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Lessons Learned: Managed Print Services Best Practices

Mark Flesch

Batteries Plus Bulbs is one of the fastest growing retailers in the United States selling all types of batteries, light bulbs as well as phone-repair services. Until recently, the company used inexpensive desktop printers in its distribution center for printing invoices and shipping documents. Unfortunately, these machines broke down often and needed to be replaced. In addition, no one knew how much was being spent on toner, paper and supplies.

If that sounds like the way your company operates, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Batteries Plus Bulbs adopted a managed print solution, added more robust machines and put a system in place to control printer access and track user activity. The company is now saving at least $25,000 per year on toner, supplies and repair and productivity is higher than ever.

In our post-pandemic world, every business is looking for ways to cut costs and stretch budgets. With fewer people working in the office, how can you make sure you are getting the best value for your office technology dollar? One of the best ways to solve this dilemma is by outsourcing your managed print services. We’ve learned a few tricks for getting control over runaway printing costs over the years. Here are the most important lessons learned about managing and controlling all of your print-related costs.

1. Find Out What You Don’t Know

One thing we see over and over in many offices is that almost everyone has a desktop printer on their desk, but no one seems to know who is responsible for maintaining the machine. And if you look in the supply cabinet, there is often a pile of toner and ink, and no one knows who orders it or even where all of it is supposed to go.

Managed print services are designed to lower the cost to own and maintain printers, making sure machines are well-maintained and customers only pay for what they print. But it turns out there are some other advantages that can help organizations get more value from their printers. That can include single spreadsheet invoicing, which ensures your company knows how much it is paying for printing costs across the company. There will be no more rogue printers taking IT resources and no more piles of toner that might never be used.

2. Limit Your Exposure to Risk

To kick off a managed print strategy, a company should look at human behaviors, not just the number of printers owned or the amounts of consumables wasted. A printer fleet management tool can maintain a database of device inventory, printing activity and printer events. But the real value is in identifying how people are using the machines – including identifying potentially risky behavior.

A recent study showed that 56% of companies ignore printers in their endpoint security strategy and don’t see printers and hard copy documents as an area of risk. That can be a serious oversight. At a minimum, a company should issue an ID card or user code that employees must use to collect documents from a printer. That helps limit waste, but also helps prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive, confidential papers.

Hackers are becoming better and better at finding a way into your network or devices and taking control, sometimes without ever being noticed. But it is even more common for risks to come from within an organization – all it takes is one disgruntled person to print and walk out with sensitive information.

3. Treat Printers Like an Asset

If your printers are well-maintained and do their job well, it is easy to take them for granted. But we believe that your printer fleet is an asset and should be managed like any other technology in the office. That means looking at a device through its lifecycle and being strategic about how it is deployed. For example, Marquette University had a large printer fleet, but had no system for controlling, securing or analyzing print devices on campus. Without such a system, the school had little insight into how the machines were being used.

The school chose to install new multi-function printers to replace outdated machines and issue print management software across the fleet. The university was able to eliminate dozens of underused printers, but more importantly, it now has true cost accounting, can bill back print costs to departments accordingly and machines are rotated and deployed to exactly where they can be most useful.

Printer asset management looks at a device through its lifecycle and helps you make smarter purchase decisions, control supply management and get more use out of the machines you have. In other words, the most important consideration is not the particular printer you buy but having the knowledge to more intelligently deploy your machines. As more workers are in remote offices and many printers are used less frequently, how you deploy your printer asset is more important than ever. That may include equipping remote workers with full-functioned multi-function devices or moving underused desktop printers to the home office. A managed print service should be able to manage and monitor those remote devices as well.  

When it comes to minimizing overhead and maximizing your investment in printing technology, most businesses don’t fully realize the untapped potential in managed print services. If you still don’t believe us that there are more savings to be had, contact us today for a free assessment and let us show you what we mean.

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