Have you ever heard of the term Follow-Me printing? Perhaps you’ve heard Find-Me printing, secure-print, release printing or pull printing. For the purpose of this blog we’ll refer to it as Follow-Me printing.
A Follow-Me print solution protects your business documents and slashes the volume of unclaimed printouts by ensuring users release print jobs at the point of printing. Print jobs enter a virtual queue and can only be released once the user authenticates themselves at the machine using a swipe card or unique PIN code.
So how does this help? Here are the 5 key benefits of Follow-Me printing.
1) Cut waste and help the environment
With recent climate change warnings issued by the UN and David Attenborough cautioning us about the amount of waste that ends up in our sea’s, it’s no surprise that businesses are getting behind the paperless-office craze in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint.
But let’s face it, there is nothing quite like having a printed document. According to Canon’s 2018 Office Insights report, 42% of respondents reported printing more often than 12 months ago.
Next time you walk past your MFP look at the number of documents that haven’t been collected. The fact is that over 15% of pages printed are never looked at. Not only are these unnecessary prints expensive, but the waste also needs to be managed when it could have been avoided altogether.
Cue Follow-Me printing - the responsible way to cut unwanted paper waste. Without physically walking to the machine to release the document it will simply cease to exist. Most Follow-me print solutions will also go a step further and autodelete any unprinted documents from the virtual queue after 24 hours so that nothing is released by mistake.
All in all, you cut paper and toner costs and reduce power usage. Digicorp’s software also has the ability to provide at-a-glance reporting on CO2 and carbon emissions - by CO2 volume or by tree – showing the overall impact.
2) Apply print policies company-wide
Investing in simple print management software enables you to enforce responsible print rules, limits and auto notifications. Printing requests are intercepted at the print server enabling policies that encourage good behaviour and improve device utilisation to be managed centrally. By implementing simple rules such as default to duplex or mono printing all print outs will automatically adhere to these rules saving paper and toner.
Ensuring the most appropriate device is selected for specific print jobs is also important. Selecting the wrong device can be costly and a waste of resources. For large print jobs, Follow-Me software gives you the ability to route jobs to dedicated high-speed printers, display pop-ups to ask end users to confirm single-sided output, automatically delete jobs with incorrect paper sizes or suggest an alternative printer when the device is offline.
3) Solve mobile and BYOD printing
Flexible working is on the rise. Employees are looking for the best ways to enable an increasingly mobile workforce to stay productive and complete a variety of tasks on the go. According to Canon’s Office Insights report, 43% of workers are allowed to connect their personal devices to company networks.
Follow-Me print management software allows users to print from whatever BYOD or mobile device at their disposal - no matter the operating system, their location, the file format or the brand of the printer. All mobile solutions fully integrate into the software for seamless print charging and reporting.
4) Usage reporting
Another great benefit of Follow-Me print software is the usage reporting function. Quickly pull reports that show you costs per page, by user, department, or device. You can even drill down further and gain insight into project costs and information on applications used to print e.g. web pages, Word, Excel.
Reports can be accessed from any web browser or they can be automatically generated and emailed in time for your next business review. You can set up reports to use your own branding, and pull custom data by specifying date rages, filtering and sorting.
In order to control your print environment, it’s important to educate your staff. Chances are if they know the impact their relaxed attitude towards print is having on the bottom line and environment, then their behaviour is likely to change. By monitoring usage to prevent excessive use of print facilities for personal reasons you gain more control and give staff a level of accountability.
5) Improve security
You probably feel that your company is pretty secure, and you have the necessary infrastructure in place to protect against data breaches. However, you are probably not seeing your Multifunctional Printer (MFP) as a potential digital time bomb.
Everything you print, scan and fax is stored in your device’s memory. Think of your MFP as a computer; without the necessary physical security controls you are vulnerable to unauthorised access and theft of components including memory, hard disks and any data stored on the device. Not only that, staff can print a private or confidential document that may inadvertently be seen or collected by others in the company. These security breaches can cause serious problems for your organisation.
Regularly clearing your device’s memory and implementing permissions for print, scan and email (using a secure print release feature) couldn’t be simpler to do and could really protect your most confidential assets.
Follow-Me print works well in the following industries:
Education (Primary/secondary/ higher) – Often we find the biggest print-related issues that schools face is the ability to control how much students are printing, and the level of visibility staff have over usage. With a Follow-Me Solution, students can be restricted to a pre-determined value of prints per week/month/term. In many cases we have also set up swipe-card activated print release meaning students receive a better experience when collecting documents. Administrators can also pull detailed reports showing total usage per student.
Legal – The key challenge faced by the legal sector is security. With tougher regulations such as GDPR forcing companies to take more stringent measures to protect Personally Identifiable Data, many law firms are turning to Follow-me printing as a way of ensuring that printed documents do not end up in the wrong hands. By releasing print jobs at the printer there is no risk of somebody else picking it up by mistake.
Finance – Most finance departments are already overloaded with filing cabinets full of printed invoices, statements, contracts, customer and employee records. What they don’t need is anymore paper going to waste. With a Follow-Me solution, rules such as default to duplex can have a significant impact on paper waste. Setting up black and white colour rules is also likely to decrease your monthly print spend.
Retail – Of all the sectors we work in, retail is the most demanding when it comes to maximising savings and efficiency. With multiple branches, it can be hard to keep track of the print infrastructure. A follow-me solution helps retailers to maintain central control, manage costs and cuts down on waste.