Return to News

Managed Print Mismanagement: A Warning!

On the surface, a Print Management Program or a Managed Print Service (MPS) program would appear to consist of only replacing toner cartridges and repairing broken print devices. In fact, that only scratches the surface of an effective print management program.

A true MPS program breaks down and addresses every aspect of print costs. It assists the overall operational efficiency of each aspect of these costs.

A typical program consists of everything from:

• elimination of inventory carrying costs to an outsourced Help Desk approach

• to assisting an IT department in effectively managing its print device population

• to the increased efficiency afforded the end-user due to increased print device uptime

• to the proactive preventative maintenance associated with reducing current print repair costs

• and ultimately, extending the useful life of a company's print device assets.

An effective MPS program gives a company the tools it needs to properly balance its print environment and meet its print needs, as a whole. If properly deployed, an effective Print Management Program can save a company more money in reducing operational overhead, increasing efficiencies, as well as, identifying abuses of print within a company. By billing print costs back to each cost center or department that generated the print, a company gains control and accountability over all aspects of print expenditures.

Document production can eat as much as 3-5% of a company's annual revenue. (IDC and Gartner Research)

Ask yourself these three questions.

1. Do you know what you have?

2. Is your print fleet efficient?

3. What are you really spending?

An MPS provider will analyze your printing fleet and implement a company-wide print program to contain, control and reduce costs. However, this is just the beginning.

On paper, print management software makes MPS a low barrier of entry market. A seemingly easy, quick and logical way for traditional copier companies to add a new revenue source and increase stickiness with new and existing clients. Audits, proposals and program implementation are largely commoditized at this point. Plug and play at its finest.

However, behind that new found easy money, lies the trap. The snare that has tripped up countless copier companies looking to offset their hardware sales revenue decline with an MPS offering.

The Trap? The letter M.

We at BMP Print Solutions never forget that the first letter of the MPS acronym stands for management, as in, the program you just pitched as the savior to the clients’ printing problems, has to be managed. Not just implemented but actually managed. 

Software can't (yet) replace toner cartridges nor make mechanical repairs. Multi-site MPS program roll-outs are very complicated and require a true MPS expert to ensure it is handled correctly. Mismanagement quickly escalates to the point of no-return and bound for disaster. Managed print programs require providers to be completely, unquestionably, 100% focused on nothing but print fleet management. MPS pretenders need not apply.

Would you hire a plumber to file your taxes?

Trust your heart surgery to a podiatrist?

Then why would you hire a copier company to manage your printer fleet? 

Look, the plumber knows pipes, the podiatrist your feet and the copier company your copiers. We know managing your printer fleet. Each specialized in our own area, it makes sense to hire an expert to “manage” your specific ailment or problem. We manage print programs! That’s where our expertise lies. It’s our #1 focus and priority. 

The backbone of an expertly managed MPS program is experience and people. The service manager and techs, the help desk, shipping, the inventory manager overseeing a substantial toner and parts inventory, error ticket response coordinators and more. This is what our clients sign up for. Yes, we will save you money on toner and yes, we will free up IT to deal with more mission critical issues. But, you partnered with us to manage the whole process, not just upload some software and pitch you the latest MFP.

Recently, we were approached by a major Central NC hospital system. The hospitals IT dept. were frustrated, bordering on furious that their copier company had completely bungled their brand new MPS program. The copier company had sold them the dream. Lower costs, increased efficiency and free the IT Dept. from the burden of servicing printer devices, yadda yadda. Unfortunately, the hospital system quickly discovered their true intentions.

The copier company was using the MPS program as a smoke screen, an in-road to systematically phase-out existing competitor machines and install more of their own copiers in the hospital facilities.

Ingenious? Maybe! Disintegrous? Definitely!

After 17 months of "managing" the program, the copier folks quickly found themselves overwhelmed with the complexity and additional resources needed to succeed with any MPS program. In that time, they had only secured 1M pages across the entire health system network. The client knew from IT reports, that a major portion of the networked devices were largely unaccounted for and thus not being actively managed.

After consulting with us, we uncovered that the copier company had actually farmed out the entire MPS program to a regional IT service shop that had never, ever implemented an MPS program before. I don't think they have since. Having seen this same scenario play out with some of our other clients before, we offered to take over the mess and solve their problems.

Now doubtful of the merits of managed print services, we wanted to prove to the hospital board that an expertly “managed” print program was indeed of great benefit to their organization. We knew that we could deliver and prove it.

Having been burned by the copier company, the client initially only allowed us to manage a small fraction of their footprint. Within a matter of months we were able to sort through the mess and get the program back on track. We walked every floor in every facility. We placed hands on all the missing devices and tripled page count to over 3M. Not through magic or fancy software; simply because we were focused on executing the MPS program, not selling hardware. We were focused on the M. The often forgotten Management part of MPS.

Shortly thereafter, having proved our expertise, we fully implemented our MPS program across the entire healthcare system; 100+ locations and over 2300 devices. 

We had the service expertise, the support staff and the inventory to handle the complexity the client required. Today, this Healthcare System is extremely happy with the management of their MPS program with BMP Print Solutions.

Unfortunately, this was not our first experience bailing out a copier company dabbling in MPS who mismanaged their clients MPS programs. I suspect not the last either. As long as certain copier companies continue to masquerade as MPS providers, we will have to come in and fix the mess. Choosing a copier company for your copier needs makes sense. Choosing a copier company to manage your printer fleet doesn’t. 

In an increasingly difficult business environment, with hardware revenues in decline we understand the need for traditional copier companies to secure future growth through alternative sources of revenues. However, we don't think that moonlighting as MPS providers to infiltrate an organization with the true intention of displacing hardware is the way to go. Leaving clients duped, burned and furious in a mismanaged mess is not going to work for long. These unscrupulous practices unfortunately give true managed print providers and the whole MPS community a black eye.

If you and your organization are considering an MPS program or you've become frustrated with your current program, don't make the same mistakes as some of our other clients. Be sure to choose an MPS provider who is completely, unquestionably, 100% focused on nothing but managing the program.

P.S If you’re having foot problems, I know a guy!


Jeff Spencer is VP Sales & Marketing for BMP Print Solutions. BMP has implemented Managed Print Service programs for clients throughout the Carolinas, including small companies, Govt. Agencies, mid-large size hospitals, and large manufacturing corporations. (Click here to read how this program saved a Triad company $190,425 on its printing costs.) Learn more at or contact Jeff directly at 866.321.9267.


Downloadable PDF