Andrew Hall, marketing manager, Oki Systems UK discusses how managed print services can help construction firms future-proof their printing needs
“The market is feeling more confident and the industry is starting to bounce back,” Mark Robinson, chief executive of public sector procurement organisation Scape told the Daily Telegraph recently.
He was commenting on the news that construction output had risen by an average of 0.2% over the summer. Not a huge leap, but ‘better than expected’ according to market commentators.
The figures bring a mood of cautious optimism. Consequently, many construction firms are preparing for growth if the trend continues but a period of assessment is always a good idea, regardless of the economic situation.
The printing function is integral to construction workflows, even today when it’s common to spot tablets and smartphones being used on site. There’s still a need for hard-copy drawings, plans and maps, as well as invoices.
But, printing is often overlooked when it comes to any ‘stock-taking’ exercise, despite the fact that companies that have taken advantage of new ways to buy and use printers have been shown to cut their costs by around 30%.
So where do you start? As with any kind of audit, the first step is to get an accurate picture of the current situation. Many businesses are now opting for a managed print services approach – your chosen vendor will manage the audit phase before making their recommendations.
There are many advantages here, not least that the service can expand alongside the business without the need for large capital investments. Instead, customers pay a regular fee as part of one, all-inclusive contract.
Importantly for the industry, a managed print services provider can also advise on streamlining processes. New smart multifunction devices combine the functionality of printer, scanner and fax and print A3 and A4 within a device which can fit into the smallest of site office.
OKI’s new range of A3 multifunction printers (MFPs), the MC800 series offer reliability combined with the extra functionality and performance delivered by more expensive and complex copier-based devices, all within a compact footprint.
So capturing documents, mark-ups or amendments to site drawings or taking photographs on a smartphone and sending them back to the office is easy, helping to accelerate project progress or to third-party applications such as SharePoint or Google Drive.
Business growth also means more marketing, more land purchases and more public consultations. A managed print services provider can also help you save the cost of outsourcing here, recommending printers such as the OKI C391. This can play a dual role, printing on demand any size and level of printed document from A3 plans and drawings to high-end marketing collateral, banners and posters, on a range of media.
Most in the industry are still wary of making bold moves and large investments until the upward trend proves sustainable. Making the move to managed print services is the idea flexible arrangement, future-proofing at least this side of the business, against all eventualities.
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