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Managed Print Service / Pay Per Print

31/08/2016

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Essential things to know.


In animal farm, George Orwell wrote “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” and so it seems it is for managed print suppliers.

So what is a Click Charge/MPS Contract?

Managed Print Services usually refers to outsourcing the optimisation, software, servicing and consumable supply of your multifunction devices /printers.

On the basis that a supplier has expertise, economy of scale, experienced engineers and a stock of parts it makes perfect sense to outsource to allow your staff to concentrate on your core business.

Most service contracts are based on a service level agreement that assures the client a response time to have an engineer on site. In larger environments it could even mean headcount onsite.

So what do commercials of a pay per print contract look like?

MPS contracts are usually boil down to a hardware & software acquisition or lease with a contract for the servicing & consumables based on the volume of printing done. This is often called the “click charge”. The click charge covers the cost of service, toner and other consumable elements of the devices such as rollers and waste toner bottles. A click charge of .006 on mono printing would mean for every 1000 pages printed it would cost €6 to cover toner and servicing.

The click charge will vary depending on the different devices economy in your fleet and as a rule they become more economical as you move up the range.

What about the devices?

The recommendation of the devices will generally depend on usage models & specific requirements (Colour, Fax, Scanning, A3, stabling, bookmaking etc.) and the expected volumes of printing. Consolidation of smaller devices and services such a follow-you printing, pin-release, scan to email /folder and reporting are often elements of any solution recommend. A full print audit and needs assessment is often carried out before the recommendation of hardware, software and solution design.

Like a car, devices will also have an expected engine life (mileage) and suppliers will look to understand this and each devices use case before making any recommendations.

Some major elements to look for when considering updating your contract or printer fleet.

  • Supplier Financials:
    We all like to support small business. However as MPS contracts are anywhere between 3-5 years the financial strength of the business is also important. Finding suppliers to take over your service contracts mid-life can be cumbersome and expensive should your supplier go under.
  • Experience:
    Ideally as the world moves to digitise and automate many of the procedural elements of business a supplier that can design and implement document management and archiving is a good choice. Such a supplier is better placed to make strategic recommendations and integrate new devices with your current systems and existing business processes.
  • Non-Standard Device Parts:
    When you take your car to a dealership for a service you expect that the car will be fitted with genuine parts, unfortunately this is not always the case in the printer industry. In some cases devices can be fitted with 3rd party or even second-hand parts. The issue is that you may have invested in hardware anywhere from €2,000 to €15,000 per unit and because the servicing is outsourced you are unlikely to be aware of the damage being done to the asset until the end of your relationship with the current supplier. Make sure to look to see the parts being fitted are genuine when the engineer is onsite.
  • Non-Branded Toner:
    We have all heard of the drill and fill on toners and this I guess is relatively unimportant to a €50 printer you picked up at the supermarket. It’s a whole different story when dealing with a departmental multifunction device and will damage the longevity of your asset.
    It is best to fit the toners yourself and insist on a set of unopened boxed originals being supplied.
  • Servicing:
    Once again you have purchased expensive devices designed to last years but in order for this to happen devices need to be serviced about once a year. Put a date in the diary and call to book once a year. Also keep log books for each device attached to them and ask the engineers to fill in parts changed. Some MPS suppliers do services whenever they are called out to fit any part as they are onsite already.
  • Outstandingly Competitive Click Charges:
    Like all things in life if it looks too good to be true it probably is! It costs to provide good service from fully trained engineers and keeping a vast stock of parts. If you get an excellent quote make sure you ask all your questions and get the answers in writing.
  • Secondary Leases:
    Most finance leases at the end of the period will go into secondary lease. Basically this means the lease charge will be charged again and again until the client either cancels the lease or pays to take ownership of the equipment. It is important to note not all finance houses write out to clients to advise them of the end of the lease. The end of the lease can be an ideal time to upgrade to newer devices and take ownership of the existing units. One again log the dates and keep a copy of leases on file to review.

If you cover all the above and secure a decent service level agreement an MPS contract works out as the most economical and optimal way to print for businesses.

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