It’s Time to Review Managed Print Services Pricing

By Kristian Tuinzing

Director of Client Services, NPI

June 15, 2021

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Drastic changes in how and where workforces are working have naturally affected how enterprises consume managed print services – and not always as expected. While the shift to digital has caused many companies to consume less, some businesses that utilize centralized multi-function devices (MFDs) are experiencing increased consumption volumes. Overall, many print environments have been in disarray for some time thanks to percolating (then rapid) changes in workplace trends.

That makes now an excellent time for enterprises to review managed print services pricing.

Based on NPI’s recent experience helping enterprises optimize their MPS agreements with vendors like Canon, Lexmark, Ricoh, HP and Konica Minolta, we suggest enterprises focus on the following three areas:

Prioritize Trouble Spots

The first step in securing better managed print services pricing is getting a cohesive view of your print environment. If your vendor isn’t helpful in providing this view, that’s telling. Other MPS providers in the market will jump at the chance to win your business (and offer better transparency).

Once you have a cohesive view of your print environment, a thorough review typically reveals specific pain points. Excessive color printing, unneeded hardware, and cost per click (CPC) rates that may be price above fair market value are all common areas of overspending that NPI finds when we help clients optimize their MPS purchases.

Reading through MSAs and any pertinent amendments is also an important part of the review process. For example, protections around force majeure or similar circumstances that could possibly generate a downturn in print volumes could allow clients to create substantial leverage when going to the table with vendors. Fully enforcing these clauses is often unnecessary, but vendors will often change their tune if they know a legal department is weighing in. Sometimes all that’s needed is the knowledge that legal teams could be involved.

Consider Reviewing Pre- and Post-Pandemic Volumes

Performing a detailed review of volumes before and during the pandemic, and comparing those to current volume and need, will help you come up with the best forecasted estimates possible for coming years. Surprisingly, NPI finds that changes in office behavior and business operations could see some printers subjected to increased click volumes while other parts of the office close down. As many companies reopen their offices, it’s important to understand how changes in policy, footprint and/or capacity will impact MPS consumption.

It can be difficult to assess and plan for volume with so many unknowns at play.  However, future planning and defined paths towards savings can be something that sets competitors apart from any incumbents that have become too comfortable. NPI recommends leveraging the ability of competing MPS providers to effectively map an environment and make recommendations as much as possible. Behavior of different vendors in competitive bids often reveals their own priorities, and whether they are willing to help optimize the client environment for savings.

Get Competition Involved for Better Managed Print Services Pricing

As we’ve alluded to already in this post, NPI finds competition to be an important element in each MPS purchase we help our clients optimize. Current market conditions have enabled many solution providers to position themselves to take new market share. Complacent incumbents may be vulnerable to losing business to competitors who are ready to approach enterprises with concrete plans on reducing both click charges as well as overall asset footprints. IT price benchmark analysis for different vendor quotes typically reveals material savings opportunities that will either motivate an incumbent to offer better managed print services pricing, or motivate the customer to move their business elsewhere.

In instances where a new vendor makes sense, customers should seek to take advantage of buyout options, optimizations to automatically reduce cost impacts, and reporting improvements.  Some balancing of “soft” values like global reach, white glove services, and potential disruption to operations needs to be factored into competitive considerations – but substantial savings can be had if the customer is willing to accept some short term “pain” in exchange for more competitive pricing and a partner who is more solidly aligned with their MPS cost reduction goals.

Recent NPI deal analysis suggests many enterprises have left their MPS agreements on autopilot despite widespread disruption to office operations. Now is a great time to redefine your requirements and negotiate better managed print services pricing. If you have questions on how to best get started, NPI can help.