MOBILE DEVICES & PRINTERS

In the last of this three part blog, we explain what businesses need to understand to adopt best practise when it comes to managing and optimising business mobile contracts and printing.

Every business is paying money for their office printing and mobile device contracts – that’s a given. So you’d imagine that everyone knows how much they’re shelling out, right?

The truth however, is more than a little astounding!

Do you know exactly where all the mobile devices, printers, multi-functional devices, faxes and scanners are in your business? Think about it – that not only includes all mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones or tablets but also those big stand-alone printing devices at the end of the corridor and all the little printers hidden away on desks that everyone had forgotten about. When did you last do a mobile device user check or a floor walk to figure out who exactly is printing what and to which device? Do manual checks still exist with the availability of smart asset management solutions? We think not!

These are some of the cost factors. Then there are the consumables. Do you have this area under control? Who orders your paper and cartridges? How much are you paying for them? Who deals with your printer consumables and what are the costs incurred when it comes to those tucked-away devices we just mentioned?

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, we hope you will find our tips useful and an eye opener as to how best to manage and control the unnecessary costs associated with mobile devices and office printing.

MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT TIPS

One of the main high-cost areas related to mobile devices comes from excessive consumption. Mobile contract packages that are not correctly selected or monitored increases costs. Businesses should really be managing all their assets in a software package that provides usage and cost optimisation capabilities rather than just technical management of the devices. Also adopting and configuring a user policy within the software helps to control situations such as setting alerts and notifications when users are approaching their data and voice allowances. Mobile contract packages should reflect the type of user, how they work and what they need in a mobile device package.

The following areas provide some tips to consider:

Purchasing & Negotiation

Inappropriate mobile devices – All too often, users want the latest gadgets with all the coolest features. Whilst business needs to be competitive and effective with how it communicates, there is a lot of unnecessary cost when selecting mobile devices. Choosing devices that are suitable is the key as the latest tech comes at a premium!

Tariff selection – Tariffs that do not include the correct offers that reflect the type of user such as the correct level of data allowance or inclusive minutes usually incurs additional charges. Using one tool can help you to ensure that your user policies are in line with your tariff selection.

User reviews – Knowing your users roles and responsibilities helps to tailor mobile devices and the packages/tariffs on offer. Giving too much away or too little impacts on costs.

Automated orders – When done manually, mobile devices/IT equipment orders can be cumbersome. Asset management solutions will allow you to manage individual or grouped orders using workflows that include validation steps and interactions with your suppliers and users. Automating your orders and returns will save you lots of time.

Ongoing Contracts and Cost Control

Contract Monitoring – Managing the contract start and end periods is a key factor in optimising costs. Re-negotiating costs for timely contract renewals is often a cost issue for businesses. Monitoring how you use your business mobile devices and regularly reviewing whether you are on the most appropriate tariff helps to optimise your contracts. A smart asset management solution can remind you of contracts coming to an end and will help you to compare tariffs among your suppliers (or with a single supplier).

Controlling spend – Reconciling invoices from your mobile operator supplier adds cost and pressure on resource. Trying to find errors in supplier invoices results in over paying and recouping costs. This is not the most practical method of keeping costs down. Smart asset management solutions empower you to quickly and easily compare costs you should be paying (based on initial contracts/tariffs) against invoices. Typical invoice errors are billing for a user that has left the company or invoicing the wrong plan. These errors can represent between 10-15% of the total amount of your monthly invoice. This tool is invaluable to businesses as this helps drive down cost and reduce time on resource.

Security – You should also include mobile devices in your security review. Mobile phones and devices contain increasingly important information and data and failure to adequately protect that information can have serious implications for your business.This helps to avoid costs associated with security breaches and protects business reputation.

Improving User behaviour

Policy – Have a clear mobile device policy describing how you expect employees to use business mobile devices. Cover areas like whether they are allowed to make personal calls, how they can use the phone hands free when they’re driving, and when they’re required to have devices switched on. This helps to improve user behaviour.

Access abroad – Allowing user access when abroad can be very costly, especially if it is not business related. So restricting use from abroad is one effective option as well as setting notifications and alerts to avoid additional costs and take preventative action against user consumption.

Communication – Using an app or dashboard to share performance figures with users can incentivise them to be more cautious and careful with their devices. Such an app allows them to make new demands on-the-fly (e.g. adding an option to their plan, mobile device repair) so you can provide an enhanced user experience.

Monitor user metrics – There are a few useful metrics you can track to take corrective actions at the user level. Asset management solutions can provide such metrics and relevant alerts according to thresholds defined in your usage policy:

User consumption – The biggest concern is controlling user consumption. Examples are where usage consumption is far less than what the tariff actually offers, meaning you are paying too much and not using enough. Or the opposite.

Renewal/repair rate per user – Monitor details of particular user activity such as the number of times a device was replaced, changed or repaired due to damage. Identifying these important areas helps to train and coach user behaviour and improve usability.

PRINTING MANAGEMENT TIPS

Optimising office printing is actually quite simple. It requires little effort, but having the right tools to monitor and then take preventative action is key. Some tips are as follows:

Colour printing in large quantities across a printing/copier fleet is a major issue when trying to find savings. User control and again, user policies is the best way of monitoring printing costs and user behaviour in real-time.

Purchasing & Negotiation

Printer Selection – Knowing what type of printer to use is a critical factor. Choosing inkjet, all-in-one printers, laser printers and photo printers must reflect the type of business and printing requirements that meets your budget and running costs. Selecting a printer that is not geared towards your operational needs can be a costly mistake. Knowing who will be using the printer and how often it is likely to be used helps towards choosing the correct printer for the job that is cost effective.

Consumables – Selecting the most competitive supplier for printing cartridges or toners is simple and cost effective. Perhaps buying in bulk can save printing costs in the long run but requires an increase in initial capital investment. An asset management tool can compare your historic costs against new competitive offers resulting in optimising costs in the supply chain.

Color printing – Colour printing consumption is the biggest cost driver. Be sure to configure printers and copiers to Black & White printing by default. This simple act will help you avoid many prints that do not require colour saving wastage and cost.

Notifications and alerts – Configuring alerts for things like significant colour printing consumption or large quantities in the number of pages printed is a clever way of training user behaviour. Users that know they are being monitored will consider what they are doing avoiding errors or printing outside of a fair use policy.

Controlling spend – Managing invoices from your printing suppliers can be time consuming when reconciling errors. Costs will increase due to the required resource needed to perform checks. Using a smart asset management solution enables you to import supplier invoices and compare costs and usage against any invoice anomalies.

Improving User behaviour

User access – For most all users there are opportunities to set up a PIN to unblock restricted access to colour printing options and paper finish.
Preventative monitoring – Monitoring users, printing spools and queues helps to avoid issues like users printing large quantities by error.

Closing remarks

Without doubt having a smart asset management solution to manage all your mobile devices and printing is key here to controlling spend, user behaviour and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). BulbThings can help you optimise usage of your mobile devices and IT equipment alongside other enterprise assets so you can manage all your assets more effectively and control costs with one tool. To learn more about BulbThings please visit our website www.bulbthings.com or feel free to drop us a note at hello@bulbthings.com.