When Office Space depicted three disgruntled employees destroying the universally-hated office printer, how dramatic were they being?
With 23% of all IT calls being either print or copy related, your IT department might actually be dreaming of recreating that epic scene more often than you think.
Aside from the added frustration of managing your organization’s print fleet, printers can be a cause of many IT security issues resulting in a major drain on already over utilized resources and revenue. Managed print services can be the answer to improve the efficiency of your print fleet, increase network and endpoint security and reduce the strain on your IT team all while helping to reduce your overall printing costs.
How Managed Print Services Work
Managed print services (MPS) are integrated solutions that aim to optimize all aspects of printing devices – including printers, copiers, faxes and printing supplies.
The main aspects of managed print services include:
- Baseline Cost Assessment: The first step in working with a managed print services provider includes an assessment of existing hardware, software and end-user specific needs. This is an opportunity for companies to gain insight into a part of their business that doesn’t get a lot of attention. The majority of organizations who manage their own print fleet don’t know what it’s actually costing them not to mention where improvements can be made. Printing costs are actually the largest unaudited budget in most organizations.
- Setup, Maintenance and Support: While ink and toner are expensive, 56% of printer ownership costs come from hardware acquisition, maintenance and support. An MPS can provide dedicated support and maintenance that can solve problems much more efficiently. Picking the right device isn’t as easy as it once was. Having an expert help to ensure your print environment is optimized in not only the most cost effective manner but helping to increase employee efficiency is important. Once the printer has been chosen the need for effective maintenance and support provides long term piece of mind.
- Supplies and Inventory Management: Most organizations either stockpile printing supplies, which end up expired and wasted, or buy too little and end up losing money through downtime and/or increased expedited shipping charges. In fact, for every $1 spent on printing — for toner, ink and other supplies — organizations spend another $9 to manage the printing environment. Managed print services can examine existing usage and optimize inventory management.
- Reporting, Reviews and Ongoing Optimization: As an organization grows, printing needs and usage need to be constantly monitored and optimized to ensure costs stay low and the company is leveraging print resources in the best ways possible.
Benefits of Managed Print Services
MPS offers more than simply refilling toner cartridges and troubleshooting paper jams. The services can improve your organization’s overall printing workflow and have a significant impact on printing costs.
Through managed print services, organizations can see:
- Reduced need for IT support: By eliminating a quarter of IT calls related to print issues and the countless hours spent troubleshooting these issues, your IT department is freed up to deal with larger problems that can have a more significant impact on your organization.
- Reduced downtime: Print downtime can seriously slow down operations and cost your business money. Managed print services help reduce downtime through improved printing operations that help you better leverage resources, predictive inventory management that ensure you never run out of printing supplies and fast repairs and maintenance to keep hardware operating.
- Improved IT security: Organizations often overlook the potential security risks of printing and imaging devices. Implementing print and document management protocols can help mitigate the risk of hard copies of sensitive information becoming accessible. Deploying the right devices and software, such as printer access codes or other network security features, can eliminate the possibility of a cybercriminals accessing data through printers and other devices.
- Lowered printing costs: One of the most important benefits of working with a managed printer service provider are the lowered printing costs. With printer ink costing nearly $10,000 per gallon, any cost savings related to printing can lead a significant ROI. In fact, the costs are such a determining factor they deserve special mention.
Managed Print Service Pricing Models
Not every managed print service is the same: There are several models of how you pay your printing bill. Below you will find 3 different ways organizations pay for their print environment.
- Self Managed: A self-managed environment is the most time consuming, where you cut endless amounts of PO’s to order hardware, ink, toner, and maintenance on an as needed basis. This is the most common way organizations manage their printers.
- Lease plus maintenance: A managed print program where an organization pays a set amount each month. The fee includes the cost of each printer plus a set amount of pages. Usually there is a low or high volume choice to make. As an example, a low volume maintenance program might include 5,000 pages per month. If you exceed the 5,000 pages you will pay an additional cost per page for each extra page. If you print below 5,000 pages your cost remains the same. More often than not this will lead to organizations doing one of two things, either paying for far more pages than they use or paying high amounts of overage costs.
- Pay For What You Print: A managed print program where you pay a cost per page for each page you print. This cost covers the management of your entire print fleet including hardware, ink, toner, parts, maintenance, and everything else in between. There are no minimum prints required and no overage charges. You just pay for what you print. Instead of throwing money away when ink or toner expires and goes unused, or wasting time approving endless amounts of purchase requests, you pay a single bill that covers everything print related.
Cost of Managed Print Services vs. Managing Printers Internally
While the price of printer ink mentioned above is concerning, it isn’t anywhere near the highest cost associated with an organization’s printing. For every $1 spent on print supplies such as toner and ink, organizations spend $9 to manage their printing environment. This equates to an average 1-3% of a company’s annual revenues spent on document creation.
Managing printers internally requires your IT department to either devote resources specifically to managing printing, troubleshooting hardware issues and optimizing print operations or allowing these needs to distract from other IT concerns. Dedicating resources will typically result in more optimized print operations with a much higher IT support cost. On the other hand, failing to assign print management to someone could result in poor inventory management and maintenance procedures that result in even more problems to solve.
Managed print services can help reduce printing costs by 30% without significantly changing office processes, by offering dedicated services, support and strategy at a much lower cost than internal print management.