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Leave printing to the experts

09 Oct 2012

Printed documents are an absolute basic in almost every business today.

The much-vaunted ‘paperless office’ hasn’t come into being, largely because that’s not the way people are: for thousands of years, since the invention of papyrus, we’ve appreciated the permanence of a piece of paper.

But what about the printer? It isn’t the device, per se, which is valuable, it is the output. And it is this reason which makes outsourcing printers to a specialist such a sensible notion.

By putting printing into the hands of a managed print services provider, office printing spend can be reduced by between 10% and 30%, according to Gartner Group’s ‘Managed Print Services Vendor Selection Criteria’, published in 2009. But while cost containment is always an attractive attribute, it isn’t the only benefit which comes with managed print.

Consider this. The amount of printing in your office is highly unlikely to be a constant volume, month in and month out. Business is variable for almost every organisation – whether seasonal, owing to the state of the economy or even down to how inspired staff members are feeling. Why should the cost of printers remain constant?

Then there are the issues of consumables and maintenance. Is there really a printer specialist in your IT team? Probably not. When the toner drum runs dry, does business grind to a halt while a crew of volunteers attempts to solve mysterious problems (with occasionally disastrous results?)

With a managed print services provider, all these issues become the responsibility of a specialist. More than that, the focus for a service provider is to improve print and document efficiency within the office while also reducing costs.

How is this is achieved? A number of tactics fill out the strategy; they include:

• Hardware selection based on low running costs instead of low purchase price.• The consolidation of multiple brands and models to provide a structured plan based on the requirements of an individual company.• The elimination of large consumable inventories (and time wasted on procurement).• Automation of consumable supply and billing.• Bringing outsourced short-run printing tasks in-house to save costs and time.• Improving document quality by delivering more professional images where appropriate.• Providing a structured growth plan to avoid purchases of inefficient hardware in the future.

Maturity means better services

Managed print is maturing as more businesses accept the benefits; from initial deployment into corporate environments, models are available which make the concept applicable for small to medium companies too.

Probably the biggest improvement in the industry in recent years is the emergence of higher quality A4 hardware with low running costs ideally suited to NZ’s small to mid -sized businesses.

With maturity comes the ability for service providers to optimise print environments for individual clients. This process involves a thorough assessment of print requirements across the business and the placement of the appropriate devices in the appropriate places.

Analysis of the volume of printing in A4 or A3, black and white or colour, results in a plan to suit the needs of your employees. That means more convenience for workers, while also reduce print related costs and the environmental impact of printing.

Again, because print requirements change constantly, optimising a print environment isn’t a ‘once off’ intervention.

It is a cycle which begins with the assessment, followed by a proposal of an appropriate solution (and the attendant devices – for which you don’t pay), implementation of the optimised environment, and then managing it .

The ‘managing’ phase involves evaluation and reporting on the print infrastructure to ensure that in practice, the benefits are being achieved, while also providing for further amendments as time goes by and needs continue to change.

Printing – it is a commodity which is in all likelihood costing you too much. With a managed print services provider, leave the hassle to the experts, save money and always enjoy the latest technology for the best quality documents.

By Bryce Greenslade, Comworth Business Manager, Managed Print Oki