Streamline Your Print Environment by Choosing the Right Managed Print Services Provider
A managed print services provider, or MPS provider, is a third-party company that supports the overall printing needs of a business. This does not only include providing the correct equipment needed for day-to-day business operations, but ongoing support, training, installation, maintenance, and material inventory and supply.
In addition, a managed print services provider serves to be a greater business partner. These services are customized to fit the specific business relationship, current needs, and initiatives of that business, budget, and future growth/expansion. In addition to managing the equipment and supplies, an MPS provider also analyzes and monitors this aspect of a company, saving valuable time and money. This level of support provides invaluable data and information to teams, department heads, and even owners, allowing decisions to be made with measurable and concrete information.
MPS providers also have internal security platforms for their technology and equipment, so an extra layer of document security is also available.
A company with a high-quality and intentional MPS relationship can streamline a large piece of its business and add important document automation and data security software. Companies vary greatly, so there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right managed print services provider, and there are many considerations to keep in mind:
- Alignment to company strategy
- Billing options
- Inventory management
- Technical support
- Training/resource availability
- Customer service
- Cloud-based document software
- Security protection features
- Contract options
- Equipment options
Determine if Your Managed Print Services Partner’s Billing Methods Make Sense for Your Company
Adding managed print services to a business is a big decision, and it is an investment. It’s an investment in a partnership, and typically, companies do not enter into MPS agreements for short periods. As such, the billing methods attached to a specific MPS provider are equally important. This allows a business to have expenses for the MPS provider regularly calculated into the greater budget, reducing the risk of unforeseen or surprise costs.
There are two popular types of MPS billing methods, and they each have their own pros and cons:
Businesses will pay a set, flat, usually monthly fee for their managed print services with a fixed billing option. The amount typically includes the larger bundle of services agreed upon by the contract, no matter how much or how little the services are used.
Businesses with a fixed rate benefit from having a stable and consistent bill each month, but they should understand all service options to ensure maximum usage/potential. You do not want to pay for something that is not used.
In addition, it’s recommended to read the fine print on fixed billing contracts as there are often add-on fees for particular services or caps on usage under the fixed amount.
Sometimes fixed billing options are available as an annual payment at a slightly discounted cost compared to the monthly charge, so it’s worth asking (and if a business has the upfront funds).
With a pay-per-page billing, there is usually a set cost for the equipment setup and then an ongoing pay-per-page bill that a business receives monthly. What this means for a budget is that there is usually a larger one-time initial fee and then every month, the MPS bill will arrive based on usage. The more the equipment is used, the larger the bill.
While this option eliminates a fixed bill that charges for services and printed documents used or not, the monthly amount can vary greatly. In addition, pay-per-page billing also takes the same approach to one-off service needs like maintenance or technical support. This means that anything the business needs from the MPS provider will have a fee attached to it that will vary, and nothing is included.
Evaluate Your Potential Partner’s Background and Expertise
Not all MPS providers are created equal, so understanding a managed print service provider’s background, experience, and expertise is an essential step in the decision-making process.
The idea is that this third-party company is not just providing your business with a piece of equipment or tracking how many documents your staff prints every month. The service is meant to help give insights into your company’s processes. It should also help your business SAVE money and maximize the potential for productivity. A solid MPS provider should also know how their services can complement your business and grow with it, being flexible enough to adjust and change.
When deciding which provider is the right fit for you, a huge recommendation is to sit down with a representative and have a conversation about your company. Have multiple conversations! Ask a lot of questions about how they can help streamline some issues your business is currently dealing with and where the relationship can go in the future. Ask about their background and pay attention to similar client experiences. Ask if you can even talk to a current client.
You should also do your homework. There is a lot of information publicly available online about a company, so reading through websites, reviews, etc., is incredibly eye-opening. It’s also recommended to ask your colleagues. Is there a business connection who might recommend an MPS provider? It might be a great fit.
Customer Service Standards & Additional Service Offerings: Are They the Right Fit?
A managed print service provider can be highly integrated into a business. They have the potential even to extend past printing services and cross into the IT services realm.
Consolidating vendors can be an excellent solution for businesses ready to add that level of support. It makes for easier invoicing and creates a super streamlined approach for customer support needs.
Customer service support should be an important factor in choosing the right provider as you want this experience to be something your employees buy into and support with ease. Pay attention to support channels. For example, if the company outsources their support vs. in-house, and check on hours of operation.
Adding an MPS (or additional MPS + IT managed services) should make your company run smoother and serve to reduce frustrations. A poor customer service experience or setup is not a recipe for success.
For more information about how managed print services can help your Minneapolis area business, contact DTS today.