Cost Cutting via Paper Cuts

Chris Saxman’s latest email update contains a few recommendations for how the state can actually save money through — of all things — managing its printing and paper use more efficiently:

Printers, copiers, and paper are essential to government operations and while we all recognize that, sometimes we don’t consider the cost. Consider that the state has a printer and copier inventory of more than 34,000. In FY06, the cost of these and related devices was $29,607,712. In FY06, the cost of paper was $7,499,837 and the cost of outside printing services was $37,702,417. The team offered the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Promote a printer, copier, and paper savings awareness campaign—promoting print efficiencies, cost-savings, and best practices.

Recommendation 2: Implement print management best practices

Recommendation 3: Move toward phasing out fax machines. Personal computers and multifunction machines now have the capability to fax documents. Significant cost reduction could be realized by eliminating fax machines and performing these functions on personal computers or multifunction machines.

Recommendation 4: Move toward or transition to the implementation of managed print services–as appropriate for meeting agency and department mission and goals. Managed print services (MPS) are services offered by an external provider to optimize or manage an organization’s document output. A MPS contract can include assessment services, asset management, output management services, and support services. The external service provider either owns or leases the hardware, with the customer paying a monthly or quarterly fee—based on a cost per page or cost per seat. Gartner suggests that candidates for MPS are midsize or large organizations with 100 or more employees. Agencies and departments should document their print needs and determine if the use of managed print services would reduce their print cost.

Recommendation 5: Encourage agencies use of high-volume print shops for large print jobs. Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE), a printing service within the state, continues to demonstrate its ability to produce quality and timely print for state agencies and departments—at a cost savings. In addition, state procurement regulation mandates that goods and services produced or manufactured by state correctional facilities be purchased by all departments, institutions, and agencies of the Commonwealth (there are some waivers to this regulation).

Saxman has a lot more in his note, but this list gives a fairly good look at some of the ways government can shave its operating costs and still provide the services people demand.

And with the threat of state budget cuts looming, any amount of economizing will be welcome.

Now if only Chris and his colleagues could find a way to rebate those savings to taxpayers…

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


7 responses to “Cost Cutting via Paper Cuts”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    I don’t know how much money can be saved by reforming the state use of printers, copiers and paper. But let’s say it’s 10 percent. That’s $3 million a year just for the in-house equipment. That may not be a lot in a $35 billion+ budget, but it ain’t chicken scratch either.

    Saxman and his cost-cutting allies are doing yeoman’s work. There aren’t any special interest constituencies to please through measures such as this. But if they can identify — and make good on — other efficiencies like this that cut across agency boundaries, the millions can up to tens of millions.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    _this_ is bold thinking on how to streamline the government? …


    3 million won’t even buy you one mile of road…

    but.. it probably does add up to about 30 employees or so…

    the state oughta do what the school districts do…

    each teacher gets an allotment.. and after that.. it comes out of their own pockets…or they do without.

  3. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry, most school districts that is.

    Several years ago, Fairfax County in a rare display of fiscal controls decided that the County and the Schools would share a single in-house printing department, controlled by the County. Needless to say, that did not sit well with the School Board or Administration. After pouting, the Schools managed to be unable to make the new process work. They incurred more than $1 M in additional outside printing jobs.

    But, of course, their first interest is the children. And it’s just taxpayer money — the stuff that belongs to the government.

    The good thing is this disgraceful behavior would probably not be tolerated by Jack Dale, the current superintendent.

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    TNT – gives me indigestion just to think about it…

    We get the same tap-dance down this way.. it’s “for the kids”… no matter what it is … “fully fund the schools”.. or else…

    Our BOS asked our esteemed School Board to bring a budget that was last years + student growth + inflation – and then to put on the table new items desired.

    so.. every year we get a “needs-based” budget proposal that is – non-negotiable.

    fund it.. or risk the wrath of the parents…

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’d like to see – at the GA level legislation to specify budget guidelines for School budgets.

    All this talk about growth.. and not building adequate infrastructure;

    when you go look at most counties budgets 60-80% is devoted to the school system with precious little left over for infrastructure…

    … and they are bald-face bold.. they speak out AGAINST local road referenda – publically stating that road money will “threaten” their school money…

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    I’ve applied for a patent for a new device. It is a printer/cop[er that outputs directly to the shredder.

    You save a ton of money by leaving out the middle man.


  7. Chris Saxman Avatar
    Chris Saxman

    I think the report states that we could save up to 30% of the printing/paper/copier budget if managed appropriately.

    There are more reports coming and many people need to be thanked. Bill Leighty and Tim Bass have been great on this project and all the legislators, state employees and private sector volunteers as well. Their names are on each report.

    This was a true team effort.

    Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply