It goes almost without saying that printing is a necessity of most businesses, regardless of sector or industry. Traditionally, a company’s IT department was kept busy managing and maintaining printers across all locations. The process of printing itself can be a costly and wasteful endeavor. With the introduction of Managed Print Services (MPS), a different approach has been taken towards printer management in corporations.

What is Managed Print Services (MPS)?

More than just looking after printers, with MPS the entire printing process is outsourced to a third party. MPS can ease the burden on a firm’s IT department by managing all aspects of the company’s printing and scanning hardware and software. This includes purchasing, maintenance and support, updating software and improving document management processes. This can help to reduce mounting printing costs. MPS also saves time, helping to transform operational practices and boost productivity throughout.

But with so many MPS partners promising so much, it can be daunting trying to choose which service and provider is right for your enterprise. This guide will help you take the first steps towards choosing an MPS provider that suits your corporation’s needs.

What to look for in an MPS provider

A proven track record

When selecting a partner to provide and manage your corporation’s printing processes, reliability will be essential. Do your homework and thoroughly research each prospective MPS provider. Online you will have access to endless reviews and feedback from other corporations. When networking, speak to professionals about their print service providers to gain some real-world insight.

Analysis of printing needs

A good provider of Managed Print Services will have tools to analyze the printing practices of your company. They should be able to provide detailed information regarding the time and money currently being spent on printing, scanning, document management and the maintenance of these services. This is something you can ask for when discussing initial quotes. Only with this information can you fully assess whether MPS will be right for your business.

Boosting productivity

Regarding printing practices, a high-quality MPS partner should have positive effects on your company’s productivity. The right provider will be flexible enough to adapt to your company’s needs while suggesting new processes and printing practices to boost productivity. Digitization and document archiving can also be achieved more efficiently with an experienced MPS provider.

Cost of integration

Different MPS providers will offer a range of solutions. It will be important to understand in advance how easily these solutions can be integrated into your corporation’s existing IT framework, and for what cost. Depending on the scale of the print service solution offered, integrating their processes may require a significant initial investment.

Ongoing assessment of needs

In order to assess whether your MPS investment was profitable and worthwhile, it is important to be able to monitor and evaluate performance. Find out what tools your MPS provider can offer for analyzing the cost-saving benefits on an ongoing basis.

Future-proof MPS

When choosing an MPS partner, it will be important to assess whether they can meet the demands of your enterprise as it grows, expands or evolves. Printing needs can change drastically over a six-month period. If your requirements change, how easily can you upgrade the services offered by your MPS partner? And will this cost you more? This will be very valuable to establish before signing a contract with a Managed Print Service provider.

Advantages of MPS

  • Especially for large enterprises, the IT department is relieved of the heavy workload involved in managing, maintaining and updating the company’s printers.
  • MPS can reduce printing costs whilst giving the printing practices of the business an overhaul.
  • Flexible printing solutions are available depending on the requirements of your corporation.
  • MPS is generally a more eco-friendly option. Not only can companies see a reduction in waste, but many MPS providers also offer cloud services and digital technologies to reduce the need for printing altogether.
  • For accurate budgeting, MPS offers enterprise corporations predictable printing costs.
  • Office space can be made available through the removal of bulky and out-dated printers.
  • MPS takes a proactive approach to printing by anticipating your company’s needs rather than reacting to them on an ad hoc basis.

Disadvantages of MPS

  • Depending on the size and nature of your business, it may be cheaper to run and maintain your own printers.
  • MPS usually involves a substantial initial investment. However, this will be offset rather quickly over time through overall savings on print management costs.
  • For businesses dealing with sensitive data, MPS could present a possible confidentiality issue when printing to a centralized location. This must be accounted for when assessing your printing needs and creating a suitable solution for all departments individually.
  • Some contracts with MPS providers state that the printer’s hardware can only be replaced by their technician. To avoid delays, it will be important to establish what hardware this applies to, and their response times in case of a printer issue.

As with all major company decisions, you should analyze the cost implications of using an MPS provider. Once you are sure that your enterprise corporation will benefit from MPS, choose a trustworthy brand that will most optimally meet your printing requirements while proactively improving workflow and document management. Once your corporation has made the initial investment in its Managed Print Services, you will soon be wondering how you could afford to do without it.