Self-managing your fleet of print devices yourself or with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider are essential for larger organizations that rely on document management and printing services. With so many options available, it can be easy to make mistakes that can lead to waste and inefficiency.

At PathForward, we want to guide you through some common mistakes and how to avoid them. By implementing these tips, you can streamline your fleet and potentially save your business a significant amount of money.

Let’s start:

The Mistakes:

1. Buy what you’re being sold

One of the most common mistakes is buying A3 and color devices when there is no need.

In a recent client’s case, we found that 80% of their 8,000 MFD fleet was A3 sized, although less than 0.5% was actually using 11×17. The client also paid $5,000 more per device than an A4 (letter/legal) MFD would have cost. The same customer averaged 15% in color yet had no idea it translated into 54% of their total cost for supplies and maintenance.

So, this makes us wonder how wasteful -and pricey- is A3 and color or print in general.

PathForward’s Advice

In a recent study, 65% of all printed pages were thrown out in the trash within the first 24 hours! For this reason, before purchasing new devices, analyze your organization’s needs and what you have, and understand the cost implications of each device’s feature/functionality. Realize that less can deliver more!

2. Buy 1 for 1

Another mistake is replacing devices that are no longer necessary, just because they were needed several years ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential of remote work and reduced paper usage by >60%.

For example, with a recent customer, we helped them by reducing their fleet by 80%, both networked devices and locally USB-attached devices, that weren’t utilized and the per page cost was not justified. Users that print also went down by as much as 72.5% over the last 3-years. The pandemic has taught users that business can go on without print, teachers can teach and grade without paper, students can learn without paper and commerce can continue – all without paper enabled by embracing a digital-first mindset. The print industry is not expecting print volumes to get close to where it was.

PathForward’s Advice

The more devices your fleet has the more print and paper it will have. Similarly, the more color devices your fleet has the more color print and paper it will have. Eliminate locally-attached devices, shift as much volume as possible from single-function printers (SFPs) to lower costing, A4/letter-legal, multi-function devices (MFs). And stop buying what the industry wants – more devices, more A3, more color – those days should be long gone! Go digital instead.

3. Not designing for where the volume will be

Organizations are often sold on larger machines because it is where most manufacturers make the most money without understanding that the industry’s print volume is now on a forever decline. Priority should be to change the relationship users have with paper and make reducing print and paper #1. Paper is slow, expensive, insecure and not as sustainable as not printing.

PathForward’s Advice

When planning an optimized fleet, it is essential to design it for where the expected volume will be in the next 3-5 years to ensure. Go as lean as possible as devices can always be added later. Once a device is bought, most organizations get stuck with it for 5-years.

As the industry continues to move towards paperless offices and digitization, volume is expected to continue to decline. Design a fleet based on your needs; else, you will over-purchase, underutilize and pay 35-60% more.

4. Not securing every device on the network.

It is often said that the most secure, the most sustainable, the most efficient and the most cost-effective page is the one never printed. By securing every device in your fleet you check every one of those boxes. You secure your infrastructure from breach – either by leaving your network unprotected or by sheet of printed pages being left unattended. The impact of users having to badge in, or authenticate, to release the printed jobs results in as much as 25% – 45% page reduction. User can retrieve their print jobs at any device so if a device is down, the users simply go to the next device.

PathForward’s Advice

Secure every device. Use card authentication for maximum user experience. Users will love it as will the CISO and the CFO!

5. Not paying attention

Print happens. And it can be complex and expensive. Whether an organization chooses to self-manage it or rely on an MPS provider, inspect what you expect. Make clear the priority is to focus on the demand side – devices don’t print, users do – and communicate with end-users about going digital and the cost and waste associated with printing.

PathForward’s Advice

In more than one analysis of proposals made by MPS providers, lower costs and fewer devices were routinely presented. Often with no print volume reduction included. This does not result in the number of devices or total costs to be optimized. Nor does it lead to encouraging going more digital. Make sure if you do this yourself, or use an MPS provider, that you are aligned around eliminating print and paper. And understand that print manufacturers don’t make money unless their devices are printing.

The Solutions

Adopt a less-print mindset

If this isn’t right, the organization’s print fleet will end up where the vast majority of organizations are: full of underutilized, inefficient and costly devices: too many A3, color devices, too many locally-attached and SFPs. Communicate so users know what leadership expects. Encourage digital, use sustainability goals so everyone knows the role they play in helping the environment.

Consolidate and moved to shared resources

Consolidate devices and move away from department owned and controlled devices to shared resources. By consolidating your devices and sharing devices, organizations will lower the number of devices and lower their total cost of operation (TCO).

Monitor and measure

Finally, to ensure your MPS strategy’s success, monitoring and measuring your results regularly is essential. Keep track of your metrics, talk to the outliers (generally those that print the most and spend the most) about making the digital leap. At one healthcare company, invoices were being copied to be sent to a third-party payer. After speaking with the customer, digital invoice files were created and sent – the result, close to 100,000 paper pages were removed.

With regular monitoring and measurement, and communications, you can ensure the success of your MPS strategy and potentially save your organization money in the long run.

Actively managing your fleet of devices, with or without an MPS provider, can help stay on top of your printing operations and not overspend on unnecessary devices or features. However, businesses often make common mistakes during the buying process which can lead to waste and inefficiency.

By avoiding the common mistakes above, businesses can confidently create an efficient and streamlined fleet that meets their needs.


Now it is time to understand what you have and need, cut the waste, secure the fleet, embrace digital and sustainability and buy with independent and objective facts.

Let PathFoward help you.

Take The First Step

If you’re not thinking about your print strategy holistically, you may be paying millions of dollars more every year than needed. However, developing a strategy and utilization of fixed assets can lead to an enterprise saving between 35-65%.

If you are interested in these types of savings and driving bottom-line impact, the model below is how and what PathForward does in helping organizations like yours find the best-tailored strategy for their goals, priorities, and requirements.

We have helped organizations like yours save over $750M.