Managed Print Master Class

Full-Fleet Management, the Pinnacle of Managed Print

Managing a customer’s entire fleet of printing and imaging devices — no matter what vendor manufactured them – is the pinnacle of managed print services.

Our series up to now has demonstrated the value of managed print, and how it can lower costs for customers while driving new revenue for you. But in this installment of our Managed Print Master Class, we wanted to look at some of the extreme challenges, and show how they can be overcome — or at least, endured.

Consider what one full-service office equipment and solutions provider based in the Philadelphia metro area experienced recently when trying to garner his early full-fleet management contracts.

This particular managed print provider — who requested anonymity — signed a letter of intent with one customer, only to find out three months later after providing a print assessment that involved more than 40 hours of work that the customer wanted to go in a different direction.

The customer didn’t tell the managed print provider about its change of plans until after the provider had made its presentation. "They decided to go with compatible cartridges and ‘free service,’" said the president of this particular managed print provider.

The managed print provider signed another letter of intent with a customer. "We went to install the fleet monitoring software [and] found out they were conducting another assessment with another vendor, whose monitoring software was running on their server," the executive said.

"Full-fleet management gives you a way to manage a customer’s entire print environment."

Another customer that had signed a letter of intent "refused to provide any cost data, even though we covered this in our initial meetings," the exasperated managed print provider said.

One of the problems with getting customers on board is the lack of understanding about managed print. "It’s very hard for some people to get their hands around the concept of managed services," the managed print provider said.

"We had a large customer ask us about the cost of toner. We said we don’t charge for toner. We tried to explain to them that under a managed print service you’re not billed for toner. Then they asked again what the cost of toner was. It’s a big education process," he said.

In some cases people are skeptical about the benefits that are possible using a managed print service for a full fleet of printers. They think the savings are too good to be true.

It takes a lot of work to convince people that full-fleet management is in their best interest, the managed print provider said. "For a large customer that has 3,000 devices, moving into a managed print environment is not like flipping a light switch," he said. You need to know what questions to ask up front and must be prepared to provide specific examples of how full-fleet management can provide business benefits.

Despite the challenges and setbacks, solution providers continue to aim high with their managed print offerings.

"Full-fleet management is certainly a goal for us," the managed print provider said. "From the customers’ standpoint it makes things a lot easier. Managed services gives them a tremendous benefit in terms of seeing their equipment managed better."

In addition to better management, customers can see true savings. "We tell people if they’re under a fleet management contract they can negotiate with the vendor and lock in pricing for a period of time, for example up to five years," he said. "Then in year six they can extend the contract and the price increase will not be extensive."

And full-fleet management gives solution providers a way to manage a customer’s entire print environment, whether it’s 50 devices in a single facility or 3,000 devices spread out over multiple offices. Either way, managing fleets of printers for customers can provide significant business opportunities for solution providers.

As we have shown in past studies, the Xerox PagePack managed print formula has removed costly variables that can cut into a managed print provider’s profits. For example, PagePack 3.0 eliminates toner-based pricing, opting instead for a more consistent cost-per-page model. Servicing a customer print fleet is also simplified under PagePack 3.0, and quoting managed print services for any size company is more accurate and quicker than ever before.

Ready to drive new profits with Managed Print? Our next installment of our series takes the managed print concept, and attaches it right to your business.

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