What is a Print Assessment?
The world is full of mysteries. Is Bigfoot real? Is there intelligent life beyond the stars? And perhaps life’s biggest question: why do my printers suck?!
While we may not be able to answer the first two questions, the third is a question we have been asked countless times. And so, we’ve gotten pretty good at answering it.
We’ve created a template for analyzing print fleets from top to bottom to answer this ancient and cryptic riddle.
Enter the Print Assessment.
The print assessment is our way of deconstructing a client’s print inventory, discovering what works and what doesn’t. We look at factors like costs, efficiency, types of machines, locations of devices, and much, much more. By the end of the assessment, your MSP’s client will understand their print fleet better than ever before.
Print Partner works with hundreds of MSPs across the country, facilitating relationships between our parent company, Green Office Partner, and MSPs. Our goal is to take the burden of print off of your hands while we handle your MSP’s clients’ printing needs.
In this article, we will discuss perhaps the most crucial part of your client’s print journey with us and how we perform print assessments from start to finish.
Establishing the Goal of the Print Assessment
Before we get into the weeds, we must align our goals with our client's goals.
Every client has their own priorities and requires their own hand-tailored print assessment experience.
Here are some of the most common goals we find our clients focusing on:
- Financials: many clients want a print assessment to reduce operating expenses (OpEx).
- Productivity: clients want to maximize the efficiency of their fleet. This can sometimes mean spending more money upfront on increasing long-term profitability.
- IT Resources - technical support teams are busy managing security and networks. They don’t want to deal with servicing print devices, yet they are often stuck doing so. Businesses look for quality print vendors to take the burden of print off of the shoulders of their overworked IT staff.
- Environmental - save the trees! Unnecessary printing can lead to wasted resources and pollution. Businesses implementing green initiatives often start with their paper usage, and a print assessment is a great way to reexamine document workflow.
Your client's priorities will determine which of these areas we focus on. One client may only be concerned with their office budgets, and others may be willing to pay extra if it streamlines their workflow. Another may want to go green!
“Our goal is to leave that customer in a better place than they were before,” says Green Office Partner Senior Sales Executive Brad Haun. “We’re not just looking to save them money. Sure, we could save them 20 percent, but taking away printers might cost their company 300% more due to a slower document workflow. And unless we go out there and talk to them, how will we know?”
Once we’ve established your client’s needs, we’ll proceed to our analysis of their fleet.
Floor Plan, Invoices, and PrintFleet
The first step in the print assessment process is thoroughly inspecting your client’s inventory.
We start by asking your client some basic questions about their fleet:
- How many printers/copiers does your company have?
- What types of machines do you have?
- How old are your printers/copiers?
- Which machines print in black & white? Color? Both?
After receiving answers to these basic probing questions, our print experts will assess the business space to understand the client’s needs.
Here are some common probing questions we ask about their business space:
- How many employees use your printing equipment?
- How many locations do you have that require printing?
- How far are your sites from each other?
When reviewing your client’s space, we mock-up and review a floor plan to help us visualize the locations of each device.
This allows us to determine if devices are close enough to their users and how many users will likely be using each machine. We’ll also collect your client’s print invoices to determine how much their fleet currently costs them.
After reviewing the floor plan and invoices, our team installs PrintFleet software in their environment. PrintFleet will monitor their copiers and printers via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to determine their usage and performance.
While every business is different and the monitoring period can vary, we typically want to run PrintFleet for two to four weeks before proceeding to the next steps.
Since many businesses have monthly sales cycles, a month of print monitoring usually gives us a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the year.
However, this is certainly not the case for all industries. Running PrintFleet for a couple of weeks in July will not give us an accurate forecast of a school’s print workflow during a fall semester.
The Print Walkthrough
After reviewing PrintFleet’s findings, our team will visit the client’s site for some hands-on fact-finding, also known as the “walkthrough.”
Studying floor plans and reading invoices can provide some excellent preliminary knowledge for our team. However, this is no substitute for a live visit.
A thorough walkthrough is essential to a proper print assessment, as it allows our experts to visualize the client’s space to determine appropriate solutions. It also allows us to deepen our relationship with the client and establish connections with key account managers.
During the print walkthrough, we speak with the people who are using print the most to uncover what their pain points are. Doing so allows us to recommend solutions that serve both leadership as well as the end user.
We use our initial fact-finding and the physical walkthrough to fully understand your client’s print efficiency.
Assessing Print Efficiency
You might be surprised by how many businesses have never had an accurate print assessment.
If this is the client’s first time getting a print check-up, they may be in for a rude awakening.
Businesses are fluid entities that are constantly changing and evolving.
Think about it. If your client bought copy machines five years ago and doubled their staff since then, they may be using copiers that were not built to support the increased workflow.
Overworked copiers can lead to frequent breakdowns that slow down client operations, costing them countless hours and wasted dollars.
It’s also important to consider functions beyond just print quantity. Multifunction copiers today can perform many tasks beyond simply copying, printing, scanning, and faxing.
Even if their machines can print enough pages, expanding businesses may need copiers with network connectivity, advanced security measures, translation and transcription applications, and many more.
Xerox is a poster child for multifunctionality, with its ConnectKey capable of meeting the print demands of businesses large and small. For a full breakdown of Xerox’s suite, read: 5 Reasons Xerox is a Top Choice for National Accounts
If your client’s business has downscaled recently, this can be another reason to update their print fleet.
If your client has fewer employees or less floor space, they may benefit from replacing their heavy-duty copy machines with smaller, simpler alternatives.
Whether your client’s business expanded or downscaled, they can always benefit from an assessment of their print efficiency.
Print Standardization across Multiple Locations
When analyzing efficiency, we look at the variety of your client's print products.
For multi-site clients, standardization across locations is essential to maximizing an efficient workflow. By “standardization,” we mean, is their print workflow the same at each worksite?
The first piece we check is the print oversight. Is your client’s entire print fleet managed by one managed print provider or multiple?
Ideally, there should only be one print vendor handling your clients' print, as a single vendor will have a bird’s-eye view of the entire organization’s workflow. This will make it easier for the print manager to identify weak points and inefficiencies within an organization’s different sites.
For example, if one site spends significantly more on print than another, a single print manager could identify this discrepancy and bring it to the organization’s attention.
Suppose each site has its own managed print provider, and each is disconnected from the providers at other locations. In that case, tracking inefficiencies or managing your client’s overall print spending would be much more challenging—too many cooks in the kitchen.
Another piece of standardization is the machines themselves. Does one location have Xerox machines while another uses HP?
Standard machines can make a huge difference for employees who travel between locations. If an employee moves to a different site and the document workflow is the same, that employee can jump right into their work.
However, if the machines and networks are different, this can create a hassle for relocators, creating potential hours of printer training and frustration. Different machines also create the burden of managing different drivers and toner cartridges for different print devices.
If your client has multiple locations that each have a robust print infrastructure, we’ll perform a walkthrough for each site and compare fleets between all of them.
To read about all the benefits of keeping all of your clients’ locations under one print roof, read: Why Your Multi-site Clients Should Use a Single Print Vendor
Printing Costs Assessment
After our walkthroughs, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what your client should be spending on print.
But what they should be spending and what they are spending on print can be very different figures…
We review a copy of their current print agreement to assess their current print spend. This contract will outline how much they are charged per printed page. We’ll check their rates per black and white and color sheets printed.
We’ll also look at what they pay for their overall print service and machine leases. When clients buy printers and copiers, significantly larger models, they usually enter into lease agreements where they make payments on the machines.
We’ll ensure they are paying a fair rate in the agreement and if there’s any room for savings.
We’ll then review other print-related costs they could be responsible for. What happens when their print machines are down? Do they need to pay for repairs? Will they receive a loaner printer while waiting for replacement parts, or will they suffer days or weeks of revenue loss without necessary print equipment?
Your client may have never considered many of these questions, but they definitely should.
For many businesses, printing is the lifeblood of their organization, and even short amounts of time without print can be massively disruptive.
To learn more about the types of businesses that heavily rely on print, read: 5 Industries that Use the Most Print
Once we’ve reviewed your client’s costs from top to bottom, we present your client with the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). This discovery meeting is an opportunity for the client to bring any missed expenses to our attention.
During this meeting, our goal is to reach an agreement with the customer on what their actual print spend is so we are all on the same page.
Reviewing your clients’ current print costs and potential future expenses will pave the way for us to help them smooth the road to their printing future.
The Print Proposal
Once we have all the information we need, it’s time for the proposal. And it’s about time!
Why do we do so much fact-finding? Between PrintFleet monitoring, invoices, and walkthroughs, we spend several weeks and countless hours studying your client’s business.
The answer becomes clear once we arrive at the proposal. If we do our fact-finding correctly, we will know this client’s business inside and out.
The harder we dig for answers, the easier this step becomes.
Using everything we’ve learned, our team presents the client with solutions to their print frustrations. This comes from a new managed print services (MPS) agreement.
Here, we establish costs for our print management and recommend replacement and new equipment.
If we’ve aligned ourselves with the client’s goals and done our due diligence in studying their fleet, signing our proposal should be a no-brainer.
“We’re trying to help businesses solve business problems,” says Green Office Partner Sales Executive Brad Haun. “We focus on printers, but what excites us is optimizing print workflow.”
We do all the legwork first to make this part easy.
As your client’s trusted technology partner, they look to you, their MSP, for solutions to every problem.
If you want to unload the burden of print, work with us, and we’ll take the hassle off your hands.
Plus, we’ll pay you. For each client referral, we’ll pay you at least $250, plus $1000 per copier sold and 5% on the client’s lifetime print allotment. And we’ll provide exceptional client service while we’re at it.
You won’t find another print partner that performs more thorough, in-depth print assessments than our parent company. Green Office Partner.
Partner with us, a Print Partner you trust.