The Economist Weighs in on MPS

Using clever fonts, making toner cartridges last longer and saving paper are all bottom-up ways to cut printing costs. There is also an increasingly popular top-down option, known in the trade as "managed print services" (MPS). This involves outsourcing the operation and management of office printers and copiers to an external supplier such as HP, Xerox or Ricoh. That supplier is paid a monthly fee, and then has an incentive to cut printing costs by exploiting economies of scale in procurement, replacing printers with more efficient models and so forth. Some MPS suppliers even monitor individual employees' use of printers or copiers in order to identify particularly wasteful or inefficient practices.

Doc keeps the latest issue of The Economist on his desk so visitors will think I'm smarter than I am. But, occasionally, I find myself actually reading the publication. So, I was pleased to see The Economist weigh in on ways to reduce printing costs, including looking into Managed Print Services.

The article, titled "Ruses to Cut Printing Costs" looks at some of the more basic ways to cut down on print consumption, along with a couple of novel ways that Doc can't completely recommend (like trying to fool toner cartridges into thinking they have more toner left than they do). Here's part of what The Economist had to say about MPS:

Using clever fonts, making toner cartridges last longer and saving paper are all bottom-up ways to cut printing costs. There is also an increasingly popular top-down option, known in the trade as "managed print services" (MPS). This involves outsourcing the operation and management of office printers and copiers to an external supplier such as HP, Xerox or Ricoh. That supplier is paid a monthly fee, and then has an incentive to cut printing costs by exploiting economies of scale in procurement, replacing printers with more efficient models and so forth. Some MPS suppliers even monitor individual employees' use of printers or copiers in order to identify particularly wasteful or inefficient practices.

The industry's rule of thumb is that MPS can cut costs by around 30%. As companies look for ways to save money, it is not surprising that the global MPS market grew by 27% to $25.8 billion in 2009.

The Economist doesn't draw any firm conclusions about various efforts to cut down on print consumption, but it's good to see a magazine so devoted to finances recognize that this is a major business area in need of updated management practices.

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