Greater Lafayette Information Technology Society

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Minutes of the Greater Lafayette Information Technology Society, May 15th 2012
by Bob Verplank, Computer Visions

Managed Print Services

Kraig McConihay
Copiers Plus

Kraig did a marvelous job of taking us through the transition of the copier, to the printer, to the plethora of multi-printers, to the new era of managed print services. We started off with analog copiers and then went to digital copiers and our printers did the same thing. We used to have a copier and a printer. Then someone came up with the idea of combining the two. He discussed how the price per page made the copier become a commodity and how the commodity got shopped to the point of everyone losing. He talked about managed print services and their solutions. Kraig took us through scanning solutions, PaperPort, scan and store, scan the folder, scan the e-mail, and all of the companies that were in the printing or print related businesses. That included Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, Sharp, Lanier, and related companies like Nuance and Dragon.

Today we can send our copies to a central Print Server that can determine the most economical printer solution and keep records on who used the printer and where to send the bill. If a printer is down, the Print Server will know that, and send the print job to another printer. Management solutions such as this, are particularly good for large corporations, schools, and businesses where the end customer may be billed per page for the print out. Various methods of keeping track of copier usage might include pin codes, security cards, or a control key or card. The Print Server may have various rules included to have copies printed by the most efficient device. A rule might be to have anything less than five copies be free and then charge for larger copier use.

If you do not know what kind of copiers are being used, it is far more difficult to calculate total printer costs. An example might be where a teacher has a color jet copier with combined color cartridges and no internal counter and intermittent usage, The costs may be far greater than one would expect. Black-and-white laser print copies might be as low as one half cent per page and a color jet printer might cost over $.14 per page. When a school or large corporation does not know how many pages are being printed it is far more difficult to calculate the total costs for the printing fleet. Electrical costs in a large printer that is left on all night long maybe more expensive than you know. New printers may keep track of usage patterns and ramp them up or down depending on previous usage cycles. Overall costs will include supplies, maintenance parts, electrical consumption and be dependent on usage. Customers may have printers that are either oversized or undersized for the given task. Large corporations spend 1 to 3 percent of Revenue on printing and coping without managed print services. Corporate management should take action to control their future printing costs as the usage continues to climb each year. He did stress that that was a management decision and not an IT decision.

Managed print services as an industry is expected to grow 18% per year and be approximately $68 billion in 2014. A company with 750 employees, may have 3700 hours of IT support involved in printing, consume 33,000 kWh of electricity, and spend up to $700,000. Some companies have 2.2 employees per device and others may have two devices per employee. The concept of managed print services has to be sold to management and then discussed and implemented by the IT department. Stages of managed print services include stage I, where we manage the environment, stage II where we optimize the infrastructure, and stage III we optimize the workflow, software, and document management. A managed print service company would have nationwide service, help desk support, real-time reporting, and proactive supply restocking. Kraig's company, printCUBE, typically works with a company that has 10 or more devices. Savings might be affected in supply management, networking, device management, IT distribution, vendor management, power savings, and paper savings for a dramatic overall savings.

To determine current costs, one must have accurate data collection, a general inspection by walking past all of the devices, an interview with the users, a determination of direct costs, and then build a comprehensive model. One would then present the recommendations to management and have a cost consensus meeting. This is a general plan on how to get from here to the future... over there.

Kraig's slides are available here: Copiers Plus Managed Print.pdf