A managed print service (MPS) is a contractual and fully-integrated program that helps organizations of all sizes assess, design, manage, monitor, and optimize their print environment, including printers, copiers, and other document devices.
Organizations can apply a scouting process similarly used by baseball recruiters when evaluating a prospective managed print service (MPS) provider. Baseball scouts grade prospects on five essential skills: hitting power, hitting average, running, throwing, and fielding. Possess all of these talents, and you are known as a five-tool player, and you may be headed for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
An invaluable addition to your roster, all-star players leverage their multifaceted skills to help their team achieve greater success. The right MPS partner is no different than an all-star baseball player. Granted, an experienced managed print specialist requires a different skill set than a baseball player, but a similar scouting process can be used when choosing an MPS provider.
Organizations of all sizes should look for a managed print service program that excels in these five critical areas: savings, service, security, skill, and scalability.
1. Predictable Costs and Actual Savings
Gartner estimates enterprises spend up to 3% of their yearly revenue on paper and printing.
Credible managed print service providers help organizations reduce their print costs by up to 30% by implementing a four-phase process that starts with an assessment of their current print environment. A thorough print assessment will include a full report of print-related spending and data-driven recommendations based on existing equipment lifespan and usage to drive continuous improvement and additional cost savings.
Organizations can leverage managed print services as a solution that reduces printer-related expenditures and replaces the hidden costs of printing with predictable monthly fees. The increased visibility into printing costs allows businesses to improve their budgeting process and avoid overspending on the wrong items due to a lack of strategic foresight.
Here are a few additional ways an MPS program saves money for businesses of all sizes.
Consolidation - One strategically located multifunction printer (MFP) can efficiently replace several desktop printers, resulting in significant savings. Likewise, consolidating printer models within fleets enable organizations to streamline supply ordering since procurement teams will only need to purchase one or two types of toner to keep the entire fleet up and running.
Monthly Flat Fee - MPS enables organizations to replace fluctuating monthly printing costs, including consumables (toner, rollers, drums, etc.) and services (preventative maintenance, repairs, monitoring) with an all-inclusive monthly flat fee.
Cost-Saving Features - MPS providers can implement print policies and rules-based routing features that allow organizations to control printing based on user behavior, certain document types, or specific departments. Print policies encourage environmentally friendly and responsible printing behavior like double-sided or grayscale printing to further increase cost-savings.
Reduce Internal Responsibilities and Burdens on Resources - Time is money. When companies outsource their printing needs, they regain valuable bandwidth and reduce the burden on internal resources and staff, freeing up vital employees and empowering them to focus on more business-critical tasks.
2. Proactive Service
When it comes to technology, there is a big difference between vendors and partners. With an MPS agreement, your service provider becomes your dedicated partner, not just a vendor of goods and services. A reputable managed print service is a partnership fueled by proactive service that enhances an organization’s ability to manage its print environment.
Regular preventive maintenance and real-time print fleet monitoring are integral components of an MPS. The managed print service provider can track all networked equipment from a remote location. Existing equipment can be monitored proactively to prevent issues before they arise, ensuring peak device functionality and minimizing costly emergency repairs.
The proactive service model is the new standard, replacing the old break/fix model where technicians performed repairs ad hoc. If a service call is required, a team of certified print experts will arrive promptly to resolve the issue and provide additional support to internal IT personnel as needed. Once on-site, proactive MPS providers will leverage that opportunity to conduct quality checks and perform any other preventative maintenance. This also allows the service technician to interact with the client and provide employee training if needed.
Poor print security can lead to data breaches and substantial legal and financial consequences. MFPs contain significant amounts of sensitive data. When left unsecured, network printers become a severe security risk as they leave organizations open to data breaches, ransomware, and compliance issues. Document security is often cited as a top print management concern, especially in a shared environment, where uncollected documents and sensitive information have an elevated chance of falling into the hands of unauthorized users.
Security for printers can be included in managed print services or part of a more extensive managed IT services contract that protects an entire business network. An MPS provider will perform a comprehensive security assessment, design a customized security strategy based on their findings, and then install specific software solutions and features to build their client's optimized and secure print environment.
An MPS provider is brand-neutral and offers clients a selection of security solutions from various brands to best meet their print security needs. One of the most valuable security features is secure pull printing. When enabled, the secure pull printing feature holds an employee’s print job on a server until that same employee manually releases it at the physical printing device with a personal code, username, password, or card authentication. Secure pull printing provides organizations an extra layer of document security, providing employees with complete document control from start to finish, ensuring the document ends up in the right hands.
4. Skill and Competence
The right MPS solution has the potential to transform a business, especially an SMB that needs access to the latest technologies to improve productivity but has few or no dedicated in-house IT resources to guide them. All-star MPS providers leverage their collective knowledge to design and implement industry-specific solutions that help organizations eliminate the burden of managing their print environment by themselves.
Managed print specialists continually build upon their skill set with ongoing training, ensuring their recommendations for optimizing print environments incorporate the latest devices and technologies and are aligned with best practices. From the help desk and the system administrators to the field service technicians, every MPS team member should be adequately trained and credentialed. Reputable managed print service providers will also have a portfolio of testimonials from satisfied clients readily available, indicating their skill and competence.
As technology advances, print infrastructure becomes more complex. An all-star MPS provider always looks to the future and can keep up with its clients’ growing needs. The MPS provider must be able to offer flexible solutions.
For example, a small law firm may scale operations to the point where it needs an in-house print center. There are significant benefits if the law firm’s current MPS provider can also manage the print center. With an agile managed print service partner, the law firm can optimize workflows, maximize space with right-size equipment, and add new devices like high-quality digital printing presses to meet their updated output requirements.
Suppose the law firm continues to scale to the point where it needs a broader array of business process services (BPS). In that case an agile MPS provider will implement a tailored workflow automation solution to automate paper-dependent processes such as payroll, accounts payable, and claims. Workflow automation solutions help organizations achieve their desired growth by streamlining business-critical processes, reducing liability due to human error, and eliminating bottlenecks.
Choosing a Credible Managed Print Service Provider for Your Organization
Organizations should look for a managed print partner that embodies a proactive approach and has an all-star roster of skilled technicians dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of their print environment. The right MPS program is cost-effective, flexible, and will support future growth initiatives.
Ready to reduce the workload of your IT department? Businesses prepared to reduce print-related costs and the workload of their IT department should request a print assessment from a qualified provider. Performing a comprehensive audit is the first step in developing and implementing a strategy that best suits your organization’s print environment.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 29, 2014, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.