MANAGED PRINT SERVICES | 5 MIN READ
Printing is still a major component in most companies’ day-to-day operations, but it is one of the most commonly unchecked expenses. Thankfully, it is one of the easiest expenses to manage. By leveraging managed print services, businesses can free up financial resources that are otherwise being thrown into the garbage and used for inefficient and ineffective purposes. But what are managed print services and how can they benefit your business? Keep reading to find out.
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What are Managed Print Services?
Managed print services are the third-party full-service support of your printer fleet. These services, when done correctly, reduce overhead and cut costs on toner, machine parts, and labor.
Your Printers Today
Many people don't realize how expensive it is to print using printer cartridges. Printer manufacturers stay in business because of the profits they make on cartridge replacements.
If I go online right now to one of the major brand name office supply companies, I will find an HP Laserjet Pro Cartridge for $76. According to its box, this cartridge will give me 1,600 pages of printing. That's $0.475 per page!
Now, fifty cents per page isn't much if you're only printing 100 pages per month, but companies printing a sizable amount of jobs per month need to evaluate what these costs would be over time.
On the other hand, when you use managed print services through a copier or printer dealer, they can get the prices below a penny per page. This would mean a 50% reduction in your printing costs based on cartridges alone.
How Do Managed Print Services Work?
As a managed print services provider, we assist businesses every day by creating more efficient uses of client resources through the latest printing technology. We do this by using software to collect data on each copier and multifunction printer in a company's office.
Software like FMAudit allows your vendor to monitor your volumes by department (and even by user), as well as the type of printing that is being done (ex. black & white vs color) on any network-connected device.
This data allows us to analyze the complete cost, volume, performance, and utilization of each device. Then, our experts can make the most accurate recommendation possible on the best printing strategy for each business. Simply put, managed print services are the management and analysis of all multifunction devices assigned to a given location.
Imagine the ability to be able to know which department is using the most printing or being able to more appropriately assign department printing budgets. Keep in mind, however, that just because a department isn’t printing large quantities doesn’t mean they are automatically printing efficiently.
How Do I Get Employees to Print More Efficiently?
Think of all the times you clicked the print button on your computer and then forgot to go pick up the document from the paper tray. Over time, this action, compounded by other employees who forget as well, can contribute to paper and ink waste.
Thankfully, managed print services can enable a feature called Find Me Follow Me on your printer that automatically holds print jobs so they are not printed until an employee walks over to the printer and manually "releases" the print job.
This feature minimizes paper and ink waste and automates printing efficiency to take human error out of the equation.
If you wish to take a hands-on approach to making employees print more efficiently, you can take the printer usage data from your managed print services provider to figure out which departments print the most or waste the most paper and start a conversation about printing efficiency.
Features and Benefits of Managed Print Services
Automatic Toner Replenishment
A managed print services provider can automatically notify you of issues such as when specific printers are running low on toner. At some companies, this is called an auto-toner replenishment program.
This ensures that your business operations are never halted because your printer is out of toner.
To reduce your printing costs, managed print services can optimize the location of machines throughout your office and enable features that help employees print efficiently.
For instance, a managed print services provider can evaluate which departments print the most and designate printers built for speed and high print volume to those areas.
By enabling features such as Find Me Follow Me on your printers, a managed print services provider can prevent employees from accidentally forgetting documents in the print tray, which ultimately leads to print waste.
Features can also be enabled that redirect print jobs to more efficient machines, and rules can be created that restrict the amount of color printing.
Printer Policy Implementation
A managed print services provider can assist your company in building a printer policy to minimize employee paper waste, establish guidelines for two-sided and color printing, and more.
They can also use printer data to determine which departments are using the most paper so recommendations can be made accordingly on a departmental basis, such as setting rules to restrict which printers employees can use.
Track Service/Maintenance History
While a managed print services provider can lower printing costs and paper waste by enabling features on your machines and educating employees on printing best practices, they can also reduce costs by tracking service and maintenance history for your printers.
By tracking this, you can, over time, begin to recognize patterns and identify which machines are costing more to fix than they're worth. This can show you which machines should be replaced if you wish to keep only the most efficient machines.
Expert Technological Recommendations
Older machines and cheaper models alike become cost-ineffective over time as parts wear out. This can mean that your machines start printing documents more slowly or incorrectly.
While your managed print services provider can make some data-based recommendations about printer features to enable or machine placement within your office, sometimes the best recommendation they can give is to get a new printer altogether.
The most obvious benefit to managed print services is the cost reduction it offers to your business.
By providing you lower prices for ink and toner, enabling certain features on your machines, educating employees on printing best practices, and using machine data to make technological recommendations, your managed print services provider can streamline printing processes and reduce costs for supplies and printer maintenance.
When machines don't print efficiently, for instance if you unknowingly keep around old dysfunctional machines, workplace downtime increases.
A managed print services provider can identify inefficient machines in need of replacement and set notifications for low toner for those you wish to keep around, which all keep your machines working and minimizes the hindrance employees experience having to work around broken printers.
When a managed print services provider keeps machines running smoothly and minimizes paper waste within your office, Mother Nature is happy as well.
A non-monetary benefit to managed print services is the reduced environmental strain. Employee printing policies are the biggest factor in fostering an environmentally friendly workplace attitude in your office, so be sure to craft a descriptive printing policy if this is a benefit you really wish to dive into.
RELATED: Benefits of Managed Print Services
How Do I Know I Need Managed Print Services?
Your company may benefit from a switch to managed print services if you have:
Large print volume and high printing costs
There is an extremely small chance that companies in print-heavy industries, or those that simply print a lot, are minimizing costs in every way possible.
There's always room for improvement, and when your company is print-heavy, the costs of failing to be 100% cost-efficient compound quickly.
A managed print services provider can recommend strategies for reducing print volume whenever possible, and streamlining printing processes to save your company money.
Employees that do not print efficiently
Do you find a lot of forgotten prints in print trays around the office? Do you find employees needlessly printing documents that don't need to be printed, or using printing techniques that contribute to paper and ink waste?
If so, you may benefit from a managed print services provider. They can work with you to build a tailored employee printing policy that will cut back on waste and foster a culture of personal accountability in your office.
Many desktop printers or cheap printers
A managed print services provider can help consolidate your printer fleet and evaluate where there's opportunities for cost reduction.
This can mean that they make recommendations for which economically efficient printers to buy.
For instance, while you can save money on the front end by purchasing cheap inkjet printers, you lose a great deal of money on the back end when you consider the costs associated with replacing ink cartridges. Cheaper printers also wear out faster for those with high print volume.
A managed print services provider could help you determine if you're getting your money's worth with your current printers and cartridges.
To determine the cost efficiency of your current printer fleet:
1. Setup a cost analysis of your current printer setup (whether it is for printers, copiers, or a combination).
2. Compare this analysis to that of the potential cost savings a reduction in wasteful practices will create. Note: The average savings with managed print services is nearly 30% of hard copy costs in addition to freeing up IT staff by an average of 10%.
If your company could save money by switching to managed print services, it may be worth looking into.
Managed printer services aren't much different than a copier contract. For most vendors, the service includes maintenance, parts and toner refills for a single, monthly payment that is easy to budget around.
Start paying attention to how quickly your printer costs add up to evaluate how cost-efficient your current printer fleet is.
If you are interested in learning more about Standard Office Systems' managed print services offering, click here!
Posted by Bernie Schom
Bernie Schom is the Vice President of Sales at Standard Office Systems and has been in the copier and printer industry for over three decades.