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Maximizing Your Profit Potential with Printer-Centric Services

16 Dec, 2003 By: David Montanaro imageSource

Maximizing Your Profit Potential with Printer-Centric Services

A few
years ago, a technician friend of mine was finishing up a routine service call
on an analog copier when his client asked him if he knew anything about laser
printers. She pointed across the room, where two networked laser printers sat at
the end of a long row of cubicles. "A little," he replied, poker
faced. Later, he'd confide that the only thing he knew about networked laser
printers was that they were creating a lot of competition for copier dealers.
She asked him if he'd mind taking a look at the machines, which had been giving
employee's trouble.

opening the machines, the tech realized that printers really weren't that much
different from copiers. Being a skilled tech, he was able to identify two
easy-to-fix problems and had the machines up and running within a few minutes.
Grateful for the rescue, his client (who by this point would no doubt become a
client for life) asked if he would consider repairing her company's networked
printers as well as copiers. The addition of new printer business proves what we
in the business have known for many years: end users make little distinction
between copiers and printers and simply want fast, reliable hard copy output.
"Sure," he said, "Just give me a call."

an inexpensive training course and a few months time, the tech became adept at
clearing reoccurring paper jams and reinstalling printer boards. By registering
for the training seminar, and subsequent educational sessions involving
multifunction printers, the tech, although just a technician on the frontlines,
was contributing to the growth of his company's business. To use an old cliché,
he managed to turn lemons into lemonade by overcoming the barrier that prevents
so many copier dealerships from breaking into the printer business. By expanding
his knowledge base and adding printers and multifunction service into the mix,
his clients would appreciate the added value and contract with him for service
based on the reliability and trust he had developed over the years.

dealerships have made the move to multifunction service and found great success
adding printer repair to the mix. It's a natural progression that makes even
greater sense once technicians realize that multifunction copiers and printers
share the same technologies, including similar parts and paper feed paths. This
past year has been a pivotal one for copier usage-it is the first time that the
number of hard copies produced by copiers and printers is the same. Networked
multifunction printers are fast becoming a popular choice among workgroups. Of
the 160 billion hard copies projected for production in office workgroups by
2006, industry analysts at CAP Ventures estimate that only 20 billion will
originate on multifunction copiers. Capturing this growing usage is the key to
surviving in the new imaging market. The landscape is changing and in my
experience, I have found that many end users believe that a printer serves their
needs just as well or better than a copier. Lower prices, comparable
reliability, and smaller footprints exemplified by convenient desktop
accessibility support all these end user beliefs.

copier dealerships eager to, once again, grow their business and take advantage
of this changing landscape, there is no better time to capitalize on the
burgeoning printer services market. Fortunately, they will not be alone in the
task of cross-training sales and technical teams. Recognizing that copier
dealers already have existing, long lasting relationships with end users, major
OEMs like HP are eager to help dealers branch into hardware, computer
networking, and software services. HP offers OEM-training sessions with
post-graduation perks, such as recognition on their website as an authorized
dealer. Utilizing a trusted channel is an excellent way to grow an existing
copier business, as is partnering with an OEM authorized reseller to order
printer parts and toner. Leveraging partnerships with resellers is also a smart
way to gain instant access to a "satellite" warehouse that has more
bulk buying power and consequently can offer better prices than purchasing parts
directly from OEMs.

Just as
end users prefer to deal with one company for their imaging needs, most
dealerships prefer working with one vendor rather than multiple vendors. It goes
back to the same principle of convenience that end users enjoy: why work with
two technicians' schedules when they can get copiers, multifunction machines and
printers serviced by one technician? With plenty of new players in the printer
hardware and supplies industries, dealers should have no problem ordering parts
once their technicians begin servicing multifunction printers. Yet how many
dealerships have the luxury of a dedicated employee that can spend hours each
week shopping around for the best prices on fusers, maintenance kits, scanners,
boards, and other small parts such as gears, rollers and pads? Furthermore, with
new parts vendors emerging all the time, it's risky to do piece-meal business
with companies that may have a stockroom smaller than a single family home's
garage. For this reason, it's better to stick with a reliable source that has
access to all of the parts needed and can drop ship to offices and worksites.
Many established parts vendors require no registration fees or monthly
purchasing minimums and give independent dealers access to technical support and
other value-added services. Some may even buy back defective cores and

it sounds easier on paper than in practice, adding printer services is a step
that copier dealerships should make to survive and grow in a rapidly converging
marketplace. Fortunately, it is more of a change in momentum than a reinventing
of the wheel. Your customers already want to give you the business. Copier
professionals already have the staff and skills to reposition their businesses
and gain a stronger foothold in the printed page equipment service arena.
Dealers eager to draw themselves into the foreground of this changing landscape
need to acknowledge that, at least for now, printers and printer-based machines
are giving copiers a run for their money. Rather than wait for multifunction
copiers to gain more market share, dealers must cross-train technicians and
continually look for new ways to add value to existing services. It's no longer
enough to just do a job that one has been doing well for many years. Dealers
must display confidence that they "copy" all forms of networked

- - -

Montanaro is the Director of Sales for Depot America. Celebrating fifteen years
in business, Depot America is a leader in the printer service parts industry,
focusing on depot level repair services for OEMs and service providers alike.
Contact Depot America at 800-648-6833 or visit www.depot-america.com.

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