Choosing the right managed print services (MPS) for your organization is challenging with multiple providers clamoring to get your business. MPS is not a one-size-fits-all solution because no two businesses are identical – even when they may seem the same – making it even harder to find the right provider.

Finding an MPS provider that meets most (if not all) of your needs can seem like an insurmountable task, which is why it’s so important to complete both internal and external evaluations throughout your search and decision-making process.

For the print-heavy business

As the world races towards more and more digitization, some businesses may find their printing needs remain stable, For these businesses – such as law firms or healthcare/medical practices – document printing, organization, storage, and management are key to day-to-day functions.

Take, for example, a large law firm with multiple floors. Finding the right MPS provider may include identifying the MPS that can provide auto-ordering of supplies, while also assessing, updating, and even relocating printers and copiers throughout the office to help maximize efficiency through continuous process improvement. The MPS provider can assess the law firm’s needs, remove dead weight, and help define a better workflow for employees.

Further, for document storage, the MPS plan may include off-site storage and digitization services to help reduce the amount of space needed to store files. Many providers will also offer staff training to remove the burden of managing print equipment in-house from IT.

While the provider who can offer these solutions may be perfect for the law firm, it may miss the mark for the upscale restaurant around the corner. With seasonal menus and oft-changing specials, printing costs can escalate quickly. The right MPS provider may offer off-site printing with volume discounts. In addition, the plan could include updating in-house print equipment, providing auto-ordering of print supplies, and training for staff on troubleshooting printer issues.

For the print-light companies

If your business is not traditionally print-heavy, such as a building contractor or car garage, there’s no need to go with a full-service MPS provider who manages your printing needs, provides storage, and touts high-volume discounts for its clients. Instead, you may wish to look to a provider who can best support you in setting up the right in-house printing infrastructure, manage your material ordering, and offer training on in-house equipment.

They’ll help you create an MPS plan that reduces the need for IT services, streamlines your workflow, and allows you to focus on your business. Some benefits you’ll enjoy may include remote printing from mobile devices to allow your teams to quickly tee-up invoices on the go and send to print via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections to reduce the workflow bottleneck of getting to a computer. With your MPS provider giving in-house training, you and your team will have the know-how to handle day-to-day issues as they arise.

Although each MPS provider may have a robust offering, finding the MPS that makes the most sense for your unique business can feel like the hunt for a proverbial needle in a haystack. Here’s how to find the right one for you:

Know your own needs

Before you reach out to an MPS provider, conduct your own internal evaluation to define your overall objectives and goals for implementing a managed print solution. There will be some key differentiators between products and providers, and depending on your business, they could be nice-to-haves but not necessarily must-haves.

A few questions to ask yourself may include: 1. How many customers or machines do you currently have? Are any currently under an MPS contract? 2. If you have an MPS contract, what does it currently include? 3. What are your goals and/or expectations for the MPS program? Do you want to streamline or improve processes or lower costs?

An external evaluation will help you match your needs to the features and functions of available MPS solutions. Much of this research can be completed online, but you’ll need to reach out to service providers on your short list to discuss the nitty gritty details. Your responses to your internal evaluation questions will help you eliminate providers who can’t meet your needs early on to allow you to create a short list and simplify the decision-making process.

Regardless of your business industry, size, location, or number of employees, or your unique needs, there are a few key points you’ll want your MPS solution to provide:

  1. Ability to provide multi-vendor support Look for an MPS provider who can support all the types of equipment your office currently has, as well as the necessary expertise required for services and repairs.
  2. Supports business growth Your provider should be dedicated to improving the efficiency of your office print infrastructure to help boost your business’ performance and enhance productivity.
  3. Enables mobile printing As businesses evolve from desktop to computers to mobile devices, the demand for mobile printing is increasing rapidly. Look for an MPS provider able to offer apps or extensions that fulfill the needs of mobile printing as well as smart managed print services that can optimize and streamline both processes and workflow.
  4. Maintains flexibility and consistency Your MPS provider should always be poised to pivot as the needs of your business change. Ideally, they should be flexible enough to provide solutions as your needs change while maintaining consistency in the standards of delivering those services over the lifetime of your partnership.

At the end of the day, not all managed print service (MPS) providers are the same, and finding the unique MPS that meets the needs of your business can be challenging but the pay-off is well worth the hunt.