Printing in business organisations is a mostly taken-for-granted activity. Denied the attention it truly deserves, printing service setups are often ad hoc and chaotic. In the absence of a good maintenance system, IT staff too end up spending large chunks of their time resolving printing related issues or unexpected breakdowns. Wastage resulting from misuse of equipment or frequent breakdowns drives up costs further. Despite this, organisations hesitate to upgrade systems because of the huge capital investment required, preferring instead to work with low efficiency existing equipment to limit expenses. Unfortunately, organisations fail to realise the true cost and implications of such inefficient and chaotic printing setups.
This paper discusses the strategy of managed print services, which attempts to resolve these issues through a usage based model targeted at improving performance and lowering costs.
Introduction - Are we a Paperless Economy yet?
Over four decades ago experts sanguinely predicted that in the future we would only have ‘paperless offices’. Since then we have come to realise that a complete elimination is not realistic; however, it is possible to minimise paper use through better document management.
While it is commonly thought that companies spend between 1-3% of their annual revenue on office printing, this estimate may not be representative of the real figures. Very often expenses related to human resources, hardware and supplies are underestimated while computing printing costs. Additionally, existence of multiple vendors also prevents actual print related costs emerging clearly as these are spread across various budgets.
Analysts state that if computed correctly, the cost of purchasing, operating and maintaining of print devices alone accounts for 3% to 6% of total revenues of any organisation. There is therefore an overarching need for organisations to optimise their printing services to reduce costs and improve efficiency while also reducing their carbon footprint
Managed Print Services (MPS) – An Idea whose Time has come
MPS is a strategic approach to addressing printing requirements within an enterprise by studying the printing setup and implementing procedures and processes that eliminate wastages, optimise operations, and improve efficiency while also providing a clearer picture of the overall print related efforts.
A well managed print service promises to deliver reduction in Total Cost of Operations (TCO) through an approach based on streamlined workflow, optimisation of fleet, and incorporation of cost saving methods. An environment friendly, vendor agnostic MPS can also enhance customer satisfaction through seamless operations.
Printing in Offices: Environmental Impact
Despite this being the age of electronic communication, workflows in an organisation continue to leave paper trails that need to be minimised. According to one report, an average office worker in the US uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year translating to four million tons of copy paper annually. Paper recycling too is not an adequate solution, because the huge amounts of sludge produced during de-inking add pollutants to the environment.
Managed Print Services (MPS) – An Important Step
In the normal course of business, printing operations are often taken for granted. However, it is only when there is a disruption that organisations wake up to the importance of an efficient printing management service. A sudden breakdown, an unexpected running out of resources to carry out a printing task, or absence of staff to deal with a malfunctioning system at a crucial junction, drives organisations to consider alternate options to manage their printing services.
An efficient way to address these issues is through MPS. This outsourced service promises to actively manage and optimise the printing function in an organisation. Creation of clear workflows ensures smooth and uninterrupted operations, resulting in standard predictable output.
MPS today offers much more than just handling hardcopy devices such as copiers, printers and fax machines. It offers instead technologically smart systems that can scan and extract data from images, classify documents and share content across electronic management systems. Productivity improvement can be achieved by successfully transitioning processes into a digitised workflow, resulting in lower consumption of paper and reduced operating and infrastructure costs.
Reduced consumption of paper helps organisations meet their targets of reduced carbon footprints through a reduction in material usage and energy consumption.
According to a Global Managed Print Services market report, the MPS market is set to grow at a CAGR of 10.75% between 2012 and 2016. Once mainly limited to the most developed countries and large companies, MPS is now growing faster in developing regions, such as Asia/Pacific at 19%, and among smaller companies too.
MPS – How it Works
An organisation’s transition to Managed Print Services is a methodical process. It involves a number of steps progressing towards the solution.