Skeletons in the Closet

I couldn’t help smiling recently when I read about some skeletons a print VAR found in one client’s closets. For good measure, the client just happened to be a multi-office physicians’ practice.


It seems that three closets in the practice were stuffed full of toner cartridges—not used ones waiting to be recycled, but new, never opened boxes of consumables. After uncovering this find, the VAR—NSI in Naugatuck, Conn.—estimated a total value of the stash to be about $3,000.


Now, you may think that this customer was just trying to be frugal, much like an enterprising grocery shopper who stocks up on bargains knowing that the supplies will eventually be used. Not so in this case. The toner cartridges never disappeared because the people who should be installing them had no idea they existed.

“They had frequent turnover in the office staff and people just assumed that these hadn’t been ordered,” says Tom McDonald, NSI president.  “They kept getting more and more.”

Fortunately, NSI was able to use this find to convince the physicians that a managed print contract was the cure for unnecessary consumables costs and an unmanaged print environment.

This story is a great reminder for print VARs everywhere, for a couple of reasons. First, even though handy auditing tools are an essential way to help document usage rates when doing a customer assessment, the results must be augmented with a careful physical inspection of the premises. You never know what you’ll find buried behind desks, in conference rooms or in closets.

Second, while large enterprises may be attractive candidates for new managed-print business, small and mid-sized companies in aggregate may represent higher revenues and profits. They’re certainly the ones more apt to need a thorough housecleaning.