Choosing a managed print services provider can be a long process for most. With dozens of options, many offering completely different services, simply navigating solutions can be difficult. If you’re looking for a MPS provider, you can easily narrow options based on your organization’s size, exact needs, and local availability. Most MPS providers are completely different, which actually works in your favor to narrow solutions and find one that actually meets your needs.
Once you’ve found an MPS provider, it’s even easier to make mistakes when hiring or signing a contract. These 5 managed print services mistakes will help you avoid common issues, so you can get started with establishing a long and hopefully fruitful relationship with a new provider.
Not reviewing how MPS meet your needs
Managed print services are not the same for every organization. Different organizations make wildly different requests of managed print service providers, resulting in organizations offering an array of services that are sometimes completely different.
Organizations catering to small businesses will likely offer basic hardware and software installation and then primarily offer services like re-supply and maintenance. Larger organizations are significantly more likely to specialize in print optimization and ongoing management as a primary service, with initial print hardware supply being a secondary service.
This means that it’s important to review your exact needs and then to look for an MPS provider. If you know you need to reduce print usage, want to reduce C02 footprint, or would like to improve security, your MPS should meet those needs. If you have a strong IT team focused on print already in place and just need a high-end rental supplier, you could save money by looking for a stripped-down solution.
Failing to communicate properly
Most MPS providers will walk into a new relationship with no idea of what you want or need. It’s your responsibility to communicate what that is, through a combination of actually stating what you need and giving the MPS provider the information they need.
Most MPS providers will want to review your existing print network and data before offering a quote. They’ll also want to do a thorough analysis on your current print needs, paper usage, waste output, and so on. This is important in instances where managed print is about optimizing your print network and print usage.
Many organizations fail to communicate properly at this stage, resulting in recommendations that are less-than-perfect.
- Make time for a full analysis of existing print
- Share print data and give the provider the access they need
- Be ready to request information from employees for the MPS
In most cases, you can benefit from longer-term communication so the MPS provider gets a better idea of what your organization does, how it uses print, what is waste, and what can be optimized. This is especially true for larger organizations that primarily offer optimization services with hardware and software as an added bonus.
Sticking with your existing print hardware or policy
It’s easy to go into a relationship with a managed print services provider thinking you really just need a few new things. If you do so, you’re likely missing out on cost and waste-saving initiatives. For example, some organizations will prefer to keep existing hardware. This is especially true when that hardware is relatively new or relatively expensive. Others will prefer to keep existing print policies or software in place. All three can be a mistake.
An MPS provider will assess individual office and location needs to supply hardware that best meets those needs to prevent bottlenecking and wait-times, improve security, and improve print quality while reducing costs.
This may mean changing the capabilities of a printer, it may mean assigning higher-quality printers to some areas, and it may mean assigning printers with secure printing.
If your MPS provider recommends changing hardware, it is because their print experts think it will save you money. While the amount it’ll save will vary depending on your organization, print volume, and current setup, it can be considerable.
Most businesses don’t like making changes to internal policies, especially not when changes are coming from an external source. However, keeping your current print policy is a mistake if your MPS is suggesting changes.
Even making small changes like user access management, moving your printers onto IPv6, or defaulting to black and white double-sided printing will improve security and likely cut costs. If you have specific policies in place for a reason, you should discuss them with the MPS provider.
Making the switch to new software can be time-consuming and will require implementing training across your organization. For this reason, many businesses will resist it. However, new software will likely improve print management, allow for (or for improved) user access management, and will allow you to track metrics such as print usage, who’s printing files, to digitize files, and much more.
You can discuss specific benefits and features with your MPS for specifics, as this will change. However, most print management software will function to allow the provider to manage ink/toner and paper levels, to manage usage statistics, to manage maintenance and service levels, and to optimize devices and placement over time. Not making the switch is a mistake.
Looking at costs first
If you’re looking at MPS to save money it’s logical to prioritize the cheapest option. Unfortunately, this won’t always save you the most money.
Most MPS providers will offer different levels of service, so it’s more important to look at what you’re getting for the money rather than at base costs. If you’re getting a lot more under one plan than another, it might save you money over going with the cheaper option.
Failing to plan
Signing a contract with an MPS provider is forming a relationship. You intend to be working together for as long as possible, because the longer you work together, the more fruitful your relationship will be. The better the company understand your organization’s print needs, employees, growth, and current usage, the better they’ll be able to meet your needs.
Take time during contract setup to plan for future optimization and growth. Share plans, current expansion, and goals. And, take the time to set up defined points for re-assessment to ensure print devices remain optimized so you can continue saving money.
Switching to managed print services can offer a great deal to organizations of all sizes. With options to tailor services and hardware to specific business needs, ongoing print optimization as part of the service, and a range of solutions designed to improve print networking for even the most-complex organizations, managed print services simplify and improve print.