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Is Your Printing Out Of Control?

Like most educational agencies, resources for supplies like toner and paper are allocated at the start of the year and meant to meet students’ and teachers’ printing needs from the first to the last day. Yet it’s often a challenging task for schools to properly manage the supplies and security of every printer, copier and toner cartridge, on top of their primary job function: to teach.

Many schools have successfully leveraged subject matter experts to control printing-related assets by creating and implementing a structured print policy. Focusing school resources on constructive materials can reduce waste and can draw attention to equipment that may be compromised.

To ensure students and faculty alike are conscious of printing best practices, periodically review your formal print policy. This simple set of rules and guidelines will promote a financially responsible, environmentally friendly and properly protected campus from cyber security threats.

TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRINT POLICY

Whether your policy is basic or detailed, consider these tips to improve your usage procedures:

Define the Scope

People are more apt to follow directions and procedures when they know the intent behind them. Before delving into specific information and guidelines, clearly explain the purpose of the policy. Whether you want to implement a cost-effective print management strategy or simply strive to provide details on how funds will be allocated and guidance on how to use devices, describe the policy’s intent.

It’s also important to include what equipment the policy applies to and who is responsible for following the guidelines. Be sure to include anyone relevant and don’t forget about campuses with multiple buildings.

Include Goals

Whether these are school-wide or departmental goals, set your expectations in the print policy. Is your educational agency trying to eliminate waste, cut back on printing or reduce costs? Your audience won’t know these aspirations unless you clearly define them.

Once goals are set and included in the print policy, create a plan to remind students and faculty throughout the year.

Provide Guidelines

Instead of providing general rules for all printers, including individual/personal and multi-function printers, list them and their respective procedures separately. It’s also important to write your policies as specific as possible so questions don’t arise.

In addition to including the location of accessible printers, also explain the supply request process and what students and faculty should do when technical support is needed.

Offer Sustainable Print Practices

If one of your goals is to reduce waste and overspending on supplies, consider including print practices that will help develop a sustainable environment. Oftentimes, most people think printing less is the only way to save toner and paper. However, you can include tips in your print policy like resetting printer defaults and printing two-sided that might not have been previously known or considered.

Make it Formal

Creating a print policy isn’t enough; you must have a plan in place to effectively communicate the policy to your students and faculty to ensure they know the regulations and guidelines they’re expected to follow.

Engagement is also crucial. After rolling out the print policy, follow up with weekly emails or memos regarding usage rules or security advice to keep procedures top-of-mind for students and faculty. To gain the attention of students, consider requesting a segment on the school news broadcast or an article in the student-run paper.

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