Don’t Let Money Walk Out the Door: Protect Your Print Supplies from Theft

More than ever, companies contract with outside firms to manage non-core tasks so they can focus on the work that grows their business. Expert providers really can do “it” more productively and efficiently, and that lets you put your attention on what you do best.

Lawn service is an easy (and crazy) example. Companies that employ a service could have alternately chosen to buy a lawnmower and assign someone on their team to cut the grass. But since lawn maintenance isn’t a core business, it just makes sense to hire a professional than to send Bob from Accounting outside once a week.

When you pick a professional, the service provider probably needs to store some supplies onsite. Another example is your breakroom coffee service: the provider probably stores a good stock of coffee, sugar, creamers and cups onsite, so they don’t have to visit to restock all the time. The same is true for print: print service providers need to have all of the supplies needed to keep the printers running onsite or nearby, to ensure things run smoothly.

Many don’t realize that the service providers typically own the onsite supplies, as stipulated in the contract with the hiring firm. The coffee and creamers are owned by the coffee service until used, and the toner cartridges in your cabinets are owned by the print service supplier. The hiring firm is typically accountable for providing reasonable controls for the security of the supplies.

Of course, some things do require more controls than others.

Disposable coffee cups aren’t the hottest item on the black market, but toner cartridges are a different story. You know that supplies are always on hand, so your Xerox printer never runs out of toner, and at the end of the month you get a bill for the prints you’ve made plus whatever else your contract includes—service maintenance for example.  On the open market, toner cartridges are high-value, so much so that there’s a thriving black market for print supplies. Yes—the on-site supply of toner cartridges sitting right next to the printer or in the unlocked cabinet, unprotected and available to anyone.

To stave off leakage to the black market and keep costs as low as possible to partners and to you, we keep a watchful eye on the ordering and distribution of supplies, but prevention is the real key to thwarting theft, and that’s where customers can play an active role. Consider this: if a can of coffee was worth $300, would you stack four of them next to the coffee pot?  Unlikely. Given their value, you wouldn’t leave them out in the open day after day. To do so is practically an invitation to take one, isn’t it? The same is true of toner and other printer supplies.

How can you do to protect them and control costs?

  • Maintain tight controls, just as you do for your own valuable business items.
  • Store printer supplies in a secure location.
  • Limit who can gain entry to that location.
  • Assign someone to be responsible for the keeping an inventory listing of supplies on hand.

Though they’re the property of Xerox, you want to do everything you can to mitigate opportunity for illicit activity within your company. Maintaining control over your supplies helps control costs throughout the supply chain, and makes sure that you have toner on hand next time you run out.

For more information about Xerox supplies, and the ways we can help you focus on your core work, visit

Erin Conner, XeroxAbout the Author 

Erin Conner is the Global Brand Protection Manager for Xerox Corporation and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She has 19 years’ experience in the printing industry specializing in consumable supplies.



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  1. Robbie @ Solutions PT March 15, 2016 - Reply

    I have read a few blog posts now and all I can say is thanks! they have all been really great reads, with some top tips in which I will be stealing if you don’t mind!

    Thanks again, keep them coming!

    • Justin Doyle March 17, 2016 - Reply

      Thanks so much, I’m glad they helped!

  2. Grant Wassell August 8, 2016 - Reply

    Great article, I particularly liked the coffee analogy.

    The problem with toner and other consumables when customers are on a service contract, is that they have the perception because it’s included in their contract that it’s “free”; therefore they don’t associate any value to it.

    This form of theft has been going on for years and was difficult to identify.

    However, nowadays an efficient service provider with good remote monitoring software combined with a proof of delivery can accurately identify when supplies have “gone astray”.

    If a customer can’t locate the supplies in their office and they have gone astray, It can come as a shock to them when they get invoiced for these missing items. A fuser for a Xerox 5890 costs over £700 +VAT + delivery.

  3. […] Xerox is offering four ways you can protect your office while you control cost. […]

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