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.

Business benefits of MPS

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 own 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 simply 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 meets 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.

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 choose 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.

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 means 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.

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 specialty 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.