As businesses grow and evolve, so do their needs. While it’s sometimes easy to pinpoint the right time to make a change, like hiring a marketing manager or upgrading old computers, other changes can be harder to get just right. When it comes to printing needs, for example, things are rarely black and white.

Companies spend nearly 3% percent of their annual revenues on mismanaged print fleets. In spite of this, many companies don’t spend a lot of time thinking about print technology until they find themselves in need. If you’re at that crossroads, you may be wondering if it’s time to upgrade your equipment in-house or if it’s time to enlist the expertise of a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider.

When to Upgrade Your Equipment

1) You’re not up to date with new security

Did you know, nearly half of all cybersecurity attacks target small businesses? The same percentage of companies say they ignored printers in their endpoint security approach.

Although they might not appear to pose much of a security threat, printers and other hardware as just as susceptible to a breach as any data in your network.

If your current printer(s) doesn’t offer the following built-in security features, it might be time to consider an upgrade:

  • Password Protected Scanning: With password protected documents, only authorized employees have access to the data they need.
  • Authentication: Authentication makes it almost impossible for employees to leave sensitive documents sitting in the paper tray unattended. With this security feature, your team must identify themselves using a PIN at the printer to initiate the print process.
  • Print Encryption: This feature will encrypt data as it travels from a printer and throughout your business’ network to prevent hackers from being able to decipher important information.

2) You’re overspending

There are a lot of ways you can minimize print costs without reducing your print output – from implementing an office print policy to partnering with a managed print services (MPS) provider. But, overspending on printing – particularly if your print budget has inexplicably grown recently – is an obvious sign it’s time to replace that inefficient printer.

While service and repair costs jump off the page among your print-related expenses, many faulty printer-related costs aren’t so easy to spot. Operating costs such as ink and toner cartridges, or even power usage, quickly add up when your printer is outdated.

3) Your printer simply doesn’t meet your needs

Perhaps the most obvious sign it’s time to replace your printer is when you’re no longer able to keep up with office print needs with your existing hardware. Older printer models may not have all the functionality you need or the might simply be unable to keep up with increased printing volumes.

If you have standard laser or inkjet printers but your team regularly needs to copy or scan documents, it might be time to upgrade to a multi-functional printer or all-in-one solution. By investing in this type of hardware, you can reduce the total number of machines in your office and help your team avoid a lot of frustrating while also saving on energy and maintenance costs.

Here are some considerations to make when it comes to upgrading your legacy print fleet.

When to Outsource Print Solutions

Marketing drives a significant portion of annual print spend each year as businesses produce brochures, catalogs, direct mail, packaging, point-of-sale materials and other collateral. While print continues to play an important role in the overall marketing mix, you may be eager to increase spending in digital channels and social media. In this case, it may be time to consider outsourcing print and print procurement to a third-party management partner.

1) You don’t know how much you’re actually spending on print

If you don’t know how much you’re spending on print, it’s probably time to onboard an MPS provider. As your organization grows and your team uses print equipment and products at varying rates and volumes, it can be hard to keep track of the overall costs.

2) You’re not sure what your print needs are

It might seem like a strange thing to question, but understanding your actual print needs and team behaviors is a lot harder than it appears. An managed print services plan begins with a full audit of your organization’s current, actual print needs (and costs) and works with you to understand your goals, pain points, and create solutions unique to you.

3) You want to boost your sustainability

Maybe you know exactly how much you’re spending and how many sheets of paper or empty toner cartridges are sitting in bins in your office and your goal lies in reducing waste and hitting sustainability targets. An MPS plan can help you cut back on waste and save money by ensuring you always have the right amount of paper, ink, or toner and aren’t stockpiling things you don’t need.

If you’re hoping to inch towards a paperless solution, MPS can help there, too. As digitization continues to take over business, your MPS provider can help you transition to cloud-based storage solutions by transforming hard copy documents into digital copies.

You don’t need to choose one or the other!

Perhaps one of the best things about MPS solutions is that you don’t have to choose between upgrading your equipment or outsourcing. A good MPS plan will look at the full picture and build a scalable solution based on your business’ unique needs and goals. This means that you can have the best of both worlds.

While you may choose to outsource larger print jobs or even rely on your MPS provider for document storage solutions, you can also expect to have your full printer fleet audited. Your MPS provider will help you assess which printers need to be upgraded and which are still working well.