Managed IT and the Service Departrment

For many dealers, the prospect of adding managed IT to their company is a logical next step. For the sales department, it means adding a new talk track and developing some specialists to help close the business.

It does give a dealer the ability to better position themselves to manage and retain their current customers. It may also provide a competitive advantage in the sales process. However, a typical copier and printer service department will face significant challenges in supporting managed IT.

Separate or Integrated… or Partnered

The first step in moving into managed IT is to decide how you are going to handle IT support. Is it something that will be managed and operated through the service department, or will it be a separate department? Will you handle all customer support internally, or will you outsource some or all of the support?

This is a decision that will vary by dealership. If you currently have a help desk operation, provide all of your own internal network...

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A Day in the (Training) Life: Service Managers Gain a Wealth of Info at Visual Edge Technology Event

I had the privilege of attending the training program that was provided for the service managers of the various Visual Edge Technology companies.

Visual Edge Technology is interesting in that it buys successful dealerships, and then provides back-office support while allowing each company to continue to operate the way it did prior to being purchased.

Because of this, many of the service managers in the room had never met, and many had never even spoken to each other before this program. They had a variety of backgrounds, with a number of them never having had any formal training as a service manager—they had learned their craft the hard way. Additionally, the experience levels ranged from very recent promotions to managers with decades of experience.

The Event

The training program was co-located with the ITEX show in Las Vegas, May 16-17. In addition to the service managers, the sales managers and company presidents were also there for training. While each group received an...

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Managed Print Services and the Service Department

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...

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Forecasting the Future of Service: Looking at Changes Needed for Success

Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent time with some of the best-known consultants and analysts in our industry, both in person and through attending the training and webinars they produce. In off-the-record comments, the most-common fear about the industry and financial models we know today is that they have a limited lifetime left. On a webinar recently, I asked the presenter what the changes he described would do to the service model we use today, and he said that things would be okay for the next four to five years.

There are several challenges facing service that are starting to impact our industry now, and they will continue to accelerate in the future. Let’s take a look at some of them and what we can do to protect our businesses.

Declining Print Volume

While there is generally fluctuation from year to year, the overall trend in printing is down in most segments of our industry. The only segment that shows real growth is in the high-volume and industrial print...

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Interesting times ahead- How Will New Inkjet Devices Impact the Service Department

This article originally appeared in ENX Magazine

An old curse says, “May you live in interesting times.” The idea being that boring times were times of security and peace and interesting times more associated with trouble and danger. In our industry, I am concerned that interesting times lie in our near future.

Portents of the Coming Change

I have had the opportunity to visit both GraphExpo and the BTA meeting in Asheville recently, and I walked away amazed at the things I saw and heard. At GraphExpo, it seemed that several of the manufacturers devoted more booth space to devices outside of the traditional production print environment. There was also a significant shift toward inkjet devices both in the high-end industrial printing environment as well as toward specialty devices like wide format.

At the BTA meeting, one recurrent topic was Managed Network Services (MNS). Both during the dealer roundtable discussion and during presentations this subject was addressed as...

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