Managed print services are quickly taking over the print industry, with a 5% compounded annual growth rate, and estimated to be valued at $6.77 billion by 2023.

Most of this growth stems from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in North America, who are rapidly adopting managed print services, typically with cloud tools.

While these SMEs vary in size, motivation, and print output, they typically move to MPS for similar reasons, including hardware reduction, reducing the cost of consumables, and adding on new technologies.

Fewer In-House Resources Make Outsourcing Profitable

SMEs, 89% of which maintain fewer than 20 employees, are notoriously short on resources. Printers are installed and maintained either by the people who use them or a limited IT team, office personnel are responsible for maintenance and ordering supplies, and when something goes wrong, it impacts business.

With fewer resources available, employees must divert attention from their role to troubleshoot, call repair, order supplies, or manage repairmen. Improvements are almost never done, because there is no one to manage the system as a whole, unless a limited IT team takes it on as a side project. Even then, print is never a priority.

Managed print services change that. Outsourcing to fully managed print services means reducing costs in several ways while improving the efficiency of the system. Managed print allows SME teams to focus on core competencies, not on printing, which can dramatically cut costs.

  • Hours employees spend on printers (management, ordering supplies, repair management). Who normally manages this in each team? How much time do they spend per month? How much do you pay them per hour?
  • Total downtime, including hours spent offline because of malfunctions and repair, hours spent offline because of lack of supplies, hours spent waiting for repair or maintenance, hours spent with print servers offline, etc. What work is delayed? What employees are delayed? How much waste time is generated? What does it cost?

Small businesses have fewer resources, meaning that any allocation of internal resources to print is a large investment. Print services are still necessary, so “someone has to do it”, but internally, it almost always takes someone else away from their core responsibilities or role. Managed print service providers step in to provide this service as a core responsibility, increasing the quality and reducing the total cost of that service.

Large organizations can more easily set up a print team inside the organization, therefore reducing the total business impact of print. However, even large organizations often outsource to reduce costs.

Reducing Printer Costs

Managed print services also work to reduce the cost of print, print services, and supplies. While this won’t be true for every organization and you may be able to purchase print supplies more cheaply than through an MPS vendor, the chances are very slim.

Total costs for supplies

This is most-easily calculated as cost-per page to print (separate for color and monochrome). Most MPS providers offer contracts starting from about 0.3 cents per page, although standard rates are normally around 0.04 for black and white and 0.11 for color.

MPS can reduce costs on their end by ordering in bulk for all their clients, and then distribute to you at either wholesale or only fractionally above it.

Maintenance costs

What do you pay for maintenance calls? Are you contracting with multiple repair technicians? Is this provided as part of a lease? What is the rate per hour? Is there a travel or service fee?

MPS typically roll repair and maintenance into contract costs, meaning you receive no additional fees.

In addition, MPS offer repair and maintenance as part of the service, so someone is always on call to handle problems or replace the printer, sometimes in as little as 4-8 business hours.

What about contract costs?

How many contracts do you maintain? Do you pay a contract fee? How much could you save by consolidating to a single contract for hardware, software, repair, maintenance, supplies, etc.

SMEs typically have little bargaining power on their own, but an MPS vendor orders a larger volume of printers and print supplies. This reduces total costs for everyone involved.

MPS Opens Up Opportunities for Better Technology

Most small businesses cannot afford to replace all in-house printers, upgrade technology to introduce automation, or introduce digital management tools for digitization, management, and security. An MPS can.

Replacing old printers

Management, supplies, and repair costs for an old printer may exceed the cost of replacing it, sometimes over a remarkably short period of time. MPS assessments mean having old and outdated equipment updated to reduce total costs to electric, supplies, repair and maintenance, and to reduce carbon footprint. These new printers are provided on a lease basis, meaning no upfront investment, making MPS a very accessible solution for SMEs.

Automation

Automation is rapidly improving finance, retail, and reporting. AI tools auto-manage document workflows, approve processes, handle payrolling, and handle documentation.

A digital workflow means that a simple receipt process might print a receipt, file a copy in a digital archive, and log process approval for the document.

Automation can save considerable man-hours in industries including retail, finance services, banking, healthcare, and many others. But, most SMEs don’t have the resources to implement and manage this technology on their own. MPS can, and often deliver it as a basic service, included as part of digital management software.

Clear visibility

Digital print management tools help small businesses determine where and how printers are used, where costs are coming from, and where to improve efficiencies and security.

Digital print management software also offers considerable increases in security, user access management, and file management – enabling solutions like pull printing, access levels, guest printing, global network firewalls and management, automated security alerts, and remote security controls to shut print devices down or disconnect them from the network in case of flags.

SMEs typically leave printer security to an afterthought, but printers are a massive cybersecurity risk for most, and implementing universal security measures is critical.

Managed print services typically function to offer a full-package print experience, complete with digital tools, cost reduction, carbon footprint reduction, increase in productivity, and hardware. This increases the value of the service, and for many SMEs, means you get more for less total investment.

However, managed print isn’t for everyone, not every region will offer competitive and quality MPS, and it’s always critical to conduct a cost-analysis and review before signing a contract.