Just like all commercial enterprises, family-owned businesses are constantly seeking ways to streamline and increase their bottom line. Often, in businesses that have been handed down from generation to generation, there is a tendency to continue operations in much the same way as in years before. And while there is much good to say about tradition and maintaining a long-held brand, what is sometimes overlooked are the many benefits today’s technology has to offer – particularly in the area of document printing and distribution.
The costs associated with document output may not seem large in the scheme of an entire operational budget, but consider this – most businesses spend up to 3 percent of annual revenue on printing and document distribution, with IT departments allocating 15 percent of time to printing and related actions, making the need to track equipment usage, reduce costs and increase efficiencies a must.
The wide discrepancy between the operating costs of desktop printers, copiers and multifunctional devices to generate an individual document cannot be disregarded when balancing a business budget.
It wasn’t long ago when the “big box stores” copiers, printers and fax machines were the pinnacle of document generation, but that process has been refined through the innovation of managed print services (MPS), so much so that in recent years MPS has taken the lead in document solutions – and with good reason.
MPS looks at per-page cost as the bottom line, in contrast to the final price point of office equipment. Fundamentally it considers all costs associated with leasing/owning and using printing and imaging equipment, including maintenance and ongoing support – of particular significance for businesses with multiple locations. Print management software tracks the number of copies each piece of equipment uses and produces a report, allowing for increased efficiencies. A print management program can realistically save a business up to 15 percent or more in its operational costs.
A MPS system tracks documents and flags any excessive use of machines with high per-page costs. Since most office environments now use color, it’s critical that businesses have current technology that allows them to generate documents in the most efficient manner.
MPS can be introduced in phases and is set in motion with an initial analysis of a company. The assessment evaluates the existing printer fleet, current costs and operational bottlenecks and, when applicable, the amount of time an IT department spends on document production. After the analysis there is a “discovery meeting” to review a formal assessment report with company owners and/or key stakeholders. The report summarizes and documents all data and operational costs of the existing equipment fleet. Potential opportunities to consolidate and standardize are then highlighted and discussed. Ultimately, print management looks at all phases of document generation, from the cost of the equipment and supplies through any necessary service support.
A print management program can offer many advantages to the family-owned business as it can:
- Identify current and anticipated printing requirements.
- Provide consolidation/standardization opportunities.
- Provide substantial cost savings.
- Reduce or eliminate internal IT department printer support.
- Identify opportunities for process improvements.
- Eliminate need to inventory supplies.
- Create visibility to all related expenses and usage.
An increasingly important component of an MPS system is an in-place tracking software program that enables the provider to monitor clients’ systems remotely, alerting them to potential misfeeds or low toner, thereby averting work stoppage.
Yet another critical component to MPS is security. One of the imperatives of any business is to ensure that information is secure and compliant. A managed print service program provides critical mandatory security; in fact, it can trace a document back to the device it was printed from.
Also important to consider when instituting a managed print services program is the paperless office trend. Environmentally, MPS is an effective mechanism to reduce waste, recycle paper, ink and other resources. It is a “green” document solutions approach that is not only cost effective, but can also lower the carbon footprint of a business.
An across-the-board print management system is also less stressful for staff, particularly if a business has multiple offices. The frustration of dealing with equipment that may vary from office to office is eliminated making it easier for people to do their jobs.
In a nutshell, MPS provides an audit of document generation costs and equipment efficiency. Ultimately, this program is a necessary step toward a business’s increased efficiency.
Ray Belanger is president and CEO of Rockland, Massachusetts-based Bay Copy, a second-generation family business. This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Massachusetts Family Business, the magazine of the Family Business Association of Massachusetts.