I've come across a good overview of Managed Print Services by Darlene Sheldon, writing at imagesourcemag.com. Doc's always on the lookout for these primers, since this is still a relatively new field.
According to Darlene:
"Corporations recognize that they need to address out of control costs associated with network printing. How do they get there? Many are looking to solve it by outsourcing their managed print services."
Her best practices for Managed Print Services include:
1. Develop a Print Strategy
For any corporation who wishes to reduce costs by managing their printing, a document and print strategy is essential. Best practices conclude that fleet assessment and strategy development should be hardware vendor independent.
2. Establish a Baseline
The baseline assessment is used as the kick-off point for developing the corporate print strategy. During baseline assessment, best practices incorporate all costs into the picture, not just consumables - the largest cost being human resources. If the dealer already has a printer fleet management tool which contains a database of device inventory, printing activity and printer events, his revenue can be increased by offering assessment services. In addition, the dealer can prepare a competitive managed print services proposal based upon the inventory and understanding of his client’s printing history. A greater knowledge of the printer fleet than both his client and competitor is a significant strategic advantage.
3. Treat Printers as an Asset
Best practices recognize that the printer fleet is a corporate asset, and thus, should be managed like any other IT asset. Printer asset management looks at a device through its lifecycle and the fleet from the enterprise perspective. A printer life encompasses purchase decisions, printer financials, maintenance, supplies management, and retirement. The enterprise perspective looks at the fleet inventory using corporate metrics, comparisons and trends, making decisions from a global, rather than, unit or commodity basis.
There are five more best practices, plus a mess (in a good way) of other useful information, including how to measure, monitor, and manage your print services. Thanks Darlene!