Look at Everything

Spring is just a turn away – soon flowers will bloom and the soft promise of summer is just over the horizon. It’s the perfect time to plant seeds.

How is that New Year’s resolution going? Are you increasing the number of MPS engagements or simply counting all your equipment sales as “MPS sales?” Are you still referring to MPS as something you do differently for laser printers versus copiers? On the other hand, are you simply providing “MPS” on cartridge based devices and ignoring the copiers?

The point here is simple: look at ALL devices when considering an MPS engagement.  Even the ones you don’t currently supply or service. This has always seemed obvious to me, but I’m a bit off-center. Managed print services is not about what you service but about helping your client manages information. Sure, we need to set up service schedules, remote monitoring capabilities, and desk-side toner delivery, but that’s just the beginning.

Let’s say you’ve implemented Stage 1 and Stage 2 for a small fleet of 190 cartridge-based devices. Your customer has a few newly leased, generic copiers that were not in your contract’s sphere of influence. Now they are.

What is best way to manage this account?  Ignore the copiers and go along your merry way?

No.

It’s called managed print services, not managed “whatever I can get toner cartridges for” services. There isn’t an asterisk after the “services*” is there?

Here are some ideas:

Utilize your monitoring software to obtain all the data you can from the unsupported devices. Read and analyze the flow into the devices not under your contract.

Engage the central print-management or engineering departments. You’re not looking to replace the “big iron” or upgrade into a better wide-format device; your intent is to understand the entire environment.

Be prepared to recommend shifting volume off “your” devices onto an obvious, less expensive unit, but calculate the true Total Cost of Ownership before making this recommendation.

Stay open to the entire fleet. If necessary, partner with the current copier/printer supplier – or at least be open to the possibility.

Make the most of this data in every business review. Be honest. When the volume is shifted from your fleet into the other, focus on it and ask why?

Ignore these truths at your peril: every copier OEM has an MPS program; wide-format folks think they can now manage those “little office machines;” and other VARs are looking over your fence, seeing green.

Unless you’re a VAR with a pure MPS pedigree, it’s likely the machines you are ignoring today will sprout your competition tomorrow.

Plant your seeds before somebody else does.