• U.S.

Business: Copy Cut

2 minute read

As many cost-minded managers are acutely aware, the ubiquitous office copier is just as handy for duplicating Aunt Tillie’s strudel recipe as for running off copies of business mail. Now Manitou Systems Inc. of Bensenville, ., is offering a way of preventing office workers, as President Paul Leopold puts it, from “thinking of the copier in the same way they think of the water fountain.” The company has developed a device, easily attached to any copier, that switches the machine on only when the user inserts a plastic identification card issued by his employer. The apparatus is hooked up to a computer that “reads” the cards and keeps a running tab on who has been using each copier—and for how many copies.

Manitou claims customers who have tried out the system, which costs about $60 per installation plus a $60 monthly rental fee, have been able to cut copying costs by as much as 50%. The University of San Francisco found some professors were duplicating whole books instead of buying them. Some employers, among them Levi Strauss, use the system primarily to monitor depart-ment-by-department copying costs, but Leopold sees it mainly as a money saver. Says he: “Companies don’t leave the petty-cash box sitting in the lobby, but each time the copier is used, it takes another nickel off the bottom line.” Then again, bosses eager to save those nickels may have to reflect that many employees would accept controls on copiers about as eagerly as they would meters on the water fountain.

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