How assessing your devices can create efficiencies and lower costs

While many companies have their large copiers/multi-function devices (MFDs) managed by a partner, they often don’t consider their smaller devices, an oversight that costs them time and money.

“A managed print services provider can identify who is using your devices and how,” says Lauren Hanna, director of sales at Blue Technologies. “They can then create a plan to consolidate devices and free up resources.”

Smart Business spoke with Hanna about how a managed print services partner can help you improve efficiencies and cut costs.

How can managed print services create efficiencies?

The partner manages all of the printing devices, including MFDs and printers, scanners and fax machines, so the company doesn’t have to. That frees up the time of highly compensated IT professionals to focus on higher priority/higher skilled projects to protect your organization’s infrastructure.

A managed print services partner can map your devices, analyze volume and usage, and complete a full assessment of your printing environment. The partner will work with you to co-author a print governance strategy to manage your devices, improving efficiencies, reducing costs and freeing up employees to focus on other things.

How does the process work?

A managed print services partner starts with a physical walk-through and visually maps out where devices are located. The assessment process can be eye-opening because businesses often find that they have many more devices than they thought.

The assessment process looks at whether employees are using the right printer for the work they are doing. Does it make sense to be printing where they are, or does another device make more sense? Can you combine individual devices into a more cost-effective business machine?

After mapping, the partner inventories printers, analyzes print volume and workflow, and assesses the company’s needs. It takes two to six weeks to get a feel for how a company is using its devices.

Next, the partner makes recommendations, working with the company to co-author a strategy for implementation, but that’s not the end. Businesses are fluid, and periodic business reviews allow for ongoing recommendations.

What are some common problems — and their solutions?

A lack of standardization of devices is common. Standardizing models gives you the ability to accommodate changes in your business’s needs and workflow.

In addition, a company may have two identical printers, but one is doing 10 times the volume. By simply switching them, you can get more life out of them. And often, there is a printer right next to a fax machine next to a copier. Combining those into one device creates additional efficiencies.

Often, printers print on only one side of a page, creating printing waste. If the goal is to reduce costs and be more sustainable, you can default all printers to two-sided printing. If a document is longer than five pages, it can be rerouted to a more cost-efficient machine.

How can managed print services reduce costs?

Because there is no line item in their budgets for printing, most businesses don’t track that expense and don’t realize how much they are spending. Toner and ink are not high-ticket items, so they are not flagged. A managed print services partner can inventory supplies and set up shipping on-demand, so there’s no duplication.

Companies strive for centralization but don’t consider printers. When they see an assessment of their devices, they’re often surprised by their spending. They are usually spending three times as much with an inefficient set-up as they would be working with a partner that can manage their printing.

Every business should have an expert do an assessment of its printing fleet and usage to bring out information to make decisions heading into the new year. Even if you choose to maintain the status quo, having a partner manage your devices frees up you and your employees to focus on the things that will move your company forward.

Insights Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies