Eight Top Misconceptions About Managed Print Services

May 15, 2018 Sean Hughes

Managed Print Services (MPS) has been around for a long time and there seems to be as many approaches to Managed Print Services as there are definitions of Managed Print Services. It has always been interesting to me as I interact with my peers within the healthcare industry and the print industry on how many different misconceptions there are around what constitutes an MPS program. Below I have tried to outline the biggest misconceptions I have come across.

All Managed Print Service programs are the same.

The most common answer when I speak with people about MPS is, “I already have a program.” This assumes in its very nature that all programs are the same and I can tell you they are not. They vary in coverage, scope, approach, results, business knowledge, and even alignment of incentives.

My program has already achieved all the possible savings.

Well if number one is true (and I can tell you honestly it is), then there really is no way number two can be as well. Most MPS programs that were put in place over the last two years have only scratched the surface of savings. Just look at your overall print production and spend if you don’t believe me (if you have full visibility to it).

My program includes all costs.

I love this one almost as much as I love number four (don’t read ahead). Look at what is included in your costs and you tell me if it includes everything. Can you tell for sure that the acquisition costs (lease or buy) are in there? What about the service costs, are they for all internal and external labor? Don’t forget the consumables like ink, toner and such. Finally what about document lifecycle costs and impacts like shredding and storage.

My program only charges a penny a page (or thereabout).

This is quite possibly the biggest misconception short of number five. I have yet to run into an MPS program from any provider that includes all costs, all devices, all locations and is designed and aligned for healthcare’s unique needs that can possibly come in at that rate. Especially if you take item three into account. You may have a service contract for $0.01 per page but what about the lease cost or acquisition cost of the device it was printed on?

My program handles the security of the devices and data.

Wow, this one is always amazing to me. Let’s start with who has responsibility for the security of the devices in your fleet. In most organizations, supply chain owns the relationship with the copier vendor and they have a third-party support contract, IT probably owns the printers, maybe telecomm owns the fax machines, and who knows who owns the specialty and thermal devices? It is most likely that everyone assumes the other is handling the security of the devices in their scope thereby making it that NO ONE owns print security. You also need to question how your program handles security vulnerabilities. If it relies on hardware as the primary resolution, the fix is only good until the next vulnerability in the device.

My provider doesn’t have to be healthcare exclusive.

This is an interesting one as for most industries I could accept this answer but there are many reasons I cannot for healthcare. Healthcare has more applications in its day-to-day workflow that could require different hardware platforms. Also, healthcare is 24/7 with workflows that still require patient care critical printing and the print volume is on the rise in healthcare even after the implementation of electronic health records. Finally, the business needs, personal behaviors, and processes within healthcare that result in the printed page are complex and unique.

All providers are equal.

Now this answer may seem a little biased but I promise you it is not. There are generally three different types of providers and each brings its own unique approach, benefits, and challenges.

  1. Manufacturer based programs – every print hardware manufacturer has a Managed Print Services offering. These programs generally concentrate on their own devices and the goal is to replace as much of the competitor’s devices as possible. The more volume they can get on their specific machines the better for them. They also generally approach security in the same vain – put a new, more secure device in place of the original.
  2. Local or regional market players – most of these organizations are either directly or closely aligned with a hardware manufacturer, or even owned by one. There are some that are not but you need to look long and hard to find them. These providers tout their local business vendor position and work from very close relationships. Biggest challenges for them is their size, buying power, and the need to operate in as many verticals as possible to get and maintain business.
  3. National non-manufacturer programs – there are a few programs out there that are not owned or singularly aligned with a specific manufacturer, have national presence, and buying power. This list gets significantly short when you add in the healthcare expertise and security knowledge but that is where I become a little biased.

Having a low click rate is enough.

If we consider several of the items above, this only becomes the beginning rather than the final benefit of a Managed Print Services program. As we have stated, printing is on the rise in healthcare as is the proliferation of print devices, so your click rate is saving you money but your volume is still up. Maybe you have a low click rate and you have negotiated lower rates on purchases too now you have full benefit, right? Yes, if you plan on continuing to print more paper and need more and more printers. If your program is not focused on driving down volume and the number of devices, you will not have achieved maximum benefit.

As you can see there are many misconceptions when it comes to Managed Print Services, almost as many as there are definitions of MPS. I would propose that a true Managed Print Services Program should be aligned with manufacturers but flexible enough to handle the wide array of variable hardware platforms in our environment. It should focus on all costs and volume so that when it drives down volume the maximum costs savings are provided. Also, it should take security into account and align with the organization’s overall security program. And most importantly, it should understand your business and the drivers of print within your four walls.

Learn more about my definition of Managed Print Services.

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