Managed Print Services is a program offered by print providers

Top Tips to Select a Managed Print Services Partner

A company will work with many kinds of documents on any given day, from printing sales materials to scanning completed contracts. These everyday processes make doing business possible. However, they can also slow down employee workflow, incur costs when devices break and expose the business to data security issues. Managed Print Services (MPS) allows a third-party provider to optimize these activities.

A Managed Print Services provider typically begins by assessing your company’s document output needs. They may optimize printing workflow by replacing your print-related hardware, often with multifunction printers. And they can give you other kinds of support, including maintaining equipment, troubleshooting and monitoring device usage.

There are likely several Managed Print Services companies in any area. These service providers have a lot to offer a growing business. However, it can be tricky to find the right one. They may differ in cost, professionalism, and the scope of support they offer. It’s worth taking a little time to research your options before you ask for an assessment of your print needs. Here are a few key areas to investigate:

Ask About Billing Methods & Determine If They Align with Your Preferences

Does an MPS partner have clear, predictable billing models? A transparent billing method means you’ll be able to tell upfront what charges your business may incur. The information will be easy to come by and easily understood. It won’t be scattered around, sending you on a detective’s chase for information hidden in fine print and legalese. Any reports you request on ongoing usage and savings should also be clear.

Meanwhile, predictable billing models spell out the schedule of fees ahead of time. There should also be clear language on procedures if your company’s needs outstrip the services you’ve booked. Will your business get automatically upgraded to a more expensive tier that offers more support? Will a representative contact you to discuss your options? Will service be cut off until next month? Again, this information should be easy to find or be explained ahead of time.

The three most common billing models are fixed, cost-per-click, and transactional. Fixed models offer a flat, monthly fee for the services mentioned in your contract. Cost-per-click allows you to pay for services on a per-page basis, including maintenance and support. Transactional billing models have a charge per individual service. This lets you mix and match according to your needs.

Evaluate Potential Partners’ Background and Expertise

Can these potential Managed Print Services partners actually fulfill what they’re offering? Do they have the real-world experience to handle the tasks you’ll outsource to them? This is a particular concern for large or busy companies and those that need specialty services.

You’re looking for a company that has handled print service tasks in your field. How can you determine their experience levels? Ask around in your industry to see if other businesses have engaged them. You can also ask prospective MPS providers for references.

Look at anything published on the provider’s website with a critical eye. Are the positive reviews believable, or do they seem too good to be true? What about the negative reviews? How did the company respond to these comments?

That last question can be very enlightening to explore. Problems may crop up, and mistakes can be made, even with a reputable and experienced company. How an MPS provider handles these issues can tell you a lot about them. If you can, ask their references how these situations played out. Was the problem fixed promptly? Did it ever happen again? Are they still using the company? Would they recommend it to someone else?

Another interesting question to ask is whether other companies think they provided value. Sure, the MPS partner may have fulfilled the letter of the contract, but how useful were these services? Do the businesses wish they had requested a different package? Is this relevant to your company’s needs and your field?

How will an MPS provider adapt to your growing company? Your printing needs may expand through:

  • More users spread across multiple company branches
  • A need for enhanced data security after pivoting markets
  • Changing IP addresses
  • Soaring paper, toner, and energy consumption
  • Greater legal obligations as the business offers more sophisticated services

So how will the MPS vendor scale with your company?

Expect Top-Notch Customer Service & Additional Service Offerings

Exceptional service can be the deciding factor in a competitive field like Managed Print Services. Convenient and supportive customer service is vital in times of crisis, such as if a multifunction printer breaks down one hour before an important presentation. You want a company that will step up, offering fast and effective troubleshooting. Other valuable services might include 24/7 help desks and some consulting.

The additional capabilities that one MPS provider offers over another may give them the edge in a close decision. These could include:

  • Specialty printing services such as merchandise or large trade show banners
  • Hardware leasing and sales of new or quality refurbished models
  • Digital content management and document uploading
  • IT management, cloud-based personnel, and cutting-edge digital security
  • Vendor consolidation for easier invoicing
  • A streamlined approach to customer support

A bit of extra research can help you narrow down the field to the right MPS partner. A great MPS partner will have a proven track record with the services you’re hiring them for, as well as experience resolving problems that can crop up.

Would you like to learn more about how our Managed Print Services can support the goals of your Houston business? If so, contact Stargel Office Solutions today.