Printing: How to Reduce IT Related Printing Costs in Your Business

In the modern, tech-driven workplace, your IT department is among the most important for the future success of your business.

However, it’s no secret that this division is also one of the costliest to maintain. Therefore, the last thing you want is for their time to be wasted on small, but everyday tasks like ensuring the continued functioning of your printers and multi-function devices.

So, today we’re going to be exploring how you can reduce the IT-related printing expenditure in your business, through a few simple but effective steps. By implementing these, your IT staff will be able to focus on important areas such as securing your organisation’s online presence against hackers, researching the latest business improvement trends and bringing your improving your processes to streamline output.

IT departments are usually among the most costly to run, so you don’t want your personnel constantly caught up with printer issues.

IT-related printing costs: The facts

If you think that your printers aren’t costing your IT department significantly, and on a regular basis, prepare to think again. Here are some stats to show why this area is an absolute priority when it comes to cutting spending in your business:

  • 30% of office workers say that printing issues are their biggest IT frustration (SOS Office Equipment): You know what this means – these employees will be making regular calls to your IT helpdesk to help them resolve whatever issue is impacting their work
  • 23% of communications to IT help desks are printer related (ImageOne) – That’s right, nearly a quarter of all the calls your IT personnel deal with on a given day will relate to printer issues, preventing them from dealing with more pressing or complex issues. Ultimately, dealing with the problems themselves, takes up as much as 15% of their time (LaserResource). Think about what else they could achieve if this wasn’t the case
  • The average company spends 1-3% of its revenue on printing (Milner) – With so much money already going towards printing, the last thing you need from a financial standpoint is operating issues adding to this. However, given that 90% of businesses don’t track their printing costs (Buyer’s Laboratory), there’s a good chance that excess costs are going unnoticed

From this it’s clear that a little streamlining and modernising of your printer setup could go a long way to reducing the reducing IT-related costs in your organisation. But where to start?

Reducing IT-related printing costs tip 1: Staff training

An easy way to reduce the printer burden on your IT staff, and free them up to tackle more important tasks, is to ensure that all your staff are fully trained on how to properly use all of the devices required in the everyday functioning of your business, including printers.

This may seem basic, but you’d be surprised at how far a simple training session can go, especially if you’ve recently updated your printer fleet with new devices that could be unfamiliar to your personnel.

Dealing with printer issues accounts for 15% of your IT help desk staff’s time.

Another good preventative method is to engage with your employees on the most common problems they encounter when printing. From this consultation, you could draw up a FAQ document to which they can refer before feeling the need to log a ticket with your IT help desk. In the future, it’s likely you will see artificial intelligence (AI) taking a larger hand in providing this type of support role, as simple printer questions are perfect for natural language processing, and means that your IT staff can concentrate their efforts on tasks that machines aren’t yet equipped to complete.

Nearly a quarter of all calls to IT help desks refer to printer-related problems.

Reducing IT-related printing costs tip 2: Easier-to-use printers

Not all printers were created equal, especially when it comes to intuitiveness. You’ll be benefiting both your employees and your IT staff if you invest in devices that are easy to use from the get go. Factors to look out for include:

  1. A touch screen interface – In the past, frustrated printer users would simply be left staring at flashing lights and unhelpful buttons when something went wrong. However, the beauty of a touch screen is that it can usually give the operator an idea of why the desired print job isn’t happening, and suggest what actions they need to take. By the same token, touch screen menus tend to be much more logical to navigate, eliminating the tedious guess work from what should be a simple task
  2. Easy to use – Similarly, if your staff are constantly requiring the help of your IT experts to complete simple jobs like replacing toner in your printer, this is another red flag that you might want to update the device itself.
  3. Security – You should be confident that if you need security oversight over printing in your business, that your printer is up to the task of providing it. If not, expect your IT staff to waste heaps of valuable time clearing people for printer use, or preventing unintended security breaches from unknowing employees

Reducing IT-related printing costs tip 3: Be ready for wireless printers

With office trends such as activity based working and Agile methodologies ruling supreme in many offices, wireless printing is a game-changer for staff who don’t want to have to carry their device over to the printer each time they want a hard copy of a document.

However, this supposed time-saver can turn into a real headache for IT employees who can find themselves running the gauntlet of WiFi errors should your office be ill prepared for welcoming wireless printers.

Preventing this unnecessary drain on time and resources ultimately comes down to a balancing act between your printer and your office’s WiFi capabilities. If your device is old and slow, chances are your employees will experience delays or problems when trying to print wirelessly. Equally, if your building has notorious WiFi blackout areas, you aren’t giving your printer a fair chance at delivering on expectations. In the latter case, changing internet provider, or installing additional WiFi extenders can help solve recurring connectivity problems.

Wireless printers are the way of the future, but can cause problems for your IT department if they’re not well connected.

Wireless printers are the way of the future, but can cause problems for your IT department if they’re not well connected.

Reducing IT-related printing costs tip 4: Employ predictive analytics

Predictive analytics refers to the use of a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data mining and statistics modelling to take current data sets, and use them to formulate predictions. This technique has potential for a wide variety of implementations in a business context, with maintenance scheduling being one of the most common.

Put simply, predictive analytics allows you to forecast when maintenance is likely to be required for a given asset, allowing you to take action before a major malfunction happens. It also means that if a device, such as a printer, is not operating properly, even if it’s not obviously broken, proactive steps can be taken to remedy this. Clearly, from an IT point of view, this is preferable in terms of time and resources to waiting for a major mishap to occur.

Predictive analytics can help IT departments cut costs on printer maintenance.

You can also cut costs on the shipping and storage of spare parts for your printers, as predictive analytics can give you a clearer idea of when you’re likely to need them, replacing the need to have heaps of parts stocked just in case.

Reducing IT-related printing costs tip 5: Investigate managed print services

What is a managed print service?

Managed print services and Toner Management Program are all about optimising office workflows while reducing the costs of printing at every step.

Usually, managed print services are offered by printing experts, such as Brother, and usually take care of all aspects of your operational printing needs – from printers to copiers, scanners and faxers.

Generally speaking, there are four essential components to a managed print service:

  1. An assessment – The first thing an external provider will do is assess the status quo. What devices do you have in your fleet, how are they being used and what problems tend to crop up from an employee standpoint?
  2. Replacement – Based off this assessment, and in consultation with you or your IT department, the provider will likely make recommendations on what you could replace in order to improve your setup and decrease costs. This could be one or two devices, or a more holistic overhaul to bring your office into line with modern standards. Note, the alterations recommended could even be as small as replacing a few parts in your devices
  3. Servicing – Crucially from your IT department’s perspective, a managed print service will also control the servicing of your fleet. This will free up a lot of time that would be otherwise wasted on frustrating but necessary maintenance on printers and other devices
  4. Tracking – As mentioned, very few organisations actively track metrics around their printers, copiers and scanners. Not only will a managed print service look at usage patterns and suggest ways in which to improve your processes, it will also look at where your costs are coming from and what you actions you can take to reduce them now and in the future

How can a managed print service help you reduce IT costs?

  • Reducing time spent on printers – The essence of a managed print service is that it allows you and your staff to concentrate on running and improving the business, while the external provider manages the nitty gritty of your printer fleet. While it’s unlikely they will be on hand to respond to individual employee queries or problems, with their expertise behind you, you know you’re setting yourself up for the best chance of success
  • Uncovering hidden costs – While you may be able to identify that your printers are costing your IT department more than they should (in both time and money), it’s not always easy to determine why. The expertise and objectivity that comes with external oversight can help you establish where your unnecessary spending is happening, and what you can do to counter it
  • Access to the latest technology –  While your IT department is likely keen to keep your operation at the cutting edge of technology, it’s no secret that this comes at a significant cost. However, a good managed print service partner will often be able to offer programs whereby you can access the latest products from their range, without the steep upfront costs. Usually, this operates on a regular payment plan, which allows you to accurately forecast your costs as you move forwards.

How Brother can help

Brother has helped businesses of all sizes through our managed print service and toner management program. We take a personal yet strategic approach to our service, which aims to reduce costs, emphasise sustainability and ensure security at all stages of the process.

From finding the most logical locations for your devices to optimising your printers once they’re installed, our expert team will be with you from start to finish to provide assessments, advice and feedback on your printing practices. This means your employees can focus on business tasks, while we cover the maintenance and management of your fleet.

What’s more, our solutions are designed with scalability in mind, meaning we can help you adapt and grow your fleet as your business changes. For more information on how we can help your business improve and cut costs, get in touch with our team today.

This article has been republished from Brother Australia with minor changes. 

The original article can be seen here:

The Importance Of Reliable Thermal Printers For Patient Wristband Printing

When healthcare organisations find options to make their critical everyday workflows more efficient, they should seize these opportunities. In the fast-moving world of hospitals, GP offices and other care facilities, increasing the speed or accuracy of a task may lead directly to better patient outcomes. In this way, modernising processes can literally save lives.

Wristband printing is one of these areas of potential improvement. Implementing new printing workflows and devices allows physicians and nurses to connect physical and digital realms. In this era of widespread electronic medical record (EMR) use, medical personnel need easy ways to access that content and connect EMRs with the patients whose data they contain. Barcode wristbands printed on demand can form that essential link.

Even beyond their use with barcodes, wristbands can contain essential patient information taken from their records, concerning everything from medication warnings to dietary requirements. Fast and accurate barcode printing may lead directly to improved quality of care.

Features of today’s wristband printers for healthcare

There is a difference between simply having a system for printing patient wristbands and possessing a fleet of modern thermal printers. The following are a few of the capabilities that come with these devices and the advantages they bring for healthcare professionals.

Convenient form factors

When hospitals’ thermal wristband printers have small footprints, it’s easy to place the devices wherever they’re needed. Of course, facilities will have these printers at admissions to make sure every patient coming in gets immediately identified with a wristband. Personnel can also mount them on carts, enabling them to print identifying bracelets at patients’ bedsides. Optional Lithium-ion batteries allow the printers to operate without plugging in, for service on the go. This efficiency allows staff to assist more people in less time, as they don’t have to travel far to reach a printer — there’s always one where they need it.

Barcodes to link with EMRs

While patient identification wristbands can contain plenty of information printed on their surfaces — especially when personnel use a high-DPI printer — there is always more data stored in a patient’s EMR. To access additional data quickly and efficiently, physicians can scan barcodes on patient wristbands. Modern thermal printers support multiple types of codes, including 1D and 2D barcodes. Whatever secure Hospital Information Systems facilities use for their data storage, they can connect that information to the real world by printing barcodes onto patient wristbands.

Clear and readable patient information

Even in facilities with heavily digitised workflows, doctors need to be able to glean information about a patient at once by reading a wristband, no scanner required. Fortunately, the same high-DPI quality used for printing barcodes also applies to vital written details, such as negative reactions to drugs. Hospital catering can benefit from patient wristbands that list dietary requirements, helping them match meals with patients to ensure no potentially dangerous mistakes occur.

Wireless connectivity with secure networks

Connecting physicians’ smartphones, tablets or computers with their thermal label printers should be a quick and efficient process to prevent bottlenecks in the printing workflow. This is why the latest generation of printers comes with options such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to link up with hospital networks and provide quick data transfer. To prevent this convenient connectivity from becoming a security liability, these devices have been designed to meet the security standards determined by healthcare Independent Software Vendors.

Simplified media needs

The thermal printing materials consumed by wristband printers don’t have to be a liability for users. Today’s devices have multiple features designed to make them quick and easy to work with, whether they’re stationed at the admissions desks or moving through the facility on a cart. Printers that accept large rolls of thermal printing tape require changes less often, saving users time and requiring fewer trips for supplies. The actual process of changing rolls is also quick and efficient when printers feature a drop-in, spindle-less design to accept the new media.

Double duty — wristbands and labels

Hospitals today have need of reliable labeling printers. These can feature in parts of the facility such as testing laboratories and equipment storage areas. Labeling samples or assets quickly and easily makes it simple for personnel to track these goods throughout the building. The printed matter on labels will quickly explain the basics, while barcodes allow more advanced workflows such as digital inventory management. When working with today’s advanced thermal printers, the label and wristband printers are the same devices, serving either function effectively.

This article has been republished from Brother Australia with minor changes. 

The original article can be seen here:

Why The Paperless Office Still Needs A Printing Solution

The paperless office. Along side terms such as digital transformation and agile these three words are everywhere when it comes to what businesses are told they should strive towards.

And for good reason. Not only does going paperless have positive impacts on the environment, it can save your business a lot of money and improve security by keeping important documents in password-locked cloud storage.

However, if you think that the paperless office of the future means you can do away with your trusty company printer, prepare to think again. In this article, we’ll take a look at how and why printers will continue to play an important role in paperless offices to help you avoid jumping the gun and getting rid of this vital piece of kit.

Despite what you might think, printers still have an important role in the paperless offices of the future.

Why printers are still important in the paperless office

1. Because ‘going paperless’ doesn’t happen over night

While it may seem impossible to imagine your business without technology, for years physical documentation was the only option we had, and the processes and systems that built up around this fact have become deeply entrenched. As a result, going paperless is a journey, not a destination.

For many businesses, going paperless doesn’t mean the total elimination of paper.

If you were to rid your office of printers as part of a drive to encourage paperlessness, you’d soon find staff running into roadblocks because they rely on printers more than even they realise. Encouraging staff to be more economical with their printing, and ensuring that your printer setup isn’t in excess of what you require are both solid moves, but entirely removing printers from your office, as paperless as you may want it to be, is likely going to be counter productive in the short term.

In fact, for the moment, many businesses admit that going paperless doesn’t mean eliminating paper entirely – and for as long as paper persists, your printers will need to too.

Some workers still prefer to work with printed documents as opposed to cloud-based files.

2. Some staff prefer physical documents

In the same way that some readers will never prefer kindles over the real deal, some staff simply work better when handling physical documents as opposed to doing everything digitally. While you can promote economical printing among your staff, those who prefer to have paper in hand for certain tasks may be taken aback if that option is removed entirely.

Top tip: Encourage discussions among the different teams within your businesses as to what types of documentation you all believe need to remain printable. While this can allow wiggle room for those staff who do prefer physical documents, setting expectations in this way can help you accommodate different work practices while still moving to an overall more paperless environment.

Printers can fit easily into modern practices such as agile working.

3. Printers can fit with modern work practices

While the rise of trends such as remote working may seem to add fuel to the fire that printers are a thing of the past, recent trends show that they are in fact easily adaptable to modern working practices.

Take agile, for example. As businesses start to focus more on the pod-based teams that feature prominently in agile methodologies, we’ve seen a shift in printers too. Instead of huge devices situated centrally for office-wide use, printers have migrated to the teams where they’re most needed. Generally speaking, this means fewer, smaller devices that sit within pods, and are used for their specific tasks. 

Printers are easily adaptable to modern business such as remote working or agile structures.

Similarly, in the era of bring your own device (BYOD), mobile printing offers a solution that means staff don’t need to worry about where they are are or what device they are printing from. Employees simply need to connect to their nearest printer, press the button and their documents will be ready for use, either by themselves or their team in the office.

Brother has years of experience in helping businesses to achieve their productivity and sustainability goals through devices that meet their objectives. Whether you’re looking at decreasing paper consumption in your organisation, or are seeking technology to suit your new agile environment, Brother’s team of experts is on hand to help you make the right decisions.

For more information on what we’ve discussed today, or to for specific advice on products, get in touch with our team.

This article has been republished from Brother Australia. The original article can be seen here:

Make Your Own Bucket Hat!

As a mother of 3 boys who love being outdoors, I’ve had my fair share of sewing bucket hats. In the Summer we spend most of our time outside near the water, at various sports, or just playing in the yard. I’ve made so many for my children but never really made one for myself. Seeing they’re on trend lately (90’s cool) I thought it would be fun to make one for myself this time. I even made it so it’s reversible. You can have so much fun with these! Get the details below and sew your own.


  • 45” 5/8 yd. 60” 1/2 yd exterior fabric (I’m using a medium weight canvas)
  • ½ yard liner fabric (I’m using a medium weight cotton
  • 1/2 yard medium to heavy weight interfacing for brim. (*I did not use interfacing on the other parts because my fabric was sturdy, if you want you can stabilize the crown and the top).
  • Thread
  • Pattern (you can use this or any pattern)
  • Brother A80

*I drafted this pattern and it fit my head well. I am sharing the pattern but understand you may have to adjust to fit your measurements. I also suggest making a sample first to make the adjustments necessary before the main one. I had to do a couple at first. Feel free to use your own pattern as well. 

Cut out pattern for main, liner, and interfacing.

Press interfacing to liner of brim (mine are the same material).

Stitch crown ends right sides together with a ½” seam allowance.

Press seam allowance flat.

Pin crown to top (circle) right sides together, easing to fit if necessary.

Sew with 1/4” seam allowance all the way around.

Clip curve seam allowance if necessary.

Repeat for the liner.

Topstitch if you’d like around the top of the crown and the center seam.

For the brim.

Stitch side seams (RST) on both main and liner (1/4” seam allowance).

Place liner and main (RST) matching seams and stitch along bottom edge (1/4” seam allowance).

Clip seam allowance.

Flip right side out and press.

Baste stitch along top edge to keep raw edges together.

Start at seam and topstitch outer edge of brim. Stitch as many rows as it takes to get to the top. Spacing rows ¼” apart. (*use a medium weight thread for extra detail).

Pin brim to crown (RST). I had the seam of the crown in the center and the seams of the brim on the sides.

Stitch the brim to the crown (1/4” seam allowance).

Place main hat (brim included inside the liner (RST) and pin

Stitch the liner and main together leaving a 3” opening (1/4” seam allowance)

Flip right sides out through the opening.

Stitch the opening closed with a slipstitch or topstitch all the way around the edge to finish it.

This article has been republished from Brother Sews USA. The original article can be seen here: