Colorful Disconnect

Jim Rempel, PresidentI live and breathe the world of print every day so you would think that a person in my position should know it all and never get confused. Not the case!!  Let’s look at color printing.  Executives want to save money and manage color very carefully … and hopefully print less color because it is still 4 to 5 times more expensive than B&W printing.  The vendor wants to sell color multi-functional devices (MFD) so that the client will eventually or ultimately print more color, because the vendor makes more money if the client prints in color.  If you do not consider costs and if no metrics are in place, the end user would enjoy printing everything in color, because it looks nice.  What is a consultant to do??   Color printing can represent a disconnect in your print strategy.

Real life situation … The vendor may offer up a color MFD at the same price as a B&W unit …and they may promise to disable color printing. This approach always looks good on a PowerPoint slide so Management accepts this most gracious offer. What’s the harm, as long as color is controlled? Within 1.6 days of the install, the end users “accidentally” find out that the device will print in color and insists to turn color on. The vendor has no choice but to appease the public and turn color on. Color usage then increases from 10% to maybe 20%, while the industry average remains at 6.5% of total volumes. Projected print savings are severely eroded by excessive use of color. In some cases, anticipated savings turn into cost overruns. Not good.

The view from 30,000 feet … On average, 93% of the print volume is B&W, so why push color so much?  Provide color, manage it and measure it so that you can control it.  Vendors want you to buy color.  Profit margins are much better for color.  They have and will continue to push color.  It makes perfect sense for them.  From the client perspective, the view at 30,000 feet would suggest you plan the environment to address 90% B&W and 10% color.  That thinking may change the discussion and the direction you take …and avoid a colorful disconnect.  


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