Costs and Quality: Tips for Managing Document Production
Understanding costs. As an administrator, you need to know your printing solutions - their strengths and weaknesses - in order to get the best results. Typical midvolume copiers, which produce relatively high-quality black-and-white copies, are most cost-effective for runs of up to a few dozen pages. For more than 30 copies, up to a few thousand, digital duplicators can handle most jobs with speed and ease. Beyond that, consider a high-volume offset press, either in-house or outsourced.
Spread the word. Make sure teachers and staffers have clear guidelines about how to produce various types of documents. Many of today's digital duplicators have a minimum-count feature that solves the problem of people using them for making a single copy. If you make it a priority to keep track of reproduction costs, the savings can be significant.
Color counts. Color can improve retention up to 30 percent, and digital duplicators are the only truly practical choice for inexpensively brightening up, say, 200 copies of a newsletter with spot color. Few schools have invested in costly color copiers, and the per-copy cost of offset can be prohibitive.
Watch for hidden costs. When you put excessive volume on your copier - above and beyond the monthly copies you've contracted for - your monthly costs go up accordingly. In addition, the per-copy charges for those extra pages are at a substantially higher rate than the per-copy rate in your agreement, which means your service and maintenance costs will go up as well. So, let a digital duplicator share the workload. Similarly, reduce outsourcing costs by taking some of the work you're currently sending out to the local printing shop and move it back in-house to your digital duplicator. Finally, for all your printing solutions, work with a reliable vendor. Service calls are inevitable, so make sure you won't have to wait until next week to get your machine up and running again.
West Caldwell, NJ
This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.