A New ERA for Managed Print

Significant disruption has hit most areas of business over the last couple of years, and Managed Print is no exception. Rising costs, lack of available stock, hybrid working patterns, market consolidation and increased demands on IT departments have meant that what might historically have been a straightforward decision on number and speed of devices now needs much greater consideration.

The first step, always, is to understand your current position. A review of existing agreements and terms and conditions will allow you to plan the replacement process efficiently bearing in mind required notice periods and exit costs. The industry is still feeling the effects of production delays in China, meaning that lead times are at best extended, and at worst, unknown. A clear idea of the target implementation date, as well as an understanding of any rollover clauses and flexibility within your current contract is vital.

When it comes to approaching the market, a like for like replacement of an existing fleet of machines is unlikely to be the answer, so while we suggest a review of volumes and performance over the last 12 months, additional input from stakeholders is needed to help to assess how requirements might change over the course of the next couple of years. Working patterns have shifted towards a hybrid model, with greater reliance on technology rather than hard copy documents but in most cases, the paperless office still feels some distance away. Choosing a partner who can deliver high quality hardware and support now, alongside innovation that will help to drive meaningful change is not an easy task. Ensuring that you are paying the right sort of price and measuring a return on investment for new technology is even harder.

Follow Me or Secure Print is common in most installations these days, but what can suppliers offer to enable printing with free movement between office locations, from home or from mobile devices? How can the process of scanning documents go from a manual operation of moving files back at the user’s PC to a managed workflow with OCR to deliver documents into the appropriate Document or Case Management System? How can incoming and outgoing post be dealt with most effectively while staff work from home?

There is a vast array of products available within the market that all offer various elements of the solution, so assessing what might be the best fit for any individual business takes time and detailed scoping. Even with the right suite of products, if comprehensive training and support is not provided on implementation, lack of “buy in” and adoption from users is likely to lead to a return to past behaviours and user frustration.

We have also seen the impact of inflation across the industry, with the majority of vendors passing on multiple double digit price increases over the last 12 months which can make an eye watering comparison against your current costs on a contract that is up to five years old. That said, a robust test of the market can still deliver unit cost savings that can help to fund additional software and improvements to user experience.

Our experts work to source the best value-for-money solutions for clients directly with manufacturers, national partners and local suppliers. If you are considering a review of your Managed Print contracts or just looking to solve a short-term headache, we are more than happy to help. Contact us today.