With business models, budgets, and economies in turmoil worldwide, most companies are looking for solutions to contain and control operating costs. Deservedly so, one area of concern is the cost of printing, especially since a color print can cost upwards of $0.12, and the equipment required to produce a print can cost many thousands of dollars. Add the costs of energy consumption, service, leasing, and the infrastructure required for printer/MFP support and it becomes apparent that controlled printing can result in considerable savings.
There are numerous ways to control printing costs:
- Set printer defaults to automatic duplex printing, and/or grayscale or black output only.
- Remove devices with high Cost per Page (CPP) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and reinvest in devices with low CPC and TCO.
- Monitor and reprimand abusers.
- Implement local (small companies) or network (large companies) user-authentication in order to restrict printer usage.
- Remotely monitor usage per user.
- Monitor and track print jobs for departmental or third-party charge-back purposes.
- Invest in an automated software solution that monitors usage, permits quotas, provides job tracking and accounting, and selectively enforces printing rules such as color-printing restrictions and automatic duplex printing by user, department, or application.
At this point, it should be noted that there are a variety of print-management solutions available for customers to choose from. However, even though it’s not apparent that these solutions are intended for a vastly disparate range of customers, it also should be noted that many printers either lack user authentication and/or provide disparate user-authentication protocols. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for end-users to implement a home-grown and homogenous printer-management solution.
There are a number of turn-key printer-management solutions to choose from. Some are cloud-based solutions for users who do not have the ability and/or resources to host them, or do not wish to be involved in a server-based infrastructure. Needless to say, with cloud-based solutions, there are concerns about security and the perceived ability to illicitly access the contents of print jobs containing sensitive information. There are other solutions that are intended for third-party print-management vendors who need the ability to remotely monitor printer usage in order to provide fixed CPC, and manage printer service, parts, and supplies. There are even solutions that are intended for print-management vendors who also monitor job- and cost-tracking with printing-based rules. Once again, handing over remote control to third-parties may be undesirable for users who are concerned about autonomy, and network and document security.
The PaperCut Solution
The PaperCut Print Management Solution is a side-server application that is used to automatically monitor and manage printed output in an organization for control over printing costs and their environmental impact. The software intercepts print jobs for printers installed on the print server, and tracks and analyzes them, and can also apply printing rules to enforce print policies such as no-color and automatic duplex printing.
PaperCut is available in two versions: PaperCut NG; and PaperCut MF that is embedded on the control panel of select MFP models. The PaperCut NG trial version is available for download at http://www.papercut.com/download/ng/. Both versions of the PaperCut solution require the same server components.
Via a Web-based console, PaperCut can control a fleet of printers so that companies can:
- Manage and control printing for tracking, quotas, or chargeback purposes.
- Support print-driver-less printing for laptop and netbook users.
- Apply rules-based print policies to minimize waste, for instance, to prevent printing of emails, require large jobs to be duplex-printed, or to restrict color printing.
- Monitor a print fleet, with toner-level detection and printer-error alerts by email or SMS.
PaperCut is an international company with a prominent presence in the United States and United Kingdom. Its headquarters are located in Melbourne, Australia, and it has branches in Portland, Oregon, in the United Sates, and in London in the United Kingdom. The company is supported by a global network of resellers and partners.
Founded in 1998, the co-founders of PaperCut first developed a print-quota solution to address a need in a local high school. The software has since grown to a full print-management package that is now in use in over 100 countries in 25+ languages, and installed in 50,000 locations worldwide.