The four Rs of print fleet management

Organizations obviously understand the need to manage their print fleets. Managed Print Services are nothing new and most organizations are having conversations with potential MPS providers or have actually put an MPS program in place.

One of the main comments that I hear from potential customers is that they feel the transition from a non-managed to a managed environment is a huge step, with the replacement of existing devices a major concern.

My response is very simple. Implement a gradual transition and retain your current print fleet where possible. The fleet you have acquired is a valuable resource that has cost a significant amount of capital to put in place. An experienced MPS provider will be happy to manage the existing fleet in the short/midterm and begin to draw data over an initial period of say three months. In the hands of an expert MPS analyst, this data will dictate what should be done with the existing printer fleet. Then when you are ready to make a decision about your print fleet then you will have hard data to inform your decision.

There are four main ways of handling your existing print fleet when you move to a managed services model. I call it the four R’s:

  1. Retire – The device is beyond its useful life. Usually this is something we determine by calculating the device’s life count (the total number of pages it has printed in its lifetime), or it could be that running the existing model is no longer a cost-effective option. The prints that were previously sent to this device can be directed to other printers within the fleet.
  2. Replace – As above, the device has reached the end of its useful life due to life count or the costs to operate it have grown too high. However, the device is critical to the local environment, so it must be replaced with a newer model.
  3. Redeploy – This is where the skills and experience of the analyst are seen the most. A device may seem to be uneconomical or inefficient in its current location, but if it were moved to a new location, the life of the device may be extended. Examples of this are under or over utilized devices; moving an over-utilized device to a location with lower usage levels can be very effective. Alternatively, a larger multi-function device in a low-volume area is inefficient, and when you relocate it to a higher demand area, you get better value for your equipment.
  4. Retain – These are the devices that were well positioned in the initial installation, are well within their useful life, and can be efficiently and cost-effectively maintained. In short, keep them where they are.

Implementing an MPS strategy around maintaining your existing fleet using the “4R’s” above will help an organization transition from an old non-managed print fleet to a new managed print fleet. The transition will be gradual, and a good MPS provider will constantly monitor, analyze and suggest ways to refine the print environment.



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