Presentation is in 30 minutes. You stayed up all night drafting and editing and revising to make it perfect. Now all you have to do is print it at the office and present to the leadership team. Only the office copier is dreadfully low on toner and your hard work comes out looking faded and even smudged in a few areas. After a minute of yelling and kicking, you now have the pleasure of hunting down a new toner cartridge to find there isn’t a spare.
Wonderful. Maybe they'll pay attention to the great ideas and ignore the poor print quality . . . but we all know how much executives enjoy shiny objects.
Hopefully this has never and will never happen to you. We've spoken to folks this has happened to and it really is as painful as I tried to make it sound. You don't ever have to run out of print toner again – your managed print service (MPS) partner can help. Today I’ll talk about one of the ways to ensure a ready supply of toner: toner supply fulfillment. Other ways include rules based printing and reporting and alerts, but we'll leave those for future posts or we'd be happy to talk with you about it now:
The main ways your business can handle toner delivery with a MPS partner.
- Supply closet
- Keeping a spare on hand
- Just-in-time delivery
I’ll start at the top. Having a supply closet at your office works, but also requires a lot of work. There should be some method of organization with the closet so it doesn’t take Indiana Jones 20 minutes to find the right spare. If only the manufacture put the printer name or number on the box instead of their cryptic code. It's also a good idea to label toner boxes with the name of the device is should be used in – whatever that name is; printer in the hallway, color printer outside of president's office, etc.
Beyond the mess of it, a whole closet or area in your warehouse to hold extra toner takes up space. If you’re in the SMB would, space isn’t something you have a lot of. That’s space for product, an employee, office supplies, or whatever that could be better for your business than dusty toner boxes.
Regrettably, we also live in a world where employees take toner from a closet, sell it on eBay, and pocket the money. Odds are, you don’t have one of these people at your company. However, these employee-thieves are out there and can cost your business a lot of money. Limited access to the closet means even more of a struggle when trying to get a replacement cartridge. If your company is under an MPS contract, then the toner actually belongs to the MPS partner so you're responsible if it goes missing, breaks, or, well, anything happens to it. I In general, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to have a bunch of toner laying around.
Another method is having a spare on site, more times than not, sitting right next to the machine it goes to. This isn’t as drastic as a whole closet being dedicated to housing a LOT of toner, but it comes with all of the downsides.
In addition to worries about theft and space, someone is going to have to be in charge of watching what supply is coming in and out to ensure that there is enough toner for the devices. If someone takes the last spare cartridge for the copier and no one knows, then there isn’t a spare for when the copier runs out again. This is an easily-overlooked responsibility for admin staff who already have a lot of work to do.
All of that being said, there is one method remaining of the major three.
With this approach, there are no spare cartridges in your office. Rather the MPS partner gets notified when your device is running low (typically 15% toner remaining) and at that time, you are sent another cartridge. The cartridge arrives just-in-time for you to replace it, meaning there is no space needed for spares, no risk of the cartridge being misplaced or taken from your office, and no one has to monitor the supply stash to make sure you have enough of everything.
The notification is sent through the data collection agent (DCA) that the MPS partner is using to collect your meter reads, meaning there is no additional software to install and sit on your servers and network. It is an automated process so you do not have to task an office worker with babysitting your supplies and fewer spreadsheets to have to manage (always a plus).
It's like the toner just magically arrives for you.
Should You Toss Your Empty Cartridges?
Cartridges can be reused before they are properly disposed of or recycled, you shouldn't just throw them away. How do you remove your empty cartridges now? Does your MPS partner take them away or does it fall on you to do something with them? Lasers Resource offers toner recycling for an environmentally-friendly approach to getting rid of your empties. This service is free of charge and you can sign up for it here.
What's not to love? You could never have to worry about running out of toner again AND do your bit (without even any effort on your part) to help your company be a little bit “greener.” Give us a call today.