Production Printers vs. Managed Print Services: Q&A with an Expert
Many businesses are choosing to digitize their documents but, for others, printing is still a critical aspect of their operations. For these businesses, having production printers or managed print services is more of a must than a luxury.
But how do businesses know what technology they really need to improve the way they work? Do you need high-volume, custom prints? Will standard, office-style printing be enough? These questions, along with a little help from this blog, will help you decide what printing solutions you need to cut costs, improve efficiency, and boost your business through printing prowess.
See how one of our clients saw great success in implementing production printing equipment with the help of Impact’s expert support in this case study.
To help us dissect the differences between these services and how they both help businesses in unique ways, we talked with Nathan Robinson, Executive Account Manager and Partner, who provided his expert insights below.
Production Printers vs. Managed Print Services (MPS)
The difference between production printers and managed printing depends heavily on your business environment. Obviously, production equipment thrives in a production environment.
A ‘production environment’ involves round-the-clock high-volume print jobs, unique print materials (cardstock, glossy stocks, etc.), custom color matching, and wide-format printing. These are typically print jobs that businesses outsource to printing companies which can be time-consuming and costly.
On the other hand, managed print services (MPS) deals with your traditional office environment—desks, workstations, more standard sizes and materials, and less complex colors. Essentially, what you imagine when you picture a printer in an office.
Related: 6 Managed Print Services Benefits for SMBs
Production Printers and MPS as Business Services
Both production print and MPS go beyond printing equipment, though. They each involve service and support from specialists to help keep the machines running smoothly. Getting this service through a managed service provider, like Impact, gives businesses:
- Quick and easy access to the supplies (ink, paper, toner, etc.) that they need to keep their printing needs met
- Education and training from experts to teach your team how to properly operate machines
- Insights from data collection on how to optimize printing to save money and increase productivity
- Repairs and service from specialists
- Accurate billing based on printer data
Whether it’s production print or more standard office printing, support from an MSP can help elevate your business by giving it what it needs to keep the paper flowing.
The Technology Behind Printing in Modern Business
This also brings up the question of what production print technology you’ll need. Like choosing your print solution, your needed technology depends on your needs and challenges.
Different machines from different manufacturers and companies provide different things. This is another area where having access to print specialists through an MSP can help. Part of our process is to analyze your business’ print needs so we can pick the perfect equipment, software, and technology for you.
NR: Some production systems might be better for color matching or printing on different materials like glossy stock. Some specialize in different areas of print, and some print very fast and are meant more for mailers or mass-produced collateral. Each machine can do a lot and make it more affordable to print on demand, but which ones you need depend on your business.
How to Know What Print Solutions You Need
Once you realize that you need some sort of print service, the next step is to discover what kind of printing technology you need. To do this, you—along with our experts—look internally at the challenges you’re facing in your current state of printing.
Do you print often and at high rates? Do you need printed materials on demand? What materials are you printing on? Does color matter?
These questions help to paint the picture of your current printing state and show what you need to become more efficient and effective at it.
NR: [Choosing the type of printing service you need] has to do not with the business, but more with the challenges they face. We have many smaller businesses that run production printing equipment just because of the needs that they have—running thicker card stock, having to hit a certain color quality, or just having a high volume during certain times of the year. We let the challenges businesses have drive what solution we recommend for them.
Why In-House Production Printers are Right for Businesses
Imagine you place an order for thousands of instruction manuals (or anything related to your business like marketing materials, labels, etc.) only to discover an error. Oh, no! Something red should’ve been blue, an instruction is unclear, a typo in critical copy. Well, a box just showed up at your door with all the wrong prints that now must go in the garbage, followed by some long phone calls with customer service, an expensive re-order, and a printing project way behind schedule and over budget.
Related: Why You Should NOT be Outsourcing Printing
Instead, in-house production print, supported by an MSP like Impact, presents a different experience. One where you can stop printing anytime you want, make changes as often as you need, and print everything on demand to your specifications.
How Impact Makes This Doable
One of the biggest hurdles that businesses face when looking to bring production print in-house is learning how to operate the equipment. Nobody on your team may have the knowledge needed to run the machines and keep them operating effectively. This is a very valid reason to be hesitant, but it’s also where Impact and our team of experts can come into play.
Part of a service agreement with Impact for production printing is giving you the resources you need to understand how to operate your equipment efficiently and effectively through access to our experts. We’ll work with you to train your team how to use production equipment, how to maintain it, load it, clean it, and ensure it’s always working at its best.
NR: All our systems come with unlimited training throughout the life of the equipment. New users and operators will get free training for as long as they’re using that machine. The more educated businesses are on how to effectively operate their machines, the more money they can save and the better print jobs they can perform.
Production printing and managed print services are two similar services that deal with distinct styles of business printing.
If your business frequently prints high-volume, highly custom print jobs, then bringing production print in-house, with the support of Impact, can give you everything you need to make it a smooth process that saves you money and improves your print quality.
Want to see how print services from Impact has helped real businesses improve their processes, bring print in-house, save money, and improve productivity? Download our newest case study—Minimizing Spend and Maximizing Solutions with Managed Print Services— for a look into how our specialists worked alongside a business to boost their print operations and their business overall. Download the case study now.