Digital Transformation these days covers many aspects of an organization when we need to change the way we do things. One of the most obvious areas and most likely the last to change/transform is how an organization handles the need for printing.
As most organizations started with manual processes and using manual paper forms, the need for printing, sharing of print materials, archiving and safekeeping of print materials seems to be the default life cycle. Today we will explore what is Managed Print Services and how it can enable organizations as part of their Digital Transformation strategy and execute it well to change how things are done digitally.
Before embarking on Managing Print Services, we must first understand what Managed Print Services is. According to Wikipedia:
Print services typically include printers, fax machines, scanners and copiers used within an organization needed to conduct business itself.
So, what is the process to go through when one needs to embark on a Managed Print Services journey?
Identify all the printers, fax machines and copier assets used within your current businesses first.
Next calculate your expenditure cost using existing printers, fax machines and copiers. These include.
Initial procurement cost of item. What was the purchase price of the said item? If item was bought outright (CAPEX) and listed as an asset in Finance Book then what is the residual value to date?
Any on-going support/maintenance cost for item. Is there any vendor/supplier maintenance contract in place? Are there any hardware parts replacements?
Operating and running costs for item. Electricity, toners, thermal or normal papers used?
Gather data on the usage patterns by users (if available). These will include: How many black and white copies are printed? How many colour copies are printed? Which department/user uses the most print copies? What is the printing cost per page (in black and white; in colour)?
How many ICT / Technical resources (in terms of man hours) are allocated/spent on supporting the fleet of print devices (printers, fax machines and copiers)?
Build a business case on the drivers/reasons, strategy, and vision of how Managed Print Services will help to manage and secure Management Support before moving on to the next steps.
Once you have completed the assessment, you should now have a better picture of the print expenditure within your organization.
According to IDC, if an organisation embarks on Managed Print Services; one can expect to enjoy a cost savings of at least 30% annually from the total expenditure of print itself. In today’s economic climate, such savings of expenditure can be better used/invested in other areas of the businesses for sure.
The next step is to look at how one would go about optimizing the Print expenditure by consolidating the Print devices using Multi-Function Printers (which typically is a printer connected to the internal network that provides print, scanner, copier, and fax functionality). It is important to ensure that Multi-Function Printers are network-enabled, allowing it to be shared on the network for all employees to access print functionality accordingly.
Again, these days with the fax machines being used less and less in the business world, fax functionality is being phased out as well. Fax functionality in business is being replaced by e-mail manned mailboxes which are easier and cheaper to operate and maintain as well.
Typically, outsourcing vendors that offer Managed Print Services may or may not allow a “trade-in” for existing printers, fax machines, scanners and copiers used by the business for a nominal value. Such offers are typically negotiated to offset/justify the adoption of Managed Print Services for organization. Such business requirements may form part of your tender/contract requirement to the Managed Print Services vendors so it’s easier to manage after transition. Do not forget to secure Management approval and Finance team support (on the write-off and addressing the nominal value offered) to address the Print asset management issue on the finance books.
Alternatively, some organizations (with Management approval and Finance support) may decide to offer existing Print Assets (as is conditions) to employees to purchase for a nominal fee. Do make it clear to employees that the organization will not be responsible for any warranty and maintenance and/or replacement parts of such assets. Please ensure Disposal process and documentation are in place should you decide to go down this path for proper compliance and auditability.
As for the suggestions of donating to charity organizations, that may not be the best way forward. The reason is that most if not all the Print assets (printer, scanner, fax, and copiers) do require technical expertise and support to keep them operating well. With the lack of technical personnel and knowledge in most charity organizations, donating such “used” print devices may create expensive support and maintenance challenges.
Lastly, do consider engaging an “environmentally friendly” disposal vendor for the print assets as a viable option in not just negotiating the nominal value for disposal but also ensuring the items are disposed/recycled in accordance with local laws and regulations.
In Part 2 of the Managed Print Services series for Digital Transformation, we shall explore other aspects accordingly.