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Finding the “S” In MPS

3 Mar, 2011 By: Mark McCuen, EFI imageSource

Finding the “S” In MPS

Anyone that has been around the printing and imaging industry over the last
several years has seen the dramatic impact that the transition from the “Cost
per Copy” (CPC) to “Managed Print Services” (MPS) models has had on resellers,
OEM’s, and customers alike. It has only been a few years since MPS providers and
solutions started to emerge, and now industry analysts are projecting that 50
percent of all hardcopy imaging devices will be managed under an MPS contract by
2013, and that MPS will be a $68 billion business by 2014!

When you consider some of the MPS contracts initiated by industry leaders
such as Xerox and HP, it’s easy to see the growth opportunity. For example,
Xerox’s five year global MPS contract with Proctor & Gamble is targeted to
reduce print-related power usage by 30 percent and paper consumption by 20-30
percent annually. Another enterprise-wide MPS example is the work that HP has
implemented with the 3M Corporation. Since 2008, HP has managed 3M’s printer/MFP
fleet, reducing the number of print devices by 47 percent and realizing more
than $3 million in savings during the first two years of the contract.  In
talking with MFP reseller’s, the consensus seems to be that the bigger the
company/enterprise, the more accustomed and open they are to paying for
services. While the smaller the company/enterprise is, the more hesitant they
are to pay for services related to printing and documents. Is that true? Or, is
it more that the services requirements for small-medium businesses (SMB’s) are
different than what a large global enterprise company would expect?

Services Requirements:

Fortune 500 vs. SMB’s

All companies, regardless of size, share some common goals including raising
revenue, reducing costs and streamlining processes. Nonetheless, smaller
companies have fewer resources; have higher costs per employee, and don’t have
dedicated teams to support company-wide initiatives. In fact, most SMB’s have
very limited MIS/IT resources that spend most of their time on help desk and/or
break-fix issues, instead of designing and implementing infrastructure
improvements that might streamline processes and/or reduce costs.

Even with all of the focus on large enterprises, Managed Print Services in
SMB companies is exploding, and when you look at the growth trends, it’s
exciting to see how large the SMB piece is projected to be. There are some
similarities in all MPS engagements including the need to do assessments,
optimize and consolidate the printer/copier fleet, streamline workflows and
provide the ability to produce detailed reports about the printer/copier fleet,
as well as usage patterns.

However, as mentioned earlier, smaller companies typically don’t have the IT
resources to oversee company-wide initiatives. This situation presents an
extraordinary opportunity for services organizations to build their MPS
footprint in smaller companies by supplementing their lack of IT resources,
while greatly reducing the costs of printing. Having a strong partner to help
them manage printing enables smaller companies to apply savings in other parts
of their business, or right to their bottom line.

If your company has started down the MPS path, you already know how much
potential there is, and hopefully you’re seeing the growth in your MPS practice.
MPS is changing how we all do business, and most of the projections tell us that
the majority of companies will move to a managed services model for their
printing requirements over the next several years.

Services Outside

of the Box

Typically, the “services” component of MPS are focused on doing initial
assessments, optimization/consolidation of the printer/copier fleet, and
streamlining printing workflows with a robust reporting capability. It is very
important to understand that your services portfolio doesn’t need to be limited
to just those offerings. A chargeable service can be anything that your company
can do for your customer that will save them money or improve their processes.
Identifying services starts during pre-sale conversations, and it’s important to
clearly understand your customer’s goals with regard to optimization and cost
reduction, as well as where their printing challenges are.

While you’re working through the implementation of the customer’s assessment,
pay close attention to the pain-points and bottlenecks; that’s where your custom
services will come from. For example, your customer might be explaining the
workflow of a set of documents they produce on a weekly basis, when they mention
that it would be great to just press one button and have the documents
“auto-magically” just start printing. By digging a little deeper, you find that
the customer spends a minimum of three hours per week preparing the documents to
print properly. Solve that one problem, and you have saved your customer
thousands of dollars and given them back over 150 man hours a year. Think of
what could you charge for that service.

There’s a lot of competition in the MPS arena, and everyone is talking about
how assessment, consolidation and management will save customers 20-30 percent
per year. By thinking outside of the services box, your company can create a
stronger MPS brand, and realize differentiation between you and your
competition. There are as many problems to solve as there are customers, and way
too many to list here.

However, here are some “out of the box” focus areas that you may want to
look at as you have your initial MPS interviews:

Green Printing

Companies large and small love “green” or “eco” initiatives because they help to
dramatically reduce costs, while enhancing their corporate image as a conscience
company. Green printing services are typically focused on three areas; reducing
paper, power and toner consumption. Something as simple as forcing duplex
printing on all jobs can reduce paper consumption by up to 50 percent, and
implementing a solution to create booklets can actually reduce paper consumption
by as much as 75-85 percent!

Reducing power consumption can be accomplished through device consolidation
and by replacing older equipment with Energy Star copiers/printers. However,
when you consider that copiers and printers actually use more energy when they
are idle than they do when printing, a great “out of the box” service is to
create a remote capability that automatically turns the devices off on nights
and weekends, and then back on when it’s time for work. Simply by reducing
printed paper waste you will reduce toner usage, and there are also several
tools including special fonts and utilities that can decrease toner coverage on
the page.

Mobile Printing

If 2010 was the year of the “smartphone” then 2011 will be the year of the
“Pad”. With almost 300 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 2010, and the
explosion of tablets that the iPad started, how people use computers is becoming
very mobile. No matter what they use to create, view and distribute documents,
users will still need to print.  This creates another great services opportunity
by helping IT departments large and small to implement a mobile printing

Secure Printing

Whether it’s due to government regulation or employee confidentiality,
secure printing practices are no longer an option, they are a requirement. The
services opportunity with secure printing is limitless, and can be as simple as
integrating pin codes or ID badge readers into the print workflow so that only
the user that sent the file to print can retrieve it.  This practice also saves
paper by helping to manage waste.  There are also unlimited services
opportunities by digging deeper into security, and using tools that restrict who
prints what, or by watermarking high security documents so that they can’t be
copied, etc.

Color Management

The largest growth area for color MFP’s is in the office. This is a result
of declining costs, increased functionality and a desire by companies to reduce
costs by bringing their color printing in-house. As we all know, getting
consistent, quality color output requires regular calibration and color
management. The typical office user doesn’t have the knowledge or the desire to
learn how to keep the color output consistent. This is another great opportunity
for an ongoing service that keeps color output at its highest quality.


Anything that you can do for your customer that will save them time, and make
their job easier, can be a chargeable service. Using tools and utilities like
visual print drivers, virtual printers and hot folders to create “one-click”
printing of complex, and/or repetitive documents, can save office users hours
every day.

When MPS first started, it was all about capturing the fleet; followed by
consolidation and optimization of the fleet. In the last few years there has
been more focus on enhancing and streamlining printing workflows with a move
towards expanding document services. Above and beyond the typical MPS
engagement, building a services practice (the “S” in MPS) that emphasizes
solving your customer’s pain points and bottlenecks, will establish your MPS
brand, give you competitive differentiation, and establish you as an invaluable
strategic partner for your customers.  

Mark McCuen, with 25+ years in the Digital Printing & Publishing industry,
is the Product Line Manager at EFI responsible for the Fiery BU Office Products,
including Fiery VUE visual print application & EFI’s Mobile printing solutions
PrintMe & PrintMe Connect. He is a speaker at ITEX 2011 in the MPS Strategy
Forum. At www.efi.com.

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