How Managed Print Services Can Reduce Your Burden and Boost Your Return on Investment (ROI) for Your Entire Thermal Printing Solution, Including Supplies

By having Managed print services, it can help having someone keep tabs on your thermal printer's performance and supplies.

The Zebra ZQ610 thermal printer
by Mark Zucherman
September 03, 2020

When your team is tasked with keeping tabs on your thermal printers and supplies, your IT or Operations department are usually called on to take action only once workflows have been disrupted somehow. In most cases, work comes to a screeching halt for a prolonged period of time while IT helpdesk tickets or purchase requests are queued and processed. However, enlisting the help of a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider will enable you to mitigate the issues that are often overlooked by busy printer users or IT teams. Here’s why:

1. Someone is Always Monitoring and Maintaining Your Printers, Even When Your Team Can’t. An MPS provider will have real-time, remote visibility into the thermal printers that are distributed throughout your facilities and, depending on the specific offering, the ability to receive alerts about printer utilization and supplies consumption. These actionable insights will enable either your team or theirs to respond immediately and, in most cases, proactively. A security update can be pushed, a setting changed, diagnostic process initiated or supplies order automatically submitted. As a result, your printer configuration becomes consistent, security becomes airtight, supplies availability never becomes an issue and it becomes almost effortless to maximize the efficiency of your thermal printer fleet. Trust me, your IT team will thank you when they see how significantly an MPS provider can help anticipate and prevent printer-related problems, thus reducing its workload.

2. You Have a Partner Who is Actually Working to Reduce Your Print-Related Spend (Versus Pushing You to Spend More on Hardware or Supplies Just to Boost Their Bottom Line): By our estimate, over 50% of businesses don't know what they’re spending collectively on thermal printing. But since your MPS solution provider gives you visibility into your thermal printer and supplies utilization, it becomes easy to predict the costs of your printing solutions, particularly as you start to scale your printing applications or expand your device fleet.

Beyond knowing when and how you need to optimize your thermal printers to efficiently meet growing business demands, your MPS provider can help you maintain the right mix and volume of printing supplies at each site with minimal intervention required. They may even be able to help you automate supplies sourcing actions depending on your service level agreement (SLA) and their specific MPS offering. Either way, their ability to help you stabilize thermal printing supply levels will significantly reduce work stops or reversions to manual workflow processes due to label, ribbon or wristband out-of-stocks, all of which can result in fulfillment delays, the mislabeling of shelves or specimens and other costly mistakes. It also helps to reduce wasteful procurement spending that results from overstocking supplies and keeps you from incurring expedited fulfillment fees due to the frequent rush orders that occur after inventory is fully depleted.

Similarly, an MPS provider can help you avoid overspending on obsolete or unnecessary thermal printers. They can analyze performance data to help you right size your fleet and determine the best physical location for each printer across your facilities based on actual versus presumed utilization. If three printers will suffice, they won’t try to sell you four. They can also alert you when a device is approaching end of service and help you select the appropriate replacement solution in a timely and cost-efficient manner so that you can avoid application downtime, unexpected maintenance costs and unnecessary IT support demands due to an underperforming printer.

The Takeaway

Enabling a single trusted partner with established service level agreements (SLA) to manage all of your devices, including your thermal printers, can significantly reduce the hard costs associated with hardware, supplies and solution maintenance. More importantly, handing over management responsibilities to a third party helps to reveal and reduce the hidden print-related costs:

  • The burden on IT helpdesk and support. 
  • Time-consuming procurement and administration. (Fragmented purchase decision-making and high device variety - brand and product types - can make it challenging to consistently select the right hardware and supplies for your printing application.)
  • Productivity disruptions and impacts on operational efficiency
  • Environmental sustainability

That means that, for the next 3-5 years (depending on your SLA), your thermal printing-related budget will become more predictable, your procurement process more streamlined and your devices more manageable. Your employees will be also be able to move through their labeling workflows uninterrupted thanks to the increased reliability and consistent availability of your (now fully managed) thermal printing solution!


Editor’s Note:

If you would like to learn more about how the Managed Print Services now offered for Zebra thermal printers can benefit your organization, please visit our website or contact our team.

If you are a Zebra partner interested in providing Managed Print Services to your customers, please contact your channel account manager directly.

Mark Zucherman
Mark Zucherman has more than 25 years of experience with software, hardware and enterprise applications. He is currently a Senior Software Product Manager at Zebra where he is responsible for CardStudio as well as several different software and partner initiatives.
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