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

7 Dec, 2010 By: Jennifer Huckeba, SP Richards Co. imageSource

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

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 the Supplies & Service Management model right away) and is billed monthly after establishing an open purchase agreement with the customer.

  2. Supplies and 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 customer's 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. 

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 printsmart@sprich.com. S.P. Richards will be presenting this & additional MPS information at the upcoming  ITEX 2011 National Expo & Conference in March, in Wash., DC, in the MPS Strategy Forum.

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