If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve probably experienced one or more of your employees tying up the printer or copier with a large print job or project. Aside from being a nuisance for you and your other employees, printing in-house is not always the most cost-effective print solution for your company.

Beyond the up-front cost of purchasing printer or copier equipment, which can be prohibitive in and of itself, in-house printing comes with many added costs. Managing print needs in-house requires maintenance of equipment, IT support, regular ordering of supplies like ink, toner, and paper, and – of course – that equipment takes up valuable real estate within the office.

Relying on managed print service (MPS) companies to support your print needs can allow you to free up valuable time to concentrate on growing your business but, more than that, it can actually help you save money! MPS plans usually begin with an assessment that:

  • identifies office equipment such as copiers, printers, and faxes;
  • classifies the locations of office equipment;
  • learns about the volume and type of work generated or produced by your business to offer the best possible solutions to your needs;
  • detects the current software being used; and,
  • evaluates the labor, supplies, maintenance, and the costs of all in-house printing your business’ operations.

Once the MPS provider has completed their assessment, they can create a specific plan for your company and employees to maximize the effectiveness of your business projects. This may include printer recommendations, equipment relocation, software or hardware updates, outsourcing larger print jobs, and auto-ordering your supplies.

Since you’re probably not standing in font of the copiers or printers all day, you may not have good insight into what types of print projects are happening in the office.

Many small businesses run into problems when well-meaning employees print and assemble large projects that aren’t meant for in-house production.

Your MPS provider should also help you understand which types of projects are best handled by their service team and which projects can best be managed in-house, allowing you to maximize efficiency and stay within your print budget.

How an MPS can serve your business better

Having an MPS to handle your large printing needs doesn’t mean you won’t have printers or copiers within your office. Instead, your MPS can help you reduce costs and the general wear and tear of your office equipment in a number of other ways.

  1. Modifying printer or copier placement: Believe it or not, the physical location of your printer or copier equipment can make your office more efficient.
  2. Analyzing equipment usage: A good MPS provider will give you a full-picture idea of your printer or copier usage, paper flow, and the costs of each aspect of your business printing so you can optimize and add efficiencies.
  3. Reporting: Data junkies, rejoice! Your MPS can design customized reports shared at regular intervals for transparency and to offer visibility into your actual printing needs. A good MPS provider will also point out areas where you can improve efficiencies, adding more value to your business.
  4. Remote printing management: As we become more reliant on mobile devices, expect your staff to look to their iPhone for print capabilities. Your MPS provider should be able to help you set up and train your team on how to print from smartphones and tablets, even when outside the office.
  5. Auto-delivery of critical supplies: It might seem like an erroneous benefit, but if you’ve ever run out of toner mid-week you know how inconvenient it is to try to find the right one at a local store. Your MPS provider can provide you with a timeline for auto-deliveries based on your unique usage to ensure minimal equipment downtime. By sharing information with your MPS, they’ll also auto-adjust those timelines for busy or slow seasons to ensure you always have the right amount.
  6. Picking the right equipment for your in-house jobs: A well-designed MPS program will ensure you have the right printer or copier to avoid eating profits or adding unnecessary expenses caused by using equipment that has higher operating costs than you need. They may suggest upgrading equipment to increase productivity and lower costs, but they may also suggest downsizing your equipment, too, and they’ll be sure to help you find the right printer for your budget.
  7. Staff training: A good MPS provider can implement training with you and your staff so as to avoid overburdening your IT department with printing device issues, allowing them to focus on their projects and deliverables.

What else can you expect?

Much like any other sub-contracting of services, you can expect to see a shift your general workflow as your MPS provider begins to improve efficiencies and remove or modify print functions in-house.

MPS providers often offer document organization and storage services at off-site locations, which can help free up additional space in your office, or even reduce your costs related to storage solutions.

When you begin working with an MPS provider, you should receive a comprehensive plan that includes recommendations, an implementation timeline, as well as a full proposal outlining costs. You can expect to see change quickly in the form of new processes, vendors, tools, and suppliers. Early on, your MPS should provide you with monthly reporting so you can prepare for the future.

When it comes to your business, you know what you do and you do it well. Working with an MPS provider can help you focus on the things that matter most to your business’ growth without sacrificing or skimping on your business printing needs.

At the end of the day, partnering with a trusted MPS provider can help keep costs down while improving efficiencies in your business printing practices. Chances are good that you’ll have plenty of MPS providers to choose from, so be sure to understand your needs and identify the best provider for your small business.