Jun 12 2020

How to Simplify Print Supplies for Essential Services and the Home Office

Managed print services can streamline print workflow via automation to save organizations money and improve productivity.

Healthcare is currently experiencing unprecedented — and changing — demand. And with increased pressure on healthcare systems to remain fully operational, it can be easy for IT teams to lose track of technology that often goes overlooked, like printers.

According to IDC, many CIOs prepandemic were often unaware of their high print spend, which for the average organization represented 1 to 3 percent of overall revenue.

Keeping track of print devices and supplies during the pandemic has become ever more critical while simultaneously more challenging, as hospitals — especially those in areas with a growing number of COVID-19 patients — demand more print devices within their infrastructure.

Bob Burnett, director of B2B product planning for Brother International, explains that printers are often necessary to maintain operations in nurses stations, patient intake areas, and, in some cases, make-shift COVID-19 testing tents and centers — not to mention the sudden number of remote work settings around the country. “It’s been critical, especially during this time, that IT teams keep all their systems up and going,” says Burnett.

One possible solution to these challenges is becoming more obvious: comprehensive managed print services.

Through MPS, organizations can outsource device maintenance, security and supply ordering to help reduce headaches, energy use and costs. In fact, IDC notes that MPS can help organizations reduce toner consumption by 20 percent and energy consumption by 30 percent, amounting to a 20 to 30 percent cost savings overall for printing.

Maintain Business Continuity During the Pandemic

To guarantee printers stay up and running, Burnett says, MPS uses fleet monitoring software that enables print devices to notify administrators when something is awry, such as low toner or ink, so that supplies can be ordered, repairs can be scheduled or, when necessary, replacements can be made.

Printers are now being delivered to hospitals as freight, handled with the same safety protocol as other shipments, and thus cleaned and sanitized just like any other piece of hospital equipment, Burnett says. This also keeps nonessential individuals out of the hospital. 

Healthcare systems are also learning how to manage workflow with so many administrative employees still working from home. 

“Sharing patient information electronically among hospitals has been a huge focus for our customers,” says Tracey Koziol, senior vice president of global offerings solutions at Xerox

Offerings like Xerox ConnectKey help healthcare systems adapt to this new way of working. The solution enables employees to not only optimize and manage print devices remotely, but also securely manage, print, scan and share files, no matter their location. 

Print Services Adapt to a New Normal

As states begin to reopen, healthcare organizations are preparing for the new reality of what work will be like, especially in nonpatient areas. 

“For the comfort of workers going back, the question is: Are they really going to be comfortable with 50 to 100 people all going to one large, centralized A3 device?” Burnett says. “Organizations may start to say, ‘Maybe we need to have multiple printers throughout the organization that maybe five or 10 people are using.’”

While increasing the number of print devices or using smartphone applications can certainly help eliminate touchpoints in physical healthcare settings, IT teams are heavily focused on longer term work from home print solutions. 

In the initial COVID-19 response, Burnett says that some hospitals told employees to simply go out and buy what they needed, reimbursing them for the costs. 

While that might have provided an immediate solution, “IT managers are still responsible for infrastructure,” says Burnett. “There’s still security risks and expenses. They may want to have a better-value product sitting there at that user’s home that’s going to be more cost-effective for that organization.” 

It also makes more sense from a help desk standpoint. “How do they support 50 different models as opposed to maybe two in their entire fleet?” he adds. 

Vendors are starting to introduce ready-to-ship bundles that make setting up that remote workspace easier. For example, Xerox has “ready to work” packages that include computers and laptops, printers, asset tagging, remote support and easy repair. 

The reality is that work will look different than before, says Koziol: “You’ve got to be able to build and maintain a very safe, right, secure but distributed and virtual work environment. IT teams have got to think about that.” 

Even in the best of times, printers can be a concern for IT departments. >>> Here are three ways to simplify things.

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