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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Customizing Your MPS Solution

7 Dec, 2010 By: Jennifer Huckeba, S.P. Richards Co.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Customizing Your MPS Solution

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If you’ve ever asked for a promotion, you probably remember spending a length
of time considering your approach.  You thought carefully about why you deserve
it and how expertise applies to that area.  You considered your supervisor’s
personality, his or her objectives, and even what time of day might be best to
catch your supervisor in a good mood. Now, consider your customers.  

Much like that supervisor, each company you work with has a distinct
personality.  It’s important for you to take the time to give thought to each
customer’s office culture, company objectives and hot buttons when you’re
crafting an MPS plan for them.

The Benefits

Before we dive into what to offer each of your customers, let’s take a look at
the benefits from their perspectives.  With the economy as unstable as it is
today, most of your customers will likely tout that cost savings is their
biggest objective.  For some, the primary appeal may be your ability to relieve
their designated IT guru from having to deal with broken printers, while others
may be attracted to your one-stop print management solution or your “go green”
approach to MPS. 

Luckily, if you’ve chosen the right solution, your MPS offering covers all of
the above and can be customized to fit everyone’s needs.

Know Your Options

Cost-per-page (CPP) is often used synonymously with Managed Print Services
(MPS).  While it can be argued that a “true MPS solution” encompasses printer
supplies, hardware placement, and equipment service, all billed on a CPP model,
it’s probably not the best solution for each of your customers. A true MPS
solution can be complicated and time-consuming to execute, and while it may be a
worthwhile investment for you to pursue with your largest customers, it wouldn’t
be profitable to offer it to all of them. Having the ability to customize an MPS
plan to meet each of your customers’ needs—even the small ones—will increase
your success rate, provide a sustainable solution, and allow you to target the
breadth of your customer base.

Below are our three recommended MPS models—Just-in-Time Fulfillment, Supplies &
Service Management, and Full Printer Fleet Management.  As you read further, it
is important to understand that these are recommendations only and that you may
craft your MPS program as you choose to make it as lucrative as possible for you
and your customers.

  1. Just-in-Time Fulfillment—using printer management software to monitor ink and toner levels and ship printer supplies to the consumer as needed.
    This model is typically ideal for your smallest customers (or customers afraid to commit to Supplies & Service Management model right away) and is
    billed monthly after establishing an open purchase agreement with the customer. 

  2. Supplies & Service Management— the Just-in-Time Fulfillment model with equipment service added into the contract.  This model is ideal for
    mid-sized customers and is typically billed using a CPP model or as a flat monthly fee.

  3. Full Printer Fleet Management— management of the entire printer fleet including supplies fulfillment, equipment maintenance, and hardware
    refreshment. This model offers the option of working with the existing printer fleet or replacing printers completely through a hardware leasing
    agreement. Full Printer Fleet Management is ideal for your largest customers and is typically billed using a CPP model.

Choose Your Audience

Once you have identified a customer to target, it is important to get buy-in
from a top-level executive or decision-maker (such as the CEO or COO) before
proceeding. We recommend offering to conduct an assessment of the customers’
printer fleet, free of charge, and returning with some recommendations that will
help them save on the cost of printing.  Once you obtain permission to move
forward with your assessment, ask to work with the person that manages the IT
department (preferably the IT Director, if the company is large enough to have
one) to proceed with the assessment process.

Hey, What’s In It For You?

This deal may sound too good to be true for some of your customers and you may
find yourself on the receiving end of their suspicions.  When posed with
questions like “What’s your interest in this?” and “You want to save me money?
Why?” we recommend that you fess up.  Tell your customer that you recognize how
tough the economy has been lately and that you’re looking for ways to build
customer loyalty—your MPS program is one of these ways. 

Ask Questions

There’s no better way to learn about your customer than to ask questions.  Find
out as much as you can about what the customer is currently paying for printer
supplies (they may not be buying them all from you), printer replacement, and
equipment service.  Don’t forget to ask about “problem printers”—every office
has at least one.


Customize Your Approach

Think back to our promotion scenario for a moment. One of the factors a manager
weighs when deciding whether or not to promote an employee is risk.  Similarly,
your customers will be weighing the risk of partnering with you for MPS.
Consider what’s important to your customers and what uncertainties they might
face in partnering with you, then customize an MPS solution that suits their
needs…and yours.

For more information on the PrintSmart™ MPS program, contact your S.P.
Richards Company sales rep or send an email to

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