Printer Harmony: Balanced Deployments Boost Bottom Lines

Solution providers can increase profit margins when they help customers rightsize their printing operations.


David Brownlee recalls asking a manager at a new small-business client how many printers the company had. The customer remembered five, but when Brownlee’s CAMCorp.USA did a full inventory shortly afterward, his team uncovered seven times that amount. “When you walked down the aisle, you would almost trip over them, there were so many,” the president of the Pinckney, Mich., solution provider says.

The number of devices wasn’t the only shock. All of the rogue printers were small inkjets that burned through expensive consumables without any central cost-management strategy. “Inkjets are nice devices to use once in a while, but you don’t want to use them if you’re printing any kind of coverage. These people were printing everything with them,” Brownlee says.

His experience isn’t unique. Solution providers across the country say upward of 75 percent of all new customers operate far too many printers in relation to their staffing levels and, in turn, incur excessive costs and inefficiencies.

What’s the antidote to device creep? Knowledgeable solution providers can transform their businesses, increase margins and ultimately save their customers money through infrastructure assessments and a comprehensive rightsizing strategy. “The best scenario comes when you understand your customer enough to be able to suggest changes to workflows,” Brownlee says. “That’s like hitting a gold mine, because now you are talking about ideas that directly affect the company’s bottom line.”

Win/Win Results

The impact of an assessment and subsequent balanced-deployment plan can be impressive. Average savings for customers range from 30 percent to 50 percent through hardware consolidations, better management of supplies, and lower device maintenance and power costs, says Rick Kreiser, president of Carney’s Business Technology Center, Bakersfield, Calif.

Solution providers can see equally impressive results for their own businesses through gross-profit margins of 20 percent to 30 percent, solution providers say. Just as importantly, solution providers that establish contractual relationships with customers receive predictable annuity streams. “We know what we’re billing each month; we know what our margins are,” Kreiser says.

An assessment is the first step in balancing printing resources, and its benefits go beyond just helping customers run more-efficient operations. Kreiser says that solution providers see reduced profits on per-page contracts when hardware and usage patterns are out of balance.

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