Printing Outsourcing

    The practice of outsourcing is used in many areas of information technology. We are used to using the provided communication channels, many companies rent servers or virtual platforms from hosting providers, so why not outsource and print?

    At first glance it seems that printing is a very simple procedure. It would seem that the dye is applied to the paper - it is enough to calculate the cost of paper and the cost of ink, and you get the cost of the print. However, as HP notes in its materials, "up to 90% of printing costs are hidden." It is clear that the figure of 90% is very high, but the idea itself is really interesting - but what if we estimate the indirect costs associated with printing?

    In addition, the Kyocera brochure has recently come to my eyes, which provides estimates of the printer and MFP usage during the day, update and write-off schedules, as well as many other interesting tables that somehow prove the benefits of printing services from the supplier. In fact, all this makes sense, and most companies don’t even have an idea how much it costs for them to print in offices and other divisions. To meet the needs of such customers in optimizing printing costs, manufacturers and system integrators began to offer print management services, called MDS (Managed Document Services) in the west, or, in other words, print-only printing.
    All this suggests… and at least the following items immediately come to mind:
    • Working hours of the administrator
    • Repair and maintenance of equipment
    • Unprofitable printing by employees
    • Reprinting of documents due to poor quality (in case of refueling)
    • Unauthorized printing of personal documents by employees
    • Oversized printing in color (if this is not necessary)
    • Printing of documents that need printing (electronic) mail, brochures)

    What are the benefits?
    At a first approximation, the benefits of using MDS are obvious - there is no need to implement special solutions for printing control (the supplier will provide detailed statistics on who printed how much and when calculating the invoice), the ability to free IT staff for other, more useful activities, eliminating their own a consumables warehouse and, of course, receiving comprehensive services not only at the central office, but also in the regions.
    Moreover, the transition to a single supplier in theory should eliminate unnecessary downtime due to the abandonment of the “zoo” equipment of various manufacturers, their maintenance and the need to store components and supplies for different models. Typically, MDS involves installing one or more powerful printers that serve an entire department, floor, or even the entire company (if we are talking about SMB).
    There are also theses on increasing the conditions for improving the security of data dissemination. Theoretically, this is possible, because the copy-printing software monitors all printed documents, thereby it is possible to track data leaks (of course, if other leakage channels, such as external media, are excluded). However, how useful this is is not entirely clear.
    On the other hand, it turns out that you are no longer in control of your printers. That is, you are tied to the services of one supplier, which exposes you a certain cost of the print in A4 format, for example, in color and in monochrome format. And you will print in exactly this way and at that price. Is it profitable? It seems to be, but how to check in practice? To give some guarantees, solution providers suggest fixing some KPI parameters in the contract, upon reaching which the client should be satisfied - for example, reducing printing costs by up to 15% and so on.

    For large or small
    Most MDS materials say that printing services are relevant for both large and small companies, but in practice this directly depends on the provider you have chosen and your “tariff plan”. In my opinion, for large organizations, the benefits of MDS are more obvious, since the availability of heterogeneous equipment and large print volumes allow you to get a clear benefit in unification, as well as the refusal to service devices and store supplies.
    But the question remains: “Can small companies get the benefits of using MDS with the right approach?” Indeed, for many small offices, this actually means the purchase of a printer or an MFP with included service. At the same time, the customer uses the printer as a service, not caring that he needs to be monitored, maintained, changed supplies.

    Also popular now: