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Is your MPS Program managing “printing” or managing “printers”

4 Nov, 2010 By: Barney Kister, Supplies Network imageSource

Is your MPS Program managing “printing” or managing “printers”

On a call with a reseller to a regional bank, we met with the CIO who had implemented a MPS engagement with his previous employer. The engagement, as described by the CIO, was not a good experience. The reseller at that previous employer deployed a device-centric right-sizing approach that placed a large number of centralized MFP’s and removed most workgroup and local printers, promising a much lower cost-per-page. The mission was accomplished, as the price-per-page dropped significantly. Unfortunately, the user community had a significant drop in productivity while employee moral hit an all time low.

Now, you might expect that the CIO would have tossed us out of his office after we proposed another MPS engagement with his new employer, but surprisingly he is still a big believer in outsourcing the management of document production. He just wants to do it without all the negative impact of his previous experience. While he wanted his printers managed, his most important goal was having his “printing” managed.

Bulldozers and flower gardening
As the title of this article indicates, there is confusion surrounding the true focus of managed print services. Clients know they have wasteful printing occurring every day within their environments. Clients also know that their employees frequently fail to use best practices when choosing which printer to send their print jobs. Failure to follow best practices has emails being printed in color, duplex features rarely used, large documents printed on desktop printers and more, and many jobs sent to workgroup devices are never retrieved.
Many resellers present a solution to these issues by removing desktop and locally attached devices, followed by placing larger centralized MFP’s. This approach, taken to extreme, is not unlike resolving a broken bone in the forearm by amputating the entire appendage.

End user clients are looking to have printing managed, wasteful print removed, cost-of-print reduced— and all without negatively impacting worker productivity. A true managed print solution analyzes the document workflow in the environment and then positions devices to support the needs of that workflow with the intent of maximizing worker productivity while controlling the cost-of-page production. The benefit to the customer is a print environment uniquely designed to support their document workflow and not a document workflow built around the functionality of the devices. It is all about the right tools for the right job. Just as you wouldn’t want to dig a basement with a hand spade, you don’t need a bulldozer to plant a flower.

The mission is to understand your client’s document workflow prior to designing device placement. With a solid understanding of the document workflow, productivity impact can be measured as well. In years past, understanding how and where clients printed required an extensive walk through that included interviews with workers to gain insight into print behavior. Today, there are software products that can help with this discovery. These tools collect data on the number of print jobs, the size of the job, the application used and to which printer the job was sent.

Analyzing the data, the reseller can create a document flowchart that builds a device placement strategy based on knowledge worker productivity. Some of the document workflow software tools go a step further and incorporate the ability to provide rules-based routing and behavior change features. These tools support best practice—by either education of the user environment, or by forcing print to the appropriate device dependant on the desire of the client’s management. The software tools can be abused, however, if the rules are centered on forcing all distributed print to centralized printers.
The key to success is focusing on knowledge worker productivity and not page capture to a specific device.

Clients need just the right data
Clients are looking for actionable data to support change. Proposing a significant change to a print environment and claiming a cost savings based on worker productivity could be easily challenged by your client if you fail to quantify the financial impact. Bill Tebbenhoff, an HP Commercial Account Manager, supports his push for distributed print by breaking down the cost of a knowledge worker to the minute, the size and number of jobs printed, and the time it takes for the worker to collect that job from a centralized print device. He is able to demonstrate that a knowledge worker earning $60,000 per year can burn nearly $1,500 of that salary by walking to and from the printer!

While the worker does get some good exercise in the process, a gym membership and desktop printer would be more cost effective for the business! Knowledge workers who frequently print small jobs of 5 pages or less will remain most productive if output devices are in close proximity, and large and color print jobs are sent to high volume or color devices.

Taking MPS to the next level

Clients are looking to reduce their total cost ownership when it comes to printing. MPS resellers have the opportunity to focus on satisfying the client’s needs by first understanding the document workflow, and then making changes to the print environment that support the overall lowest cost of ownership—without negative impact to worker productivity.
Taking this approach provides the reseller with a much better chance of retaining closed business, greater share-of-wallet and the ability to demonstrate quantifiable savings. The reseller possessing document workflow and employee print behavior knowledge, will be able to present solutions that truly reduce overall cost of ownership to the client. So, take your MPS business to the next level by “managing printing and not just managing printers!”

A worker earning $60,000 per year can burn nearly $1,500 of that salary by walking to and from the printer!

Barney Kister is Sr. VP of Sales Operations for Supplies Network. For more information on the company, MPS, office and IT supplies, visit www.suppliesnetwork.com.

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