregating micro-costs into a “basket” of up to 10 jobs will give you a good basis for comparison against both external prices and total print room running costs. Sticking with one format at a time (e.g. A4) is also very important, as it will ensure you are always doing a like-against-like comparison.