Optimizing your business’s printing needs is a great goal – in theory. The actual process of getting there can feel a bit more daunting. Many companies outsource this process to a dedicated provider to devise effective managed printing services for their fleet.

Once developed, it can take just as much work on the client’s end to implement aspects of this service effectively. This article will take you through the many ways to get the most out of managed printing services.

Managed Printing Services Explained

Managed printing services (MPS) are a service solution, rather than a product, that provides a business with an effective way to maximize its printing efficiency and lower costs. Larger organizations often find themselves with multiple printers to maintain, aging equipment to update, and network security to monitor. This can get complicated quickly, and outsourcing their needs to an MPS can be just the solution.

As an industry, managed printing services is a rapidly growing sector, worth an estimated $44.4 billion in 2022 alone. It’s no wonder, seeing as a solid MPS gives a business control of its systems and relieves the stress of management. The right provider can offer an effective end-to-end solution with professional advice and off-site monitoring.

Putting Managed Printing Services to Work

Implementing an effective MPS is no small task and requires in-depth analysis from both parties through three main stages:

  1. Analysis
  2. Implementation
  3. Monitoring

To better understand the MPS process, let’s look at each role separately:

From the Provider

The outsourced provider will analyze, design, and oversee the implementation of an MPS system. While individual steps and approaches may vary, they generally follow these four stages:

  • Assessment – Here the provider works closely with the client business to assess the current state of the printing fleet. Weaknesses will be identified, and areas for improvement targeted, based on current printing needs and data. The more thorough the assessment, the more effective the MPS.
  • Design – The provider will take all findings and analyses and proceed to develop a bespoke solution for the business. This stage can include any number of actions, such as determining the specific custom software needed, creating maintenance routines, and ensuring network security.
  • Implementation – The provider uses this information to put the MPS into practice. If necessary, data is encrypted, software installed business-wide, and print monitoring systems established. Of course, no system introduction is without issues, and the provider will also seek to address these as they arise.
  • Management – The provider then monitors the operation of the MPS, updating and patching as needed. They’ll also make any needed repairs or replacements to the printing fleet (based on the service contract) and keep all data it handles secure.

From the Business

At the same time, the business also has responsibilities concerning MPS implementation. This includes:

  • Analysis – The business should conduct a thorough analysis of its current printing setup and compile this information to share with the provider. In addition, all potential threats, weaknesses, and areas for growth should be discussed too.
  • Preparing the way – To facilitate a smoother implementation of the MPS, the area that will house the printing fleet should be made as ready as possible, and all staff briefed on the immanent changes.
  • Proper training – If systems are to be optimized and new changes introduced, then the employees who will use them need to be adequately prepared. A business should conduct training to familiarize staff with the new equipment, ideally with the provider’s help.
  • Regular feedback – It’s important to listen to those using the system. Ground-level input can provide valuable insights that are often overlooked by management. Regular feedback sessions can be used to collect suggestions and complaints to improve the MPS.
  • Monitoring – Much like the provider, the business will need to keep an eye on the MPS to ensure its efficiency. If equipment breaks, new printers are needed, or data breaches occur, the business will need to notify the provider quickly.

From Both Parties

It’s important for the provider and the business to work closely together to ensure that an MPS is doing its job. Both parties should work together to set goals for what they want to achieve. Concrete and measurable milestones are easier to monitor than abstract ideas. The service level agreement (SLA) between the provider and the business is a good place to outline these.

What’s more, both parties should be open to feedback and improvement. Both can conduct joint and separate performance reviews to track whether quotas are being met, costs minimized, and efficiency adequately streamlined.

What Makes a Good Provider?

Of course, an MPS is only as good as the partner you choose. Finding the right provider can be a tricky task, but easier if you bear the following in mind:

  • Your needs – Every business is different. Before choosing a provider, it’s helpful to consider other factors besides the budget. There’s the size of your business, your average printing volume, security needs, and future growth prospects, to name a few.
  • Multiple quotes – Don’t be afraid to ask for quotes from different providers. Compare not just the costs, but the additional value of services that they’ll be bringing to the table. Do they offer regular toner replacement? Will they upgrade your equipment for discounted rates?
  • Reputation – There are plenty of reliable providers whose names often do the talking for them. Look for established providers with a proven track record. Be sure to check their reviews online and ask friends and colleagues for their own recommendations.
  • Compliance – A provider should be familiar with local data protection and privacy statutes and ensure that any MPS is compliant with these. Ask potential providers about their frameworks.

A Service That Lasts

The success of managed printing services lies in their proper implementation and regular maintenance once up and running. It takes the combined efforts of both organization and provider to make this happen.

If your business is looking for the right partner in the Troy, Detroit, or Flint areas, then look no further than Elite Imaging Systems. We have both the professionalism and expertise to tailor an MPS for companies of any size. With close to 30 years of industry experience, we’re well-equipped to optimize your print fleet and ensure its continued success. Contact us today.