The Ultimate Guide to Print Management for 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Print Management for 2024

In business operations across industries, effective print management is crucial for reducing costs, improving efficiency, and maintaining compliance. However, managing a print fleet (especially in a multisite environment) can be complex, time-consuming, and costly without the right tools and expertise.

Imagine a scenario where your organization never runs out of ink or toner unexpectedly, your printers are always up-to-date with the latest software, and your printing costs are reduced significantly.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, this is precisely what print management promises to deliver.

If your business is grappling with spiraling print costs, frequent security breaches, or excessive downtime, then it's time to consider Managed Print Services (MPS). This guide aims to help organizations of all sizes understand print management, the implementation process, key benefits, and how to choose the right service provider.

What is Print Management?

Print management, commonly referred to as managed print services, is a strategic approach to managing and optimizing an organization's document output, with the goal of reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and enhancing security.

It encompasses tracking, controlling, and improving the performance of multifunction devices, printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines, as well as managing paper, ink, and toner replacements. It also includes the cloud-based print software used to manage these devices and the processes involved in document creation and distribution.

Common Print Management Services

The scope of print management looks different for each organization, as it is tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of that particular company. However, some common services include: 

  • Print Auditing: This service includes tracking and analyzing print usage across the organization to identify areas for improvement and cost savings.
  • Device Maintenance and Repair: This includes regular servicing, troubleshooting, and repair of all print devices to ensure optimal performance.
  • Supply Management: The MPS provider monitors and replenishes printing supplies such as paper, ink, and toner cartridges.
  • Secure Printing: Implementing security measures to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access to printed documents.
  • Print Fleet Management: MPS providers often manage the entire print fleet, including printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines.
  • Software Updates and Integration: Keeping all print-related software up-to-date and ensuring smooth integration with other organizational systems.
  • User Training and Support: Providing training to employees on how to use the print devices efficiently and offering ongoing support.
  • Mobile and Cloud Printing Solutions: Enabling printing from mobile devices or through cloud-based platforms for remote workers or multi-location businesses.
  • Document Management Services: Some MPS providers may also offer services related to digital document management, including document scanning, digitization, and electronic archiving.
  • Disposal and Recycling Services: Responsible disposal or recycling of old equipment and green planet initiatives for used printing supplies.
  • Print Policy Development: Assisting in the creation and enforcement of company-wide print policies to govern usage and promote best practices.
  • Custom Reporting: Providing detailed reports on print usage, costs, device performance, etc., to help with decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Equipment Leasing: Some MPS providers may also offer leasing options for printing equipment, helping to reduce upfront costs.

What Industries Use Print Management Services?

Any industry can have a need for managed print services if the number of print devices in use is high, or they require the printing of sensitive information. By outsourcing their print management to experts, these businesses can improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance security and compliance, and free up their internal resources to focus on core business activities.

Here are some industries that often use print management services.

  • Education: Schools and universities require high volumes of printing for materials such as textbooks, handouts, research papers, and administrative documents. Managed print services can help streamline these operations, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs.
  • Healthcare: In the healthcare industry, printing is critical for communication, record-keeping, and patient care. Managed print services can help healthcare facilities manage their high-volume printing needs while ensuring sensitive information is protected and compliance regulations like HIPAA are met.
  • Legal: Law firms generate enormous amounts of paperwork with confidential information, including contracts, case files, and legal briefs. Print management services can help legal organizations secure their documents through features such as user authentication and secure release printing.
  • Real Estate: Real estate agents rely heavily on printed materials for marketing properties and managing contracts. MPS can help streamline these tasks while enhancing professionalism with high-quality prints.
  • Government: Agencies at the local, state, and federal levels often operate under tight budgets and are subject to various regulations regarding information management. MPS provides predictable monthly costs and can ensure compliance by providing proper document control and record keeping.

Top Benefits of Managed Print Services

Managed print offers a multitude of benefits that make them attractive to businesses and organizations of all sizes. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to transition to print management.

Reduce Costs

Without question, the most significant benefit of print management for businesses is the potential for substantial cost savings. A study by Gartner found that MPS can reduce printing costs by up to 30%. These savings stem from cost-reduction strategies such as fleet consolidation, printer usage optimization, print policy implementation, proactive maintenance, and print workflow automation. By cutting out inefficiencies, businesses can save a considerable amount on their bottom line.

Achieve Predictable Spending

Ninety percent of companies lack full visibility into their print costs. With MPS, businesses pay a set monthly fee that covers all their printing needs. This makes budgeting easier and eliminates unexpected expenses. By providing transparency into print-related costs such as supplies, maintenance, and service, MPS allows businesses to make informed decisions about their printing expenses.

Limit Environmental Impact

The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year, and much of this is wasted. Print management services help businesses implement sustainable printing practices that reduce waste, such as double-sided printing and eco-friendly ink.

They can also help with recycling used supplies and disposing of old equipment in an environmentally friendly way. With an MPS partner dedicated to sustainability, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint while saving money. A win-win.

Related Resource

Related Resource

Meridian Sustainability Solutions

Learn more about our green technologies and how we save our clients money in energy consumption and equipment replacement costs.

Improve Productivity

Many businesses still struggle with paper-based processes, which are slower and more error-prone. With print management services, businesses can automate document capture, storage, and retrieval processes, freeing employees' time for more important tasks. MPS providers can also maintain and repair equipment as needed, reducing downtime, and increasing efficiency. 

Enhance Security

Network printers are often overlooked as a potential security risk, but they can be a gateway for data breaches if not properly secured. Twenty-seven percent of all security incidents are print-related, according to the latest Quocirca Print Security Landscape report.

Print management offers continuous monitoring of all print activities. This real-time oversight enables immediate detection of any unusual activity or potential security threats.

MPS also allows for remote management of all printers within the network. This means that necessary updates and patches can be implemented promptly, reducing the risk of security breaches due to outdated software or firmware.

A credible MPS partner will also strategically recommend equipment with built-in security features such as:

  • IP filtering
  • Audit trails
  • Port blocking 
  • Virus scanning 
  • Secure pull printing
  • Password protection
  • Hard drive encryption 
  • Automatic data deletion 
  • User authentication protocols

Meridian proudly offers Konica Minolta Bizhub Printers, which exceed industry standards for cybersecurity compliance.

How to Choose a Reliable MPS Partner

Now, let's tackle the big question: among the multitude of service providers available, how do you select a credible MPS partner that has the capabilities to meet your needs? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Proven Experience: Look for a partner who has a proven track record of success. They should have experience working with organizations of all sizes and industries and be able to provide references and case studies.
  • Comprehensive Products and Services: Your MPS partner should offer a wide range of services beyond just printer maintenance and supplies replenishment. This may include:
  • Extensive Product Portfolio: Your MPS program should include a wide selection of printers and copiers from top manufacturers, including Konica Minolta, HP, and Riso. Make sure your partner can provide you with the latest and most advanced equipment to meet your specific needs. Digital printing presses, high-speed inkjet printers, and print embellishment devices are growing in popularity.
  • Customized Approach: Every organization's printing needs are unique, so make sure your potential MPS partner takes the time to understand your specific goals and challenges before offering a solution.
  • Proactive Support: You don't want to wait until a printer breaks down to receive help. Look for a MPS provider that offers proactive support, such as remote monitoring and automated supply replenishment. Your MPS provider should offer ongoing support for any issues or questions that may arise. Look for a partner who provides a dedicated account manager and has a reliable customer service team available.
  • Strategic Partnerships: A reliable MPS partner should have a broad network of strategic partners. This could include partnerships with leading hardware manufacturers, software providers, and other technology companies. These partnerships can ensure that you have access to the latest technology, best practices, and innovative solutions. It also offers an assurance that your MPS provider is recognized and trusted in the industry. Meridian’s managed print partners include Konica Minolta, PaperCut, PrinterLogic, and Kofax, to name a few.

What to Expect During MPS Implementation

Print management implementation generally follows a structured, multi-stage process aimed at ensuring a smooth transition and successful integration of MPS into your organization. This process may vary slightly between different providers, but typically includes the following steps:

  1. Needs Assessment: This initial stage involves a comprehensive analysis of your current printing infrastructure and processes. MPS providers use a print assessment to understand your unique needs and identify opportunities for optimization.
  2. Strategic Recommendations: Based on the assessment, a strategic plan is developed to align with your business objectives. This includes identifying the right hardware and software solutions, defining print policies, and planning for cost reductions.
  3. Implementation: During this phase, necessary hardware and software are installed, existing equipment is optimized or replaced as needed, and print policies are enforced across the organization.
  4. Training and Transition: Successful MPS implementation requires user adoption; thus, employee training is essential during this phase. Staff members learn how to use new devices efficiently, adhere to print policies, recycle used supplies properly, etc.
  5. Monitoring and Management: Once everything is in place, ongoing monitoring begins to track usage patterns, device performance, compliance with print policies, etc., which helps maintain optimal efficiency and identify areas for further improvement.
  6. Review and Optimization: The final phase involves regular reviews of the entire system performance; analyzing reports provided by the MPS provider to make necessary adjustments or updates that enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness over time.

Getting Started with Managed Print Services

In the rapidly evolving business landscape, efficient print management is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Managed print offers a comprehensive solution, streamlining your print environment, enhancing security, reducing costs, and ultimately, boosting productivity. With the right MPS provider, you can transform your print infrastructure into a strategic asset that supports your business goals.

Organizations interested in MPS should request a complimentary print assessment. By completing the evaluation, you’ll receive actionable insights into your print environment and take the initial step toward streamlining your printing processes.

Print Management FAQs

1. What is Cloud Print?
Cloud print management is a modern approach to managing printing tasks that leverages the power of cloud computing. Instead of relying on local servers and manual processes, cloud print management allows businesses to handle all their print-related tasks over the Internet.
2. What is the Best Print Management Software?

Some of the top print management solutions for 2024 include Dispatcher Paragon, PaperCut MF, Equitrac, and PrinterLogic. Here are some factors to consider for software selection:

  • User-friendliness
  • Scalability
  • Customer support
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Robust security features 
  • Compatibility with existing hardware and systems
3. How Much Does Managed Print Cost?
The cost of MPS varies depending on the size and needs of your business, the number of devices being managed, the volume of printing, and the level of service required. Generally, MPS providers charge per user or device, with additional fees for added services such as maintenance and supplies. Carefully review pricing models and compare different providers to find the best fit for your budget.
4. How Does Serverless Printing Work?
Serverless printing leverages cloud infrastructure to connect users to print management software. Once a user sends a job and authenticates themselves, the cloud infrastructure sends the job to the appropriate printer.

Ready to reduce your print costs?

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