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5 top tips for selecting a Managed Print Service provider

5 top tips for selecting a Managed Print Service provider

There are so many different packages currently on the market under the guise of ‘Managed Print Service’ (MPS) that making a purchase can be complex and fraught with risk. We’ve set out a simple checklist of key pointers to help you ensure that you are getting the genuine article.

1. Clarify your current situation

A genuine managed print service provider will always carry out a print audit to assess how much output is coming from your current print/copy devices. This will include a cost and environmental impact assessment and will require a month’s worth of data from your current machines.  Expect a detailed report on your present situation and a proposed strategy to maintain or improve your costs, efficiencies and sustainability.

A good MPS provider will propose a ‘balanced deployment’ that considers your needs for document security, quality and convenience. Watch out for suppliers who show you a plan to consolidate all of your print and copy output through a small number of strategically placed devices. This will show you a dramatic cost reduction but is not necessarily the most beneficial set-up for you, especially if some of your staff will need to travel a long way to their nearest printer or if you are working with sensitive documents and need some desktop devices that can only be used by authorised employees.

2. Secrets in the software

Once you have implemented a managed print service you will never need to order toner again. Your devices will also be configured to alert your provider when a technical problem or routine service is needed. In theory, an engineer will call on you before you even know there is a problem.

3. Protect your balance sheet from nasty surprises

A major advantage of a managed print service is simplified billing. Over the course of a contractual period, lasting anything up to 6 years, expect one regular invoice (usually paid monthly) that combines all of your print/copy/imaging, servicing and toner costs into one, fixed price.

4. Be the boss and take control

An effective managed print service delivers devices integrated with specialist software (often referred to as ‘rules based’) that, at a basic level, monitors and reports on activity and output. At a more complex level it can feature default settings and user authentication technologies to control output and minimise waste.

5. Read the small print

It’s a sad fact that some unethical print/copy providers are passing off second hand, refurbished devices and remanufactured toner cartridges as brand new. Make sure you get what you pay for. Also, understand what your provider will require of you should you decide to exit your service agreement before it matures as there may be a buy-out fee or other penalties.

Further information

Putting the brakes on wasteful print and copy

Print: The Hidden Costs

INFOGRAHIC: Print control in pictures

INFOGRAPHIC: The process behind Arena's Managed Print Service

 

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