It seems every day a new acronym pops up and we all collectively must hop over to Google to figure out just what it means. The world of document management is no different. Business print acronyms can be confusing and make it more difficult to understand just what your dealer is offering.

MFD, MDP, and MDS, all seem similar to each other, don’t they? If you are having trouble distinguishing between a DMS or MDS, we have a guide for you.

Here is a list of the most important print acronyms and the differences between each one.

  • MFD: Multi-function Device – This is an office machine that incorporates the functionality of multiple devices in one and generally provides centralized document management/ distribution/production in an office setting.
    • Multi-function Devices are most popular with medium to large offices. The device incorporates printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. All these functions in one device save on printing costs such as toner and paper and reduce office waste.
  • MFP: Multi-function Printer– Like an MFD, a multi-function printer consolidates printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. Small enough to fit on a desk, a lower purchase price, and fewer options make this a go-to choice for start-ups or small businesses.

What is the Difference between an MFD and an 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 an MFP.

Both are multi-function devices that can print, copy, scan, and fax. MFDs include extras such as high document management, advanced scanning functionality, advanced solution capability, high-speed print, and quality printing options. The MFD is best suited to larger organizations that have wider and more complex print requirements.

  • MPS: Managed print services – This is defined as a fully integrated program that helps organizations streamline their printing fleet. It involves document management experts who analyze your printing usage and needs to rapidly identify opportunities for optimization.
    • To implement MPS, your provider usually starts with a site audit to assess your current print operations and identify inefficiencies. This will include consultation to help create policies around print production and print security.
    • MPS aims to save money and deliver business print solutions which in turn lead to higher productivity and optimized workflows. A MPS will also increase document security and have a positive impact on your office’s green initiatives.
  • MDS: Managed document services – Also called Document Management Services (DMS), MDS is closely related to managed print services (MPS) and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. These are services provided by external parties to optimize and manage an organization’s document infrastructure and workflow for both printed and electronic documents. It looks at ways to improve and optimize your entire document environment from infrastructure and workflows to security, archiving, and storage.
    • Your solutions provider will assess how paperwork is handled, how many sets of hands are on a process, how transparent are the workflows, and whether a change in management program reduces the number of paper-driven processes.

What is the difference between MPS and MDS?

Both have similar goals: reduce cost, improve processes, increase security, and minimize environmental impact. The difference would lie mainly in their scope.
MPS focuses specifically on just your print operations – printers, multi-function 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).

A Few More Acronyms You May Come Across

  • ECM: Enterprise Content Management – ECM is a holistic approach to document management that utilizes a variety of solutions to create, store, discover, distribute, archive, and manage unstructured content. The ultimate goal of ECM is to analyze document usage so that organizations are able to deliver content to users wherever and whenever it is needed.
  • OCR: Optical Character Recognition – OCR is often implemented in MDS and ECM solutions. OCR uses photoelectric equipment and software to create machine-readable text files from paper documents. This method of scanning documents makes tagging specific data and organizing your documents for your management system a simple task.
  • A3 or A4: Paper Size – While searching for your next printer acquisition, you may have come across printers labeled A3 or A4. In general, these refer to paper sizes; an A3 printer can handle a variety of paper sizes including letter (8.5 x 11), legal (8.5 x 14), or ledger (11 x 17). An A4 printer will only print letter and legal sizes.

And there you have it. Some of the most common business print acronyms explained. Hopefully, this will be beneficial to you the next time you need to discuss your print environment with your boss, colleagues, or vendors.

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