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Managed Print Services 3 Stages to Reducing Print Costs

Part of the growth cycle of businesses and government organisations is the fact that new departments or workgroups are created to address emerging needs. Often these have their own budgets and cost centres. This, historically, means that acquisition of copiers and print devices is often made without reference to any centralised focus, resulting in a loss of efficiency and profitability.

Managed Print Services (MPS) has, in recent years, become the benchmark concept for print cost control. It involves managing print/copy device fleets (copiers, printers, multifunction devices, and fax machines) in an intelligent, centrally-controlled way.

Naturally, this can be part of an internal re-organisation. But MPS as a term is usually associated with outsourcing the print fleet specification and acquisition to an external supplier. Such a supplier can provide and end-to-end management function to include a Print Audit for the entire organisation. It can also specify equipment type and numbers, supply hardware, networking and software systems, plus associated support and ongoing management of faults, consumables and upgrades.

Managed Print Services - the stages toward implementation

a. SWOT Analysis: A complete "Strengths and Weaknesses" profiling of all current devices and their uses in different departments and workgroups. During this phase of MPS implementation, the watchword is to establish and document a complete control of the existing device fleet, by analysing use of currently owned assets

b. Optimisation: At this point, the implementation is focused upon optimising the existing printer / copier fleet. Devices can be re-deployed and better used throughout the organization - possibly without the need to get rid of equipment or purchase any new equipment

However, there would usually be a very strong argument emerging from the SWOT analysis, for the rationalisation of the printer estate and the standardisation of the print platform to a single vendor. Not least, this would ensure that truly universal print drivers can be deployed across the organisation, immediately giving savings in terms of IT resources.

3) Development of Processes: Once the hardware, functionality and networking of systems is complete, then business processes to improve efficiency, save costs and minimise environmental impact are all part of any MPS initiative.

This might include, for example, the implementation of "sleep" mode at night, introduction of mono vs. colour defaults (colour only when necessary, or under password supervision) and ensuring everyday print is black and white and double sided, hopefully moving the fleet from a single sided environment, to a mainly duplex one.

In addition, the introduction of a single cost per page pricing structure (regardless of print type) facilitates the monitoring of costs across the whole print network, easily charged out across various sites or departments.

Managed Print Services - Suppliers

Managed Print Services providers have in the past tended to be hardware-centric and focussed on particular equipment manufacturers such as Canon, Hewlett-Packard or Xerox. However the most successful providers have moved more and more to the service-led element, specifying infrastructure first and then defining the hardware solutions from particular manufacturers to support the specification.

About Author Jimi St Pierre :

Jimi St. Pierre writes for several Managed Print Services companies in the UK, including Principal I Ltd, [ <a href="" target="_blank"></a> ] the Horsham-based business solutions provider and Print Audit experts.

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Article Added on Friday, September 17, 2010
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