Launching a Print Management Program26 Feb, 2008 By: Tom Callinan imageSource
Launching a Print Management Program
Print management is a very real and highly profitable segment of outsourcing.
I feel compelled to make that statement because of the amount of misinformation
floating within the copier dealer community. It seems as if most—if not all—of
the ugly war stories can be traced back to failed efforts to move into, and I
use this description loosely, the print management space. I find a common
denominator in these failures: a lack of planning and real investment.
Print management is not a copier sale nor is it a supply sale. Copier
dealerships are highly competent in both of these spaces. Print management is an
outsourcing sale. Print management may be at the lower end of outsourcing
complexity, but it is clearly an outsourcing sale: complex, involves multiple
decision makers, changes customers’ processes, and integrates your business with
the customer’s business. Would you consider getting
into the facilities management space on a whim without any planning?
Print management is not software. Buying remote monitoring software does not
put you in the print management space any more than buying one of the industry
specific ERPs puts you in the copier business; remote monitoring software
provides you with a technology enabler to monitor output devices. I make this
statement because I frequently hear about somebody who is in the print
management business that’s doing terrible. When I ask them to define, “in the
business” the response is usually that they bought remote monitoring software.
Technology enablers should be a part of your print management planning, but
print management is primarily a sales strategy. Implementing and executing on
the print management sales strategy should be the primary focus of your
I won’t spend a lot of time on the print management space as there is little
chance by this point that you have not attended a seminar from one of the
software vendors or leasing companies. These events do a good job of providing a
30,000 foot view of the opportunity. Let me boil these seminars down for you
with the four most important reasons to get into the space:
Four Big Reasons
● Until recently, the only competition you had for
your copier placement was the other copier dealer in town. Now the local and
national printer companies, local printer supply companies, and VARs are all
gunning for your output. You have a plethora of new competitors, some with a
substantially better cost structure than you have.
● Printer output is 3X copier output. Print
output is actually 7:1 of copied output but copiers do print and copy equally,
hence the 3:1 ratio of printer output to copier output. Five years ago printed
output was 2X copied. Clearly, output is moving to printers.
● The revenue per print you can realize from a
printer, on average, is 2X the revenue per page you realize on a new copier
placement. If you take the product of the volume and the rate (3 * 2) you have
6X the revenue opportunity in printers. Therefore, if you have an account
billing $500 per month in aftermarket on your copiers, one of your new
competitors is realizing $3,000 in revenue from this same account.
● Print management is profitable.
If you really want to get into print management, you need to make a real
investment. This investment will include time, management resources, and cash.
Think about it—can you get into any business without these investments? Well,
here’s how to successfully launch a program:
A Short Blueprint
● Have a planning meeting and get all of your senior
team involved. Take the approach that you are entering a new market space; you
are. Keep in perspective that print management is an outsourcing service and
that you need a sales strategy to implement and execute it effectively.
● As part of your planning, identify a leader for
the new business. If you don’t have the correct person, hire them (this would be
an action item from your planning meeting).
● Pro Forma, the financials of the new business
so that you understand your milestones and the cash investment involved.
● Get training and/or professional support from
somebody that has a demonstrable record of achievement in order to fill in any
gaps in your skills or experience.
Early in my career I went to a seminar and the speaker made a statement that
I found profound: “Don’t listen to anybody worse off than you.” Essentially, you
have enough 30,000 ft. of information so don’t spend a lot more time at that
Bottom line? Stop looking for print management failures and launch an
effective program – before one of your new competitors takes your largest
Tom Callinan is the founding principal of Strategy Development, a
management consulting firm specializing in sales strategy and process, advanced
sales training, performance improvement strategies, and mergers and acquisitions
From 1998 – 2005, Callinan was an executive with IKON Office Solutions. Prior to
IKON, Callinan was the founder and CEO of Copifax, Inc, an INC 500 Company.
Callinan graduated with honors from The Wharton School, University of