Mastering MPS Vendor Management: Performance, Costs, and When to Switch


Alexander Watson

Mastering MPS Vendor Management: Performance, Costs, and When to Switch

Navigating the world of Managed Print Services (MPS) can be like walking through a maze. You’re constantly on the lookout for ways to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve productivity. But how do you ensure you’re getting the most out of your MPS vendor relationship?

Understanding MPS and Vendor Role

What Is Managed Print Services (MPS)?

Managed Print Services, prominently known as MPS, represents an outsourced service that manages all aspects of a business’s print devices. This service ranges from printers, scanners, fax machines, and copiers. MPS goes beyond mere maintenance – it’s a complete overhaul of an organization’s printing strategy.

How is that done? Critical elements include:

  1. Analyzing current print infrastructure: MPS aids in identifying underused or obsolete devices, ensuring optimal fleet utilization.
  2. Implementing strategies: Tailoring a print strategy specific to the organization’s needs is no small feat, but it’s within MPS’s purview.
  3. Managing supplies: With an MPS provider, you’ll never run out of supplies. They keep up on when and where supplies are needed.
  4. Servicing hardware: A significant benefit of MPS is that they handle all printer servicing, combatting breakdowns before you even know they’re on the horizon.
  5. Enhancing security: MPS providers bolster print security, mitigating risks associated with data leakage or unauthorized access.

That’s a rudimentary explanation of MPS for you, background for our discussion about the responsibilities of their vendors.

Key Responsibilities of MPS Vendors

Once you engage an MPS vendor, expect them to shoulder a set of key responsibilities that streamline operations and trim down costs. Here are three significant tasks they undertake:

  1. Conducting thorough assessments: MPS vendors carry out an initial thorough assessment of an organization’s print fleet, identifying the bottlenecks and scopes of enhancements.
  2. Designing tailored strategies: Based on the initial assessment, vendors craft print policies and strategies that align specifically with your firm’s goals, cutting down wastage and promoting efficiency.
  3. Providing round-the-clock support: Exceptional MPS vendors don’t clock out. They provide seamless, round-the-clock support, quickly addressing any issues that crop up.

However, it’s not merely about assigning tasks – it’s about fostering an active relationship with the vendor to complement and boost your firm’s productivity. Now that we understand MPS and the role of its vendors, it’s time to delve into how to manage these provider relations to drive your organization forward.

Evaluating MPS Vendors

In the realm of Managed Print Services, judicious selection of vendors is paramount for productivity and organizational growth. The competence and reliability of the vendor are two factors of utmost importance. On this note, let’s delve into specifics.

Criteria for Selecting an MPS Vendor

In the selection process, it’s essential to consider several criteria. First and foremost, examine the vendor’s MPS strategy. The strategy should not merely focus on selling more printers or hardware but should be aimed at optimizing the entire print environment (for instance, by reducing paper waste or enhancing security features).

Next, not just a wide range of services, but customizable solutions cater to distinct business requirements. These tailored strategies speak volumes about a vendor’s ability to understand and address individual business needs.

Finally, round-the-clock support is yet another critical factor when selecting an MPS vendor. Be it technical issues or logistical concerns, a reliable vendor is always on hand to offer support and drive continuous improvement.

Assessing Vendor Track Record and Reputation

Before finalizing the selection, another crucial aspect is assessing the vendor’s track record and reputation. It offers a glimpse into their capabilities, expertise, and service quality.

You may want to review customer testimonials. Perhaps, go a step further to connect with existing clients to understand their experience better. In the consistent pattern of positive feedback, you can see a guarantee of trustworthy service.

Also, it’s worthwhile to investigate whether the MPS vendor has received any awards or recognition from the industry. While these accolities don’t guarantee success, they do reflect a vendor’s dedication and competence.

Remember, an efficient MPS vendor isn’t just a supplier but a vital partner in achieving your business goals. Therefore, investing time in this evaluation process will, without doubt, pay off in the long run.

Establishing Relationships with MPS Vendors

Sharing a strong bond with MPS vendors paves the way for business growth. Clear communication and active collaboration stand as the cornerstone of this relationship.

Communication Is Key: Setting Expectations

Effective communication, the first step in building a relationship with MPS vendors, determines how well the partnership will evolve. Mutual understanding of expectations lays the foundation of a solid relationship, with clear communication acting as the bridge. By meticulously outlining business needs, challenges, and desired outcomes, I establish a mutual understanding and set expectations.

For instance, expectations may cover a broad range like timely supply of materials, prompt servicing, providing updates and alerts on device maintenance, monitoring print activity, implementing strategic print solutions, and enhancing security features. Ensuring clarity in these expectations aids in streamlining operations and opens channels for feedback, fostering a healthy interaction between the business and the MPS vendor.

Collaboration: Partnerships Beyond Transactions

When managing MPS vendors, simply focusing on transactions isn’t enough; transforming the vendor interaction into a strategic partnership is equally vital. Taking the relationship a step further, from transactional to collaborative, adds value to the business.

In a collaborative relationship, the MPS vendor becomes a trusted ally, working closely with the business and bringing expert insight to optimize print processes, offer tailored solutions, and improve efficiency. With this collaboration, the vendor provides continuous support, proactive servicing, and innovative strategic solutions that ultimately contribute to the business’s productivity and growth.

Let’s take a vendor offering customizable print solutions as an example: they might proactively suggest ways to improve the efficiency of print processes, identifying potential loopholes and suggesting remedial measures, or providing insights to secure print data. Valuing the vendor’s expertise and incorporating their recommendations helps redefine the transactions into a mutually beneficial partnership. This collaboration expands the role of MPS vendors in the businesses they serve, bringing a new, productive dynamic to the business-vendor relationship.

Monitoring and Managing MPS Vendor Performance

Streamlining print processes significantly hinges on the collaboration and performance of MPS vendors. For efficiency and productivity, it’s vital to monitor and manage MPS Vendor performance. This section delves into the details of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for tracking the progress, managing Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and considering the right time to switch MPS vendors when necessary.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track

Monitoring vendor performance necessitates tracking well-defined KPIs. Critical parameters, such as real-time device performance, response times, and solution implementation rates, are usually among these KPIs.

Examples of KPIs include;

  1. Uptime Percentage: This is the ratio of time the system is up and running to the overall measured time, indicating system reliability.
  2. Resolution Time: It measures how long it takes for a vendor to solve technical issues – shorter times suggest efficient services.
  3. Preventative Maintenance: A measure of how frequently a vendor performs preventative checks and maintenance to reduce downtimes and delays.

Handling Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Proper handling of SLAs forms an integral part of vendor management. Where SLAs are agreements that outline the level of service expected from the vendor, thus setting the stage for accountability and expectations for the relationship.

Key strategies to manage SLAs include:

  • Active Documentation: Maintain updated and accurate records of performance data, including response times and uptime percentages.
  • Regular Consultations: Engage the vendor in frequent discussions and feedback sessions to ascertain their approach to upholding the SLA.
  • Performance Analysis: Conduct regular assessments of contract fulfillment, with the understanding that consistently subpar performance may warrant vendor replacement.

When to Consider Switching MPS Vendors

Switching MPS vendors should occur only as a last resort, ideally when a vendor fails to meet needs, SLAs go unfulfilled consistently, or innovation and support cease to exist.

For instance:

  • Significant SLA Violations: If a vendor regularly fails to meet clauses contained within the SLA, consider engaging a more reliable vendor.
  • Lacks Adaptability: An unresponsive or inflexible vendor, unable to adapt to changing business needs, may not be the best fit.
  • Lack of Innovation and Support: If a vendor falls short in providing innovative solutions or regular support, it might be time to seek a progressive vendor who does.

Careful attention to these aspects assures maintaining a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship with your MPS Vendor, ensuring your business productivity and growth.

Cost Management Strategies

The effective implementation of cost management strategies for your MPS vendors can significantly increase the profitability of your business. These strategies may encompass areas such as optimizing print environments and identifying cost-saving opportunities with MPS.

Optimizing Print Environments to Reduce Costs

You’ll find that one of the best strategies for cost management is optimizing print environments. By consolidating devices onto a single network, businesses can eliminate redundant hardware, thus saving on maintenance and supply costs. It’s important to note that a printing device that is well-suited for one task might not be the best fit for another. For instance, a laser printer delivers high-speed printing and crisp text, making it optimal for high-volume, text-heavy tasks. Conversely, for image-heavy presentations or promotions, inkjet printers provide excellent color accuracy and details.

Besides device consolidation, monitoring and adjusting printer utilization is another crucial element for cost efficiency. Some printers are overused, which leads to quick wear and frequent troubleshooting, hence higher costs. Conversely, underutilized printers result in wasted resources. Therefore, streamlining printer utilization to align with demand helps strike a balance between usage and maintenance, contributing to cost savings.

Evaluating Cost-saving Opportunities with MPS

Effectively evaluating cost-saving opportunities with MPS involves scrutinizing all aspects of your print environment. An MPS provider like Lexmark or Xerox offers a range of services aimed at making your print operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Some cost-saving opportunities include reducing unnecessary printing by implementing print policies, like duplex printing or print-on-demand, which can cut costs considerably over time. You can also achieve cost savings by utilizing advanced features, such as pull printing or secure printing, that cut down on wasteful or unauthorized prints.

Additionally, MPS providers often offer device maintenance and repair services. This means that, instead of having in-house teams spend time and resources on these tasks, your MPS provider takes care of them, freeing up your team to focus on more strategic business projects. In the long run, this approach can lead to significant cost savings and improved operational efficiency.


Navigating the world of MPS vendors doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s all about finding the right fit, monitoring their performance, and knowing when it’s time for a change. Remember, the right MPS vendor can streamline your print processes, boost security, and save you money. It’s crucial to keep an eye on KPIs and SLAs, ensuring they’re meeting your business’s unique needs. Don’t be afraid to switch gears if your current vendor isn’t cutting it. There are plenty of cost-effective, efficient vendors out there like Lexmark and Xerox. With the right approach, you can leverage MPS to enhance your business’s profitability and operational effectiveness. It’s all in your hands.

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