Retail has come a long way from where it started. Instead of independent, locally managed retailers, we’re in the era of national and global retailers with hundreds – sometimes thousands – of stores. As the size and scope of retailers and retail chains has grown, some aspects are still managed on a local level.
Print Management at the Individual Level
One area many national retailers still manage at the store level is the print environment. In retail, printing is a necessary process; without it, shipping, receiving and inventory would be near impossible. When you rely on printing to get a job done and something goes wrong, the time between when the problem occurs and when it’s fixed is a time when productivity and revenue are negatively affected.
As a result, the majority of individual stores take the management of their print environment into their own hands. This means that someone at the store level, whether it be a manager, assistant manager or supply chain worker is the one who assesses a problem within the print environment and seeks out a solution.
When a single store manages their retail print devices independently, a few things occur. A store employee is responsible for:
- Sourcing repairs
- Tracking toner and paper use
- Ordering and supplying toner and paper
- Invoicing print expenses to corporate
There’s a few issues with this model. It leaves a major amount of responsibility in the hands of individual store employees. Employee time becomes occupied by print needs instead of focusing on actual job duties, and headquarters only gets informed when something needs to be fixed, replaced or paid for. This is not the best recipe for success, and it’s not a national retailer’s only option.
Location Affects Retail Print Device Management
While having print autonomy at the store level isn’t the most efficient, what other options are there? Imagine a retail corporate headquarters with 400 retail locations nationwide. How would they service, supply and manage all of those individual print environments? In this example, we’re looking at a significant sized fleet of devices all in need of toner supply, maintenance and repair.
There’s one massive hurdle standing in the way of this approach: geography. How does a centrally located retail headquarters manage all the individual store locations being they’re so far away from the stores? Leaving each location to address their individual print problem isn’t the best, or most cost-effective, option. Instead, it might be worth looking around.
Managed Print Services Can Offer a Solution
With Managed Print Services (MPS), national retail businesses with hundreds of locations can operate within a single print environment. This includes:
- Automating supply deliveries
- Dispatching service technicians as needed
- Tracking usage
- Providing corporate with performance reporting
With managed retail print devices, headquarters is able to keep each individual print environment supplied and functioning, which allows individual store staff to focus on their job duties.