Keep print costs under control: a best practice approach to managed print services

Graham Lowes, marketing director, OKI Systems UK discusses how businesses can keep control of printing spend by implementing managed print services.

Given the current economic climate, many businesses across the UK are struggling to stay afloat and as a result, there is an increased need for firms to be evaluating and streamlining operations wherever possible. Of course, most organisations have already taken steps to become more efficient over the last few difficult years – often closely monitoring outgoings such as phone bills. However, there is still one cost that often goes unchecked – printing.

The challenge is that most businesses do not have a clear view of their printing spend and many are spending far more than they think. A recent study by InfoTrends research indicated that businesses spend on average three to six per cent of their annual revenues on copying, printing and fax-related costs. Given the considerable amount of budget that is dedicated to print, any opportunity to reduce costs and drive efficiency needs to be carefully considered.

A best practice solution

Fortunately, to meet this industry challenge and help reduce costs, print experts such as OKI are offering managed print services (MPS). The overall aim of MPS is to ensure that printing operations are more closely matched to a company's workflow to help meet specific business goals. However, MPS is much more than simply the recommendation of new printers.

A best practice approach to MPS often starts with a print assessment, one that uses advanced techniques to deliver an all-inclusive analysis of an organisation's print environment. The results of the assessment are then used to design a long-term print solution for the business; ensuring print devices are used in the most resourceful manner.

In addition to the original analysis, a consultation between the print vendor and the business takes place where an audit of current output volumes, types of printing and paper sizes is conducted. It then becomes possible for the vendor to devise an implementation plan tailored to the specific needs of the business.

Expert print vendors will also be able to point out any unseen printing overheads, such as the need for storage space and how savings can be made by simply ensuring that printers are set correctly. For example, colour printers can be set to mono as standard for day-to-day, in-house jobs and only switched to colour when required. While, in addition, printers can be set up to print double sides, which can help reduce the cost of paper wastage by up to 50 per cent.

Business-wide benefits

The ultimate aim of MPS is to ensure that a customer saves money and has more control over printing costs – critical in today's competitive market. However, there are also a range of additional benefits created such as increased printer productivity and efficiency as the latest printers will be better equipped at meeting specific business needs.

Implementing the latest printing models as part of a best practice MPS approach, businesses can ensure they are working as effectively as possible. Given the improved functionality of many of the newer printers businesses may even decide to bring certain tasks in-house, so saving on outsourcing fees. In light of this, OKI offers a full range of compact, easy-to-manage, all-in-one devices which can help staff work faster by enabling them to scan documents to network, FTP, CIFS, PDF or email.

A best practice MPS approach requires continual input from both the customer and vendor, without this relationship it becomes impossible to re-evaluate changing business requirements – a process that is critical given the current economic climate.

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