Over three-quarters of companies in the UK, France and Germany with between 100 and 500 employees are unaware of their in-house printing costs, according to the research.
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A survey of 600 small and medium businesses (SMBs) found fewer than 10% of those responsible for in-house printing knew the exact costs of running their printers, 90% had no restrictions on printing, and only 22% monitored staff printer usage.
The research shows there is huge potential for SMBs to cut printing costs, but only if printer decision makers were able to identify the costs of printing infrastructure, said Dion Smith, imaging sales manager, Dell UK and Ireland.
However, Smith said it was encouraging to note that three quarters of SMBs were cutting energy and service costs by sharing printers.
The research found workgroup printing was the prevalent printer usage model in SMBs, with an average of 9.3 users for every networked laser printer.
Another trend identified by the research was an increasing number of SMBs using colour printers, with 88% of those surveyed having colour printers and 78% seeing it as a business benefit.
The top three business benefits of colour printing were said to be highlighting key information, delivering more professional-looking documents, and creating documents that were easier to read.