USDA looks to cut costs with managed print service

The Agriculture Department is looking to reduce printing costs by adopting managed print services.

USDA has awarded Lexmark International a $50 million, five-year blanket purchase agreement for an agencywide managed print services program. MPS is a mix of software tools, services, custom solutions and strategies geared to improve overall print efficiency.

Lexmark will provide USDA agencies worldwide with a complete offering, including professional services, output optimization, workflow solutions and business process transformation, said Brian Henderson, director of federal consulting with Lexmark Government Solutions.

USDA will lease the whole printing infrastructure printers, copiers, scanners, faxes from Lexmark, which through the company’s managed services will provide installation, maintenance and other services, even providing toners on printers, Henderson said. By streamlining these printing business processes, USDA administrators can focus on more mission-critical issues, he said.

Organizations often don’t know how much they are spending on printing, Henderson said. “When an environment is not managed, costs are way out of control,” he added, noting that government could save $1 billion annually by moving to managed services.

The federal government has taken steps to rein in costs associated with printing infrastructures. In September 2011, the General Services Administration awarded 11 blanket purchase agreements under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for print management. This program is expected to save taxpayers $330 million through implementation of better and more sustainable printing behaviors, GSA officials said.

In addition, by using vendors awarded these contracts, agencies will achieve reductions in printing, copying, scanning and faxing costs that could save $600 million over the next four years, GSA officials said. The vendors will offer agencies lower prices than other contracts currently available to the federal government and help agencies identify savings through use of more efficient devices. This initiative is part of the Campaign to Cut Waste the Obama administration launched in June 2011.

Lexmark was one of the vendors awarded the GSA contract, although the deal with USDA is not a part of the GSA BPA awards, Henderson said. Among the users of Lexmark’s printers and multifunction products are the Social Security Administration and Veterans Affairs Department.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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