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What are the benefits of managed print services?

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    Managed Print Services - Why Businesses Need Them

    Managed Print Services (MPS) are becoming increasingly popular, especially in comparison to leasing or purchasing hardware outright. Rather than simply leasing hardware, an MPS vendor provides a full-service print contract, taking on responsibilities including network setup and management, software provision, and long-term print optimization across the organization.

    While MPS raises monthly costs over direct leasing on the surface, managed print services can offer numerous business benefits. With professional print-services rather than simply professional hardware, an organization can realize key changes in costs, print-production, information security, environmental footprint, and agility.

    Aside from your day-to-day business goals, have you ever considered learning about the benefits of managed print services, and how these services can help further the success of your company? You might be a little unfamiliar with managed print services, and the specific ways managed printing can help your business grow. If this is the case, you're in luck, and you've come to the right place!

    Let's start from scratch and first define what managed print services are. Managed print services (also known as MPS) are outsourcing services to help manage your print fleets, such as printers, copiers, and fax machines. Investing in managed print services is a further step you can take once you've successfully partnered with a business technology company.

    Running a successful business means that you need to prioritize your daily tasks to be able to reach your goals. Take one thing off your plate and hand over your print services to an expert. Even though worldwide business practices are becoming more and more digital every second, there is still a place paper and ink. Copying and printing aren't going away, so do you have a strategy to get it done quickly and effectively for your business?

    What are managed print services?

    Managed Print Services (MPS) are services offered to assist businesses by identifying their printing goals and defining a strategy to help them achieve their goals. Managed print services are a necessity to grow your business because you'll spend less time on management and less money printing overall. You might be thinking, "I'm a small business owner. I don't have the money to spend on managed print services. I'll do it myself!"

    This has the potential to hurt your business in the long run; you'll end up spending more money and time.

    Managed Print Services, commonly referred to as MPS, is a service offered by print providers to assist businesses with streamlining printer management and minimizing costs associated with printing. MPS came about because the majority of organizations do not define a print strategy, typically for two reasons:

    • It's time-consuming.
    • It falls low on the priority list.

    Because let's face it, businesses are busy, and there's always going to be something else that's more pressing than print strategy. But that doesn't mean it's not important. Not having a print strategy can cost businesses a lot of money, especially year over year. Print costs can take up anywhere between 1-10 per cent of an organization's total revenue.

    Managed Print Services is a way for businesses to outsource the day-to-day services for their print fleet, and it can be customized to meet specific needs.

    Business benefits of Managed Print Services

    Cut Your Costs

    Managed print services increase monthly costs over a simple lease. However, you receive a lot more for what you are paying. Rather than simply selling hardware, your MPS vendor will provide software, network management, IT support, printer supplies, ongoing print-network assessments and optimization, and hardware optimization and replacement.

    With everything included in one flat-rate monthly fee (although this varies), you receive a single, predictable rate for all printer costs. Over time, this can greatly reduce costs over purchasing and maintaining your printer hardware, especially as hardware gets older, requires replacing, or is replaced by your MPS to introduce newer and more efficient hardware.

    How does this work? Most printer costs relate to usage (paper, toner), maintenance and support (IT support, parts and repair, software issues), and replacing hardware. Over time, your printers will become costlier to repair with increasing frequency of required maintenance. MPS will ensure you replace hardware before it reaches this point, cutting total use and repair costs.

    MPS also reduces costs by optimizing your printer network to ensure that hardware and software meet the needs of the teams using it. With no one over or under-equipped, you won't be paying for hardware you don't need, losing money to lost productivity, or investing in hardware that isn't meeting your needs. It might seem like a good idea in the short term to keep your current printers, but when they break down, you're left with a hefty bill to repair or replace them. And how about when you run out of toner right at the most inopportune moment and can't wait for it to go on sale?

    With managed print services, you don't need to worry about these expenses. With a predictable monthly fee, you'll get all of your bulky, outdated printers replaced with faster devices. Imagine having a multi-functional printer with all the necessary functions built-in and having your managed print service maintain it so that you can get down to work.

    Optimize Your Printing

    Managed print service is, as it sounds, well managed. One key aspect of MPS is ongoing management and optimization, which begins during the initial takeover. An MPS vendor will conduct a print-needs assessment across your organization to determine what is needed and where. This allows the vendor to supply print solutions, including printers, scanners, servers, and software that meet the needs of individual departments. Non-efficient or under-performing solutions will be removed and replaced, allowing for increased productivity and performance.

    Print assessment to meet needs also allows an MPS to install printers on an as-needed basis. Here, departments with high-quality or high-volume print needs can install to those needs so graphics departments can print banners, posters, and ads while giving other departments simpler and more needs-appropriate solutions.

    Ongoing optimization means that your hardware will be updated as needs change. If you previously outsourced professional printing and chose to move it in-house, those printers could be supplied. If you switch a department to all-digital, high-quality graphic printers could be removed to reduce total costs.

    This ongoing optimization will work to reduce total costs, but the largest impact is an effect on productivity. If printers always meet office needs, individuals will always have what they need to perform their work, which will boost results.

    Improve Information Security

    Printers often have huge security risks, which can be massive problems in areas where trade or business secrets are printed and handled, where sensitive data is handled, and in industries requiring compliance. While information security is difficult to install and manage over the long-term yourself, it's included as part of MPS.

    Managed Print Services include printer software and servers based on needs assessment. Here, your provider will also assess security and provide access management according to your needs. This could include a printer-queue, individual user accounts, print-history, and printer logins for users. This reduces instances of sensitive documents left in print trays, enables tracking to see who prints what, and prevents individuals from simply accessing and printing whatever is in the queue. In combination with information about printer security, these steps will greatly improve information security.

    Consider that next time you're standing at the copier. With managed print services, you and your team will be able to cut this waiting time in half because your MPS experts will be monitoring your printing systems and making sure they are up to date before problems can arise. This means the responsibility of dealing with malfunctions, changing cartridges, and adding paper is taken off you, giving you more production time.

    Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

    While reducing environmental footprint is often a secondary concern for businesses, it is an important one, especially as regulation enforces a reduced carbon footprint. MPS can play a valuable role in keeping hardware up-to-date, reducing instances of having too many printers, reducing waste, and reducing instances where high-end or high-volume printers are used in situations where they are not needed. With ongoing optimization, reducing the environmental footprint of hardware is a process that will continue to positively impact your business for the duration of your MPS project.

    MPS also works to reduce print waste through a combination of print management, education, and user access. For example, with strong printer software solutions in place and user access management, individuals can see how much they're printing (as can their managers). Online backups and print-history mean users won't have to print backup copies of documents until they're needed.

    Print management software also allows you to take steps to greatly reduce the number of printed pages, using tactics such as double-sided printing, reducing margins, and automatically removing instances of ads and banners in internet articles and papers. Most print management software also tracks total usage, giving each person a better idea of how much they are printing and why. This will reduce total print volume over time, with many organizations seeing as much as a 4.75% decrease in used printer paper by simply decreasing margin size.

    Want to help save the planet? Working with a managed print service provider is a great place to start. You'd be amazed at how much paper, toner, and electricity is wasted on outdated systems. You could be banking significant savings on your paper costs by switching to a high-performance duplex printer. When creating your custom service agreement for your managed print services, your provider will assess all of the ways you can minimize waste and reduce your footprint.

    Are you looking to make a positive impact on the environment? A managed print services program may help you go greener without making a huge impact on your bottom line.

    First, think of the major negative impact that your print fleet has on the environment: waste. Reducing waste, whether paper or toner, can help reduce your environmental footprint. A well-structured MPS program can help you monitor your usage and help manage your printing workflows to reduce wasteful printing.

    If you're wondering what to do with your empty toner cartridges, don't throw them out! There are toner cartridge recycling programs that can keep that extra plastic out of the landfill. A thorough MPS provider will be able to make toner recycling easy and efficient for your team.

    Another great way to make a positive impact on the environment through your printing through programs like PrintReleaf. For every 8,333 pages you print, they'll plant a tree to help sustain and grow the global forestry system. 

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    Increase Agility

    An MPS takes over your print services to provide a managed solution that meets your needs throughout the process. This will improve organizational agility by allowing you to meet print needs without increasing investment, supplying print-hardware and software on an as-needed basis to teams including those with high-volume, high-quality or even special needs.

    At the same time, MPS frees other departments up to focus on value-added tasks. An estimated 40% of all IT help-desk calls are printer related, and IT teams often don't have the resources or printer expertise to handle those requests internally. When hardware breaks, tickets still have to go to an external repair organization. MPS internalizes everything, setting up a print-help line which can automatically schedule printer repair and maintenance through the vendor, reducing third-party involvement. This means printers are fixed more quickly while freeing IT up for more value-added tasks such as infrastructure management.

    MPS has a lot to offer for most businesses, but the end-results and actual value will depend on your current print-hardware, total needs, and total internal business structure. The best way to find out if MPS can offer value to your organization is by conducting a needs analysis or having an MPS vendor perform one for you.

    Increase Your Device Uptime

    Your operation needs to have functioning tools and equipment. Stopping to fix something takes away from the resources you need to stay on task and keep productive.

    An MPS provider should be keenly aware of this and do everything they can to maximize your print environment and make sure your equipment isn't down. A proactive service team that performs preventative maintenance can help increase the life of your entire print fleet. 

    A truly outstanding MPS offering may also include "hot swap" backup printers at your location, to have an option on deck in case a crucial piece of equipment were to break unexpectedly. They should be able to loan your devices as well if the repairs are going to take any length of time.

    Know You're Covered

    An obvious benefit of a managed program is removing the fear of the unknown.

    If you're managing your own devices, there are a lot of unknown variables that can leave you scratching your head:

    • Will your toner quality stays the same, and will your supplier continue to stock it?
    • Will you be able to Google how to fix that printer when it breaks?
    • Will there be parts available for that model? How long will they stay available?
    • How much will it cost to call in someone to fix that printer when it breaks? With a managed print services plan, that fear is removed. You can rest easy knowing that service, parts, and even toner are all covered under the terms of your agreement.

    Increase team productivity

    Consider that next time you're standing at the copier. With managed print services, you and your team will be able to cut this waiting time in half because your MPS experts will be monitoring your printing systems and making sure they are up to date before problems can arise. This means the responsibility of dealing with malfunctions, changing cartridges, and adding paper is taken off you, giving you more production time.

    Free Up Cash Flow

    You want to manage your fleet of printers effectively. You don't want to spend an arm and a leg to do it.

    If you're tempted to drop a significant amount of cash on a new fleet of brand-new printers, with the aim of reducing your long-term costs, you may want to take a look at a managed print approach before you do. Many times, a managed print provider is able to take over your print fleet as it sits and still helps control your costs without that huge upfront investment. If you do need new devices, a robust managed print provider can lease those depreciating assets to you at a reasonable monthly cost.

    Aside from the investment of devices, consider your maintenance and supply expenses. Are you likely to throw out a printer and replace it? Think of the reduced expense if a service call can resolve the issue. Like to keep backup toner on the shelf? When your MPS provider covers supplies, your money isn't tied up in those supplies. Keep your cash ready to make investments in other more crucial areas of your operation.

    In most contexts, taking a managed approach to your print environment is a great way to remove the burden of desktop printer maintenance from IT's desk, while helping to control the costs of your fleet's supplies over time. Suppose you're considering whether or not managed print services are right for your organization. In that case, it's important to start with the most important step: establishing the baseline of what printers you have in your fleet, how much you're using them, and how much it costs to do so.

    Choosing a Managed Print Services Provider for Value and Service

    While the potential cost savings are enough to get you interested in managed print services, choosing a provider requires looking at more than just your print budget. Place priority on local providers that can quickly and professionally respond to service calls and that offer the following elements.

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