What are Managed Print Services?
This white paper presents an economic and environmental case for adopting a Managed Print Service and answers the question: what are managed print services?
Scottish businesses are under pressure to tighten their belts and reduce costs. Implementing a Managed Print Service has become an effective way to rationalise document output devices.
The benefits are far from purely financial. A Managed Print Service also significantly reduces environmental impact by greatly reducing energy and paper consumption.(1)
At its heart, a Managed Print Service is a logical approach to document production. It allows organisations to make the most of both existing and new document output fleets in an environment that is firmly aligned with strategic objectives. This Managed Print Service White Paper covers these issues in full.
So what are Managed Print Services? A full Managed Print Service, when extended to include enterprise content management and workflow solutions, provides an opportunity to eliminate an impressive 30-40% of total print costs whilst increasing employee productivity by enabling faster, paperless processes.
Research by Photizo Group found the average cost of a hard copy/print fleet for a firm with 750 employees is more than £500,000 per year. So there are significant savings to be made. (2)
Most businesses have operated a very ad-hoc approach to document output devices and printing, with a very high ratio of devices per number of employees.
A Managed Print Service assessment can help make better use of a company’s device fleet. Streamlining and rationalising where necessary allows deployment of resources more efficiently.
In many existing cases, the number of devices per employee can be relatively high – sometimes as extreme as one device per user! A more balanced and effective deployment of devices typically sees a reduction in this ratio to one device to fifteen users.
Good for the bottom line and the environment
Keeping a close eye on budgets is likely to remain at the top of corporate agendas for some time.
Therefore, the drive to provide tangible solutions to sustainability challenges is growing as businesses take proactive steps to manage and reduce their overheads and their carbon footprint.
A Managed Print Service provides businesses with a robust solution to address both these cost and environmental issues. It also provides tools to change the management of their fleet of devices and print output for good.
So what are Managed Print Services?
A Managed Print Service broadly encompasses hardware, software, supplies and also service. It is offered by most manufacturers and major copier/printer dealers. It typically comprises three main phases:
This involves carrying out a review of the current print environment. A physical Print Audit and an on-site survey of devices and output volumes provides recommendations for a rationalised fleet and shows achievable savings.
Assessments range from basic online analysis right up to full document workflow. Environmental impact analysis and document security assessments may also be included.
One-to-one interviews with end users are also conducted, where necessary. This detailed audit enables a full understanding of device locations, volumes and costs. Floor plans are prepared showing existing device locations, layout and volumes.
A thorough report is then presented detailing the findings of the investigation. This includes recommendations on how the business can best adopt a much more cost effective and efficient output strategy.
This is where device rationalisation and consolidation takes place to reduce device-to-user ratios. Print management policies will also be put in place to set controls and rules for copying and printing.
Optimisation determines the best approach to achieve a balanced deployment where cost, productivity and the most suitable device and location are all considered.
This may include replacing outdated and expensive desktop printers with the latest multifunctional devices (MFDs). This rationalisation process leads to fewer devices. This results in reductions in power consumption and the amount, variety and cost of consumables required.
During this optimisation process, existing paid for cartridge and consumable stock can be fully used up on retained or outgoing devices to avoid waste and unnecessary cost.
This approach also facilitates the “phase out” of uneconomic and unnecessary printers. This also provides users with time to adjust to changes.
Thirdly and finally, continuous account management ensures that a Managed Print Service constantly delivers savings.
Software tools generate management reports and information to enable the monitoring of print trends, analysis of costs per user, device and/or department.
A Managed Print Service is a continuous process of improvement. This includes regular business reviews, service level agreement monitoring and also remote management. A summary of these 3 stages can also be seen in here:
Benefits of a Managed Print Service
1. Significant reduction in costs
Firstly, many of the leading industry analysts quote an average business spends up to 3% of its annual revenue on document production alone. It’s not surprising that Managed Print Services are growing in popularity.
If industry analysts are accurate, savings of as much as 30% or more can be achieved. So we can assume that a £10Million turnover business will roughly spend up to £300,000 on document output/printing.
Therefore, by adopting a Managed Print Service companies could potentially save as much as £90,000 per annum! (3)
Industry analysts IDC also report that savings can also be made in other areas including a 40% reduction in IT support calls, a 25% reduction in consumable spend and a 5% reduction in the cost of the actual hardware devices. See below.
2. Reduced environmental impact
Optimised printing reduces device fleets, cutting down on waste and power consumption. According to research conducted by Ricoh, a device’s typical environmental impact is 80% paper use, 8% energy, 7% manufacturing, 6% cartridge and 1% end of life. Most devices on the market today meet ENERGY STAR efficiency standards. They use up to 60% less energy than earlier generation models, thanks to features like automatic ‘sleep’ mode and fast ‘wake-up’.
Left uncontrolled, printing can be a huge drain, financially and environmentally. In a 2013 Quocirca survey 55% of organisations indicated that they are struggling to understand usage.
Savings in paper consumption and costs can be made by defaulting to duplex printing. Implementing secure printing practices such as “follow-me” printing also reduces paper waste as the print job is only released when the user identifies themselves at the device. This simple piece of software has been reported to reduce paper consumption by as much as 20% as uncollected print jobs are automatically deleted after a specified time. (4)
3. Enhanced security
A 2015 Quocirca survey highlighted that over 70% of organisations have suffered at least one data breach as a result of unsecured printing.
By utilising print management software, print jobs simply sit on the central print server until users walk up to a printer/MFD of their choice; swipe their access card or enter their PIN number and select the job they want to print, preventing print jobs from being viewed by or picked up in error by another user.
4. Improved business continuity
Remote monitoring of devices and the management of consumables means that problems can be fixed before users encounter a problem. This leads to optimum uptime and greatly improved employee productivity.
5. Freeing IT resources
Finally, it is estimated that over 20% of help-desk calls are print related. A Managed Print Service reduces the burden on internal IT staff. Fewer paper jams or toner out problems mean less dependence on the IT department which therefore ensures they are able to concentrate on more strategic projects.
Things to consider when exploring the issues surrounding What are Managed Print Services?
We would recommend the following criteria are considered before embarking on a potential Managed Print engagement:
1. Management buy-In:
Firstly, companies considering implementing a Managed Print Service must align this with a sponsorship structure that covers IT, facilities, procurement and other stakeholders. A clear matrix of roles and responsibilities should be defined within the business and mapped to the Managed Print provider.
2. MPS expertise:
Capabilities vary between different providers so it is important to consider the provider’s track record. Look beyond equipment provision to ensure the supplier can provide a complete solution that integrates hardware, software training and also support.
3. Device support:
Some vendors support only their own brand of devices whilst others manage third party manufacturers. Consider if existing equipment can be economically retained. What is the upgrade policy on existing devices? How is service handled on multi-vendor equipment? It is best to seek the advice of an independent supplier.
4. Service level agreements (SLAs):
Based on a comprehensive assessment, the business and provider can suggest and agree on key performance indicators. This should also define a technology (hardware and software) roadmap, support plan and service offerings.
5. Measurement and reporting:
The Managed Print Service provider should also offer regular reporting to ensure SLAs are being achieved. They should also identify and address any changes in print usage and requirements. Ongoing management and control is fundamental to the success of any Managed Print Service engagement.
6. Payment plans:
Cost transparency through quarterly billing is only effective if tools are utilised to monitor usage and departmental print spend. To ease administration, Managed Print Service billing should cover all print, devices and volumes.
7. Change management:
The impact of a Managed Print Service should not be underestimated. Employees should be involved and educated on the objectives and the changes to their printing practices from the outset. Consider what change management methodologies and processes are implemented by the Managed Print Service provider. (4)
An effective Managed Print Strategy can significantly reduce a company’s environmental footprint through reduced energy consumption and lower paper usage. The use of document workflow solutions can further minimise wasteful printing. It should be considered as part of an overall platform that supports business process transformation. (5)
Conclusion to the question – what are Managed Print Services?
The demands on an office printing environment are changing – particularly as businesses are bombarded with ever-increasing sources of information.
So we hope we have answered the question – What are Managed Print Services? Given the far reaching but largely concealed impact of document output costs, a Managed Print Service offers an innovative approach to regaining control of spiralling costs.
A Managed Print Service also deals with a host of other issues such as meeting efficiency, sustainability and security targets, whilst taking advantage of the very latest document technology solutions. (6)
Changing customer ambitions, priorities and challenges means that organisations are looking for more flexibility in their MPS contracts. They are looking for innovation and a clear strategy for information management.
A Quocirca survey highlighted that 65% of organisations reported cost savings generated by MPS were in line with expectations. However, the same report highlighted that only 43% indicated that they were happy with their existing MPS provider. (7)
In conclusion, adopting a Managed Print Service is not appropriate for every business. However, when a Managed Print strategy is implemented correctly it can lead to considerable and tangible improvements. It can bring a business another step closer to optimising their processes, improving overall performance and greatly reducing costs.
About the author
Tom Flockhart is founder and also Managing Director of Capital Document Solutions, Scotland’s largest independent supplier of office equipment and document solutions. Branches include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and also Shetland.
We started in 1979 as Capital Copiers in Edinburgh and have evolved over the years, now advising clients on the latest hardware and software solutions to help drive down the cost of producing and managing business documents.
As an independent supplier, we work in partnership with world-class manufacturers including Ricoh, Konica-Minolta, Canon and Hewlett-Packard.
We also work with print and document management providers like Safecom, Equitrac, Site Audit and Laserfiche. We give our clients the complete range of document solutions.
Managed Print Services is now an integral part of our portfolio with an ever increasing number of clients across Scotland now adopting this approach. We hope we have answered your question regarding what are Managed Print Services.
References regarding What are Managed Print Services?
1. The Case for MPS: Data Justifying the Benefits of MPS. Photizo Group 2009
2. Best Practices for starting an MPS Program Photizo Group 2010
3. Managing Documents for Success in the New Business Information Paradigm IDC October 2010
4. Printer Pulse Quocirca December 2010
5. Ideas for Green Printing, Gartner September 2010
6. Green MPS: How to Do it. How to Sell it. MPS Insights Journal Q2 Vol3 Issue 2 2010
7. Managed Print Services Landscape, 2016 – A vendor analysis of the global enterprise MPS market Quocirca July 2016
Also 2013 & 2015 Quocirca surveys
Disclaimer: The information in this White Paper on What are Managed Print Services? reflects the current views of Capital Document Solutions at the date of publication. This may vary depending on market conditions. Use of this white paper is at the sole risk of the reader.
CAPITAL DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION. © Capital Document Solutions. All rights reserved.
Contact Details regarding this Managed Print Service white paper:
Capital Document Solutions, 101 McDonald Road, Edinburgh, EH7 4NW +44 131 557 4747 www.capital-solutions.co.uk
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