The Technology Evangelist learns…(it’s a daily experience and I love it)!

Julian sent me this email in response to a recent newsletter article. It’s very enlightening. I’ve learned and now you will too.
To: Ramon Ray, Technology Evangelist
From: Julian Gall, Independent IT Project Manager and Consultant, (current company withheld)
Date:13 May 2003
I enjoyed your article about printing but I think the choice between a laser or workgroup printer and an inkjet is not always this clear-cut.
To take the example you quote, if you print 3,300 pages the laser costs $300 + 1 cartridge at $66. The inkjet costs $49 + 15 cartridges at $20. This means the inkjet is cheaper if you are only printing a small number of pages. The breakeven point comes at about 4,000 pages, which is quite high for many users. Another issue is that the $300 laser doesn t print in colour so the two are not comparable (if colour is what you want).
With workgroup printers, the giants like IBM and Xerox always show their products in a good light but they miss three key points. The first is that, with a shared printer, most jobs are printed with a header sheet. So 1, 2 or 3 sheet prints become 2, 3 or 4. Secondly, it is so easy on a fast laser printer to print a 300 page manual that people do. It is easier to print something and then decide if you really want it on paper. An inkjet, being slower, controls this tendency. Lastly, in any office with shared printers, a proportion of the prints are never collected. They sit on the printer for a few days and are then binned. These three all mean that with one workgroup printer for 20 people instead of, say, 10 inkjets, many more pages are printed.