In the March 2010 SIG Newsletter I discussed what Managed Print Services (MPS) is. As procurement and sourcing professionals, most of you are not involved with buying MPS services frequently. So, when the time to contract for MPS comes around, you may be scrambling to learn the best practices. In this article I will offer the key considerations you should address when planning for acquiring an MPS service.
Optimize the equipment
Equipment optimization involves consolidating equipment to increase machine utilization and in doing so avoid buying more equipment than necessary. It begins with an in-depth assessment that gives you the current state baseline, designs a future state projecting what equipment is needed in each location with estimated total costs. It also selects the management strategy and the goals you want to achieve over time.
Standardize Equipment and Optimize Purchasing
Most organization do not know all the makes and models of equipment they have, the supplies needed, what contracts they have and how much they pay for everything. MPS takes control of that mess by standardizing the model or equipment, features and functionality and rolling the equipment into one or few contracts as existing contracts expire. This helps you get better pricing on equipment and supplies and significantly reduces the number of pricing structures.
Manage the process
Managing the print/copy process is the key to reducing costs, maintaining good service quality and user satisfaction, controlling the proliferation of equipment, supplies and related contracts, reducing IT workload, and centralizing budgets. Managing the fleet requires tools such as electronic monitoring, continuous review and adjustments by experts, people to manage day-to-day activities, a plan, and centralized accountability for all print copy responsibilities.
Address Information Security
Information confidentiality and security is a concern for most organizations. When procuring office print copy equipment consult with IT about network and hard drive security requirements. User walk-up access to the machine to copy, fax, or scan and send electronically should also be thought through. Information is just as vulnerable whether it is copied and walked out, or it is transmitted out of the company via fax or network. There are many ways and technology solutions to secure the print copy process but they require planning and implementation.
Select the right service provider
In MPS, the temptation for procurement is to negotiate down the cost of the equipment. That strategy will buy you lowest cost equipment but will increase the total cost of document output and will certainly compromise the effectiveness of the MPS service. As mentioned above, MPS requires tools and people to run and manage the process in addition to equipment. There are many criteria for selecting the right MPS service provider. The following is a short list:
- Scope of service to match your needs – equipment, user support (help-desk), supplies management, on-site support, continuous optimization, support for large and small locations, electronic monitoring, ability to provide related print/copy services such as operate your CRD, mail center, imaging center so you can consolidate.
- Strong Assessment capabilities – the degree of cost reduction increases with the quality and thoughtfulness of the assessment.
- Proven track record
- Adaptability and flexibility – willingness to manage equipment you own or equipment under other OEM contracts that is not being replaced at this time. Add or remove equipment as your needs change without new contracts.
- Proper tools – automation is critical to collecting data, tracking equipment, reporting and making sound decisions. Electronic monitoring, assessment tools, and Call Center software are essential.
- Billing – ability to consolidate all the bills (especially when you have many maintenance contracts) and present you one bill for all print/copy costs. Pooling minimum impression volume across the fleet and not holding you to each machine minimum.
Our experience managing fleets of office document output equipment tells us that in excess of 20-40% of the total cost of print/copy can be achieved when managing the entire print/copy process compared to not managing the process. To manage the process the focus cannot be just on the cost of the equipment. More savings come from planning, implementing controls, making adjustments.
Ted Ardelean (Ted.Ardelean@oce.com) is director of product and segment marketing for Océ Business Services, a leading provider of document process management services and technology.