Managed Services for Printing: A Step by Step Process

Ever wondered exactly what happens when a company decides to hire managed services for their printing environment? While many companies like the sound of a third-party specialist taking over the chore of printer maintenance, it’s not always obvious what these handy professionals actually do.

When an office hires a managed service, it outsources some or all of that infrastructure to third-party specialists. They may provide hardware, software, maintenance, or supplies all at a single flat rate or metered fee. With an MPS, a company can access more powerful print capabilities at a reduced cost. That’s a smart move for a company with a strict budget that also needs professional printing powers in their office.

Here’s a closer look at what happens when a company brings managed services on board. Read on to discover the steps in deploying an MPS, and how to prepare for this exciting transformation.

What Are the Steps in a Managed Print Service?

Once a company has decided to bring on board managed print services for an office, a team of experts will step in to guide them through the process of selecting and deploying the most appropriate printing technology. The exact process looks a little different for each company, but every process follows four basic steps. These four steps of an MPS program include:

1. An Initial Assessment

A good MPS provider conducts an initial assessment of the company’s current printing environment. This initial assessment helps the provider know exactly what the company already has, where its weak spots lie, what sort of printing goals or needs that a company is trying to meet and the level of technical proficiency of employees.

Since the print environment ties closely into the document management and related business processes, most good MPS providers will create a model of the company’s workflow processes. After all, managed printers are meant to improve office productivity.

2. The Planning Stage

When all information is gathered, the MPS team will turn to the planning stage. Smile specialists work with a company’s existing infrastructure, augmenting it with software or hardware as necessary to uncover practical solutions to refine the company’s print environment.

3. Deployment

After crafting a plan and getting the company’s approval, the MPS team will deploy its services in an office. This might include installing new software, replacing printers, reconfiguring devices, or physically moving them to support workflows.

4. Ongoing Review and Refinement

A managed print environment isn’t a set it and forget it endeavor. Once in place, Smile specialists will monitor and review the environment as employees ease into their new printing capabilities. If necessary, the MPS service will recommend changes, or provide support to help a company adjust.

What to Expect & How to Prepare

While the managed service provider will do all the heavy lifting, companies can help streamline the process by knowing what to expect and how to prepare for the process.

The Print Environment

An MPS will do an initial assessment of the print environment. This might include physical surveys, interviews, and a complete catalog of printing or document resources. A company can help prepare for this by creating an inventory of devices ahead of time with all the information they already have for each device.

Data Collection

Gaining a sense of print usage requires data collection. While an MPS technician will gather meter data from printers, a company can also provide records of purchases such as cartridges or paper. They might also want to provide a log of internal or outsourced maintenance, outsourced printing, or anything else which shows a company’s print usage.

New Equipment and Processes

After deployment, new equipment or processes may come into effect in an office. This can lead to frustration or reduced productivity as employees adjust to all of this new technology. Consider preparing for this by communicating with employees about the changes, arranging for training sessions and encouraging workers to share their feedback.

More than a Smile: What Makes Our Managed Services Different

Managed services are gaining steadily in popularity. At least 65 percent of businesses that participated in a survey by Quocirca reported using some form of managed services for their printing environment. Likewise, it seems that every day a new MPS provider has appeared, making it difficult to determine what the best option might be.

For the last 22 years, Smile has provided best-in-class managed services. Customers enjoy an MPS provider that differentiates itself through:

  • Loaner machines for extended maintenance. If something breaks, don’t sweat it. Smile technicians make sure the office has what it needs.
  • Free shipping for toner. Say goodbye to managing printer supplies. These managed services deliver supplies when necessary.
  • Managed IT and document management support. Printers are interconnected with other business processes, and Smile technicians are prepared to support those business processes, too.

Office printers play a critical role in the company’s overall success. Don’t leave this quintessential part of the business in the hands of an untested service provider. Enjoy managed service with a smile, from experts who know what they’re doing.

Smile is thrilled to help companies thrive by giving them the tools they need. Contact us today to start a conversation about your printing needs.

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