A while back, Doc wrote about 5 green printing tips, which spurred an interesting set of comments.
According to one poster, when a job is outsourced to a third party, the customer typically prints up to 20% more copies than they actually need, either to get a better price or to make sure they are covered should the need for more copies arise. These "extra" copies tend to get thrown away eventually, representing quite a bit of lost profits and efficiency.
That got Doc to thinking, and I have to agree – printing in house whenever possible is likely more efficient for many small-to-mid-sized jobs. In my personal experience, I would concur that when sending jobs out to a commercial printer, the tendency is to order slightly more than you need. Printing in house usually results in a more accurate count as you know you can always print more if you need them.
Of course, a lot of factors go into deciding if a job should be printed in-house or outsourced – not all of them have to do with quantity. But throwing away unneeded copies of a print job is one of the most wasteful things you can do when it comes to managing your printing costs.
But let's not just think of cost – it could be that the commercial printer is actually cheaper per copy, so even when you factor in the waste, you come out financially ahead. But what, then, about the environmental impact of your decision? There are also hard costs associated with storing and disposing of unneeded copies.
The lesson learned is that accurate forecasting of print needs, whether using in-house or outsourced resources, is critical to keeping costs low and efficiency high.