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5 Essentials for success in Managed Print

11 Aug, 2009 By: Matt McLeish imageSource

5 Essentials for success in Managed Print

When the idea of managed print solutions was introduced in the marketplace,
it received mixed reactions.  That was years ago, before the concept was tested
and the savings were calculated.

Today, organizations have a real opportunity to cut costs by implementing the
right MPS program that can achieve reduced costs and improved service.  Analysts
at Gartner Inc., for example, explain that organizations that manage office
printing & copying costs effectively can save 10% - 30% on a recurrent basis. 

The key to success is constructing a service platform.  To build it, get to
know these five essential elements and prepare to ask the right questions.

To effectively launch a successful MPS program and build a service platform,
an organization needs:

1. The right technical training

2. Strong technical support

3. Profit-maximizing toner

4. Remote monitoring software

5. A strategic parts plan

  1. The Right Service Technician Training

Moving from a cost-per-page model to a managed print solutions program
requires training.  The right training must equip techs to handle problems in
the field.   And expensive training doesn’t mean that it’s good – it must be
delivered at the right level or your techs won’t understand it.   Service
technician training can run anywhere between $350 per class to $600 per class.
Before choosing a provider, get answers to these tough questions: 

  • What are the technicians’ qualifications?
  • How many techs have received repair training?
  • What is their training philosophy:  quick fixes or a true understanding
    of how the printer works?
  • What format does technical training take? In your offices? Online? At
    their training center?  Can they “train the trainer” so you can bring the
    program in house to help your bottom line?

We would rank tech training as the #1 priority.  Technical training is your
number one priority in setting up the service element of your MPS program. 
Having the proper training ensures that your organization has the expertise to
handle the transition from break fix work toward this more cost efficient model.

  1. Strong Technical Support 

Even the best trained technicians will run into challenging repairs. Where
will your team turn for help? You need good Tech Support to fully handle every
situation.  In building your support system find out: 

  • What kind of Tech Support exists and how is it structured? How is the
    team evaluated?
  • How many calls does the team handle in a day? In a month?
  • How responsive is the team?  What is the team’s call waiting time? Which
    hours do they operate?
  • How do they keep their skills current? 
  • What is the cost of using the Tech Support resources? Some do not charge
    at all and include the support as part of the overall package. Others might
    charge by the hour which could impact your profitability.
  1. The Right Toner

An MPS program also requires the right toner to maximize profit. In a
monochrome printer, use a compatible OEM toner.  For color, I suggest OEM
toner.  High yield cartridges with up to twice the yield of a standard cartridge
can dramatically cut your cost per page & improving margins. Costs can drop
dramatically.  As you choose your toner provider, ask these questions:

 Can you obtain high yield, OEM compatible toner? How about a full line of
standard, extended and jumbo cartridges?

  • Are they American-made or imported cartridges?
  • Is the toner made with virgin cores?
  • Is it made according to ISO-certified processes?
  • Does it come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee? Is the warranty at
    least 2 years? 
  • Does it offer excellent print performance – crisp text, sharp graphics
    and accurate color?

Once you’ve determined that the quality is excellent, the pricing should
still be 15% to 40% less than an OEM toner. 

  1. Remote Monitoring Software

Choosing the right software will maximize the efficiency of your tech team.  

Using the right remote monitoring software will improve tech performance, and
the bottom line. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What tools come with the software? Does it have a mapping function?
  • Which models does it pick up?
  • How does it handle local devices?
  • Does it calculate toner coverage?
  • Does it capture energy consumption?
  • What does the R&D team look like?
  • How stable is the software manufacturer?
  1. A Strategic Parts Plan

A warehousing function adds significant costs in people’s time and investment
in inventory. A complete solution for managed print means a team will work with
you to develop an inventory strategy that meets your needs. Don't overstock.
Instead, determine which parts you have to stock.  And which are the more
commonly requested parts that they’ll stock for you? Consider:

What is the breadth and depth of their inventory? What will they stock for
you so that you don’t have to overbuy?

Do they offer quality, remanufactured parts?

How accurate and reliable are their national distribution capabilities? 
Where are their warehouses located? 

Can you get next-day service anywhere that you need a part delivered?

Do they offer toner and supplies?

Are they authorized by the major OEMs?

Choosing one source for your parts and toner saves you time by consolidating
orders.   Fewer orders mean less shipping expense.  You’ll even streamline your
accounts payable function. With the cost to manually process an invoice ranging
from $15 to $30+, using a single supplier helps cut bookkeeping costs!

A Winning Program

Each of these elements work together to build a successful & profitable MPS
program.  As you research your options, consider what type of training is right
for your organization; incorporate a solid Tech Support element, choose the
right toner & remote monitoring software, and understand your parts plan.

Once you’ve settled on the provider/supplier you’d like to work with, ask
these questions. 

Matt McLeish is Director of Managed Print Solutions, Parts Now!, the
largest computer printer parts distributor worldwide.  Visit
www.partsnow.com for info.

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