One of my goals this year is to "streamline the printer and copier fleet" in Asia so that we have the right amount of printers and copiers for the people on a floor. We will do this by selecting a company via an RFP to then go out and decide the best location and number of printers and copiers compared to floor space, number of people, etc.

However, until we actually hire the company to do the study and know the "lay of the land", we will not know how many printers and copiers will be reduced or how long it will take.

How to make this goal measurable?



bffranklin's picture
Training Badge

Remove all unneeded print and copy devices currently in service in Asia by September 31, 2008.

Have a report ready by this time justifying the existence of every printer in Asia, and don't dare be later than December 31. If it's a goal for this year, finish this year.

adragnes's picture


The underlying goal is probably to cut costs for servicing/leasing your printer and copier fleet by some percentage, without causing undue inconvenience to the people in the office.

Since you are willing to spend money on consultants on this, you probably have some idea of the possible cost savings. Perhaps through comparing your company to some benchmark. That would go into the percentage.

In addition you might also wish to include a question about the satisfaction with printers and copiers on the facilities and services survey if you anything like it. In your objective you could then also include some sort of target satisfaction score.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Well, the first answer, from bffranklin, isn't an MT goal. Unneeded is unmeasurable.

Cut the number of printers in half by March 31.



tokyotony's picture


My question is how can I know the appropriate number, i.e. half? Unless a study is done and a printer policy set, then half (or any number for that matter) could be too much or not enough.

I estimate that we have around 100 copiers and something like 250 printers in 8 countries. So, the number to cut would be based on the study and benchmarking with other companies. We won't know that until after the RFP.


US41's picture


Don't get hung up on the exact number. Half is half. Strive for half, and if you make it, jump for joy. If you exceed it, sound the trumpets from the tower heights. If you miss it, call what you got a success.

One of the biggest obstacles to setting objectives for most people is that they want to pick just the right day or just the right percentage increase, decrease, number of widgets produced, etc.

You don't have to do that. Just come up with something *measurable* and time-based. Objectives need not be so precise. In fact, making them such can be counter productive.

tokyotony's picture

Sorry, US, but really don't agree with that. Without doing proper due diligence, I think it would be reckless just to come up with a guess.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Forgive me if I'm missing something, but don't objectives have to be flexible to a certain extent?

After all, your objective to reduce the number of printers could be affected by your businesses expansion in Asia, changes in technology, environmental concerns, a different business imperitive - like consolidating under one manufacturer.....

Objectives to some extent a guess: at this time, we think we can do this. A week later we might be able to do more or less or not want to do it at all.

Picking a number (via an educated guess) seems entirely logical to me.


tokyotony's picture

Sorry, all, but it is not at straight forward as it seems.

* No printer policy has been written or approved yet which dictates the parameter for placing equipment on the floors.

* No strategy has been agreed with a vendor partner yet.

* There are a mix of department owned printers and no one knows when they or if they can be bought back--that will be a department by department challenge.

If it were more straightforward, we wouldn't be going through an RFP process.

It's kind of like asking, please tell me how many people will be healed by a new drug when we haven't even started to develop or thought of what the drug would be.


stephenbooth_uk's picture


it sounds like what you're going through is what my employer has recently gone through and is still in the process of achieving. We have well over 1000 sites (ranging from two people in a broom cupboard to 'aircraft hanger' offices with several hundred people in them) all with printers and many with copiers. Printers were bought through IT (although until three years ago each department had it's own IT that did their own procurement, many weren't very good at the inventory management side of things) and copiers were sourced by the local admin teams. Some printers used direct IP printing, some via an F&P server and others were attached to the local admin's PC and if they rebooted no one could print until their PC was up and running again. We are currently running a project to replace printers and copiers with Multi-Function Devices (aka MFD, combined printer, copier, fax and scanner) attached to print servers.

I'm not directly involved in the project myself but I've talked with the lead Business Analyst on that project and from what she's said what they did was:

1) Determine printing and copying needs (pages per person per day).
2) Identify current provision at a location and where in the life cycle that provision is (don't want to replace a brand new copier if the user management have just signed a 5 year maintenence contract)
3) Procure and roll out MFDs (they have pre-selected three different MFDs with differing capabilities, (high, medium and low volume) and pick the appropriate one for each location)

Your step 3 might be something like:

3) If over provisioned identify most likely candidates for removal and remove them, if under provisioned bring up to required level with devices removed from another location

In terms of goals, can you have a 2 stage goal? For example:

Stage One - Determine levels of provision and compare with requirements (obviously you'd first need to decide what your requirements are) to find optimum number of devices by 31st January, 2008

Stage Two - Remove devices to get to number of devices determined in stage one by 30th April, 2008

Both stages are time based and measurable, it's just that the measure for stage two is the output of stage one.


tokyotony's picture


Yes...That is what I was looking for.

BTW, what you have written sounds exactly what we are experiencing and I have experienced working at other firms---no really printing strategy/plan and thus you end up getting a variety of units in the sites.

Especially since desktop printers cost 2x as much to print over the life of the unit as an MFD (or some call MFP) do, it makes a lot of sense to streamline to MFDs where possible. You just find that people don't want to walk "all the way" to the MFD to get their printouts. That will just come with education and the printer policy.



bffranklin's picture
Training Badge

Alright, stephen said something that formed a connection for me, and I'm going to take another shot here. I'm starting to think along the same lines as Aleksander and stephen. It does sound like you're using a leasing option; I've seen the leasing options for corporate printers in two varieties:

- X number of pages per month with Y charge for page overage
- Print all you want, but get charged for over Z annual service charges.

How about bringing the rated overall duty of the printers to within some % of the actual duty? I think this could work as a proxy for trying to measure hitting a sweet spot of minimum equipment cost with minimum service cost.

bffranklin's picture
Training Badge

How about bringing the rated overall duty of the printers to within some % of the actual duty?[/quote]

Erm, how about bringing the rated overall duty of the printers to within some percent of the actual duty by September 31?

tokyotony's picture


When you say "duty", do you mean capacity? Yes, that can be done. However, I don't think it is as simple as saying we are making 1 million prints a month, the capacity is 2 million, and thus we should reduce by 50%. Due to the pinch points of walls, distances between copy areas, etc., that equation doesn't necessarily work best...but it does give you a very "general" idea on how under-utilized or over-utilized your fleet is.

If you meant something else, apologies.


US41's picture

[quote="tokyotony"]Sorry, US, but really don't agree with that. Without doing proper due diligence, I think it would be reckless just to come up with a guess.[/quote]

A guy I know once said the same thing. I ignored him and set reckless, guessy goals. Here's what happened:

* My folks had objectives
* He swirled around wondering how to make it perfect
* My folks performed
* His folks drowned
* I got promoted
* He doesn't have folks any longer.

Good luck with that. It's called "analysis paralysis" - the unwillingness to make a decision due to discomfort with a lack of complete information. Objectives were due in December for groups that do annual reviews in January. Did you set yours? My team is already performing to those objectives now - and yet again other groups are just spinning the drain because my goals are too sloppy, too guess-like, too imperfect to be usable.

Goals like "100% perfection in providing timely accurate status by Friday at noon each week" seem to work wonders. Everyone has gone from providing status 40% of the time to 90%. Status quality improved by leaps and bounds too. Each week I reported how we were doing, and I told them how they were doing with a scorecard. Behavior changed for the better.

Don't make it hard.

Just set some kind of goal that as you start to achieve it will get you gains. OK, maybe you won't make it. Maybe the vendor will fall through. Maybe the report on what you can actually do will come up with data that throws it all in the trash.

But in the meantime, the goal itself will drive you to dates and drive you to attempt to accomplish something. Have a goal.

Making a goal is an investment - a risk, a gamble. I have no idea if the products I sell in my home business will actually sell, but I set personal MT goals for selling them.

"Sell 1000 units by June 2008" is my current goal for one of the products. I doubt I will sell 100. But the goal makes me try harder and think of ways to get it done that I did not previously consider.

Do not lose sight of the purpose of goals: It is the same as why an army fire an arrow across the battlefield - to have something to strive toward - a direction to go in.

* No printer policy has been written or approved yet which dictates the parameter for placing equipment on the floors.

* No strategy has been agreed with a vendor partner yet.

* There are a mix of department owned printers and no one knows when they or if they can be bought back--that will be a department by department challenge.

* Have a printer policy in place and approved by end of Q1 2008
* Have 25% of department-owned printers bought back by end of Q3 2008

Worst case scenario - you have no policy in place by Q1 2008, no printers are going to be bought back this year, and you see that this particular task is not happening. Replace with another goal or enlist management or others in helping to make the goal. Goals like this provide pressure and energy to communicate a desire to have something done within an organization that sometimes makes it happen.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I'm with Mark & US41 on this one. How much time and effort do you want to spend on setting the goal? How much will be left to achieve the goal?

Set a goal that gets everyone's feet pointed in the right direction. Then start everyone to marching.

I realize you might have a concern that corporate policy and politics might intrude and get you in trouble for not achieving your goal. But will they really? If you set the goal to reduce printers by 1/2 and only reduce printers by 1/3 is your boss going to complain? What if you explain the reasoning behind the goal and give progress updates throughout? Man, I'd just promote you. :)

stephenbooth_uk's picture


what about setting a goal with early delivery that defines the measure of a goal with later delivery (e.g. the two stage goal example above)? The paralasis is avoided by setting a drop dead date for the analysis. Also, in organisations where it is necessary, it provides defensive paper work and the reasoning that Will refers to.

Just pulling a number out of thin air seems, to me, to be a bit akin to lobbing an artillary shell into a woodland at random on the grounds that there's enemy troops in there somewhere. You might hit the enemy, you might hit a squirrel or you might even hit your own troops. Unless there's a compelling arguement to the contrary, I favour sending in a spotter, or even a micro-UAV, to find the enemy and report back where they are so I can drop a shell (and the right sort of shell, don't want to fire an anti-personnel shell at a tank and vice versa) right on them.

Here getting the number right is like dropping the right sort of shell directly on the enemy, guessing too high so you reduce the number of printers but there's still to much unused capacity is like hitting the squirrel (no real harm done but you've wasted effort) and cutting too severely is like hitting your own troops (performance is hit because people are having to queue up to use the copier and collect their prints). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the important bit is to make sure you don't go over an ounce on the prevention.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I gotta say, if I told someone in my organization to rationalize printer usage, I wouldn't want him seting policies. I'd want him to start cuttting printer usage. Based on what I've seen, everybody wants their own damn printer, and they sure don't need it.

Cut them in half. Go door to door if you have to, and persuade folks they can have some of the savings.

You're turning this into a watch building exercise, when your boss wants to know what time it is.

Move fast.


tokyotony's picture

Sorry, guys, but I really think I am not getting my point across or communicating clearly.

In my mind, you need a policy to justify the cut in addition to pointing out the cost saving. Without the policy, very few will give their printers back--especially if they are owned by the department, not by the company in general. Since the cost saving per department would not be huge $-wise (this is investment banking, and they have bigger fish to fry than the "copy guy" telling them to get rid of a printer), they'd rather have the convenience of the printer. (How do you think everyone go their own printers to begin with?)

Setting the policy, approved by senior management which is looking at the bigger picture, will allow us to cut the printers based on a set of rules, give us the remit to do so, allow us to come up with a number to cut, and give the firm overall significant cost savings. I believe this would allow us to "move faster" rather than trying to debate each department on cost savings who own their own printers and don't want to give them back.

Q1: Select vendor/create printer & copier policy/do review
Q4: Rationalize fleet based on printer/copier policy and review with vendor

Is this not a valid approach?


jcnick's picture


Try asking you self some questions. Does a new policy make more effecitve use of the company resources? Does a new policy move the ball forward? Does a new policy "streamline the printer and copier fleet"? I'll be blunt: a new policy sounds like a CYA move but not an effective one. Fight bureaucracy and move to create a results, not a new process. As a VERY wise man once said: "Cut the number of printers in half by March 31."

Sorry if I'm a bit terse. Here is why. I'm dealing with somebody at work who wants to give me excuses about not having blah blah in place to help with the blah schedule blah and that is why they cannot provide the results I need now and he does not know when his group might be able to help. ARGH!!! I cannot stand the excuses any more. He's out and a outside source will do the job tomorrow. And the next few jobs normally lined up for his group are going to another outside provider. If this keeps up, we just won't need him anymore.

Tony: Perform, please for the sake of humanity (and your job), perform!!!

Joe Nichols

tokyotony's picture


Sorry, but that's not what I am getting at.

Here's the scenerio...

Tony: Mr. Department Head of the Money Making Front Office, we believe you can remove half your printers and save $x.

Mr. Department Head: We need our printers, and that amount is minimum in our department. Plus, our printers are already paid for.

Tony: Please? Pretty Please? In fact, the cost to print to a printer is 2x more in consumables that printing to an MFD.

Mr. Banker: No thanks. Anyway, the cost for consumables is centralized, so I don't pay for toner and paper's paid in an overall premise account. In fact, I need another printer--thanks for reminding me.

Also, guys, why do you all think we have so many printers in the first place? The reason is that all departments have the ability to buy their own printers. We have zero control over this. A change in policy would give us the control.

Another case in point: We tried to get an office in Asia to set the copiers to default to B&W from Color and from singled side to duplex printing. The users could still select Color and set the printing to single sided, but the users would manually have to change this in the Printer Settings in each application. The cost impact and the saves were nice, but not huge. However, this idea was rejected by the front office Department Head since it was not huge enough compared to the convenience. And again, our department pays for the consumables! Go figure.

Any other suggestions?



bflynn's picture

[quote="US41"][quote="tokyotony"]Sorry, US, but really don't agree with that. Without doing proper due diligence, I think it would be reckless just to come up with a guess.[/quote]

A guy I know once said the same thing. I ignored him and set reckless, guessy goals. [/quote]

US41 is right.

It's a bit like me saying I want to hike from North Carolina to California, but I don't know where to buy a map. I could just start walking west until I bump into an ocean and ask questions along the way. And I would get to California.

Don't allow ignorance to be a reason not to act. Set a goal, any goal. By the time that goal is due, you'll know whether it was realistic. The purpose isn't hitting the goal, its making the situation better.


tokyotony's picture


I feel as though I am outnumbered here, and at the same time not convinced. I have a lot of experience in this field, and I guess I have not really conveyed the message I want to.

I will simply say that I will close this for now and possibly revisit for another day. I appreciate the comments and suggestions.



US41's picture

The impression I get is that you are stuck on trying to set an achievable goal that you know you can succeed at. The purpose of goals is not to set bars you can jump over, but to set bars that you cannot jump over in order to see how high you can actually jump and therefore get the most effort and results from your available abilities. Don't focus on whether or not you can actually get rid of the printers. If your boss wants the printers gone because it will save money, then set the goal and then come up with a plan to socialize that around the company.

The details about what steps are needed to get the printer count reduced have nothing to do with the goal setting activity.

1. Set the goal
2. Make a plan
3. Try to execute
4. All plans last right up until the battle starts
5. Re-group, and try again.

As to methods, you can use a scorecard. Publish an email with a table in it that has the current printer count for each department and a message that each printer has $X cost associated with it. Put the dept and current count as columns. Put the desired count in the next column. Then start tracking department heads' success toward meeting the new count targets.

They will start competing, perhaps, to be the first one to reduce printer count and be able to put on their annual review reports "I saved the company $X by reducing printer count."

You _can_ do this. Just set the goal.

tokyotony's picture

Thanks. Again, subject closed.

If you all want to continue to debate the subject, of course, please go ahead.

Warm regards,


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge


I know you don't agree with what many here are saying. You say over and over again that we're just not getting the point. So I re-read the thread. I found something interesting and illuminating.

I'm not sure you believe your goal makes sense. You seem to be able to argue the position of the people who want individual printers better than the argument for printer reduction.

I have a few financial clients. They like individual printers because they can print off documents while sitting with their clients and they don't worry about private information exposed while sitting on the printer. They're willing to pay a premium for this. Now, I definitely wouldn't recommend individual printers for everyone. But for a few executives and loan officers I have found the argument compelling and politically expedient.

I personally don't care for MFD or MFP printers. I have heard all the arguments about cost reduction, but in my experience they're just not as reliable. When they break, you lose everything. You lose the fax, the printer, the scanner, etc. Ugh.

Anyway, the thrust of this long thought is I would suggest stepping back from measuring your goal to identifying your goal.

Is your goal to provide reliable print services?
Is your goal to provide convenient print services?
Is your goal to save money on print services?

If the problem is just that your department is taking the budget hit for consumables there's an easy solution. Charge consumables to the departments that are using them.

I'm wondering if your initial goal might be penny-wise and pound-foolish. I wonder if you're difficulty is because you know it too. :)