Chasing Paper | By Ray Belanger
This is not your grandfather’s bank.” At the risk of over-using the catch phrase, it is an accurate description of recent changes within the banking industry. With the advent of online transactions and associated technology that allows for availability of round-the-clock communication, both internally and externally, gone are the so-called “bankers hours.”
While customer service remains at the core of contemporary banking, the need to increase efficiencies while keeping costs in line is another constant; one often overlooked method to achieve these goals is document generation.
Although print management may not seem like an area where significant cost cutting measures can be made, the officer who doesn’t factor it into the discussion is overlooking a sizeable potential for savings. In fact, a print management program can save a banking institution in excess of 15 percent in operational costs.
Not so far back in the day, copiers, printers and fax machines were the pinnacle of document generation, but that process has been refined through the innovation of managed print services (MPS); in fact MPS has transformed the document generation industry, with an increasing number of companies that sell copiers now taking an updated view of their industry and how it best serves their customers.
With banks/financial institutions spending up to 3percent of annual revenue on document output and IT departments allocating 15 percent of their time to printing and related actions, the need to track equipment usage, reduce costs and increase efficiencies is a must. Enter managed print services.
Essentially, MPS looks at per-page cost as the bottom line, as opposed to the final price point of office equipment. MPS is a consideration of all costs associated with leasing/owning/using printing and imaging equipment, including maintenance and ongoing support – an element that is of significant importance for banks with multiple locations or satellite offices. Print management software tracks the number of prints each piece of equipment generates and then produces reports that facilitate efficiency management.
MPS can be introduced in phases and is set in motion with an initial in-depth evaluation of the existing printer fleet, current costs, operational logjams and the amount of time an IT department spends troubleshooting. Following analysis, a “discovery meeting” is arranged with key stakeholders to review a report that summarizes and documents all data and operational costs of the existing equipment fleet. This helps facilities take an objective look at all phases of document generation.
Streamlining printing and the flow of communication is typically the priority for banking institutions. MPS consolidates the number of devices used, reducing the cost of equipment, supplies, maintenance and required internal IT support.
The environmental aspect of managed print services cannot be overlooked, for it is an effective mechanism to reduce waste, recycle paper, ink and other resources. It is a “green” document solutions approach that is not only cost effective, but can also lower the carbon footprint of a banking institution. Moreover, an MPS system acts as an in-place tracking software program, enabling the provider to monitor clients’ systems remotely and alerting them to potential issues that could otherwise cause work stoppage.
Yet another critical component to MPS is security. Those in the banking or any regulated industry are well aware of the imperative to ensure that information is secure and compliant. A managed print service program provides the mandatory security that is essential to the banking industry: it can trace a document back to the device it was printed from.
Employing the use of an across-the-board print management system is less stressful for staff, particularly those whose work takes them to different branches. The frustration of dealing with equipment that may vary from office to office is eliminated making it easier for people to do their jobs. MPS is also a boon for marketing departments, allowing for the ability to output color collateral materials internally.
There is also a growing trend toward full document imaging. This move toward a paperless office is taking momentum, but the technology is still evolving; therefore facilities that go this route must be open to eventual changes.
Ultimately a managed print service program can: identify current and anticipated printing requirements; provide consolidation/standardization opportunities; initiate significant reduction in costs; increase security; reduce or eliminate internal IT printer support; create visibility to all related expenses and usage. It is a necessary step toward reducing expenses and perhaps more importantly in safeguarding the sensitive information inherent to the banking industry.■
Ray Belanger is CEO of Bay Copy, a Rockland, Massachusetts firm specializing in managed print services for businesses. He can be reached at email@example.com.