If you've worked with a copier/printer leasing company, chances are, you've heard of terms like Managed Print Services, Print Management Solutions, and MPS. But what do all these terms mean? And what does it have to do with you or your business?
Managed Print Services, as defined by the MPSA (Managed Print Services Association), is 'The active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information, including input and output devices.'
The above definition may be broad, but the end goal is quite simple: to gain visibility and control of your printing which will help you save money and boost productivity.
If you were asked the question, 'How often do you think about your printers, copiers, or MFPs?'. The only the time that you do is probably when you deal with malfunctions, paper jams, or ink/toner replacement. The bottom line is, printers and copiers are given very little to no attention at all.
Did you know that printing costs, when added together, account for as much as 15% of a company's annual spending? But the good news is that through efficient managed print services, you can cut down the printing costs by as much as 30%.
Printing investments are one of the things that businesses tend to overlook as a business asset. So if you can save a lot of money using an efficient managed print service, that's an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
Aside from the costs involved, your printing equipment should never be a hindrance to your employees' productivity. Instead of an employee moving onto the next task, a non-working machine forces them to stop being productive.
Lastly, the ones who should take care of your machines and copiers are people who specialise in the field. At the very least, it shouldn't be your IT people. A managed print service takes care of everything for you, allowing your IT guys to focus on things that they're supposed to be doing.
If managed print services are so great and beneficial to businesses, why are they not more widely adopted? It's probably because of the following misconceptions.
This is a very common objection of small business owners. And it is understandable why they may think this. Managed print services have been around for quite some time now, and they used to favour large enterprises.
But that's no longer the case today. Managed print services have evolved so much that even small businesses can get a fair share of their benefits. There is still a good opportunity for small business owners to save money.
Consolidation strategies and supply fulfillment are indeed part of what an MPS does. But what most people don't realise is that there's so much more to MPS than simply restocking toners. It's about minimising costs while maximising efficiency and productivity.
The misconception that any printing equipment is not a valuable asset probably stemmed from the fact that most companies let an IT department deal with these things. It's not that printers and copiers aren't valued, but more that an IT department can see hardware like servers, workstations, telecommunication devices, etc., as more important.
Like any business asset, these machines are just as important. They need supplies and servicing, and they also need to be adequately maintained. Unfortunately, these needs are often poorly managed because of human error, inadequate knowledge, and other mishaps.
An MSP can offer remote monitoring, alerts and reports, and even an automated supplies fulfillment program.
Technology keeps on evolving at a rapid rate and more options to go paperless are being introduced. While it is true that print volumes have been declining, it is in no way near extinction. Statistics have proven that we're not even near to that 'paperless environment' a lot of people are so fascinated about.
So until then, it would be logical to focus on printing efficiently while saving money.
Printers have indeed come a long way. The old machine that used to sit in the corner of the room is now an intelligent printer. It's able to communicate with other devices and it can share data about itself.
Since printers are becoming smarter, security is also becoming an issue. It can be as simple as a printed document being retrieved by the wrong person. These intelligent devices are also at risk for cybercrime since they're now connected to the network.
A reliable MPS, however, will make sure that your machine is up to date with the latest security features and the right procedures in place to protect your data.
This misconception is somehow related to the first one. Managed print services indeed favoured larger companies and enterprises in the past. So it goes without saying that the cost to set up was high.
But thanks to providers implementing cloud-based and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, the cost is no longer an issue for small businesses. For example, a cloud-based setup doesn't have a hefty price tag. It can also run on a subscription-based model, so it scales with your business.
The job of a managed print service provider is not just about looking after your machines. It's a lot more than that. A good MPS provider should also be able to:
One of the keys to an improved workflow in the office is being able to have easy access to a printer. An MPS provider should know where to place a machine to maximize usage and increase productivity. Just imagine how time-consuming it is to walk around the building or go to another floor just to get your printed document.
Without a managed print service provider, you're left with limited options. Sudden repairs or maintenance are all unexpected costs which hurt you and your business. An MPS will be able to predict and prevent these things from happening. Before you even know it, you're already saving money.
Being able to diagnose and monitor your printers remotely is one of the things that you should look for in an MPS provider. It makes maintenance so much easier, not to mention that some repairs can also be done remotely too. These things that used to take days or weeks can now be completed in just a few hours.
All of these are possible because distance is not a factor in remote diagnostics.
A managed print service provider has programs that can monitor your devices, so they know when you're running low on supplies such as toner or paper. They can even automate the shipment of these supplies, eliminating downtime in the process.
There's no one more capable of identifying your printing needs than a managed print service provider. If they tell you that a printer needs to be replaced by a newer model, it doesn't mean that they're trying to get you to buy/lease more expensive equipment. The suggestion is purely based on your printing needs and budget.
An MPS will be able to train your employees when it comes to handling printers and other machines. They can also provide help desk support whenever there's an issue. Because of this strategy, a chunk of tasks assigned to your IT personnel is removed allowing them to take on more important tasks.
Although enabling this type of solution can be challenging, a MPS comes with many benefits that far outway any possible difficulties.
Think of it as a chain reaction which leads to helping save the environment. Paper usage, ink/toner usage, electrical consumption, etc. All of these things are consolidated by a managed print service with the goal of minimising them while maximising productivity.
A managed print service provides you with in-depth data regarding your printing activities. With this data, you're able to optimise the process as you become more aware of what's supposed to be printed and what's not. This will significantly reduce your cost in all aspects of your printing.
Since everything about your business that's print-related is being handled by a managed print service provider, you're able to do more with less. Instead of you wasting time with a copier that refuses to work, you now have more time on your hands doing other tasks like expanding the business, for example.
Most new devices already come with features like activity tracking or user authentication. However, a managed print service can add in extra security programs to your advantage. For example, they can encrypt device data for additional security and make people access only what they need through permissions.
Is a managed print service worth it? Definitely.
Don't let misconceptions about a managed print service get the better of you. It's efficient and is geared towards making sure that you only get the service that you need when you need to. It is built around your business model so you can rest easy knowing that you have one less thing to worry about.
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