Mastering the Basics: A Comprehensive Guide to Managed Print Services

Imagine a world where your office’s printers never run out of ink, paper jams are a thing of the past, and you’re saving money while boosting productivity. Welcome to the world of managed print services (MPS)! I’m here to guide you through the basics of this game-changing solution.

MPS isn’t just about outsourcing your printing needs. It’s a strategic move that can transform your business operations, streamline your workflow, and free up your IT team for more critical tasks. So, buckle up as we delve into the world of managed print services – a world where efficiency meets cost-effectiveness.

Understanding Managed Print Services

What Are Managed Print Services?

Managed Print Services (MPS) offer more than just a solution for business printing needs. They revamp office workflow, improving operational efficiency, and freeing up IT resources. Consider them as business transformation tools. By providing a coordinated approach to managing and optimizing print outputs, they make room for more strategic tasks. Managed print services evaluate your print environment, aiming to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve productivity.

For instance, a legacy business may have various print devices – scanners, printers, copiers, and fax machines, maintained by different vendors. MPS consolidates this hardware under one service provider, making maintenance and upgrades more streamlined. It brings a new level of efficiency and productivity to the workplace – saving time, reducing costs, and simplifying processes.

The Core Components of MPS

The MPS arena comprises several core components. Let’s delve into each of them.

  1. Needs Assessment: MPS providers conduct an initial review of your print environment. They identify your existing equipment, document workflows, and operational gaps. They assess factors such as the number of prints your company generates, which devices are most used, how much ink or toner you consume, among others. For example, if a business has five printers but only three are frequently used, MPS will suggest removing the underutilized ones to save on maintenance and ink costs.
  2. Customized Strategy Development: MPS providers design a strategy tailored to your unique business needs, created after careful evaluation of your printing needs. Say, a business prints mainly black and white documents, an MPS provider might recommend monochrome printers that save on color ink costs.
  3. Implementation: Subsequent to the strategy development, MPS implements the new plan. They handle everything from installing new devices, training employees, to the ongoing maintenance and upgrades, making the transition seamless.
  4. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: The work of MPS doesn’t end with implementation. They provide ongoing monitoring and management of your print services, regularly assessing the effectiveness of the strategy, and optimizing it as necessary. If, after implementation, one printer is found to be used less frequently than initially thought, MPS can recommend adjustments to increase efficiency.

By laying out these components, one can see that MPS isn’t merely a printing solution; it’s a complete system that transforms how businesses operate, saving costs, and increasing efficiency.

Benefits of Managed Print Services

In this section, I’ll dissect, explore, and quantify the benefits of Managed Print Services. By highlighting the distinct advantages, I aim to provide you with a robust understanding of why MPS is a game-changing solution for businesses of all sizes.

Reducing Printing Costs

One prime benefit of Managed Print Services lies in its ability to reduce printing costs. In a traditional setup, businesses often grapple with a maze of uncontrolled print devices, resulting in hidden costs that go unnoticed. MPS, however, systematically identifies these hidden costs, ultimately leading to substantial cost savings. For instance, MPS often involves consolidating print devices, consequently reducing hardware maintenance expenses and streamlining consumable usage. As businesses understand their print environment better, they can avoid unnecessary spending and experience a significant reduction on their bottom line.

Improving Efficiency and Productivity

Beyond cost savings, Managed Print Services offers an efficiency boost. Without MPS, businesses often find themselves in a cycle of repairing dysfunctional print devices and managing suppliers—time which could be better utilized in strategic planning. By consolidating device management under an MPS provider, businesses free up significant time, helping their in-house IT teams focus on more value-adding initiatives. The continuous monitoring and optimization inherent in MPS also ensure that technical issues are resolved quickly. Such proactive maintenance spares businesses from unexpected downtimes, thereby enhancing productivity.

Environmental Advantages

Lastly, we can’t overlook the environmental benefits of Managed Print Services. By optimizing print habits, businesses can minimise paper waste and reduce energy consumption— both of which contribute considerably to a sustainability drive. Additionally, an effective MPS provider equips businesses with energy-efficient devices and encourages responsible use of consumables. These responsible practices not only decrease a company’s carbon footprint but also cultivate a culture of environmental consciousness within a business— a testament to the far-reaching benefits of Managed Print Services.

How Managed Print Services Work

Managed Print Services work in a systematic and structured manner to streamline printing operations. These three primary phases outline how MPS work:

Assessment and Planning

Beginning with the assessment phase, MPS providers thoroughly inventory the current print environment. They assess the volume, type and location of print devices, and analyze print usage patterns. Say, for instance, the number of color versus black and white prints, the identification of high-usage zones, etc. This comprehensive study forms the basis for future recommendations, ensuring modifications align with business objectives.

Implementation and Management

Following the assessment and planning comes the implementation phase. Based on the gathered data and analysis, MPS providers create a document workflow with optimized equipment. Let’s consider an example: replacing outdated, energy-consuming devices with newer, more efficient models or relocating printers to suit heavy-usage areas better. Changes aren’t just physical, with MPS providers also implementing software solutions for easier print job routing, tracking and managing printer usage, and securing sensitive information.

Ongoing Monitoring and Optimization

Lastly, but importantly, MPS doesn’t stop with implementation. The service deeply-rooted in ongoing monitoring and optimization. This stage involves recurring audits on the print environment and adjustments where necessary. For instance, if the audit reveals excessive color printing in a specific department, then setting default color settings to black and white could be done. Such real-time adjustments contribute to an adaptive, resilient, and cost-effective print environment.

Choosing the Right MPS Provider

Selecting an MPS provider necessitates careful consideration with respect to your unique business needs. Following a vital criteria can help streamline this process.

Criteria for Selection

To select an efficient MPS provider, I guide businesses to consider five important criteria. First, expertise in MPS and a proven track record in the industry count. Providers with extensive experience usually offer better solutions and can troubleshoot quickly, if complications arise. Second, ensure the provider uses advanced, secure technologies. An example could be printers equipped with end-to-end encryption for data safety.

Third, look for providers who offer personalized solutions rather than a generic package. Your business needs might vary from others. Hence a one-size-fits-all approach possibly won’t work. Next, prioritize service and support. Even with top-quality hardware, an inefficient service can cripple your operations.

Last but not the least, check for positive testimonials and reviews from previous clients. Satisfied customers often indicate the provider’s credibility. For instance, if a provider has positive reviews about their fast customer service, it increases their trustworthiness.

Understanding Service Level Agreements

A Service-Level Agreement (SLA) becomes a crucial document while making a deal with your MPS provider. It lists down detailed responsibilities of parties involved, performance metrics to be tracked, and remedies for failure to meet service levels.

Primarily, SLAs define the scope of services, uptime, user support, response and resolution times, among other things. For example, a good SLA outlines that the provider handles all maintenance, supplies, and services, and guarantees an uptime of 99.99%.

Furthermore, an SLA prompts providers to maintain high performance levels, as it forms the legal basis for enforcement. When they fail to meet standards, the SLA outlines penalties or compensations. Thus, understanding your SLA thoroughly becomes crucial before partnering with an MPS provider.

Remember, a well-defined SLA stands as a win-win for both parties, aligning expectations and promoting transparent transactions.

Common Challenges in Managed Print Services

Even though Managed Print Services offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider the challenges it may present. Between adjusting to changes within an organization and ensuring security and compliance, companies often encounter several hurdles.

Managing Change in an Organization

Although Managed Print Services serves as a catalyst for enhancing operational performance, integrating this system into existing workflows remains a prominent challenge. Often, businesses struggle to adapt to the changes brought about by MPS. For instance, employees may resist shifting from traditional methods of printing to an entirely digitized, streamlined process.

The challenge escalates when trying to instigate a culture of proactive maintenance and regular auditing, which unfortunately isn’t prevalent in many organizations. For the successful incorporation of an MPS system, it’s crucial that businesses effectively manage this transition. This often involves training sessions, demonstrations, and constant communication with staff members.

Ensuring Security and Compliance

Modern business operations consider data security as a paramount concern, and rightly so. With Managed Print Services, the task of ensuring security and compliance grows more complex. As an example, because MPS often involves capturing and routing sensitive information through high-tech devices, the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches augments.

However, most MPS providers offer robust security solutions to help mitigate these risks, including data encryption, user authentication, and regular firmware updates. These measures can provide some reassurance, but it’s beneficial to enact additional security protocols at an organizational level. This could include regular data audits or adopting a zero-trust security approach to ensure compliance with various data protection regulations and standards.

Overcoming these challenges is by no means straightforward, but correctly managing them can result in a smoother transition to an MPS system, maximising the potential benefits this solution offers.


Managed Print Services (MPS) have proven to be a game changer for businesses. They’ve transformed the way we handle print environments, bringing cost savings, productivity boosts, and a greener footprint. But it’s not all smooth sailing. Challenges like change management, security, and compliance can create bumps in the road. Yet, with the right strategies, these hurdles can be overcome. The key lies in effective management and leveraging the security solutions offered by MPS providers. It’s about embracing the change, securing the data, and optimizing the workflow. So, if you’re ready to streamline your operations and maximize benefits, MPS might just be the solution you’re looking for.