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What is a Managed Print Service?

By Adam Flynn, Marketing Manager at EBC Group

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Posted 29 Mar 2017

You may well have heard the impressive stat that a Managed Print Service can save your business up to 30% off your printing costs, which is obviously a significant reduction in overheads, but how exactly is it achieved?  There is sometimes a lot of buzzwords and industry terminology spoken when describing a Managed Print Service, so I’m going to attempt to explain the definition below in straight-forward, plain English.

(If my buzzword detector goes off at any point during this article, I’ve written an explanation in the definitions at the bottom of the article.

 

Managed Print Service Definition

A Managed Print Service covers all aspects of a company’s printing with the anticipated result of saving time and money. This is achieved by analysing their printing requirements and providing more visibility and control of their printing at both the input (data/information going in) and output level (what is actually printed), resulting in them printing less and therefore reducing the amount of ink, paper and energy used.

The Managed Print Service includes the management of print devices such as printers, scanners, copiers and multifunctional devices as well as document management and workflow solutions to improve the company’s print environment.

 

How will I save money with a Managed Print Service?

In simple terms these cost savings are achieved by:

Printing less:

  • Less ink toner used
  • Less paper used

Being more efficient:

  • Saving employees time
  • Saving energy costs

Purchasing less:

  • Less print devices required
  • Less ink and paper purchased
 

Who is responsible for the Managed Print Service?

This is the company that will have normally sold or leased you the print devices and will also be responsible for servicing them, taking meter readings and replenishing ink toner. This is normally a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and sometimes a print dealer or direct through a manufacturer such as Canon or Xerox.

 

So what are the steps?

1. Analysing print requirements:

This analysis will consider all aspects of your company’s printing requirements, including scanning, printing, copying and faxing. It will include an audit of your printing, which through a USB which is inserted into the print device and will show in detail what is being printed on each device, by whom and how much it costs. This can help you understand what each department is printing, whether you have unnecessary or overworked devices and will therefore enable you to potentially consolidate your devices and cut down on maintenance and toner costs. It will also review the company’s processes to understand what is actually printed and whether it actually requires printing.

2. Reducing or removing ‘local’ desktop printers

One of the first things to be assessed is the need and use of local or desktop print devices as they are typically more inefficient and costly than multifunctional devices. These printers normally only service one individual user because they are rarely networked, which makes them inefficient in most business environments. They also often require unique ink toner cartridges that are usually more costly and can cause purchasing and inventory challenges.

3. Consolidate print devices

As well as removing small desktop devices a print analysis can also highlight where your business might have too many multifunctional devices and they can be consolidated into less devices. For example perhaps a department does not print enough to justify its own printer meaning it can be shared with another department meaning fewer print devices to purchase and maintain.

4. Printer Placement

Placement of your print device can have a significant impact on what is being printed. Placing your print devices in areas that are accessible for an appropriate amount of employees will help improve workflow and maximise your device usage, i.e. not having all your employees trying to print to one device, whilst very few print to another or employees having to access devices in different parts of the building.

5. Replace inefficient devices

Identify which print devices are under performing and replace with more efficient devices. Inefficient devices will break down often and often frequent servicing, which is a drain on your resources, costing both time and money.

6. Automated supply delivery

Through an MPS program you can automate your toner purchasing which means that you don’t need someone responsible for monitoring stock and placing orders. Your MPS provider will keep a constant monitor of your devices and automatically ship new toner based on when they your devices are running low. This eliminates down-time caused when you have run out of ink and not ordered replacements or staff ordering too much stock.

7. More predictable costing

Managed Print Services enable you to consolidate your costs and suppliers, giving you a more predictable monthly spend. By entering into a contract with a provider you will have a steady flow of toner based on usage and will not have unexpected additional costs for maintenance and servicing.

8. Remote printing

By setting up mobile print environment you allow your employees to work more effectively. If they are out of the office, they no longer need to come in to print important paperwork and other employees don’t have to do print on their behalf.

9. Printing less:

Whilst a Managed Print Service can include some detailed analysis of workflows many of the cost-saving principles are fairly straight-forward and come from having more control over what is being printed and how it’s printed. A few examples are:

Change print setting defaults to reduce costs:

  • Print to black & white rather than colour (which is significantly more expensive.)
  • Double-sided printing saves a significant amount of paper cost

Implementing a function where it is required that employees enter a code into a print device before any printing commences. This will prevent documents being sent to print, which tare then forgotten or repeat printed.

Introduce policies that make employees think about what they are printing and what they are going to use it for.

 

In Summary

So hopefully I have managed to describe an overview of the Managed Print Services process without falling into some of the usual traps. It is possible to make real cost and time savings but only by partnering with a provider which is able to take you through the various steps involved, making the right recommendations and putting them into action. Click to find out more information about our Managed Print Solution.

 

Definitions

Terms you’ll often hear in a definition of Managed Print Services (including ours above) but what do they mean?

Workflows

This is the route a particular document takes – for example:

  • An invoice arrives by email and is opened by a receptionist who prints it out and sends it via internal post to the accounts department.
  • Accounts then scan it in and store it on their network, also importing it their Account Software, the printed document is then stored in a filing cabinet and sent to the Purchasing Manager.
  • Purchasing then print it out and authorise the physical copy by stamping it and file it in their filing cabinet and also electronically sign it off on the Accounting Software, as well as then saving as a PDF to their own Documents on their PC.

Although this is quite a simple example, it shows how a document has moved through the business and is stored multiple times as well as being printed at various points. Controlling these workflows makes things more efficient and saves money and printing.

Visibility

Visibility or in other words be able to analyse track and monitor what is being printed and by who and then making decisions based on the information, such as;

Are there more efficient and cheaper ways of storing and sharing documents?
Are some departments or employees printing more than average?

Control

Simply put its things the company can do to print less – such as changing the print settings to be more efficient.

Networked printer

A networked printer is a printer that is linked to your computer network or server via a network cable or with a wireless via your Wi-Fi. Networked printers have what is called a print server attached to them.

Tags: Controlling Documentation, Managed Print Services

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