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convincing users to buy laser printers
5

convincing users to buy laser printers

convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

I imagine I don't have to convince anyone here. But in the office, I still find it difficult to convince users to buy laser printers, instead of inkjets.

Last week, I sent a little sheet to a user. I showed her how many pages she would get per inkjet cartridge and how many pages she would get per laser cartridge. I also showed her the cost per page and that the inkjet would cost twice as much per page. She wasn't convinced and still wanted to buy the allegedly "cheaper" inkjet, which would actually be more expensive.

How do you convince users to buy laser printers? I personally can't believe that inkjet printers are still around. PT Barnum was right--there's a sucker born every minute.
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

There is indeed a sucker born every minute.  When you consider the average IQ is 100 (yes 50% below, and 50% above), it's not coincidental you'll have issues of thought with people.

But I digress.  Remember, though, that marketing is solely based on taking advantage of these "issues of thought", in order to make them spend more money on things than they would ordinarily spend.  These things are more likely to occur on the consumer end of things, because business-folk will typically look at costs more and figure these things out.  

See this post I made on another forum for more details on the question from practical experiences.  It's not just more costly because of the Gilette model, but for numerous other reasons too.

People, by and large, are just not logical thinking creatures and look at the $ signs up front.  I'd even go for a B&W laser over a color inkjet simply for the facts of cost.

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

In this particular case, the user is someone who does accounting work. She doesn't need color at all. I do have a color laser at home.

I have heard that some high-end inkjets deliver better print quality. And the HP Design Jet printers are just inkjets with a very wide carriage.
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

I'm not sure from your narrative - did you show her a cost model for each printer?  

I would draw something up in a spreadsheet that assumes a certain page count (per year), then show the total annual cost of each printer.  Sometimes it's the "big picture" that will convince people, unless they just do not care!

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Quote:


the user is someone who does accounting work. She doesn't need color at all

IT is an supporting job, and the old saying the "The customer is always right" surely also applies to IT support.

If your customers feel that you are dictating how they should work, they will never listen to you.

If you cant explain in plain English that you have investment costs and operational costs and work it out in graph form (use color) what it will cost to buy and operate each type of printer for a period of two years, you will be stigmatized as bean counting IT @#!* who is not willing to solve his customers problem.

Maybe the person has to print the expenses of the IT payroll in red, because the boss likes it.
And why on earth everybody needs a printer on his desk? What about a networked laser color printer, so more people can benefit of it.
The next thing they will do is send their boss to force things down your throat, and keep watching how you go down.
It appears to me that there are no investment or purchase policies in place, imagine standardization rules...
It would be good trying to get the policies in place before you go hunting down innocent users..

Gossip of the week: New kid on the block took a shot from Mount Olympus (management)  hammer

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

I did send the user a cost comparison. I don't see how I could have explained it better. Here is the text of the e-mail, which I have cut and paste:


HP's cheapest laser: P1006
Price: $99.99
Cartridge: $69.99 yields 2000 pages
Cost per page: .034995

HP's cheapest inkjet: D2460
Price: $49.99
Cartridge: $14.99 yields 175 pages
Cost per page: 085657
This doesn't include the cost of the color cartridge.

 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

Actually I should have made the Dom Perignon argument: "Inkjet ink costs more per liter than Dom Perignon." It actually does.
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

The bottom line is: The customer wants a color printer, not a lecture about costs, certainly somebody higher in the foodchain authorized this expense, after maybe a battle for 3 years.
If your job is to control cost, you probably would be the one signing the expense, your job is to make sure that the equipment works, the thinking is left to the higher gods.

You are exposing with this attitude yourself to Office Guerrilla. What if he/she goes to his boss with the message: "Boss you know  that new printer we are waiting for so long... that new guy refuses to do the install, tomorrow he will dictate your salary boss, what are you going to do about it?"

Boss gets flame, because his authority is challenged and run  down the hall to take some names...

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Remember too that maintenance comes out of a different pot of money than purchasing. They may not have the purchase budget available to buy the printer with the higher initial cost.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

I use an inkjet at home, because my pagecount is low and I want color.
I also get replacement ink tanks for about $2.50 each, quantity one.
It even duplexes on the rare occasion when I want that.
For me, the $400-600 for a duplexing laser printer will never pay back based on per-page cost.

If/when I need a much higher page count, then it's laser time!

cheers
Jay

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Shoalcreek, maybe I have been sounded a little harsh to you, but IMHO these are the situations you will face out there in the jungle.

1) What was your assignment? You got your directives from your supervisor.

Did he say:
  • arrange a printer ?
  • arrange a cheap printer
  • that SOB from accounting wants a color printer but force him/her a cheap laser
  • show him/her a cost calculation
If it is the last option you have done your job, but you need to deal with the given that Everyone has the right to have his own opinion and you are giving an advice, they are not obliged to follow it.

Option 1 and 2, you have not done your work, and it can be used against you when you have your review, your boss will be more than happy having reasons not to give you the raise you (in your opinion) deserves.

Option 3 - You are in deathmarch orchestrated from above, you were sent out to fight your boss battles, you are "cannon fodder", your boss will deny everything, and you will end up frustrated. Normally I sent the boss to fight my battles shadeshappy



normally I send the boss to fight my battles.   

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

In some companies, one way to "force" them to go to the laser prints is to impose a rule whereby the user/department buying a printer also has to buy supplies for 6-12 month worth of printing.

Doing this forces them to reevaluate their needs, as they may end up paying in advance the FULL cost of their printing.

I have done this with some customers, and they ended up buying the laser instead.

Regards

Frederico Fonseca
SysSoft Integrated Ltd
www.syssoft-int.com

FAQ219-2884: How Do I Get Great Answers To my Tek-Tips Questions?
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RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Quote:

Here is the text of the e-mail, which I have cut and paste:

HP's cheapest laser: P1006
Price: $99.99
Cartridge: $69.99 yields 2000 pages
Cost per page: .034995

HP's cheapest inkjet: D2460
Price: $49.99
Cartridge: $14.99 yields 175 pages
Cost per page: 085657
If that really is all you said to them, that may be the problem. People who read this site are geeks - give us the numbers and we can see what's happening. "Normal" people tend to respond better to words (even people who work in accounting, believe it or not). So if you'd added a few sentences explaining your calculations and their implications, maybe the penny would have dropped.

Still, maybe the customer has other motivations. Maybe she has a need for colour printing. Maybe she's got one of those printers already, is used to it, trusts it to do the job, and doesn't see any reason to change. Critically, if the spending the money doesn't have a big impact on her personally, it's unlikely to motivate her decision one way or the other.

If I was seeking to persuade her, I'd take a slightly different tack. I'd point out that by the time she's printed out 700 sheets (i.e. a bit less than halfway though her second pack of paper), the inkjet will have cost more than the laser. She'll also have had to change the ink four times - whilst the laser won't yet have used half a toner cartridge.

I'd also point out the handling advantages of a laser - load a big block of paper in the hopper, forget about it vs. balancing small amounts in the rear. Get output neatly piled up in tray on top of printer vs. have it spewed out onto the desk in front of the printer. Maybe the particular laser/inkjets under consideration don't have these issues, but most of the ones I've seen do.

The bottom line is - try to cast the issue in terms of "How does choosing A over B make my life easier?", rather than "how can I save my benevolent employer a few cents per sheet of paper?" The former tends to be more of a motivating factor for most people.

Finally, I wouldn't sweat it too much. If you've put all the information in place for people to make the right decision, and they make the wrong one, you've done your job. Life's too short to worry overmuch about such things.

 

-- Chris Hunt
Webmaster & Tragedian
Extra Connections Ltd

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Is this for users inside the office or working remotely in home offices?

If it's inside the office, simply give them no choice.  If it's outside the office, all you can do is try to influence their purchasing decisions.  

If it were me that you were trying to sway, I'd be asking who is coughing up the money for the new printer that I don't need because my current one is serving my purposes.

Not anything negative, it's just my opinion...

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

Nobody has ever mentioned that they have a need for color printing. I was asked to get a cheap printer for a user who is here maybe five hours per day. She assists our main accountant.

The only benefit I can see from an inkjet is desk-space usage. An inkjet takes up less space than a laser. I doubt that the user in particular has much use for color.

Incidentally, the allegedly "cheap" inkjet that we got didn't even come with a black cartridge. That was $15 more that we had to spend right away on that piece of garbage.

Fredericofonseca had the best suggestion--have them buy six months worth of ink, etc. This may have gotten them to buy laser. I also tried to explain to them that inkjet sometimes dries up if it isn't used all that much. Thus, a laser printer is better even for a person who does light printing.

ChrisHunt also had a good suggestion about the frequency of re-loading paper. I should have thought of that. I do think I made the argument that they would have to buy ink more often.

I will also add one other thing--I think the really cheap inkjets do lousy print jobs. The paper is often wet.

As a tech, I was hired by the CEO of this company to do what I think is best overall for the company. It went against all my integrity as a tech to order an inkjet printer. I presented the information the best I could. I didn't want to argue because it wasn't my budget, and I am still quite new here.

Maybe they will learn their lesson--maybe they won't.
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

There are other reasons besides cost why someone who needs a printer in her or his personal work space might not want a laser printer.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/78455.php

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

SQLsister maybe we have to revert back to good old noisy dot matrix printer? bigsmile

Anyway coming back to the point:
The big advantage of an inkjet is having color at a (cheep) price. We are geeks so we assumed that it was a color issue.

Important is that your client is happy, about lessons learned:

You need to build-up credibility with your clients, if they experience you as cooperative, solving their problems fast etc.., they will start listening to you, and in the future consult you before they buy something computer related.

You have a color laser at home, would you trade it for a black and white laser printer?
Not always the user reveals all his requirements, which may be still in a vague cloud somewhere in the brain.

I think everybody knows that relative that comes asking for help to buy/supply the "first family computer" that must be cheep, nothing fancy only for type writing for the kids, no internet or graphic stuff...
You bust your @#$% finding a budget 2nd hand or free surplus unit, install it and after two days getting a call that the games they purchased do not work.
You then find out that they tried to run the latest greatest resources devouring action shooter on the budget dinosaur you supplied ... sad

Maybe in this case that person could have shared the printer of the main accountant. IMHO a networked solution could be the most cost-effective solution, no extra asset, just expanding the possibilities of the things in place.
 

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

"Maybe in this case that person could have shared the printer of the main accountant. IMHO a networked solution could be the most cost-effective solution, no extra asset, just expanding the possibilities of the things in place."

Niiiiice!

The best solution to needing new hardware is to connect to existing hardware that does the same job.  A hardware solution that requires no hardware to implement!

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

I gotta respectfully disagree with svanels.  Your customer is the company you work for, not a single user.  I cringe at the thought that one of my techs know of a way to save our company quite a bit of money and they keep their mouths shut b/c of what the end-user wants.  End-user's come and go, it's all about the company and its bottom-line.  

I think your problem is that you are telling the wrong person.  A user doesn't care about costs and budgets, management does.  I'd go to them first and say, on average user X prints Y amount of pages per month.  Here is the cost of option A versus option B, blah, blah, blah.  I can't think of a single manager at our company that would turn their nose up to cutting printing costs by 40%.  I take that back, there probably are a couple of idiots here that would!!

=================
There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those that understand binary and those that do not.

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

wlfpack, I disagree, the company can't be your customer, because you are employed by the company. If you are an outsider providing service... that is something else.
Any handbook on quality control, certification etc.. will second that.
The customer is every person you work for. If you don't respect their opinion, they will not respect yours.
By the way respecting the opinion of others does not necessarily means agreement.

 

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

I doubt that the user in particular has much use for color.

But do you know?  Did you actually find out what their color needs are, or did you just decide that since you don't think that they have a need for color that a laser is a better choice?  Lots of people in accounting/finance end up printing charts and graphs, and those usually do need color.  

Even if they don't have a strong business case for a color printer, is it the end of the world if they get a color printer?  

As a tech, I was hired by the CEO of this company to do what I think is best overall for the company. It went against all my integrity as a tech to order an inkjet printer. I presented the information the best I could. I didn't want to argue because it wasn't my budget, and I am still quite new here.

Actually, you were probably hired by the CEO to do routine technical work.  You might think that firing someone would be best overall for the company, but I doubt that you have the authority to do so.  More to the point, if you are still quite new there how do you know what's best overall for the company?

You say the person only works part time, so how much printing do they do?  The laser printer is almost 3 times the cost of the inkjet, including supplies.  If the difference is only 5 cents a page and they only print 20 pages a week, then it will be over a year before having the laser printer begins saving money (assuming that they don't need color, of course).  But did you also take into account the fact that most laser printers also have a maintenance kit that needs to be replaced at regular intervals?  That also adds to the cost.

As you progress in your IT career you will discover that there are some battles worth fighting, and others not.  In this case letting someone have a cheap color printer probably doesn't hurt in the long run.  The biggest mistake that people in IT make is in thinking that they know everything.  They often times think that just because their solution is technically accurate or correct that it must therefore be the "right" or "best" solution.  That is often not the case.  The key to a long and successful career (in most fields) is being able to recognize when that is happening and adapting to it.

 

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCTS:Active Directory
MCTS:Network Infrastructure
MCTS:Applications Infrastructure  

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Quote:


Maybe the person has to print the expenses of the IT payroll in red, because the boss likes it.

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Quote:


wlfpack, I disagree, the company can't be your customer, because you are employed by the company. If you are an outsider providing service... that is something else.
Any handbook on quality control, certification etc.. will second that.
The customer is every person you work for. If you don't respect their opinion, they will not respect yours.
By the way respecting the opinion of others does not necessarily means agreement.

Not sure where you're going with the "any handbook on QC" would agree with you comment.  None of our policies/handbooks/mission statements, etc use that approach.  Ours basically preach providing highest quality at the best cost to weed out wasteful expenditures.  Heck we're forced to work on time/cost cutting projects once a quarter.  Surely we're not the only company that does this?

Besides, how much stock should you put into an uninformed opinion anyway?  Users come and go with regularity.  No need wasting a company's funds on some average Joe User that probably won't be around.  I've got plenty of users that say I should go to Linux or Macs b/c they're better.  They have no clue the costs and problems that would cause. Should I listen to my customers?  Where do you draw the line and who decides where it's drawn?

shoalcreek, keep up the good fight.  Use your common sense and the knowledge you have to make the company better.  You won't always win every fight, but you'll more than likely get rewarded at some point in the future for it.  It's the exact reason why I'm in the position I'm in today.  Not saying you should go around and rock the boat and piss people off, but anytime you see a better way to do things that can save time and/or money you should bring it to someone's attention that has a say so in the matter.

=================
There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those that understand binary and those that do not.

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Any handbook on quality, certification, ISO etc.. will say 3 things:
supplier - product - customer

You deliver a product/service, can be internal, or external, the customer is the reason of your existence.

Quote:


Besides, how much stock should you put into an uninformed opinion anyway?

We don't even know the size of the company, nor what is their core business, it is only one IT guy, maybe they don't even have internal e-mail, or a "store", maybe 75% of the people is on a part-time contract. Does one printer out of paper will bring the whole business to a stop or will the owner lose revenue or business opportunities?
I doubt that printers are part of the critical processes necessary to generate "money" for the business.

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Quote:

As a tech, I was hired by the CEO of this company to do what I think is best overall for the company.
If you presented your case to the end-user, and to the appropriate powers that be, then you did your job.

Quote:

I presented the information the best I could.
Then again, you've done your job.

Quote:

It went against all my integrity as a tech to order an inkjet printer.
Was it your decision to select the printer?   It doesn't sound like it.  Your integrity does, and should, drive the first two points.  Up until the decision has been made, it's your job to present your case, present the pertinent data, express your opinions - fine and good; but once the decision is made, and it sounds like you did just that.  However, once the decision is made, I think you should stand behind and support the decision.  It's no longer your job to question the decision; it's your job to support the decision.  Make it work.

There will be many times in your professional career where decisions will be made that you don't agree with, and I know you know that.  I don't understand why you're getting so worked up over a printer decision, which in the big scheme of things, is fairly insignificant.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

(OP)

Quote:

I don't understand why you're getting so worked up over a printer decision, which in the big scheme of things, is fairly insignificant.

You are right about that.
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

We didnt support Inkjet printers.  And the company didnt suppose order inkjet cartridges without special permission.  That did the trick for the most part.

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

Wow.... a couple of interesting comments made, that I'd like to comment back on.

Quote (wlfpackr):


Your customer is the company you work for, not a single user.

I couldn't disagree more.  Everyone has both internal and external customers.  If you think that users are not your customers, then your boss is probably going to be looking to replace you at some point.

As an IT person, you are hired to support THE USERS in performing their jobs.  To make them more efficient, with less down-time.  It's not an IT person's job to dictate what users can and cannot do in their jobs.  And, unless you're in charge of the budget, it's not an IT person's job to deny people the ability to do their jobs.  (That's the accountant's job).

Let's look at it this way.  If I were the IT person at a hospital, would I dictate to a doctor what he did and didn't need to do his job?  I don't think so.  I am not qualified to make that judgment.

Quote (shoalcreek):


In this particular case, the user is someone who does accounting work. She doesn't need color at all.

What qualifies you to say that?  Are you an accountant with more experience than her?

Every accountant that I have ever worked with wants color.  Either inkjet or laser.  I would imagine that she does as well.  Accountants show loss lines in red.  Hence the term "In the black" or "In the red", which have their roots in accounting.  Black means a positive balance, red means a negative one.

Quote (frederickofonseca):


In some companies, one way to "force" them to go to the laser prints is to impose a rule whereby the user/department buying a printer also has to buy supplies for 6-12 month worth of printing.

Once again.... unless it's your budget, forcing a user to do anything is not your place.

I think that the thing to remember here is that we are here to support the users.  [bold]Our Customers[/bold].  Anyone who thinks that the users are not our customers are in the wrong field.

Remember... if the user can't do their job, and you're dragging your feet, or putting up resistance to resolve their issue, that that is YOUR SALARY plus THEIRS that is wasted.

Shoalcreek, I found it interesting the part of CajunCenturion's quote (a person whom I respect) wasn't the pertinent one.  The one you should have read and quoted was:

Quote (CajunCenturion):


However, once the decision is made, I think you should stand behind and support the decision.  It's no longer your job to question the decision; it's your job to support the decision.  Make it work.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

That must be so frustrating for the company IT guy when the suits make a decision which is going to cost them more than the alternative.
I am not sure how I could cope with that situation.

Keith
www.studiosoft.co.uk

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

==> That must be so frustrating for the company IT guy when the suits make a decision which is going to cost them more than the alternative.
Are you factoring in both hard costs and soft costs?

How frustrating is it for the rest of the company when some IT person makes a decision that is going to make their job harder than it needs to be?

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

People just need to remember that the "IT Guy" is there to keep computers running and support users.

Based on what I read of shoalcreek, he is in the *wrong* business with his attitude.
 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

IT guy may be there to support users, but IT department has the responsibility of supplying and making sure the items supplied are the best suited for the business.

There is no point in the IT department buying a HUGE 400 pages per min printer, if the company only needs one that does 20 ppm.

And printers do need to be maintained and this falls into the IT department area and resources, so having 200 printers over the company or having 20 does make a huge difference, so it is up to the IT department to impose and decide on the type of printers that best suit the business.

Except on very rare occasions (higher managers one of them, due mainly to confidentially required), there is no need for a individual user to have its own printer (being it colour or not).
Having a colour printer for each individual department also depends on the size of the department. if you have 10 departments with 10-20 people only, having one colour per department is most likely not the best if they are within the same physical area. Having a bigger printer can satisfy the colour needs of 2-3 such departments (or even more).
 

Regards

Frederico Fonseca
SysSoft Integrated Ltd
www.syssoft-int.com

FAQ219-2884: How Do I Get Great Answers To my Tek-Tips Questions?
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

We don't know the size of the company, how many printers, how many people, but IMHO the whole math for justifying was too simplistic, comparing the "cost per page" from some article in a magazine.... and base business decisions on that.
Any case must be analyzed with is own constraints and circumstances.   

Steven
 

RE: convincing users to buy laser printers

The real cost per page depends on the usage of the printer.

You are discussing $65 vs $170 and with your example that person would need to print 1400 pages just to equal the amount paid for the laser printer and one cartridge versus the ink jet and 8 cartridges. If they print less than 1400 pages per year then the total cost per page would be less with the inkjet even though the cartridges print less.

In a head to head competition I agree that the laser is cheaper per page but you have to look at the real world use. If this user is a low volume user then the inkjet might very well be the cheaper route.

Signature===========================================

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Aastra Authorized Reseller

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