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Slash waste by taming printer chaos

Stacy Collett | Jan. 19, 2010
Organizations enlisting managed print services find huge savings on paper and energy

"The key that drove us was to enable our stores to print anytime, but the cost savings was a nice benefit for us," Chanani adds. The project is on track to save Rent-A-Center over $1 million a year -- one-third of its annual printing budget -- in cartridge expenses alone.

Industry-watchers say MPS can help companies of all sizes save money, improve uptime and gain efficiencies -- if an MPS program is implemented properly.

The assessment
A prospective service provider or independent firm will assess the printers and paper flows of the entire organization to look for economies of scale and then make recommendations to improve efficiency. Ideally, the service provider will have benchmarking data to compare the printing costs at your company with those of others in the same industry.

It's important to find a provider that can scale with you -- especially if you're a large enterprise with a national or global footprint. "The highest costs savings are going to come the more you extend this throughout your corporation," Boyd says.

P&G was able to expand its MPS project to the Far East through Xerox's Fuji-Xerox operation in Asia. Still, there are a few locales in the developing world, such as parts of Eastern Europe and Africa, where Xerox is not present. "That makes it a bit more challenging," Basyn says.

LeClair advises companies to pay for an assessment from an enterprise-class MPS provider rather than accepting a free evaluation from a vendor. "When you pay them [for an assessment], you maintain your independence" to seek bids from other vendors, he says.

Find a provider with a broad range of hardware products, from desktop devices to high-end office systems. The MPS contractor should also be able to offer maintenance on brands outside of its portfolio, either directly or through a partner, Boyd says.

Many MPS providers not only manage devices, but also offer advice on workflow and process improvements. For example, they could help you eliminate paper from the invoicing or expense reporting processes by suggesting that you scan documents instead of copying them, LeClair says. That way, he notes, "you improve cycle time, get rid of file cabinets and save employees time."

Make sure that the optimized environment doesn't sacrifice productivity in the name of cost savings, Boyd says. (It's possible to eliminate so many printers that employees have trouble getting their work done.) Toward that end, you could ask for two proposals: one that maximizes cost savings, and one that balances employee productivity and cost savings, she says. "Ask the provider how, through SLAs, contract components and rollout of the program, they are going to ensure that the productivity of employees is enhanced, not just maintained," she adds.

 

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