“What is Managed Print Services?”

Managed Print Services is the “active management and optimization of document output devices and related business process.” This seems like a mouthful, so this article will attempt to break down exactly what this definition means and the different sections of Managed Print Services available on the market today. This way you can best determine if Managed Print Services is right for you!

Definitions of the Definition

“active management”

Active management means outsourcing the service, setup, troubleshooting and supply ordering of all the printers and copiers in your organization. Your IT people have more important tasks than to manage your networked printers. By allowing someone else to actively manage your printers, you immediately take this burden away from IT, saving time and increasing productivity.

“optimization”

Optimization refers to the efficiencies surrounding your printers and business processes. Are staff printing to the most cost-efficient devices? Are there any bottlenecks? How are you attempting to control your colour printing or reduce your paper consumption to cut costs?

“document output devices”

This term refers to any piece of technology that produces a document, including printers, multifunction copiers, fax machines and scanners.

“related business processes”

These are document workflows in your organization, such as creating and sending an invoice, creating a sales order from customer call to shipping, or converting all paper documents into scanned digital archives.

A Simpler Definition

When we break it down to its simplest form, Managed Print Services is about analyzing print production in its entirety, then attempting to improve on that.

The goal of Managed Print Services is to reduce costs, increase productivity and increase environmental sustainability.

The vision behind Managed Print Services is that a print environment is best improved when treated as a managed service instead of replacing old hardware with new.

Why Managed Print Services?

Office technology has reached a point where every brand offers features, quality and costs similar to one another. The office challenges of 10 years ago are irrelevant today because every brand offers the same solutions. No single product truly differentiates itself in terms of colour quality, less paper jams or faster speeds. 10 years, more people printed and so it was necessary to always have the latest print technology. Today, you can purchase a small printer with faxing and scanning for $100 or less from your local electronics store.

Today’s office challenges exist in cohesion with the dawn of the digital age. Tablets, smartphones and laptops allow us to access our information from anywhere. “Cloud” services allow us to store and retrieve our information from any device. We have become more environmentally conscious as people realize that paper is not as efficient or cost-effective as digital files. These digital technologies bring forth an entire new set of questions:

How can I reduce paper consumption?

How can scanning help my organization become more productive?

Is there a security risk with a bring-your-own-device policy?

How do I manage the cost of supplies and service on small desktop printers?

Managed Print Services addresses all of these questions. The answer is to outsource a solution to your local managed print services provider. At Ontario Copier, we approach Managed Print Services in 6 different sections.

Section 1 – Investigation

Before we can analyze data, we need to collect it. A good investigation involves auditing all of your print and scan devices to answer the 5 “W’s” of printing.

Who is printing? What is being printed? Where is it being printed from? When is it being printed? Why is it being printed? How is it being printed and how much is being printed?

This data is best collected by conducting an on-site walk through of your organization, conducting short interviews with your employees and collecting meter readings via electronic meter read software. Once the data is collected, it can be compiled for further analysis and review.

Section 2 – Consolidate

To optimize your fleet of devices, the first best step is to consolidate your smaller printers, scanners and fax machines into a centralized multifunction copier. The strong support behind a centralized multifunction copier is 3-fold:

  1. Financial Benefits – The cost per print on a small printer costs $0.03 to $0.10 whereas a centralized multifunction copier costs $0.01 or less. When multiplied by the mass volumes printed by an organization, the cost of a multifunction copier is justified by its significantly lower cost per print.
  2. Functional Benefits – Multifunction copiers offer high print speeds, high performance and high reliability with scanning, faxing and storing features designed to create more efficient document workflows.
  3. Environmental Benefits – Multifunction copiers are more energy efficient and can be managed with features such as “Tracking” to reduce total paper consumption.

You can read more about the Financial, Functional and Environmental benefits of multifunction copiers by reading our Introduction To Office Equipment.

Section 3 – Manage

Consolidating your printers into centralized multifunction copiers opens up two new questions:

How can I manage the output of my new fleet?

Centralized multifunction copiers can be combined with powerful print management software to track, control and limit employee printing. Print rules can be set, such as enforcing 2-sided printing or re-routing large print jobs to lower cost devices.

And what do I do with our leftover printers?

Some departments such as shipping may not require a centralized multifunction copier. Or a top executive may prefer his own printer for privacy and personal reasons, despite the cost. These printers still require servicing and supplies. Your Managed Print Services provider can manage the service and supply ordering of these printers along with the rest of your fleet.

Section 4 – Streamline

Documents are most often printed as a result of a business process. Investigating a company’s common workflows is key to improving office efficiencies. If a workflow can be digitized, it saves paper and requires less travel time. The most common paper workflow that can be streamlined is an approval process. By scanning documents and approval software, the correct channels can receive and approve information much faster.

Streamlining can extend beyond business processes and into printing bottlenecks. “Follow-me printing” is a new software that connects your organization’s printers with one another. When employees go to print, their print job is stored on a local server. An employee can then walk up to any device that isn’t in use and securely release their print job from there.

You can read more about how processes are streamlined by clicking here.

Section 5 – Organize

The cost to store paper is both hidden and transparent. External storage or the cost of filing cabinets is a visible cost. However, the cost to file and retrieve a paper document is hidden because it is based on time. It can take employees minutes to locate paper information instead of seconds to search for digital information.

A document management system attempts to address how paper documents are stored and how they can be digitized for faster filing and retrieval.

You can read more about organizing your documents by clicking here.

Section 6 – Automate

The last section of Managed Print Services that truly makes it a “managed service” is the automation of service and supplies. Outsourcing your print management means that your service provider will automatically deliver toner to your devices when they are low. We can automatically supply and ship paper when you need it.

Service calls are received by our service technicians as soon as they happen so that we can act proactively instead of reactively. The life of every part in your device fleet is electronically registered so that they can be replaced before they break.

You can read more about automating your service and supplies by clicking here.

Summary

Managed Print Services is solution-focused and service-focused. It involves examining printing and its processes from a bird’s eye view to acknowledge any existing challenges and then improve them. Our approach to every business is different, whether it is a large business or small.

Through Managed Print Services we create a mutually-beneficial business relationship with our customers in an ever-continuing approach to optimization. The results? On average we help our customers achieve a 10 to 30% reduction in their print costs.

Your Next Steps