Managed Print Services (MPS) have been a popular topic for document hardware manufacturers, dealers, and the analyst firms that cover the industry.  MPS is everywhere and has been long been anointed as the business practice that will take the print industry to the twenty-first century. While the pundits rave and salespeople push Managed Print Services, what does Managed Print Services mean to the customer?

Managed Print Services are programs where a services organization assumes responsibility for all aspects of your printed page infrastructure.

The above definition provides a general definition of MPS, but dealers can provide customers with different types of Managed Print Services engagements. Based on the clients’ needs, there are many different areas of printing that can potentially be “managed” and MPS providers can customize what aspects they “manage”.

Making Sense of MPS Offerings

While MPS is top of mind for dealers, customers may not be aware of Managed Print Services, and can easily be confused by the countless acronyms, service plans, and costs associated with printing.

The following is a quick “Pete Notes” version of some of the most popular Managed Print Service offerings.  These offerings can vary by the dealer’s experience in Managed Print Services.  However, the ideal is for clients to understand their needs around print management and pair those needs with the most capable dealer. 

The "Pete Notes" MPS Reference Guide

This list and blog hopes to serve as a quick reference guide for potential MPS customers who need a quick reference guide:

  • Toner and Service: A Toner and Service is simple and does not include any new printing equipment to be added or removed, simply that the new MPS client no longer wants to be responsible for ordering toners or finding service for their current fleet.  The benefit of a toner & service MPS engagement is to consolidate costs into a single invoice and single point of contact, freeing clients to concentrate on their core business.
  • Update and Refresh: Update and Refresh contracts allow the dealer to add or remove printing machines based on factors such as old, highly expensive or end of lease equipment.  The value proposition is the same as the MPS client does not want to be responsible for ordering toners, finding service to repair broken machines, or wants to update their technology as it needs to be upgraded or replaced.
  • Full Replacement: A Full Replacement MPS engagement is when the dealer replaces the client’s existing equipment with brand new machines.  The engagement may result in the customer using more or fewer products, based on the most efficient lay out of devices the dealer determines.  Nowadays, Full Replacement MPS engagements are very rare, but were the norm when Multi-Functional Machines were first introduced and could replace many expensive printers with a single unit.  Today, the benefits of a Full Replacement MPS engagement are difficult to convey to client and are often interpreted as complicated “overkill”.
  • Solutions and Policies: Today, Solutions and Policy MPS engagements are currently the focus of most of the Managed Print Services providers.  These types of programs consist of the dealer using all three of the previous methods described in some fashion and adding to Document Management Software.  The Document Management Software is customized to the client, who sees the benefits of the advanced software as a way to help monitor and control printing costs.  Document Management Software not only streamlines consumables ordering and combines printing costs into a single bill, the technology can also re-rout individual print jobs to devices that can execute the print job the least expensively.

Clearing the Air

As mentioned, the ideal MPS engagement is the pairing of the needs of the client with a capable provider.  MPS is not a one size fits all solution and no matter what four programs listed is used, the goal is to solve the client’s needs. So if you’ve been approached by a MPS dealer or curious to learn how the service can help your business, use this guide as your reference.