For practically every business, documentation is the lifeblood of a company. Whether it’s invoices, order forms, agreements, memos, employee records, tax returns, or any other number of business-related paperwork, there are countless items that need to be printed on a given day.
As a company grows, its printing demands increase exponentially. Eventually, it reaches a tipping point where successfully managing printing and its associated maintenance and operational costs becomes unsustainable.
This is why, increasingly, companies are outsourcing with printing specialists known as managed print service (MPS) providers. But what are managed print services? And why should you consider enlisting their assistance?
What Is Print Management?
Managed print service providers are external printing specialists that partner with a business to optimize and manage their document output. While there are several reasons why they’ve become an integral facet of enterprise operations, there are four primary benefits they can provide:
- Lowering printing costs
- Maintaining functionality to reduce printer downtime
- Increasing security
- Creating print accountability
- Optimizing printer deployment
But why is print management necessary?
All too often in a normal printing environment, printing costs are uncontrolled and the systems are inefficient. The environment typically consists of various laptop and desktop clients that use an amalgamation of shared workgroup color printers, shared workgroup B&W and Color Laser Printers.
Naturally, this decentralized printing model can lead to several issues, including:
- Users are free to print any quantity of documents to any printer.
- Users do not have any need to consider or care about printing costs. Because of this, more documents are printed in color or only single-sided (which adds to costs).
- For smaller printing needs, users have no incentive to print at a workgroup printer rather than a personal printer, despite the increased costs of using a smaller printer.
- Printing bottlenecks often occur when one department or employee has outsized printing needs, and thus dominates the shared printer.
Put simply, in this standard printing environment, there are no controls on costs, let alone on security and efficiency. Left unchecked, this can become exorbitantly costly. Gartner estimates:
“Total print costs—including hardware, maintenance, supplies and support—comprise 1% to 3% of a company’s overall revenue. Studies show the average employee printing cost is approximately $150 annually just for ink and
Additional Maintenance and Operational Considerations with In-House Printing
When accounting for the various costs associated with printing, it’s important to think beyond the surface-level supply costs for items like paper and toner. You must also consider:
- Capital investments – Companies need to purchase the printers, copiers, and various other printing technology hardware in order to meet their demands. Finding the equilibrium point between too many and too few can be a major challenge.
- Security – A company will inevitably have to print confidential and essential documents related to its processes, employees, and IP. Depending on the business and industry, there may also be legal requirements and regulations that require companies to protect their clients’ privacy.
- Efficiency – When printing bottlenecks occur, employees waste time waiting for their opportunity to print. Similarly, when employees don’t care to control costs, you inevitably have wasted printing output.
- IT – In a normal workplace, an inordinate amount of an IT expert’s time is spent on printer maintenance and repair—a job that is a poor use of their skills and which they may not even be qualified to handle.
To the latter point on IT, according to IDC: “The average cost of a helpdesk call is between $20 and $25, and between 35% and 50% of helpdesk calls are print-related.” When you multiply this number by the number of employees and the number of help-related calls, the costs become exorbitant.
What Services Does Print Management Provide?
To control costs, a company must have a print management strategy. To do this, a company or MPS provider must create a managed print services implementation plan. Done right, this identifies actions a business can take to boost productivity, cut overhead expenses, heighten security, and create accountability within the print environment.
And this is where managed print services providers come in.
To begin, an MPS provider will conduct a thorough audit of your printing environment. In doing so, they can then determine your printing needs related to scanning, printing, copying, and security.
Typically, there are four primary goals of this initial analysis:
- Consolidate as needed – For some businesses, reducing the total number of printing devices and redirecting users toward shared workgroup multifunction printers (MFP) can immediately reduce costs and improve their cyberdefense posture.
- Replace outdated printers – An older legacy printer may still be inadequate for a business’ needs. It could lack the printing features, capabilities, and security compliance a company requires. By replacing these models with newer substitutes, a company can immediately create efficiencies while reducing potential problems.
- Improve security and compliance – For many companies, printing actually represents one of the most vulnerable security gaps. Whether it’s a document left in a printing tray or data stored in the machine, there are countless ways that an insecure printing environment can result in costly HIPAA or PCI violations.
- Optimize printer location – Often, the ratio of printers to employees is higher than needed. Also, the area a printer is located can impede workflows. An MPS team can help determine the total number of required printers and provide advice as to their ideal in-office placement.
After this assessment is finished, a managed print services provider will create a strategy that involves hardware replacement, parts and supplies management, maintenance, and repair. They’ll also conduct employee education, install a managed print server to heighten user accountability, and then regularly conduct internal assessments and optimizations.
United Laser—Your Dedicated MPS Provider
For many businesses, it’s easy to overlook the costs and potential issues innate to their printing environment. But such neglect can all too easily result in wasted resources and internal inefficiencies.
This is why working with a managed print services company is vital. But where do you find the right partner for this critical business task?
That’s where the team at United Laser can assist. Our experts provide an innovative print management system that maximizes the potential of your printer fleet. With United Laser, toner costs are controlled, maintenance and repair labor is free, and services are offered nationwide, saving your business time and money.
To discover more, reach out today!
Network World. The savings from print management is like picking low-hanging fruit. https://www.networkworld.com/article/2179692/the-savings-from-print-management-is-like-picking-low-hanging-fruit.html.
Cisomag. 60% of Enterprises Suffer Data Loss Due to Printer Security Breaches. https://cisomag.eccouncil.org/60-of-enterprises-suffer-data-loss-due-to-printer-security-breaches/
IDC. Beneath the Surface: The True Cost of Enterprise Printing. https://www.officeproductnews.net/sites/default/files/BeneathTheSurface.pdf