What is a managed print service and how does it save money?

EBC Group

You may well have heard the impressive stat that a Managed Print Service can save your business up to 30% off its printing costs, which is obviously a significant reduction in overheads and a saving that any business would desire, but how exactly is it achieved?

The print industry is often guilty of using buzzwords and terminology when describing a Managed Print Service, which could be seen as the industry not being able properly explain or prove the benefits.

Managed Print Services definition: Managed Print Services cover all aspects of a company’s printing with the anticipated result of saving time and money.

This is achieved by analysing their printing requirements and providing more visibility and control of their printing at both the input (data/information going in) and output level (what is actually printed), resulting in them printing less and therefore reducing the amount of ink, paper and energy used.

The Managed Print Service includes the management of print devices such as printers, scanners, copiers and multifunctional devices as well as document management and workflow solutions to improve the company’s print environment.

How will I save money with a Managed Print Service?

In simple terms a Managed Print Service will save money by helping a business to achieve the following:

Printing less: 1) Less ink toner used 2) Less paper used

Purchasing less: 1) Less print devices required (consolidate current fleet) 2) Less ink and paper purchased

Being more efficient: 1) Saving employees time 2) Saving energy costs

Who is responsible for the Managed Print Service?

This is the company that will have normally sold or leased you the print devices and will also be responsible for servicing them, taking meter readings and replenishing ink toner.

This is normally through a manufacturer such as Canon or Xerox or through a partner re-seller, or through a Managed Service Provider (MSP) which can incorporate into the other parts of your ICT setup.

What are the steps of a Managed Print Service?

1. Analysing print requirements:

This analysis will consider all aspects of your company’s printing requirements, including scanning, printing, copying and faxing.

It will include an audit of your printing, which through a USB which is inserted into the print device and will show in detail what is being printed on each device, by whom and how much it costs.

This can help you understand what each department is printing, whether you have unnecessary or overworked devices and will therefore enable you to potentially consolidate your devices and cut down on maintenance and toner costs.

It will also review the company’s processes to understand what is actually printed and whether it actually requires printing.

2. Reducing or removing ‘local’ desktop printers:

One of the first things to be assessed is the need and use of local or desktop print devices as they are typically more inefficient and costly than multifunctional devices.

These printers normally only service one individual user because they are rarely networked, which makes them inefficient in most business environments.

They also often require unique ink toner cartridges that are usually more costly and can cause purchasing and inventory challenges.

3. Consolidate print devices:

As well as removing small desktop devices a print analysis can also highlight where your business might have too many multifunctional devices and they can be consolidated into less devices.

For example perhaps a department does not print enough to justify its own printer meaning it can be shared with another department meaning fewer print devices to purchase and maintain.

4. Printer Placement:

Placement of your print device can have a significant impact on what is being printed.

Placing your print devices in areas that are accessible for an appropriate amount of employees will help improve workflow and maximise your device usage, i.e. not having all your employees trying to print to one device, whilst very few print to another or employees having to access devices in different parts of the building.

5. Replace inefficient devices:

Identify which print devices are under performing and replace with more efficient devices.

Inefficient devices will break down often and often frequent servicing, which is a drain on your resources, costing both time and money.

6. Automated supply delivery:

Through an MPS program you can automate your toner purchasing which means that you don’t need someone responsible for monitoring stock and placing orders.

Your MPS provider will keep a constant monitor of your devices and automatically ship new toner based on when they your devices are running low.

This eliminates down-time caused when you have run out of ink and not ordered replacements or staff ordering too much stock.

7. More predictable costing:

Managed Print Services enable you to consolidate your costs and suppliers, giving you a more predictable monthly spend.

By entering into a contract with a provider you will have a steady flow of toner based on usage and will not have unexpected additional costs for maintenance and servicing.

8. Remote printing:

By setting up mobile print environment you allow your employees to work more effectively.

If they are out of the office, they no longer need to come in to print important paperwork and other employees don’t have to do print on their behalf.

9. Printing less:

Whilst a Managed Print Service can include some detailed analysis of workflows many of the cost-saving principles are fairly straight-forward and come from having more control over what is being printed and how it’s printed.

A few examples are:

a) Changing print setting defaults to reduce costs such as printing to black & white rather than colour (which is significantly more expensive.)

b) Printing double-sided saves a significant amount of paper cost.

c) Implementing a function where it is required that employees enter a code into a print device before any printing commences will prevent documents being sent to print, which tare then forgotten or repeat printed.

d) Introducing policies that make employees think about why they are printing and what they are going to use it for.

10. Spending less on printers:

Whilst all of the above is important and can save significant money, whilst also make prining more effecient the biggest cost is still going to come down to the cost of the machine and the click charges.

This is where having a dealer or provider with strong partnerships with the suppliers and leasing companies comes in.

As a premium partner of both Xerox and Canon, EBC Group is a strong position to secure the best prices for their clients.

In Summary:

So hopefully I have managed to describe an overview of how the Managed Print Services process works without falling into some of the usual traps.

It is possible to make real cost and time savings but only by partnering with the right provider.

Who can take you through the various steps involved, make the right recommendations and put them into action.