Debunking the MPS Myth, ACUP Style
Managed print services (MPS) have evolved as a major force in our part of the printing and document management space. They’re also a major threat.
MPS vendors have become increasingly aggressive in their attempts to convince our bosses that companies, public agencies, health care facilities, non-profits, or colleges and universities should not operate in-plant printing services. “It’s not your core business,” they argue. “Let us take over your in-plant operation, your copiers/multi function devices, and your desktop printers, and we’ll show you how it’s done. We’ll save you a ton of money!” Yada yada yada.
Here’s the thing: Printing might not be your parent organization’s core business, but it is yours. That’s why your organization set up an in-plant in the first place. Management theorists call it “vertical integration,” which describes the process of an organization taking over all or key parts of its supply chain to control quality and cost, and to ensure that it has access to scarce and vital resources when they are needed. Like print!
Printing, mailing, fleet management, call it what you will, is the core business for every in-plant manager out there. And most of you are pretty good at it.
I see a lot of take-over proposals in my work. Some have merit, but most do not. Most are unsolicited. You may remember the blog I wrote a couple of years ago. It started with, “If you wait for someone to ask the question ‘Should we outsource printing?’ you probably waited too long.” That's what I’m talking about.
I’ve been invited to share my observations and experiences helping in-plant managers respond to these types of threats in a session at the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) conference coming up April 12 to 16 in Portsmouth, VA. The session is called “Debunking the Managed Print Services Myth.” In it, we’ll talk about some of the more common MPS claims and how one might rebut them. We’ll also cover the basics of preparing a request for proposal for a copier/MFD fleet and how to use the RFP to demonstrate the contribution of in-plant services.
The session will be divided into two parts. In the first, I will present the observations mentioned earlier and explain some strategies for crafting a response. The second will be an open discussion where participants will be invited to ask questions and share their experiences. It promises to be a lively session.
Bring along your favorite MPS story and join us at the 50th anniversary of ACUP. For more information, click here.
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.