8 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Managed Print Services Program

By: on December 16th, 2010

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8 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Managed Print Services Program

Managed Print Services, or MPS, as the name implies, is managing the office print and copy process as a service. You either do it yourself or outsource to a trusted service provider. MPS helps centralize the print and copy responsibility for the entire office in order to make smarter decisions across the company. A well-run MPS program can save time, money and improve productivity if done right.

Here are 8 ways to evaluate your current MPS program:

1 -- Does your MPS program put the emphasis on “management” or on “print”?

A successful MPS program requires people, process, and technology (hardware and software). If the program’s focus is on the equipment to deploy, including a break-fix contract price, terms and supplies, but leaves out the organizational structure and process performance, then you do not have a true, comprehensive MPS program in place. A more effective MPS program will focus on who will be accountable for results, how to manage the process that will deliver the results, and what equipment to use for print/copy/fax/scan processes.

2 -- Is all the equipment managed equally?

If your MPS program does not manage all the equipment in your environment equally, no matter who owns the equipment or what OEM provides the maintenance, then you have a fragmented print service operation that is subject to a lowest “cost-per-copy” contract and you are probably unaware of many higher, hidden costs.

3 -- Is there one point of accountability and one invoice to pay?

One defining characteristic of a well-rounded MPS program is a single point of accountability for the entire office print/copy/fax/scan service. By centralizing the responsibilities for managing all of the equipment, people and processes, you can leverage procurement scale, standardization, budget consolidation, and have one consolidated invoice to pay.

4 -- Are the MPS tools installed and used?

One building block of an MPS program is the ability to monitor fleet activity (i.e. collecting output, service and cost data) as well as automate processes (proactive machine faults/alerts, meter collection and reporting overall performance.) Technology tools are necessary in order to meet these goals. These tools include, at the very least, an electronic monitoring system, an MPS call center application and a reporting system. Assessment, user behavior modification and MFP workflow solutions tools also can help.

5 -- Does the MPS program provide an initial in-depth assessment?

An in-depth assessment is recommended before starting an MPS program to establish a baseline of your fleet’s current state. The assessment should provide a roadmap for moving from the fleet’s current state to its future state. A list of the existing equipment to be kept, re-deployed, and retired should be one output. A map of current equipment, utilization and device-to-user ratios is another output. You can also create several future-state recommendations based on desired outcomes (such as total costs) along with best-of-breed equipment specifications.

6 -- Will the MPS program re-balance and optimize the fleet continuously?

Maintaining an excessive amount of equipment is expensive. Determining precisely how much equipment is needed, including the requirements of each location, involves delicate measurements and frequent reviews. Idle or overused equipment can be expensive in terms of dollars or user satisfaction. An MPS program should include periodic reviews (quarterly or annual at the minimum) by experts who can recommend optimization changes as necessary.

7 -- Will the MPS program relieve the IT help-desk from print-related issues?

According to IT help-desk studies, a significant number of calls to the IT help-desk (approximately 20%) involve relatively basic issues related to toner, machine service, etc. An MPS program should relieve the IT help-desk from these calls by providing an 800 number to the MPS call center, ideally backed by on-site and remote call center support, for resolving these issues.

8 -- Does the MPS program provide staff and subject matter experts to manage the MPS process?

Buyers often forget there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that must be done to manage office print/copy/fax/scan processes. Here is a partial list of MPS responsibilities that do not come with basic equipment maintenance:

  • ordering supplies and re-stocking consumables on a daily basis
  • providing preventive maintenance and first-level response
  • managing multiple OEM service providers
  • managing procurement, which includes consolidating and standardizing contracts and rates as they expire
  • overseeing the budget
  • verifying invoices and resolving bill disputes
  • coordinating equipment moves/changes
  • responding to user needs and conducting user satisfaction surveys
  • coordinating with IT
  • reporting performance and financials
  • planning ahead for effective program management
  • reviewing device utilization and overall performance
  • making optimization decisions
  • managing assets (maintaining equipment lists and data, planning and coordinating moves, adds, changes and disposals)

Customers are getting smarter about the total cost of ownership when they buy or replace office print equipment. But these companies don’t always recognize how important a comprehensive managed print services program is to realizing the full benefits of the newest technology. These 8 Things provide a checklist for making sure people, process, and technology are all considered when implementing an MPS program.

Screen shot 2010-12-16 at 11.00.35 AM Today's guest blogger is Ted Ardelean from Océ Business Services Inc. Ted is Director of Segment Marketing and leads the segment marketing function. He analyzes business processes, workflow, and technology solutions and helps develop document process efficiency solutions. Ardelean has more than twenty years business experience including management consulting, accounting and finance, marketing, and business process outsourcing. He has worked in manufacturing, management consulting, office systems, manufacturing and distribution, IT consulting, and document process outsourcing industries.  Ardelean is a certified AIIM Electronic Records Management (ERM) master. He received an MBA from Adelphi University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College, CUNY.