How often do you troubleshoot your office copiers and printers? Do you or your team spend a lot of time on printer set-up and maintenance? How much time does that take you away from your other IT support needs? How many times do you actually manage to troubleshoot the copier versus spending the time trying to figure out what's wrong, giving up, and having to call someone to come fix it anyway (wasting your time and making Ted in accounting nervous because he really needs to get those invoices printed)?
Every company has to copy, fax, print, and/or scan business documents each day. Many companies buy or lease their copier, never maintain them, and then pay too much to fix them when they break.
If that sounds like you, it's time to look into managed print services.
So what is managed print services? A partner will manage all aspects of your printing and copying – toner, repair, and maintenance – for an established monthly fee based on a set level of printed and/or copied pages. These counts are collected automatically by software on your equipment or you can manually input them onto your service providers website. If you print over your contracted number of documents, you'll be charged an “overage” fee (also pre-negotiated).
Other than buying and loading paper (and staples), if something goes wrong with your office printing equipment, you call your printing partner. They'll repair the copier as part of the service. From a help desk perspective, this saves you time and energy worrying about copier repair and printer maintenance. Companies routinely save money via an MPS service because they don't overbuy equipment or supplies, have well-maintained equipment, and no longer have to pay for unbudgeted break/fix repairs.
Taken together, more copier and printer uptime and more time for your help desk team to focus on the IT tasks they're really good at leads to a happier, more productive workforce – no one likes it when they can't get the printer to print!
What Does a Managed Print Services Partner Do?
Often, businesses buy printers and copiers as they “think” they need them. One department in an office could have a little-used copier, but a different department buys one for itself because it doesn't know that. Different brands are bought, which leads to overbuying ink and toner. Look in your closet – odds are you have toner or parts for equipment you no longer even own.
An MPS partner will work with you to strategically align your print, copy, scan, and fax needs with the right equipment – and placement of that equipment.
While the process will vary by service provider, here are the four steps in any MPS partnership:
1. Assess: How many documents are printed and scanned during the year? Are there monthly spikes? Color? Black and white? Paper sizes? Are there multiple offices? Are there any particular security requirements that must be met.
2. Plan: Based on the assessment, the MPS partner will create a plan to present to you and outline costs, productivity boosts (including document workflow recommendations), and reducing waste for companies with green initiatives. Current equipment could also be included in the plan.
3. Implement: Copiers and printers are put in place and set up. User training is often included.
4. Optimize: Your MPS partner will be able to gather insights into how your print and copy needs evolve and recommend adjustments to the plan over the course of the contract. This step ensures that your fantastic plan for 2016 adapts to changes so that it's still meeting your needs in 2019.
How Managed Print Services Can Help
There are many benefits of using managed print services. We dive into 7 of them in-depth here: Printing Solutions to Save Your Budget.
The simplest explanation of the benefits is this: you hire experts to manage complicated machinery that is essential to your business' success. In the process, you'll almost certainly save money.
No more struggling to set up a copier, fax machine, or printer.
Print jobs will be sent to the most cost-effective printers.
No more running out of toner (and an easy way to avoid being victimized by toner pirates).
No more wondering who to call depending on which brand of copier or printer needs repair.
A Rundown of the Key Features of MPS
Here's a quick review of what MPS services can offer a business:
- Paper saved. Due to the more accurate measuring and printing selections, you'll use less paper. What if you find a particular employee abuses the printer? You can even limit that staff member's daily printing with a cap.
- Time not wasted. Running through the installation, maintenance, or repair of any office machine is a headache. Leave your employees to handle more important matters, those that make a difference to your bottom line.
- Printer cost tracking.You'll be able to monitor all your printers, so it will become clear which devices cost you the most to use. Through MPS, you can direct printing to the cheapest printer available.
- Toner supply monitoring. You don't have to keep track of your toner supply anymore. The service provider will monitor the toner levels and replace the cartridges in time.
- Warranty claims. No more need to worry about keeping track of equipment warranties.
The days of fiddling around with office printers are over. You focus on the important tasks at hand and leave printing to the experts.
Sound too good to be true? It's not. Many companies are benefiting from well-managed print fleets today with managed print services. You could be next.