Managed Print Services (MPS) allow you to outsource the entire printing process to a third party, which can be greatly beneficial in that you don’t have to invest in machinery upfront or develop the infrastructure to do so.

In most cases, MPS is simply a form of managed IT services, where an external vendor provides the equipment you need, manages printing and performance, and maintains your printing and imaging to meet standards.

This can be significantly more cost-effective than investing in and maintaining these services yourself, but like most other managed services, there are many pros and cons.

The benefits of MPS will largely depend on your organization, vendor, and needs, so it is important to carefully examine the pros and cons in relation to your organization.

Pros and cons of MPS

Pro: Short-Term Costs

Costs are the largest pro and con of any managed service. MPS may also impact your organization’s costs differently depending on the level to which you use print services, how much you utilize them, and your needs.

The largest consideration here is that using an MPS allows you to simply lease printing hardware, with supplies and maintenance included as part of the bundle. Your company won’t have to invest in expensive printing hardware upfront, you won’t have to compromise on a cheaper or less-efficient model, and you can get it immediately. When something goes wrong, something breaks or a new model comes out, your contract will likely cover maintenance, repair, or replacement.

Con: Ownership

One of the cons of MPS is that you don’t own the machinery, which means you may end up leasing for years and still not end up with your own machine at the end of it.

To balance the pros and cons of ownership vs cost, predict the total cost of purchasing the hardware you need yourself, predict how long you will need it before an upgrade, and what maintenance and supply costs are likely to be.

If the ratio is close enough that alleviating the demand on cash flow now is worth it, MPS can pay off.

Pro: Visibility

Managed print services gives you a clear view of exactly how your resources are being used, so you can see where to cut down. You’ll also be able to make better decisions regarding which print devices are necessary, how many are needed, and if they are paying off.

Many MPS also offer document tracking services through the cloud, where printer access, print-areas, and users are each monitored. This will help you locate who printed what for company transparency.

Pro: Security

Your hardware and online access will likely be much more secure when printing hardware is sourced through an MPS. Here, MPS providers can monitor print and paper usage, often have large-scale printer management software in place and will work to quickly fix problems and security issues as they occur.

For example, most MPS will integrate enterprise-level security with authentication protocols, encryption, and passwords to prevent unauthorized access to printable materials.

MPS typically means remote access, so that you can print and access files from any device.

Con: Set-up Time

It takes more time to contract with an MPS provider, have them analyze your needs, and then wait for them to deliver and install your machines. In contrast, simply buying your own printer means that you can set it up and get up and running right away.

Pro: Repairs and Maintenance

Repairs and maintenance are one of the primary reasons many organizations choose to move to MPS. Outsourced printer repair and maintenance can help you to reduce costs a great deal. Handling repairs yourself will mean either having a dedicated printer technician on hand for repairs and technical support or tying IT up with constant printer requests. Moving those requests to a third-party service, with its own dedicated customer service and IT technicians will reduce costs on your end. It will also reduce costs in terms of paying for replacement parts, printer supplies, and replacing broken machinery.

MPS will have less downtime than owned services, simply because most organizations don’t have the means to integrate dedicated IT for print services anyway.

Con: Waiting Time

Outsourcing printer help and support will mean that it’s not in-house. Meaning that onboarding, repairs, and replacement will likely take longer than if handled in-house. Here, you will have to call the MPS provider, go through their process for repair or replacement, and wait for a technician to show up. This can take longer than if you had an in-house IT team.

Pro: Paper Usage and Waste

Managed Print Services offer you more control over where and how printers are used and when paper is used. This can work to reduce overall costs and can help you to track who is printing, where, and why. This is most likely to pay off in offices that already use a lot of printed paper, simply because centralizing information, creating new print protocols, and forcing individuals to go to a central printer will reduce total print usage.

In some cases, integrating MPS can increase paper usage, in that printers are more accessible, typically available to everyone, and often always on. This may slightly increase costs over limiting printing to specific individuals who require print services.

Managed print services have several pros and cons, most of which depend on your organization, current funds, and need of service. You may also choose to lease print hardware without a management contract (you lease machinery without supplies or repairs), which has its own pros and cons versus MPS.

In either case, it’s important to review your organization’s needs, current expectations for a print system, and current ability to invest in and manage that on your own. From there, you can likely easily see if MPS is a good fit for your company or not.