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Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of copiers and multifunctional devices

The key to a successful Multifunction Printer (MFP) purchase is to look at the whole-of-life and whole-of-company costs

The cost of running your office printing equipment, including multifunction copiers, over its lifetime is likely to exceed the original purchase price by several times? With the largest cost factor by far being consumables.

There is a tendency, especially of IT departments, to only look at the initial purchase cost of a copier or MFP. The actual cost of running the device is usually hidden away in departmental operational budgets. So the IT department only sees the initial capital expenditure. As a result, purchasing decisions are being made that in the long run actually hurt the company as a whole.

If the decision is largely made based on recommendations from the IT department, which often looks purely at specifications of a device and initial purchase cost, other departments may have to live with printer, copiers and/or  MFPs that have high running costs and produce lots of office waste that is harmful to the environment.

The trend towards more graphics-intensive printing means it is becoming even more important to look at the total cost of running a printing device. According to Gartner, a world leading information technology research and advisory company, budgets for printing supplies are growing at 20% to 40% per year. Printouts from web pages and emails, often in colour, are becoming a significant cause of this. This kind of growth means knowing the cost of running the printer or MFP becomes an even more significant factor in its total cost evaluation.

Total Cost of Ownership
If you are planning to buy a new photocopier or multifunction printing device, it is definitely worthwhile doing a few simple calculations based on the machine’s planned life cycle and to translate this to an effective net cost-per-copy. It is not an exact science, but the improved efficiency in the office may mean an overall cost saving.

How to calculate the total cost of ownership

The ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ of a copier / printer is simply its capital cost + the total copy charge - other savings factors.

Capital cost = this is either the purchase price of the copier or the lease or rental charges over the period, typically 3,4 or 5 years. The decision to lease or to buy outright of course depends on the company situation.

Copy charge = copy charge is sometimes also known as "pay per click". A “click” being one A4 print or copy. A double-sided A4 copy or print therefor has a charge of 2 clicks. Usually this covers maintenance of the machine and also repairs if something were to go wrong. It often covers toner as well but no other consumables, such as staples and of course paper. The "pay per click" charge will vary depending upon the machine and volume. Lower-end machines usually have a higher cost-per-copy or click charge. 

As an example; a copier bought outright for $2,500 with a pay per click service charge of 1.5c per copy (including toner) and an average monthly volume of 5,000 A4 pages would give a total cost of ownership of $7,000 over a 5 year period (not including paper). Leasing the same machine would cost approx. $8,700 over the 5 year period.
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