I often get stopped while in line at Starbuck's and asked, "Doc, just what features should I look for in a Managed Print Service." Depending on how many people are in front of me, my answer is usually pretty consistent.
First, make sure that the company you’re dealing with has a proven management process. While each situation is unique, you have to apply some standard management practices to the problem or you’ll never learn anything. Steps in this process usually include some sort of evaluation or assessment phase, then a design and recommendation process, followed by a deployment or implementation phase. And of course, if you want ongoing results, you should be looking for a long-term management role.
But even more important, what are your goals for a Managed Print Service?
Obvious is an overall reduction in cost, but how is that defined? If all you look at is something like the number of sheets of paper printed, you’ll be missing a big part of the picture. Look for a partner that talks about total cost of ownership throughout the cycle of document production.
And what about security?
A huge part of the value of MPS may be in the security that a good system brings to your company and employees.
Does the system use file encryption, secure identification, and proper backup?
You should be able, fairly quickly, to get good metrics for things like device-to-user ratios and minimum-distance-to-device figures as well as remote monitoring and management.
And of course, we know you care about sustainability, so how does the system or supplier line up with your overall green initiatives? Can you measure the success so you can report it back to customers and shareholders?
Now can I get back to my coffee?