Printing Solutions to Save Your Budget – 7 Benefits of Managed Print Services
Tue Sep 13, 2016 | Lasers Resource
Acquiring and managing the copiers on which you rely to help run your business is a pain. One of the best benefits of a managed print services (MPS) partner is that they handle your copiers and printers for you:
- Identifying the right mix of equipment so that you don't have too many devices – or too few
- A single source of supply for toner
- One call to make to service your entire fleet
These are just a few of the basic benefits of partnering with an MPS partner to achieve printing solutions for your business. However, those benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are seven more MPS benefits we think you – and your boss – will like.
We'll start the list with something EVERY business owner, president, and CEO is focused on: money.
If you're like most businesses, you have no clue how much money you spend on printing and copying documents. From acquiring the copiers and printers, to maintenance, supplies, to even if you have too many (or not enough) devices – you don't know.
Most business owners are stunned when they learn that printing costs regularly total 1-3% of annual revenues (according to studies from Gartner Group). That's your business' third-highest expense after payroll and rent. You pay attention to payroll and rent costs; you should pay attention to your printing costs.
If you don't know how to manage your print costs, they can grow without you even realizing it. Organizations often prefer to have a monthly figure in place in order to allocate enough of a budget to keep the paper flowing. Great, you think, I've got paper and toner covered – what else do I need? Well, first off, copiers will sometimes break – and what happens when that paper jam isn’t a paper jam and the only way to get the printer working again is buying parts and pulling your valuable IT resources to fix it? (And that's assuming they can fix it – copiers have hundreds to thousands of parts.) An MPS partner can help you identify the hidden costs of printing, suggest printing solutions, and make sure that you never get surprised while keeping your IT resources focused on moving your company forward instead of being heads-down inside a printer. There are multiple cost implications of copier and printer management, so we've broken cost management into five groups.
A. The storage closet
If your organization has never had a managed print service partner before, you've most likely bought printers and copiers on an “as-needed” basis. That usually means different types of devices from multiple manufacturers. This almost always leads to a hodgepodge of parts and toners/inks that need to be purchased, kept on site (often in one or more storage closets around the office), and monitored. This can hurt sustainability goals and keep costs high. A MPS partner would take that burden off of your company and make sure you only have the toner that you need.
Look in your closet right now and see if you have any supplies for equipment you no longer even have. If you do, you could've literally thrown that money away for all the good it did for your business.
B. Monthly visibility
With an unmanaged fleet, support and payment is often split throughout the company so it's hard to get a handle on total costs. As I mentioned above, there are hidden costs in just buying too much toner. Add in a break – and an unbudgeted, expensive repair – that sucks up a large chunk of your IT staff's time and you can quickly see that these hidden costs add up over the course of a year. An MPS contract will give you one monthly constant to be able to budget for.
C. Rules-Based Printing
There are many tricks that a MPS partner can put into place to cut down on cost. Print rules is a critical one. These print rules can be anything from ”all emails being printed can only be in black and white on the lowest cost per page printer” and “only marketing can use the color printer.” to pop-ups asking the user to reconsider the need to print at all.
D. Future Planning
An MPS partner will be able take a look at your fleet and provide you with a future plan. Telling you the life expectancy of devices, how much money to put aside for replacements each year, if a printer or copier is out of its printing range and should be relocated with another in a “rotating tires” kind of way. These tweaks over time will ensure your print needs are continually admit within a known budget – no more surprises of a thousand dollar repair at the end of the year.
E. Branches and Remote Locations
Does your organization have multiple locations or branches? Do each of these locations or branches have autonomy in purchasing print devices and supplies? Have there been any mergers, acquisitions, or consolidations recently? These are issues that managed print service partners run into often and are experts at putting all the printing needs under one umbrella. Whether each location has its own budget or they all are handled at your headquarters, it is hard to manage and budget for printers across many different areas. MPS partners will study your locations and review print trends and work this into an overarching strategy. Many businesses have a sales or service department that spends the bulk of their time on the road. MPS partners can also work with you to enable mobile options so your employees can print or route documents on the go.
2. IT relief
The IT and help desk staff are often the people that have to fix broken printers with an unmanaged fleet. This takes them away from the tasks that they are good at, most of which directly drive your business. IT employees are an expensive option for copier and printer repair. A good managed print service partner will act as an extension of your help desk, rerouting all the calls about printing to them instead. This allows your IT resources to remain focused on what they do well – deploy information technology that gives you a leg up on the competition.
Data breaches are a concern in the upcoming election. They're also an ongoing concern for any company – large or small. Target a few years ago and Yahoo! last week show that hackers aren't going away – and they want your data. In fact, small businesses are increasingly ripe targets because they don't have the resources to protect themselves as effectively as larger companies. What's this got to do with your copiers and printers? Printers are another point of entry to your organization's network that must be secure and monitored. These devices also contain hard drives and store copies of the documents copied, scanned, and printed. You need to have protocols in place to keep this confidential data secure, particularly in regulated industries such as healthcare, legal, and human resources. With encryption, hard drive wiping, pull print, security protocols at the point of access on the machines, and more; your MPS partner can keep you safe and compliant with HIPAA and other regulations.
Copiers (or multifunction printers – MFPs – if you prefer) can be configured with many different workflows that automate or streamline many things employees would otherwise have to do manually. There are programs that can read a scanned page and from that determine where it needs to go. For instance, an invoice could automatically launch an approval and payment workflow and electronically route the document for approval and then payment. Software can pull information from a document to create a title (and indexing) for storage, route via email, or save directly to a repository. Optical character recognition (OCR) software can “read” a page as it's being scanned and make the digital version searchable via full text (like a Google search) instead of only being able to find the document via a more limited index (like invoice number or company name).
Healthcare and other industries use faxing as a major business process. Wouldn’t it be great if employees could fax from their desktop computers or from their smart phones? A lot of these workflows are able to do just that and more.
Today’s office for many people is the driver’s seat of their car. Sales teams are
out crashing lobbies, drivers are making deliveries, and technicians are making repairs. Often, these employees have to make special trips to the office or wait to turn in a report or document. Managed print service partners can help your business stay mobile and allow your road warriors the ability to print to your office from wherever they are, making sure business keeps moving.
When employees buy printers when they need them, there is almost never a strategy to it. This can leave your office with many different brands and models which then leads to many ink and toner cartridges, as mentioned before. An MPS partner begins the creation of your managed fleet with a print assessment. The strategy is baked in from the beginning. The assessment will determine where the best placements are, how many devices are actually needed, and will cut back or eliminate the slew of brands and models (which simplifies repair and maintenance issues).
A balanced fleet deployment is the goal. Cut back on the excess and make sure the right device is in the right place. Printers and copiers have a sweet spot, they don’t like to print less than what they’re meant for and they really don’t like printing more than their max. A balanced, strategic, deployment will extend the life of your hardware and make sure you do not spend more than what you need to.
7. Fleet monitoring
Sometimes a co-worker may take advantage of your printers, the occasional return form from online shopping is no big deal. But what if you had an employee printing a document called “Résumé” out on your printers? Orthey send a 200-page article through for their kid’s school report? And it's coming up on Christmas card season too! With the use of software and monitoring tools, you will be able to know who printed what and on which device.
If you're struggling to keep up with maintenance needs of your office equipment, share this list with your boss. For a quick reference copy of the points in this post, click on the image below for a PDF download you can print out (no email address required – simply click and it's yours!).
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