Managed Print Services are quickly becoming popular as large-scale industries adopt them to save money and improve security. Businesses can typically reduce office printing costs with MPS, especially when upgrading from older printers, working with multiple lease and supply vendors, or when working from a state of over-capacitation. If saving money with MPS is your primary goal, it’s important to understand how, when it is likely, and what to expect.

For example, most MPS will increase monthly costs quite a bit. Rather than paying for printers upfront, you’re paying an ongoing monthly fee, which may appear to greatly increase costs. However, MPS vendors also offer a range of services designed to cut excess printing, reduce unnecessary hardware, reduce the cost of print supplies, and otherwise save you money by optimizing your print network. The following information covers how MPS reduces office print costs, so you can use it when making a decision for your organization.

Optimizing Printer Hardware for Your Environment

Many offices over or under-size printers for their office which can exponentially increase costs. The average office operates with anywhere from one printer per person to an average spread of about 1 printer per 10 people, while the estimated ideal is 1 printer (20 sheets per output) per 4.4 people. Of course, your actual ideal number of printers per employee will vary a great deal depending on actual use, type of business, and how much is printed instead of handled digitally.

In other instances, offices will have assessed print needs for the highest volume users and installed to that capacity across the office. This can result in huge cost increases for both print, ink or toner, and general maintenance. For example, if one team needs large-scale printing or high-quality printing for posters and banners, it’s unlikely that you’d have to replicate these quality or size needs across your organization.

An MPS will step into your environment and optimize your printer hardware for your office, use instances, and the people using them. They then push hardware to meet specific needs, so that a high-performance graphics and design team will receive printers that meet their print-volume and quality needs, while people in accounting will receive different hardware to meet their needs. This prevents you from over-capacitating, so that you don’t spend too much on hardware, or on paper.

How much can this save? That depends a great deal on your existing setup, whether you’ve purchased or are leasing existing hardware, and how printers are being used. However, it will cut run-costs, will ensure that everyone has printers that meet their needs, and will work to reduce under-capacitation in teams that need but do not have printers as well.

Managing Print-Usage with Digital Software

Surveys suggest that the average employee prints 34 pages per day, 17% of which are unused, and 64% of which are trashed on the same day. While these statistics are based on small surveys by companies in the print industry, they are meaningful, especially as larger data shows that most organizations don’t actually know what they spend on printing.

One feature provided by managed print services is digital print management. An MPS vendor will install a software solution offering a range of tools including access management, user management, and print queue and history. This allows you to monitor and manage what is bring printed, by whom, and when. While these features won’t help you to completely cut out unnecessary printing, it will give you an idea of what is being printed, which you can then tackle based on its relevance and importance. For example, if you’re paying 30 cents per page to print, creating a team-by-team initiative to print less could greatly reduce costs.

Digital software also reduces the need to print more by maintaining a digital queue and history, so that backup files are automatically saved online. Employees don’t have to print backup copies, because they won’t be going anywhere, and they can simply return to the printer when files are needed again.

Reducing Printer-Supply and Repair Costs

Some estimates suggest that 23% of all IT calls are printer related. In addition, the cost of repairing and maintaining printers goes up exponentially after the first 3-5 years. As a single organization, you also likely pay a premium for ink, toner, and paper refills, which may be sourced through a single vendor, or several.

Moving to MPS means that all of this is handled for you as part of your contract. When someone has a problem with a printer, they call an external IT helpline, and talk to someone who is a printer expert. Your internal IT won’t be tied up with printer problems and your printer problems will be handled by people who specialize in print. At the same time, most printer repair is handled through third-party contracts or one-off contracts, meaning you wait a longer period for a repair and pay more. An MPS will include repairs in your contract so that when you have hardware problems, they can quickly send someone to repair, at no extra cost to you.

Finally, most MPS include printer supplies, which can be sourced significantly more cheaply through larger and bulk purchases. This can reduce the cost of paper and ink. It also means that you won’t likely run out of either, as your vendor will provide both as part of your contract and can provide based on your needs so that you consistently have enough.

Managed print services can be more expensive than simply leasing printers. They can also be more costly in the long-term over purchasing printers. However, they can save you a great deal of money when you calculate in the long-term costs of printer-repair and maintenance, IT calls, supplies, replacing broken hardware, and print mismanagement.

MPS vendors work to optimize your total print network, which means providing printers to your volume and quality needs and reducing costs, optimizing your print-usage over time with software and education, and maintaining printers in optimum working condition or replacing them as something newer and more efficient reaches the market. While there are pros and cons, for example, if you already have newer printers you will want to double check costs, most organizations can reduce total energy and paper usage, which will cut costs.