What is Print Management? How it Works, Challenges, Best Practices

Strategic print management can empower IT Directors and their help desk staff, transform IT operations, and unleash productivity and efficiency benefits throughout the organization. In complex printing environments, figuring out where to begin and taking charge can be challenging.

Take control of your printing fleet with Managed Print Services (MPS).

What is Print Management, and Why Does it Matter?

Mastering office printer management involves rightsizing and optimizing printing operations without sacrificing operational efficiency or productivity. This task is typically split between IT Directors, who focus on strategic print management, and help desk staff, who manage daily operational duties. As balancing print management with other responsibilities becomes overwhelming, software solutions and dedicated services like MPS can eliminate the burden.

Print management is not just about tracking how and where employees print. It’s also a crucial pillar of a company’s overall IT infrastructure and data security. A 2018 study by HP estimated that less than 2% of business printers are secure – despite being 68% more likely to be a source of an external threat or breach compared to 2016.

By implementing robust print management practices, decision-makers can feel confident in their organization’s data security. Overall, effective print management can support: 

  • Better employee productivity
  • Lower printing costs
  • Less device downtime
  • Efficient printer usage
  • Secure data management

How Strategic Print Management Works

Strategic print management is more than simply maintaining a fleet of printers and their ink and paper needs. It is an entire strategy that involves managing print jobs, optimizing printer usage, establishing security and compliance, and implementing policies that reduce waste and control expenses.

Many organizations opt for a managed print services partner to handle their print environment instead of spending their own time on these complex tasks. MPS print managers develop and execute a plan to ensure your printer fleet is optimized and well-maintained as your organization grows so your help desk staff can focus on more productive responsibilities.

Print Management Strategies

The primary responsibilities and strategies involved in print management include: 

  • IT Budgeting
  • Printer Fleet Planning
  • Usage Monitoring and Waste Reduction
  • Equipment Monitoring and Maintenance
  • Printing Policies and Procedures
  • Employee Training and Awareness
  • Compliance and Security
  • Reporting and Automation

Effective print fleet management requires a holistic understanding of the company’s printing environment, user behaviors, and high-level organizational objectives. For instance, if an IT Director is too eager to cut printing spend and eliminate too many devices from their fleet, they may risk detracting from employee productivity. 

On the other hand, if they try to strengthen data security measures by removing access to certain print functions, it might create inefficiencies by making users request these permissions when needed. IT Directors and help desk staff must be aware of these kinds of challenges when implementing a print management strategy. 

Download our checklist to avoid these six mistakes businesses make with their printers.

Printer Fleet Hardware

Monitoring and maintaining printing devices and hardware is a core responsibility of print management. One key consideration when managing a printing environment is whether to lease or buy a printer

  • BuyingPurchasing devices is often less of a hassle, especially for larger organizations with more complex needs. However, purchasing printers outright can be expensive. 

  • LeasingOnce your leasing contract ends, upgrading your fleet may require less upfront investment and is more straightforward. However, you may incur financing charges and additional administrative work when dealing with the leasing company.

One key concept in print management is ‘rightsizing,’ which means ensuring your printer fleet is the right size for your organization’s needs. This can help you avoid over- or under-investing in printing equipment, leading to unnecessary costs or operational inefficiencies. Rightsizing typically revolves around a centralized software system to provide comprehensive control over printer fleets.

Print Management Software

Choosing the right print management software is essential for streamlining your organization’s document workflow and reducing costs. These software systems help control costs, automate processes, and enable remote management. 

Here are three leading print management softwares:

  • PaperCut
  • Laserfiche
  • PrinterLogic’s PrinterCloud

PaperCut: This software tracks print jobs and provides insights to control usage and costs. Its intuitive dashboard helps you make informed decisions with accurate print environment data. PaperCut enables cost-saving measures like restricting color printing for certain documents or mandating double-sided printing for over 20 pages.

Laserfiche: Specializing in workflow automation and digital document management, Laserfiche minimizes the need for physical printing. It helps digitize documents using existing copiers and scanners into a searchable repository, enhancing document management efficiency. Its mobile capabilities ensure document access from anywhere.

PrinterLogic’s PrinterCloud: This solution eliminates the need for traditional print servers by enabling direct IP printing, and streamlining printer management. They include an easy-to-use dashboard and features like automatic printer discovery and driver installation, useful for remote printing. IT professionals can also deploy firmware updates directly from their desktops, bypassing the need for a print server.

Print Management Services

Managed print services (MPS) remove the burden of managing the printing environment from the IT Director’s plate. Your MPS partner can create custom strategies and printing workflows to simplify the user experience, while driving efficiency and performance improvements. 

Here are some of the things that an MPS provider can do: 

  • Rightsize your printer fleet
  • Set key print performance metrics
  • Maintain document security protocols
  • Oversee day-to-day print functions
  • Provide fleet performance reporting

Print Management Services vs DIY

When considering a managed print service vs. doing it yourself, there are some clear reasons why an MPS is the way to go. Above all, MPS providers are experts on all things printing. They know which changes will save a business money, reduce print-related IT requests, and strengthen data security. 

Print Management Challenges Across Industries

Printing is vital across many industries, especially those dependent on paper-based processes or facing strict regulations. Legal, education, finance, manufacturing, construction, and retail industries rely on efficient printing for everything from reports and blueprints to labels, assignments, and agreements. 

Infographic titled 'Print Management Challenges Across Industries' highlighting issues in healthcare, legal, education, finance, government, and construction sectors

Employees in these fields expect reliable, convenient printing experiences with minimal frustration or downtime. How organizations manage their printing operations differs based on their industry and unique needs. Below, we’ll discuss some challenges various industries face when managing their print environments. 


In healthcare, patient records, intake forms, and other documents are constantly being printed, scanned, faxed, and shared to facilitate patient care. Some estimates show that the average 1,500-bed hospital can spend over $3.8 million annually on printing. Thus, print management can help healthcare providers manage their devices and printing habits more efficiently – while ensuring they’re always accessible and reliable. 

Given the stringent HIPAA regulations that medical professionals must adhere to, sophisticated print management also plays a vital role in ensuring compliance with these privacy and security standards.


The legal environment is rife with paper documents, from law firms to courtrooms. Efficient law office print management ensures legal professionals can print necessary records and files at a moment’s notice while ensuring the sensitive legal data stored in printers is secure. Plus, it can help firms be more eco-conscious and cost-effective with their printing habits – research shows that legal firms spend an average of 3% of their annual revenues on printing


In an educational environment, hundreds or even thousands of users can be in a given network and need device access to copy lesson plans and classroom aids or print off homework, exams, and study material. 

According to one 2020 survey, schools use an average of 2,000 sheets of paper daily, which can cost a few hundred thousand dollars yearly. Print management allows educational institutions to manage different permission levels, monitor usage, and control printing costs as their institutions evolve.


Approximately 14% of all documents printed in office settings are related to financial activities like reporting, invoicing, and budgeting. In financial organizations such as mortgage lenders, banks, and accounting firms, the significant volume of printed material is critical for record-keeping, compliance with regulatory requirements, and daily operational needs.

Because these institutions must maintain thorough records for regulatory purposes, they face heavy print demands daily. Thus, print server management can help financial institutions determine where to rely on document automation and digitization to reduce printing volumes while ensuring proper record-keeping.


Compared to other industries, the printing needs of manufacturers are more challenging to digitize; printing off labels or barcodes cannot be effectively replaced with digital versions. Only 8% of industrial companies have abandoned paper-based printing processes entirely. 

Print management systems help manufacturers consolidate their print infrastructure while allowing employees to access printing, copying, and faxing services to support productive operations. 


McKinsey & Co. stated in a 2016 article that one reason the construction industry struggles with productivity is its reliance on paper-based processes. Construction companies have varied printing needs, from printing and scanning to faxing plans, blueprints, progress reports, purchase orders, and more. Print management can support their bottom line through more strategic device placement and document digitization, boosting organizational efficiency and productivity.


Government agencies are still widely paper-based and must meet strict data security guidelines. According to Quocirca’s Print Security Landscape 2023 study, only 19% of IT decision-makers say they are confident in their print infrastructure security. 

There’s a strong case for print management in the public sector; it allows government agencies to be more efficient with their limited resources and ensure the appropriate security measures are in place to meet strict regulatory compliance.


Large retailers with multiple store locations have complex printing needs. Individual stores need the flexibility to print off packing labels and resources required. But, they also need the appropriate controls and printing policies to cut costs, which 96% of procurement executives say is their top priority for 2024. 

Retail print solutions can help stores streamline operations and save money with increased document digitization. It also makes it easier for corporate offices to manage maintenance needs and replace printer supplies across various locations. 

Best Practices for Efficient Print Management

Across all industries, print management strategies can help organizations enhance employee productivity, control IT spending over the long run, and meet evolving data security requirements. 

Though each company must establish unique policies and controls to best suit its needs, the following are general strategies and best practices for managing a print environment. 

Starting to re-think your print environment? Avoid these six mistakes businesses make with their printers.

Centralizing Management

Centralized printer management with a dedicated software program make it easier to manage a dispersed printer fleet across multiple floors, buildings, and locations. Centralized solutions provide transparency into printing jobs, device maintenance needs, and access controls across the network. Thus, IT Directors have real-time insights into printing activities and behaviors to support optimization strategies. 

Proactively Maintaining Printers

Rather than waiting for a printer to break down or run out of ink or toner, proactive maintenance is a better way to support optimal printer performance and avoid downtime that could disrupt operations. Plus, regular device maintenance can help extend its lifespan, saving organizations money over time by requiring fewer machine replacements. 

Monitoring, Analyzing, and Automating

Establishing solid print policies and procedures is only effective if implemented correctly. Companies must monitor and enforce printing activities, assess usage levels, and automate workflows based on their findings to support effective print management. Print usage throughout an organization constantly changes, so IT leaders must stay up-to-date on current levels and adapt their strategy accordingly. 

Championing Compliance and Security

Printer data security is a growing concern for IT Directors. Recent survey data from Quorica shows that 79% of IT decision-makers expect to increase their print security spending over the coming 12 months. Document security doesn’t just prevent data loss from cybersecurity events; it also keeps companies compliant with relevant data security regulations. 

Reducing Waste

According to some estimates, paper accounts for 26% of total waste in landfills. From an economic and environmental standpoint, many print management strategies focus on reducing paper waste. Reducing waste might mean lowering monthly print quotes, enforcing double-sided printing, or implementing document digitization tools to reduce a company’s paper usage.

Training Employees and Fostering Awareness

Companies need to achieve employee buy-in for their print management strategies to be effective. While change is never easy, like reducing employees’ monthly print quotas or eliminating certain devices, you’ll face less resistance if you educate employees on why you’re making the changes and how it will benefit the organization. 

imageOne Strategic Print Management Services

Outsourcing print management to an experienced team of experts, like imageOne, can revolutionize an organization’s printing practices, producing meaningful efficiency and productivity benefits. Our progressive print management approach means our service is forward-thinking and agile for varying business requirements and evolving data security needs. 

The Benefits of a Print Management Service

If you’re considering managed print services for your organization rather than managing the environment yourself, consider these benefits of partnering with an MPS: 

  • Expert support on devices, maintenance, and optimization 
  • Custom print management solutions 
  • Better efficiency for the IT team and overall business
  • Long-term cost savings

Want to know more? Explore imageOne’s managed print services or talk to an MPS expert