If your organization is considering managed print services, you’re not alone. The MPS market is growing at a rate of 5% (CAGR) per year, and is set to reach some $6.77 billion by 2023. This growth is typically based on ease of implementation and use, where organizations see an average of 17% savings when making the switch (IDC Research). In one high-profile case, the Newport City Council of the UK reduced paper waste by 30% and saved $1,024 million over 5 years of MPS implementation.

But, if you are considering implementation, it’s important to understand how – and why – that process works. Managed print services often offer value in managed services, leveraging tooling and data to optimize internal services, decreasing costs, and reaching green goals. This implementation process can be long, intensive, and significantly more than expected for organizations looking to remove the internal need to manage print. Here are the 3 major steps to implementing MPS.

1) Print Assessment

Sometimes called a print needs assessment or a print audit, the print assessment is the first step of implementing MPS. This stage can vary from a few weeks to over 6 months depending on the company, and will likely continue long after your MPS has been implemented.

Print assessments allow the managed print services provider to collect data relating to print usage, waste, energy usage, and print needs inside your organization. This includes how many pages are printed, what is printed, how content is printed, when content is printed, how much of it is used, how much of it is thrown away, and how long it takes to print.

It will also include a review of existing print hardware and software, network infrastructure and bottlenecks, and user familiarity and ability to navigate that hardware and software across the office. From there, most MPS audits move into assessing costs such as total cost per page, total cost of print, waste costs, repair and hardware costs, and contract costs.

Most will include steps that look something like this:

  • Interview employees and IT
  • Review print fleet (hardware, software, network)
  • Assess workflows, print needs, and actual usage
  • Collect network data (pages printed, network load, bottlenecks, types of pages printed, demand per user, etc.)
  • Check the location (number of printers, suitability of print locations, accessibility, etc.)
  • Organization goals (Improving productivity, reducing carbon footprint, etc.)

The idea is to create a complete picture of the print environment in your organization. It allows the MPS provider to understand what you have and what you need, so they can make recommendations, optimize hardware and software, and offer tools such as training to reduce waste time and resources.

2) Design Print Solutions

Your MPS should take information from the assessment and design a custom solution for your organization. This solution should function to meet the goals of the organization, employee needs, and work to optimize print wherever possible.

Some common implementation solutions include:

Right Sizing

This involves ensuring that printers meet the needs of teams using them and do not exceed them. Right-sizing reduces hardware costs while improving productivity and (in the case of over-provisioning) might reduce carbon footprint.

Consolidating

Most organizations acquire their print fleet over a number of years, from different providers, and through different types of contracts. This results in a mixed print fleet, sometimes multiple active contracts, and added complexity.

For example, having multiple types of printers means increasing the complexity of installing drivers, using printers, and maintaining them. Consolidating to a few models that meet the needs of specific teams ensures the same drivers work across the organization, parts and repair remain the same, and help desks only have to know how a few printers work.

Consolidating to a single contract will also reduce costs by cutting contract-related fees and reducing time-investment for managing them.

Optimizing

Your MPS provider will offer advice to optimize printer usage, access, and functionality. This might include changing the location of a printer. If accessibility is an issue, it might be a good idea to swap a large printer out for several smaller ones placed around an office. If under-utilization of certain locations is a problem, removing those and replacing them with a single model will save money. If some offices only use black and white printing, implementing mono printers is also cost-efficient. And, if specific teams frequently have higher end printing needs, implementing printers to meet their needs could be considerably more cost-effective than outsourcing those print jobs.

Optimizing may also relate to how and when users print. Most MPS can offer print standards to reduce print costs and material usage, security policies and training to reduce risks, and actual training to ensure everyone understands how printer hardware and software works.

3) Ongoing Management

Ongoing management is one of the most significant aspects of an MPS implementation, simply because it is the service. Your MPS provider should install tools that enable real-time print management and monitoring, should continue to assess print needs and usage, and continue to roll out and deliver solutions to optimize.

Depending on your organization, this could result in changing models for new ones that better suit team needs. It could mean implementing waste-reduction policies and training. It could mean delivering digitization and digital workflows to teams with high print needs. And, it almost always means delivering supplies, repairs, and maintenance in a fashion designed to reduce costs and waste time as much as possible.

Managed print service providers offer print services, but more often, they offer value with optimization, long-term management, and a process of continuous improvement. At the same time, not every MPS is the same. Some will offer bare bones print hardware, software, and supplies.

It’s important to review what your organization wants and needs, and to use that information when searching for an ideal solution, because it will heavily impact what you get.