Do managed print services (MPS) really add value?

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Cost of print.jpgManaged print service (MPS) is the new buzz phrase in the print, copy, fax and scan (collectively referred to as output) industry, and many organisations in South Africa have adopted these new outsourced business relationships.

However, Billy Bell of WD Bell Consulting, a veteran of over 20 years in the desktop and office print environment, tells SmartProcurement that there are certain conditions which are essential and must be in place, for all the available efficiencies (and cost saving benefits) to be realised. Many factors must be carefully considered when determining if an MPS is the right option for your organisation.

In the first place, a MPS strategy is complex and there are many pitfalls that will be difficult to avoid if an organisation does not have the experience or technical know-how to recognise the risks and mitigate them, says Bell.

“Hybrid solutions may be effective in certain circumstances while in other cases the usual purchase or renting of specific equipment as required could still be the more effective route.”

Bell says the situation is exacerbated by the fact that most local vendors have taken a long time to establish their ability to implement and manage their specific strategies. Therefore, South African organisations should not blindly adopt the international MPS trend, despite it being well established overseas as the business relationship many large organisations prefer.

After in-depth research and careful evaluation, a large investment bank in South Africa recently rolled out an MPS strategy and happily achieved a R35-million saving after:
- adopting brand new equipment;
- settling off old contracts;
- installing the appropriate management software; and
- concluding a four hour resolution-based Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The savings represented approximately 35% of the legacy system cost structure with further savings achieved on carefully managed volume throughput in line with the recommended best practice application implemented.

Bell concludes, “While this Bank is clearly a success story I must again stress that MPS is definitely not a case of ‘one size fits all’, you first need to source the required expertise to make sure the business solution is tailored to meet the circumstances of your environment, resources and budget”.

Bell will explain the intricasies of managing a print services environment at Commerce Edge's Output services workshop to be held in Gauteng on 24 & 25 August 2011. Contact events@smartprocurement.co.za to register and and learn how to successfully manage the environment and contain costs through policies, procedures and best practice.

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