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MDS, MFP, MPS, MFD: A quick guide to print acronyms

Acronyms can be confusing. As an office manager, this makes dealing with print vendors more difficult and complicated when you have to decipher what everything stands for and what those business print solutions mean for your business. MFD, MFP, MPS and MDS – they all seem so similar to each other. How do you know which one you would need for the business? What do these terms really mean?

We’re here to help and demystify them for you. In this post, we will be defining the most important print acronyms, and discuss the differences between each one. This way you can be a bit more confident the next time you meet with your print provider, or when you discuss printing requirements with your boss and work colleagues.

So, let’s get started.

1. MFD: Multifunction device (also referred to as MFDS Printers)

A multifunction device is the most popular device for medium to large offices, however, most employees would still refer to it as a photocopier. An MFD is an all-in-one (AIO) device that incorporates printing, copying, scanning and faxing. It allows you to consolidate your devices to save space as you no longer need three or four separate devices to get the job done.

Another reason why MFDs are so popular in businesses is that they reduce costs. These all-in-one business print solutions save on electricity bills and are often cheaper to run compared to having separate printers, copiers and fax machines. Having all the functions in one device can also save on printing costs and consumables such as toner and paper. 

After installing two KYOCERA MFD colour printers and three laser printers, SITA saved 30% on their printing costs and 60% on their device hire. Read about their switch to high-performance printers here.

2. MFP: Multifunction printer

The multifunction printer works as a multi-tasking machine, consolidating a printer, copier, scanner and fax machine. It is often smaller and more compact than an MFD with less options and will usually be located on a desk.

The multifunction printer is the usual choice for start-up or small businesses, with it’s low purchase and running costs. The MFP is easy to set up and has flexible maintenance options.

What is the difference between MFD and MFP?

MFD and MFP are very similar, and are used interchangeably by many people. While the differences between the two may not seem that noticeable, an MFD is usually larger in size and will have more features and options than a MFP.

Both are multifunction devices that can print, copy, scan and fax. They both provide the benefit of using one machine to do several functions, which lowers costs and streamlines operations. 

However, an MFD also includes extras, such as:

  • high document management;
  • advanced scanning functionality;
  • advanced solutions capability;
  • high-speed printing; and,
  • production-quality printing options.

The MFD is often better suited to larger organisations that have wider and more complex print requirements.

3. MPS: Managed print services

Managed print services or MPS is a service offered by your print provider that covers all aspects of your print operations. It focuses on managing and optimising the end-to-end print environment, from devices and networks to printer security and workflows. 

MPS aims to deliver a business print solution that reduces printing costs, improves productivity, and increases document security while minimising your impact on the environment.

To implement MPS, your provider usually starts with a site audit to assess your current print operations and identify inefficiencies. From here, they will design and implement a tailored solution that meets the specific needs and preferences of your business. 

Tailored business print solutions typically combat security concerns. This is more than just onboard device security and can include consultative help to create policies around print production, print security (e.g. authenticate and release technology), and best practice governance. These kinds of value-add consulting services can help an organisation to set a goal, create policies and manage change to encourage the right behaviours. 

A good provider will then focus on managing your print devices and networks by delivering stress-free maintenance and support. 

In the final phase, your MPS provider will look at continuously optimising your print operations in line with the organisation’s goals, with ongoing assessment and consultation.

Kyocera developed an MPS solution for South West Alliance of Rural Health, which is an alliance that focuses on the IT needs of acute public hospitals across 60,000 square kilometres in the South West of Victoria. Find out how Kyocera overcame the hurdle of delivering print services to their entire network in this case study.

4. MDS: Managed document services

Managed document services or MDS is a service that goes beyond your print operations and looks at ways to improve and optimise your entire document environment. This includes all aspects of document management from infrastructure and workflows to security, archiving and storage.

MDS takes a holistic approach to streamline operations, reducing costs, improving productivity, and reducing the carbon footprint of your business.

Typically, this service begins with a health check, where an organisation’s current practices are assessed, for example: 

  • How is paperwork handled?
  • How many sets of hands are on a simple process? How many sets of hands need to be?
  • How transparent are the workflows?
  • Would a change management program help to reduce the number of paper-driven processes? 

What is the difference between MPS and MDS?

We understand the confusion between MPS and MDS. Both have similar goals of reducing costs, improving processes, increasing security, and minimising environmental impact.

However, the difference would lie mainly in their scope. MPS focuses specifically on just your print operations – printers, multifunction devices, networks and printing processes. 

MDS, on the other hand, goes a step further and covers a wider scope that includes the whole document environment (including printing). It focuses on how documents are managed, delivered and stored across devices, networks and channels.

Implementing the Kyocera MDS solution is how Greenbank RSL were able to reduce their invoicing process time by 84% and decrease processing costs by 50%. Find out how they reduced their workload and streamlined practices here.

There you have it. Print acronyms demystified. Here’s a quick reference on the ones we just discussed:

  • MFD: Multifunction Device
  • MFP: Multifunction Printer
  • MPS: Managed Print Services
  • MDS: Managed Document Services

We hope this post has made your job a little bit easier, especially when dealing with print providers. Don’t let print vendor jargon confuse you anymore. Take advantage of these acronym definitions and you will be on your way to better understanding your print devices and services.

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