Print management – a deceptively large expenditure

print costs.jpgA provincial government finance department spent R500-million on its ‘copier project’ in 2010, its deputy director said at a recent conference hosted by the Logistics Graduates of South Africa.

Such a level of expenditure ranked this commodity in the department’s top 10 expenditure groups, along with general goods and services at R11-billion, consultants at R867-million and staff development at R283-million.

The department’s internal copier and printer estate reflects the architecture and make-up of many medium to large corporate and government enterprises.

Therefore, it is imperative for financial, purchasing and procurement departments to prioritise the management of this large capex and opex accordingly.

If extended to include the outsourced field of litho print services (where corporate financial statements and marketing/point-of-sale needs reside) then the commodity’s impact on annual budgets can double, with a proportionate increase required in hands-on management, Billy Bell, of WD Bell Consulting, tells SmartProcurement.

The commodity group is a diverse range of supplies, including copiers, faxes, printers, scanners, multi-functional output devices, cartridges, diverse consumables, inks, maintenance, substrates (carton, paper, etc.) and toners. However, it also includes contract management systems, finance arrangements (buy, lease or rent), in-sourcing and outsourcing agreements, print management systems and specified service level agreements.

In order to meet the challenge Bell advises that Commodity Manager’s meet a minimum profile:
– Being fully informed of the complexities of this whole environment.
– Having appropriate financial, product and ICT skills and training.
– Fully understanding the supply-side with intimate knowledge of all products, services, vendors and support available in market.
– Being in a position to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) of items across this category.
– Understanding the latest output/print services and management systems.
– Being fully conversant with the organisation’s BBBEE, communications and cost savings strategies.

An industry subject matter expert will – using case studies and TCO methodology – detail all the elements of this important commodity group at SmartProcurement’s upcoming (August 24) two-day workshops on ‘Evaluating Managed Print Services from a supply management perspective’.

To register call Erieka Santos on 087 805 0893 or e-mail her on

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