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Efficiency, the buzzword in any company is all about working smart, not hard. Making the most of your time and effort, whilst staying productive.

Most people are looking for ways to become more efficient in their everyday tasks. Earlier, all you needed was a basic computer, telephone and perhaps a fax machine to get through the items on your to-do list.  Whereas now, this won’t give you the edge to make you more efficient and thus, you won’t be one step ahead of your competition.

Managed Print ServicesOffice Automation is key in any business, seeing that it is the “application of information technology to the typical clerical and secretarial tasks such as communication, correspondence, documenting, and filing.” These items form the core of any business and therefore it must be as efficient as possible, to ensure that the productivity of staff is at its maximum level.

But now, Managed Print Services or MPS has become the new buzzword in the printing industry. The definition of MPS is a solution, whereby the vendors’ main focus is to drive costs down whilst increasing efficiency, by gaining control and visibility with the main objective to optimise the environment.

So, what is the difference between these two – Can one company offer both Office Automation and Managed Print Services (MPS)?

The short answer is yes, however, the distinguishing factor being the independence of the company from print hardware brands, as well as the service provider’s intent in driving a print strategy to make you more efficient and sustainable. 

Office Automation in the printing space refers to the placing of print hardware, together with the maintenance and upkeep thereof. MPS on the other hand, refers to the management and optimisation of the print environment, to keep costs to a minimum.

In simple terms, Office Automation companies can typically provide an MPS solution, on the condition of “ripping and replacing” existing devices.  This means that OA companies can only provide MPS on the condition that their print equipment and software is rolled-out to the entire company.

Table 1: OA vs MPS offerings:

Office Automation

Managed Print Services (MPS)

  • Provision of print hardware, based on business requirements.
  • Installation and configuration of equipment.
  • Redistributing / removing underutilised devices.
  • Desktop removal management and reverse logistics (change management included).
  • Equipment placement vetting against requirements. 
  • Provision of maintenance and servicing of print hardware supplied.
  • Help desk for print hardware supplied.
  • One help desk for call logging across all incumbent vendors.
  • Ensuring all owned equipment is placed onto SLA (no matter the brand).
  • Provision of Print Management Software
  • Developing and implementing policies based on user behaviour.
  • POC Print Management Software
  • Provision / recommendations on Print Management Software best suited to environment.
  • Controlling and reducing print volumes.
  • Developing and implementing policies based on user behaviour.
  • Identifying high print areas and optimising use of existing fleet.
  • POC any relevant and innovate software platforms.
  • Basic reporting including:
  • Number of devices within vendor’s control.
  • Volumes per device
  • Trend analysis on volumes
  • Consolidated reporting including:
  • Print volumes & costs across entire print fleet.
  • Departmental print volumes & costs (top users and departments).
  • Multi-functional utilization against abilities.
  • Document type trends.
  • SLA Tracking.

On the flip side, MPS companies can also provide Office Automation solutions (hardware and software). Often, they prefer placing specific brands, however, the best MPS companies can operate independently from any Office Automation company. They are thus brand agnostic.

In summary, Office Automation companies can provide an MPS solution on the condition that all existing equipment is replaced with the vendor’s equipment.

An MPS company can provide an Office Automation solution, however they might be linked to a specific brand. The most important consideration, is that if you don’t need to replace your print hardware, you need to consider an MPS partner that will be able to manage incumbent vendors and equipment.

Be sure to assess both options when deciding on the best strategic partner when it comes to signing a Managed Print Service partner for your business. At the end of the day, all print hardware do the same thing. It is the management thereof that really makes a difference.

Please feel free to download our MPS checklist to evaluate prospective vendors against when deciding on the best MPS provider for your business and how to reduce your printing using Managed Print Services.

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