Equitrac aims at monitoring and cutting costly print waste

Although reducing energy consumption remains a high priority on companies' sustainability agendas, there are plenty of dollars and trees to be saved through better management of MFPs, printers, copiers, and the like. Chris Wyszkowski, VP of marketing at Equitrac, speaks to that point knowledgably and enthusiastically. "If you have experience in an office environment, you'll know that if you go around and look at

Although reducing energy consumption remains a high priority on companies' sustainability agendas, there are plenty of dollars and trees to be saved through better management of MFPs, printers, copiers, and the like.

Chris Wyszkowski, VP of marketing at Equitrac, speaks to that point knowledgably and enthusiastically. "If you have experience in an office environment, you'll know that if you go around and look at the printers at the end of the day, invariably you'll see pages sticking of the output tray that are jobs that have never been collected -- or jobs people have printed two or three times but never needed," he says.

Equitrac, which has been around for some 30 years, offers software aimed at putting a dent in the pile of waste end-users print up every day. (Wyszkowski says that on average, 10 to 15 percent of volume prints are never collected.) Meanwhile, GreenPrint cites research that the average user waste $85 in paper and ink on unnecessary prints.

Once Equitrac is installed on the company network (it works with Windows, NetWare, UNIX, and Linux print servers), admins can use the suite to set and enforce policies that ensure that users only print what they need using the least expensive approach possible.

One of the most impressive components of the Equitrac solution is the Follow-You Printing unction. At most organizations, if a user prints a document, the selected printing device will immediately spit it out for the user to come collect -- and that may not ever happen. With Follow-You, a user must go to the machine and key in a password or swipe an ID card before the machine will complete the job. Any jobs that don't end up collected are deleted after a preset period of time.

An added benefit of Follow-You: Suppose you queued up a document for printing on the third floor for a meeting on the fifth -- but forgot to collect it before going up. Rather than having to schlep back down to three, you could find a printer on five, key in your passcode, and collect it there. (There's a clear security benefit to Follow-You, too: It means documents with sensitive information won't get scooped off the printer before they're collected by the rightful owner.)

Equitrac also lets admins limit the number of color prints a user can make, or what he or she can print in color. For example, you could create a policy that any document printed from Internet Explorer would have to use only black ink. Additionally, you could set a policy prompting users to print internal documents as two-sided docs, an obvious paper-saver.

In terms of energy management, the producgt could be configured to redirect print jobs to more power-efficient machines. "Take a 200-page print job sent to a local printer. [The software] could inform user of a better behavior: sending the job to a higher-capacity device that's more efficient and cost-effective," says Wyszkowski.

On top of the functionality aimed a reducing waste, Equitrac provides reporting that can let admins know down to a device level how printing resources are being used. There's a version aimed a law firms that can track which client a particular job is printed for so the client can be billed accordingly.

More information about Equitrac is available at the company Web site.

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