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Document Output Assessments Danka Office Imaging


This white paper describes the document output assessment as an effective tool for analyzing a company’s document-related technologies, usage patterns, procedures, and employee behaviors. A thorough assessment can lead to a more efficient document output environment that reduces costs by as much 40%, expands document capabilities and flexibility, and improves employee productivity.

DankaŽ White Paper. Copyright Š 2003 Danka Office Imaging. All rights reserved. The information in this document is subject to changes without notice. Danka Office Imaging assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or inaccuracies in this paper. September 2003


Danka White Paper

Most organizations spend a lot more than they think on document output, and much of that expense is wasted because of misused technologies, under-utilized devices, and inefficient processes. That’s why document output assessments are growing rapidly in popularity. They are an effective tool for analyzing a company’s document-related technologies, usage patterns, procedures, and employee behaviors. In the hands of an experienced professional, a thorough assessment can lead to a more efficient document output environment that reduces costs by as much 40%, expands document capabilities and flexibility, and improves employee productivity.


WHY YOU MAY NEED AN ASSESSMENT Reasons to Perform a Document Output Assessment §

You’re spending too much money on document output – or you don’t know how much money you’re spending on it.


You’re spending too much time on document output – or you don’t know how much time you’re spending on it.


Your document output processes and systems are a mess, and you know there must be a better way.

All types of organizations, from small single-office firms to multi-national corporations, are discovering the need for a professional document output assessment. The proliferation of document technologies during the decade of excess, the 1990s, has given users more choices than ever. But those choices have come with a cost: inefficient device utilization, poor document workflow, and a higher cost per user. How much a business overspends on its document output is dependant on many different factors, including the age of its technology, how well devices are integrated and optimized, the effectiveness of its output processes and controls, its purchasing practices, and its overall spending on documents. That latter [overall] number can be a lot higher than most organizations realize. In our work with industry consultants, they’ve indicated to us that document output expenses consume about 10% of a company’s IT spending. Another perspective comes from market intelligence firm IDC, which reports that companies on average spend 10% of their revenues on document management, production, and distribution. (IDC White Paper, May 2001.) Any way you look at it, spending on document output at most organizations is substantial – and so are the potential savings. The issue of costly, inefficient document output is so widespread that Danka has given it a name – the DocuMess. You’ll probably recognize some of the typical characteristics of this problem: §

§ § § §

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A proliferation of workgroup and low-volume desktop printers – especially color ink-jet printers – that carry high cost-per-image expenses. Many stand-alone (unconnected) devices throughout the organization, including printers, copiers, and fax machines. No ability to optimize device utilization or match specific jobs with the appropriate output device. Improper user training, including little understanding about the equipment being used and how to use it most efficiently. Little or no control over device usage, supply purchases, and service contracts.


These problems might be considered insignificant, until you look carefully at their impact on the organization. Investments in document technologies are not properly leveraged, and sometimes they’re completely wasted. Employee productivity is hurt by inefficient workflow processes and by the time spent on “managing” individual devices. There is a lot of device downtime because service and support is uneven at best and there is confusion over whom to call when something breaks. And, because there is no accountability for output spending, the organization is spending substantially more on document output than they should be. All of this is why document output assessments are becoming increasingly popular. An assessment will quickly tell you what works and what doesn’t with your output systems and processes. A good assessment ultimately will provide you with specific steps that you can take to enhance your capabilities, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

Typical Output Costs Device Type



Direct Output Costs

Direct Output Costs

(No Equipment Charge*)

(With Equipment Charge*)


Per Page


Per Page




























Totals Cost per Person

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Successful assessments encompass multiple elements that can be categorized under three distinct steps: defining the assessment plan, measuring and analyzing the existing environment, and developing specific recommendations to enhance capabilities, reduce costs, and increase productivity. The importance of defining the scope and content of the assessment should not be overlooked. This initial step ensures that the customer’s needs and expectations are fully integrated into the assessment process. Assessment providers must interview key customer contacts, establish specific objectives, develop a detailed assessment plan with deliverables and a timeline, and obtain client approval on the proposed approach. Once there’s a written plan, the next step is gathering intelligence about the customer’s existing environment. The installation of on-site software will yield a treasure trove of critical data. Print analyzer software installed on client PCs gives factual look at device utilization and user behavior, while toner coverage software determines the actual percentage of color and black-and-white ink coverage for a representative sampling of documents. Your provider should use software that is easily installed and uninstalled, does not cause any conflicts, and uses only minimal network resources. Site walk-throughs are another important source of information. From these, a provider creates detailed floor plans that show the specific locations of all devices; identify the quantities of printers, copiers, faxes, scanners, and other devices in use; determine the ratio of users to devices; understand which devices are connected to the client’s network and which function as stand-alone equipment; and observe user behavior. One-on-one interviews with selected employees are used to flesh-out details about document processes and validate the observations. All of this information is compiled and analyzed to produce an in-depth assessment of a customer’s document processes, devices, and costs, including key performance indicators such as cost per device, cost per employee, and return on investment. Inefficient device deployment and utilization, as well as unproductive document practices, are noted. At this point, a validation session should be held with the customer to review preliminary findings and identify potential areas of inaccuracy. From here, the assessment provider should identify specific recommendations – based on the customer’s unique requirements and business objectives – that detail how the company can improve its document-related processes. Recommendations typically encompass document workflow, device deployment, and employee practices.

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Assessment Process Steps Industry consultant Gartner calls output assessments a “proven way that successful vendors have helped their customers control output costs. In doing this, [they] are able to identify the output devices that are too expensive to run, help to reduce the total number of devices and in general help users better manage their output fleets.” (Gartner Technology Analysis, February 2003.)

A typical assessment defines the scope and content of the assessment; measures/analyzes existing investments, device usage, document workflow, and user practices; and improves the client’s document output through detailed cost-saving, productivity-enhancing recommendations.

Customer Information Session

Fact Gathering

Collect Copier Volumes

Install Print Volume Agent and Server

Collect Toner Coverage Data

Collect Printer Volumes

Floor Plan Analysis

Data Analysis and Prepare Deliverable

Workflow Analysis

Recommend Improvements

User Interviews

IT Interviews

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Selecting the Right Provider for Your Assessment: §

Make sure the provider has a thorough, well-tested methodology.


Look for experienced professionals; ask for resumes and references.


Determine if the provider just identifies problems, or can they make detailed recommendations to improve to cut costs and increase productivity.


Use an independent provider; manufacturers tend to recommend their own offerings.

Choosing an outside firm to perform a document output assessment is the first – and perhaps most important – decision. Since different providers have varying approaches to how they conduct an assessment, the quality and usefulness of those assessments can vary dramatically. Some questions to consider when selecting an assessment firm: §

Does the firm have a specific assessment process or is everything done on an “ad hoc” basis? A well-defined, proven assessment methodology is essential to uncovering and analyzing key issues.


Does the firm use trained, experienced technical consultants to conduct the assessment? There’s no substitute for experienced professionals who know how to use available assessment tools and who can produce a well-reasoned and detailed analysis of each customer’s particular situation.


Does the firm provide specific recommendations, or does it simply describe the problems it finds? Documenting deficiencies is only part of the equation; to get the most from an assessment, you should use a firm that also will provide you with tangible solutions to improve your business operations.


Can the firm implement and integrate its recommendations into your organization, and if so, is it tied to a single vendor solution? A provider that can implement its recommended solutions provides clients with a powerful combination. In addition, industry experts advise using an assessment firm that offers multiple options and isn’t wedded to a single supplier. In fact, a Gartner study of output assessments found that vendors who also are manufacturers “are more likely to push their own products.” (Gartner Technology Analysis, February 2003.) That can be a problem for the customer when better solutions exist in the marketplace.

The bottom line is that you should choose an assessment provider that best fits your needs.

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An output assessment can reveal a wide range of opportunities: •

Connect devices – A business services conglomerate learned that connecting printers and copiers to its network could optimize usage and enable a substantial reduction in its fleet of output devices.

Work smart – A university recognized that integrated workflow software could make possible the intelligent matching of output jobs with the most costeffective devices.

Combine functions – A legal firm realized that upgrading to flexible multifunction devices could reduce its equipment investment and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Color smart – A healthcare organization found that it could expand its color usage while simultaneously reducing color

A thorough document output assessment, performed by a trained and experienced provider, invariably results in eye-opening discoveries about the inefficiencies of the client’s current systems and processes – along with specific recommendations for fixing those problems. The implementation of these recommendations can produce immediate and substantial benefits. The most obvious benefit is lower costs. Industry consultant Gartner reports that enterprise-level assessments can reduce an organization’s output costs by up to 40%. (Gartner Technology Analysis, February 2003.) These savings stem from upgrading to more efficient output devices, improving deployment and utilization of those devices, and eliminating high-cost processes. Color printing is a particularly fertile area for finding cost savings. Users are drawn to color because it can significantly improve a document’s visual impact. Unfortunately, color has been smuggled into the mainstream of document output by the proliferation of desktop color inkjet printers, which carry extremely high costs-per-copy. Today, there are much more effective color solutions, especially when implemented as part of a total document output strategy that can cut a company’s color output costs in half. But costs savings are only the beginning. Document assessments often identify improvements that lead to higher returns on investment, expanded output capabilities, improved document quality, increased employee productivity, better controls and accountability, enhanced customer service, and increased user satisfaction. In almost all cases, the significant benefits that can be derived from a document output assessment will quickly pay for the modest cost of the assessment.

costs by taking advantage of newer technologies. •

Save paper – A major medical center discovered it could substantially reduce its paper output by delivering standard reports in electronic form and be in compliance with new government regulations

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Here’s a real-life example of what an output assessment revealed at one company:

Monitoring Period Employees per Device

Device Utilization

Costs per Page

February 10, 2003 – March 7, 2003


1.21 : 1

Employees per device ratio are extremely low. The ideal target range is 7-12 employees per device.

1.47% Office Printers 18.9% Office Copiers

Device utilization is much lower than typically seen in the industry. The ideal range is 3% to 7% for printers.

$0.0895 (average, all devices)

Pages per Employee Hard Costs per Employee

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1,368/month $122.46/month

Hard costs per employee well exceed the industry average of $90/month per employee.



Document output has become so disorganized and disjointed, and document technologies have advanced so quickly, that virtually every organization will benefit from a professional document output assessment. Most assessments can be accomplished swiftly and unobtrusively, and if the resulting recommendations are acted on, they almost always deliver a significant and rapid return on investment.

About Danka Danka helps customers improve their businesses through a suite of document output products and services, along with more than a quarter century of experience. The company’s offerings include best-of-breed imaging products; document workflow software; professional assessment, design, and integration services; and ongoing technical service, support, and supplies. Danka’s comprehensive, flexible solutions designed to solve the DocuMess include Danka @ the Desktop and TechSource. For more information visit:

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