For many organizations, optimizing their print infrastructure can benefit them in a variety of ways. To do this, organizations typically work with a traditional managed print services (MPS) provider or an MPS auditing and consulting firm.
Though MPS providers seem like a good idea on the surface, their services may not be necessary for all types of organizations. And in fact, we often find significant savings opportunities working with clients who use MPS. There are definitely pros and cons to consider before deciding to work with an MPS provider — especially when there are alternative solutions like MPS auditing and consulting which can bring you better results.
In this article, we will explore what an MPS provider is as well as the pros and cons of working with one. We’ll also give you a list of some of the top MPS companies in the market today if you decide that working with one is the right fit for your organization.
Managed print services (MPS) providers take a holistic and systematic approach to optimizing your print fleet containing all of your printers, copiers, fax machines, and the networks that connect these devices. An MPS typically works on behalf of a parent product company and offers services related to those products. In other cases, an MPS provider can work independently and with a variety of different products.
Or, we might say ‘perceived’ pros — it is not necessary to work with an MPS to achieve many of the objectives below. Still, for the purposes of this article, we will list the aim of an MPS and the services they provide.
The main goal for MPS providers is to help their clients improve print efficiency, boost client productivity, increase print security, and make print fleets as reliable as possible. To accomplish this, most MPS providers offer services such as:
Many MPS companies bundle their services into packages customers can choose from. Yet, many of these packages will still have services that customers may or may not need. If the customer doesn’t understand the different services, or how to negotiate a personalized package, they will likely be paying for services that their organization doesn’t truly need.
Furthermore, some of the services offered within MPS programs are services you should already have access to at no additional cost, including the repair and maintenance of machines.
Many customers don’t know that they should get a certain number of technicians for their account based on the number of pages they print. For instance, a common industry benchmark is one full-time service technician for every one million pages produced. But, if this benchmark isn’t outlined in your contract, or if you don’t even know it exists, you won’t get the level of service your organization deserves.
When it comes to MPS pricing, there are typically three main categories including equipment, services, and supplies. Depending on which MPS provider you work with, these categories will be priced differently. In many cases, vendors will give a great rate in one category while increasing the prices in the other categories. Customers are drawn to these low rates in one category while not knowing that they’re, in fact, being overcharged in the others.
Furthermore, the only information about pricing a customer receives is from the sales rep they work with. Thus, the pricing can vary from salesperson to salesperson. Additionally, salespeople are often told what price they need to sell at without knowing the true costs of what they are selling. This lack of transparency leaves customers in the dark about how to best negotiate with these vendors.
It’s important to note that MPS providers are profit-driven, just like any other business. Oftentimes, they price their services to benefit themselves instead of truly optimizing their customers’ spending.
Lastly, many MPS will provide what seems like a great deal. Instead of leasing the copiers, which most businesses do, they will build in the costs of your entire print program into a per-page charge. This might be $.05/page, with 100,000 pages per month minimum, as an example. This might look like a great deal on the surface, but this is often significantly higher than just paying for the leases and other costs themselves (provided they are properly negotiated using industry benchmarks).
Since there are so many different MPS providers and companies, it can be a challenge for businesses to choose one. In most cases, businesses end up working with a provider that specializes in optimizing the types of products they already have.
As mentioned above, there are often much better options for your organization than simply working with an MPS. But below is the list of some of the largest MPS.
Canon’s managed print services are an end-to-end solution for all of your document management needs. As a trusted partner, Canon will enable you to reach your cost reduction goals while improving your print fleet’s efficiency. With the implementation of their value-driven solutions, you can feel confident in your ability to reach business objectives while improving your business’s productivity.
HP managed print services allow you to gain useful insights into your print infrastructure’s efficiency, costs, and utilization. With their cloud-based analytics and security solutions, you can defend your network from incoming threats. You’ll also be able to streamline important business processes with their suite of workflow and printing solutions.
By working with Pacific Office Automation, you’ll get consultative expertise around document workflows and also have access to the latest in print technology. Additionally, you can get a suite of software and analytics tools to enhance your current print ecosystem.
Ricoh USA offers workplace solutions and digital transformation services designed to help manage and optimize information flow across your business. They continue to help companies implement innovative products that improve the way your organization works with its devices.
Sharp works as an advocate for all of your print infrastructure needs. Their team will actively manage your print environment so your in-house IT resources can focus on their core objectives. They aim to keep costs low while bringing a high level of service to your organization.
As a global technology leader, Xerox focuses on the intersection of physical and digital mediums. They continually aim to redefine personalization, productivity, and efficiency when it comes to your MPS needs. Their intelligent workplace services also keep your networks secure and operating at a high level.
Staples’ respected MPS bring many useful tools to the table when it comes to hitting productivity and sustainability goals. Through their expertise, they can build an optimization program that utilizes your current devices, improves printing workflows, and boosts your organization’s security.
Konica Minolta’s MPS offerings will satisfy your office printing production needs. With a focus on transforming businesses into intelligent connected workplaces, their technologies are extremely relevant in our current remote work environments. With their ink-jet, non-contact printing technology, their devices are also great for printing on all different kinds of mediums.
Lexmark aims to deliver the technologies and services your organization needs to simplify the process of optimizing your print fleet. Through cutting-edge technologies and industry expertise, they manage your devices and information with a high level of efficiency.
Epson’s MPS solutions help you manage your print costs by reducing and predicting your costs effectively. With great warranties on their products paired with exceptional on-site service, organizations everywhere rely on Epson for their MPS needs.
In a perfect world, you would get the best possible rates and level of service from whichever MPS provider you work with. But, since human error exists and salespeople are still motivated by profit, there are opportunities for savings if you know how to negotiate properly with these companies and how to uncover mistakes hidden within your invoices.
That’s why it’s crucial to consult a third party about your MPS so that they can audit your lease agreements, contracts, invoices, and level of service. In fact, we find savings in over 90% of the MPS we audit for clients around the country. Even the best-managed program will be leaving money on the table without an expert, unbiased review.
During an audit, we can find you savings in a variety of different ways, including:
Additionally, our experts have the knowledge needed to optimize your print and copier program in order to reduce downtime and bring you better support with your equipment.
Our MPS auditing services can replace the need for a traditional MPS provider — or, we can work in tandem with your provider to help you reach your print infrastructure goals.
As we’ve explored, there are many options to choose from in regards to MPS providers. Though most providers offer similar services, one might be a better fit than another due to pricing and the types of equipment your business already uses. While there are many different options out there, we can’t, in good faith, recommend using an MPS without an expert review.
At P3 Cost Analysts, we specialize in Managed Print Auditing, helping our clients save 30-40% off their managed print expenses. We help our clients optimize lease agreements, consolidate contracts, correct errors and overcharges, and keep your print infrastructure running smoothly. Working through an MPS audit is really the only way to have your expenses reduced and verified.
If you’re interested in having P3 Cost Analysts take a look at your MPS contracts, lease agreements, invoices, and service agreements, feel free to reach out today for your free expense audit.