August 10, 2015 by Tris Hussey

Spotlight on Managed Print Services at Microserve

Spotlight on Managed Print Services at Microserve

Getting a handle on your printing saves real money right away

As part of our ongoing series spotlighting the service areas at Microserve, I sat down (virtually) with Mike Smith who runs the Managed Print Solutions section out of our Edmonton office to talk printers, printing, and not printing as much as you used to. You might not have given much thought to how your office manages its printers or even their printer supplies, but chatting with Mike, I think more companies need to take a serious look at this core office function.

What does Managed Print Services mean to you?

At the most basic level Managed Print is about tracking and maintaining all the printers in an office. From the basic stuff like ink and toner to repairs and upgrades, keeping tabs on printers can be pretty time consuming. People don't really think about their printers either and how they fit into their work-flow. I talked about this in my post last month—Managed Print Services Aren't About Printing At All—printers are just kinda there for people and until they don't work, we don't think about them. For me managing a printer fleet is actually about helping people figure out how they work with documents in general.

People don’t usually think of printers needing to be managed, so what needs to be managed?

When someone asks us to help manage their printer fleet, the first thing I do is try to understand just what their printing needs are. I've gone into offices where people have two or three printers on their desks just because no one really thought about who needs to print what, how much, and how often. So the first thing to manage is often the sheer number of printers in an office. Does the office actually need that many printers? Can you reduce the number of printers and make things more efficient and save money too? You know the other big thing about printers are the consumables—paper, toner, and ink—I help companies see how switching to automatic two-sided printing can save a lot of money up front (clearly using half as much paper right off the bat) and how using an automatic resupply service can save money and time dealing with ink and toner.
The other part of managed print is how to deal with all the new capabilities in today's printers. Printers are on the network, printers can be on the Internet, printers can receive files remotely, and even send files to people via the scanners. Today printers are more communications devices than just devices to put ink on paper.

Printers are pretty amazing now, what do you think is the best thing about printing today?

Lots of things. There is the energy savings for one thing. It used to be that people had to leave printers and copiers turned on all the time because the start up/warm up time was so long. Even the energy saving levels didn't save all that much. Now today you can turn off the printer and have it start up almost immediately. That makes for a huge energy savings on its own.
Then there is the connectivity. You know there is a restaurant chain we support that can push updated menus to all of its restaurants at once from the head office. Think about how much time and effort that saves printing and mailing new materials. Menus can be updated faster and easier by leveraging the remote networking capabilities. There are some architects I work with who can travel to client sites with just a tablet and print the documents and plans they need when they get there...or better print them ahead of time for clients to review. Think about that, heading to meetings with just a tablet and having printed materials waiting for you when you get there.

What about the paperless office, how are printers helping us to use less paper?

The biggest improvement here is how good two-sided printing has gotten. You don't need to print just even pages then feed the paper back in for odd pages. Printers can print by default on both sides of the paper without people needing to do anything different. Obviously that saves 50% on paper right off the bat, but by raising awareness of saving paper, then people might start printing less to begin with.
With the new multifunction printers, it is so much easier to sign and scan documents without needing to print the document first. Scanning used to slow and clunky, but now it's so seamless that there is no reason why not to use the scanner.

When should companies start thinking about managed print?

Here's something I bet you didn't know, 40% of IT's time taken up by dealing with printers. Sure in a small office with a few printers it's more annoying than anything else, but once you get to 20-30 printers the time needed to deal with printers really starts to add up. Once you hit that 20-30 printer level it's time to think about having someone help you manage the printer fleet in the office. Managed print isn't just about toner or picking the right printer, it's also about keeping those printers running. If you have to deal with printers yourself, one broken printer can cause a real disruption in the office. Waiting for someone to come and look at the printer then come back and fix it can take days. With Managed Printer Services—especially here at Microserve—you get proactive printer monitoring so when something breaks, we already know what's wrong. We can be on the way to fix the printer, parts in hand, before you even realize that the printer is having a problem.

Besides managed print services, what other printer services does Microserve offer?

One of the new programs we've been able to start offering is the Supply Management Program for toner and other consumables. SMP works like this, we have a software tracker and sensors on the printer and know when supplies are running low. When the systems sees you need toner (or ink), the supplies are automatically drop-shipped overnight to you. We know it's a huge pain (and cost) to keep getting toner and ink. We know that you always run out of supplies that the worst possible time—SMP fixes that. You'll have fresh toner on hand before you run out so you can replace the toner without skipping a beat. Besides convenience SMP uses name-brand toner at half price. SMP lets you use the highest quality toner possible and pay off-brand prices. SMP is very popular with companies with fewer than 20 printers, but who print a lot of documents.

What’s the most important thing that Microserve brings to the table with managed print and printers?

It's the pragmatic and proactive approach to printing we bring. Like the example of the office where people had two or three printers on their desks, that happened because people were solving printing needs ad hoc. We went into that office and cut down the number of printers in half, but actually gave them better printers, more capabilities, and more printing capacity. And believe me people were happy to clear space out of their offices and still have access to color laser printers, scanners, and copiers.
When we help an office or company manage their printer fleet, we're really talking about saving them time, hassle, and money. Maybe the old printers that always jam need to be replaced. Maybe there is too much wasted paper in the office. Maybe there is a need for secure and remote printing. Whatever the needs are, we work with customers to make managed print the easiest part of their infrastructure to deal with.

If you'd like to learn more about Microserve's managed printer fleet solutions, you can visit our service overview page or contact us now.

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