Printing is an essential part of the operation of many businesses. Everything from presentations to sales contracts to schedules can rely on a printer to complete the job. Generally speaking, there are two ways to set up a printing environment; centralized and decentralized. The differences between the two can make a huge difference in the functioning of an entire office.

Centralized printing is probably something most people who have been in an office environment are familiar with. This is when there is a large, single multifunction printer that the entire staff depends on to do their work.

On the flip side of that is decentralized printing. Decentralized printing uses a number of units spread throughout an office environment to provide more options for employees instead of counting on just one device.

A popular trend in managed print services, or MPS, is to move toward decentralized printing. There are several important advantages for businesses of all sizes which can make decentralized printing an effective way to manage work and enable staff to be more efficient.

Eliminate the Bottleneck


Many systems and routines have some type of bottleneck that ultimately slows down the entire process. This is one of the main challenges with centralized printing. Having a single device that everyone is using can prove to be a bottleneck that wastes time and frustrates staff. The number of people using the printer and the number of pages being printed ultimately determine how severe the bottleneck is. Regardless of the size of the office, if people are every lined up at the printer waiting for their turn, then that’s a sure sign a bottleneck is present.


With decentralized printing, a number of printers are deployed in strategic locations throughout an office to help offload work away from a single, centralized device. This can help to greatly reduce or eliminate bottlenecks caused by overworked printing devices. In addition, having several points where users can complete their printing can also potentially mean less travel time to and from the printer which allows them to be more efficient.


Cost Effective


Large, multifunction printers come packed with incredible features but they can also cost more than their smaller printing counterparts. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the need for the trusty office multifunction printer, decentralized printing offers the ability for businesses to spread out the workload to smaller devices and reduce the need for multiple multifunction printers scattered throughout the office.


Smaller printers generally have a lower cost of acquisition and a lower maintenance cost when compared with their larger siblings. For the price of a single multifunction printer, a business could strategically deploy several more compact printers throughout the office and improve efficiency at the same time. With MPS, the optimal location of each device can be determined to help businesses get the most out of every page printed.

Maintain Social Distancing

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to slow down and life starts returning to normal, the emphasis on social distancing may not be as extreme as it was before. However, local rules and regulations may vary from city to city or state to state. In addition, a true end to COVID-19 remains to be seen and is very much dependent on vaccine uptake as well as the emergence of new variants of concern. Even once COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, cold and flu season will continue to be a reality every business has to deal with. Lost time due to illness can prove to be costly to any business and affect an employee’s home life as well as their production at work.

With decentralized printing, social distancing is made simple. Rather than having a number of employees lined up and waiting around a single multifunction printer, they can use the device nearest and most convenient to them. This can help eliminate the classic office lineup at the centralized printer where everyone is breathing the same air and touching the same device.

This is also important as employees return to the office. Everyone is going to have a varying degree of comfort with the transition back to working in the same space as others. While some may not be concerned with sharing a space with their co-workers, others may prefer to continue maintaining distance when possible. Decentralized printing enables everyone to work in a way they can feel comfortable with.

See the Decentralized Difference

With MPS, decentralized printing is an important focus as it helps enable employees to be more efficient while cutting costs for the business. To learn more about making the switch from a centralized printing setup to a decentralized experience, contact the printing experts at Mac Copy today.