I posted this on my blog about a month ago about MPS best practices by Darlene Sheldon in her 2007 article at imageSource Magazine:
1. Develop a Print Strategy
For any corporation who wishes to reduce costs by managing their printing, a document and print strategy is essential. Best practices conclude that fleet assessment and strategy development should be hardware vendor independent.
2. Establish a Baseline
The baseline assessment is used as the kick-off point for developing the corporate print strategy. During baseline assessment, best practices incorporate all costs into the picture, not just consumables - the largest cost being human resources. If the dealer already has a printer fleet management tool which contains a database of device inventory, printing activity and printer events, his revenue can be increased by offering assessment services. In addition, the dealer can prepare a competitive managed print services proposal based upon the inventory and understanding of his client’s printing history. A greater knowledge of the printer fleet than both his client and competitor is a significant strategic advantage.
3. Treat Printers as an Asset
Best practices recognize that the printer fleet is a corporate asset, and thus, should be managed like any other IT asset. Printer asset management looks at a device through its lifecycle and the fleet from the enterprise perspective. A printer life encompasses purchase decisions, printer financials, maintenance, supplies management, and retirement. The enterprise perspective looks at the fleet inventory using corporate metrics, comparisons and trends, making decisions from a global, rather than, unit or commodity basis.
The direction of managed print services is to reduce – to reduce total costs, to reduce the amount of printing, to reduce the number of devices, to reduce the number of manufacturers and models, and to reduce the number of vendors. If you are the only vendor providing a regular report card on the client’s printing, you have an advantage to increase the number of devices you manage and to offer additional consulting services in other areas of managed print services. If not, you may be the vendor that is eliminated.
Managing print services in a cost effective manner requires automation of many of the processes involved. Automatic device discovery and meter reads are only the beginning. The printer fleet management tool should also automate: service requests in the event of a device alert or toner request, maintenance reminders, device retirement and replacement, scheduled reports, and so forth.
6. Manage desktop printers
Desktop printers are often the most expensive component of the printing fleet on a per page basis. Not only do they tend to be underutilized, but supplies are expensive and the printers are complex to track and manage. If the print strategy permits desktop printers, best practices say the printers should be restricted to a limited number of hardware model choices and should be network attached, not USB attached, to make them visible to the network.
7. Sustain Savings Through Continuous Improvement
Once the fleet strategy is deployed, the corporation optimizes managed print services through pro-active monitoring of printer assets, contracts, supplies management, and service level agreements. If the dealer develops a device retirement strategy for his customer with an understanding of the corporation’s business needs, he may ensure that he retains or adds new devices under contract. As with every aspect of managed print services, a tool which collects and stores this device and printing data is necessary to support the intelligent recommendations the dealer provides to his customer.
8. Monitor, Measure, Manage
The key to sustaining the savings reaped from managing printing is measure, adjust, measure adjust on a continuous and ongoing basis. This is where dealers can retain and increase business by pro-actively demonstrating their value with regular report cards on their customer’s printing – including trend graphs showing pages, costs, and problems. This report card should provide areas where improvements can be made such as moving, swapping, or replacing – always with an eye to managing more of the corporation’s devices in combination with reducing total printing costs.