Budgeting and Forecasting your office printing (Managed Print Services) in the new Covid-19 era

Managed Print Services (MPS)

Budgeting and Forecasting for your office printing – easier said, than done, right?

Well this year – the year of Covid-19, you may want to ask yourself some harder questions and take a deeper, longer look at your current situation. Most importantly, take time to consider how the world, your staff and how your business will now operate going forward for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Consider these questions as you work through your approach. Is your business now needing to apply a new set of rules or approach to manage a “new normal”?

Do you need to have some flexibility built in to turn up or turn down the volume (that is print volumes) when the need arises. Or maybe it’s just a simple predictable bill each and every month regardless of the print volumes produced.

Budget & Forecasting Time (managed print services)

It is budget and forecasting time and you need to accurately predict what your office printing and the associated consumables will cost you this year?

Yes and like every year, you know they are higher than they should be but you don’t have the time, energy and you don’t have the focus to do the investigative work required to understand where and why your costs continue to increase. Or you have been told, you have the best deal in town?

In many cases you are not even sure if the effort is worth the return, a few dollars maybe?

Here is the rub – in most scenario’s our customers all say its very well worth the attention. In fact cost savings can be easier to achieve and with larger cost savings available – why wouldn’t you dig a little deeper?

A simple equation such as – the more devices you have or the type of device you have (A3 Vs A4 and Ink Vs Toner), or the style of contract you have all have the potential of costing you more, allot more.

Colour – 10x costs

However there is also the story of the B&W to Colour print ratio’s based on volumes and costs.

We consistently see a skewed ratio’s between volume and costs especially for colour prints. Although B&W prints may represent 70% of your total print volume across your business. Colour can be the opposite and be over 70% of your actual printing costs.

Again, it is all based on device type, device unit numbers and printed volumes which all come back to costs. But if colour is important for users and the application requirement is there, then colour printing is should be considered in most cases.

To assist customers on their path rather than just wait for something magical to occur. Or alternatively wait for your service provider to offer you a new deal every 4 or 5 years. We thought we’d provide you some high level insights & questions below.

“If you can measure it, you can manage it”

Here are just 10 thought provoking questions that Finance, IT and procurement decision makers can ask of themselves in preparation for budget and forecast planning.

  1. Do we know exactly what and where our printing costs are coming from?
  2. How does our office printing or MPS contract compare to the market?
  3. Can we identify why our printing volumes and print costs continue to increase?
  4. Where can we achieve quick wins and is savings worth the effort to review and manage our existing printing environment?
  5. Do we need to or should we benchmark existing Managed Print Services (MPS) providers?
  6. What is our colour to B&W ratio in terms of print volumes and costs – what is the benchmark for our industry?
  7. What is the best way to rationalise and consolidate our fleet?
  8. How are the suppliers building up the costs across our contract and supplies?
  9. Which office printing contracts will hurt our business more and build a larger anchor to the business?
  10. What makes you (the customer) attractive to the office imaging and document imaging industry?

How has Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation?

Although we have talked about the physical side of device hardware and their associated fixed and variable costs which can result in customers potentially paying too much.

Decision makers now must move and accelerate their attention to automating business processes, reengineering document workflows and eliminate excessive paper-based processes.

Don’t let paper processes slow your business down

All of this resulting in increased operational efficiency, lower operational costs and an improved customer experience (for both internal and external stakeholders).

Covid-19 has made bare and accelerated the need for businesses to adopt a more digitally enabled capability. To do this business owners and senior executives need to look at paper based process. Paper based processes that make the business less agile and unproductive. More so in terms of not assisting their workforce to work from home or force them to manually process paper based information, content and data that resides in office bound locations.

Moving paper away from paper based filing systems and allowing the data, information, and knowledge to be available more readily through document sharing and content management systems will support the business in a multitude of ways.


Our key recommendation is always not to “boil the ocean”, don’t go after the mother ship of internal projects. Start with and identify small win targets first.

Most businesses have started down this path by digitising, processing and enabling departments such as the accounts payables/receivables department or implementing e-signatures as an example. However there is still much more that can be done.

Our experience and insight continues to suggest that business owners and leaders focus on building a success rate of achievement and a financially based business case.

This is import so as to validate and measure returns, before moving to larger projects that need more internal stakeholder involvement and may have a wider scope, For example, do what many of my customers do – “size the prize”.


More help is always at hand.

If you’d like some more information or another 10 thought provoking questions – just reach out to me at Mitchell.filby@first-rock.com or visit my LinkedIn page – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mitchell-filby-33372221/

Alternatively you can gain a better understanding of the office printing & document imaging industry and how the industry works by reading this book; Rest In Print: From office printing to the rise of managed services https://www.amazon.com/Rest-Print-Mitchell-Filby/dp/0992364507



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *