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Managed Print Services and the Service Department

expand services industry trends revenue service Dec 01, 2020
Improve your managed print services

In talking with service managers over the last decade, I have found a variety of opinions about Managed Print Services (MPS).  Some service managers have found it to be a profitable addition to their revenue stream.  Others find it difficult to manage due to the wide variety of equipment and the difficulty in becoming proficient at supporting a multitude of brands and models.  Some see it as an unprofitable nuisance mandated in their department.

No matter how it is viewed, MPS is a program that is here to stay.  Sales will continue to sell the program and service will have to continue to support it.  The need then is to find ways to make it both manageable and profitable.

We will discuss several challenges to the service department created by an MPS program.  We will also look for steps to take to improve the serviceability of a contract and profitability.

The Challenges

A typical prospect for MPS may have a wide variety of makes and models.  In many cases, the printer chosen for a specific location was just the product that was on sale when they wanted to add a printer.   The resulting mixture of printer manufacturers and differing models is a challenge for the service department to manage. 

Associated with this is the wide discrepancy in operating costs between the devices.  In most cases, the sales department sells a blended rate that applies to all models.  This rate does not take into account the specific costs of the models.  The result is that some or perhaps most of the devices in the fleet may not be generating enough revenue to provide the desired profit margin.

The diverse model portfolio also requires more car stock and more inventory to have the needed parts on hand. In many cases, the needed training for all the different models may not be available, or the cost to obtain the training may outweigh the potential profit in the contract.

Another consideration is the cost of the supplies for the printers.  Some printers have much higher page costs.  Using aftermarket toners helps, but there may not always be reliable aftermarket cartridges for all models.

There is also a potential trap in truly managed print services.  The premise is that by managing the output and shifting print jobs to the appropriate device, you reduce the operating cost for the client.  The result is good for the client but it is bad for the service department since managing print reduces revenue and profit.

How to Improve the Situation

Avoiding the issues listed starts in the sales process.  During the assessment process, provide the model list to the service manager for evaluation.  The service manager will then need to identify the models that may be a challenge either from the cost standpoint or serviceability issues.

Construct the MPS agreement so that the dealer can replace the models that are a challenge.  Make sure that the contract allows for remanufactured equipment and cartridges.  By doing this, then those challenging models can be replaced with low page cost devices with comparable features. 

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