Conducting Managed Print Service Business Reviews – Part II
Conducting Managed Print Service Business Reviews – Part I was an introduction to the MPS business review process. Basic examples were offered and assumptions made. It was suggested that unless the review was done using up-to-date device detail and presented for the benefit of the machine user, the information shared would not be useful.
To conduct a good review, the MPS provider will need a leader. That person is not usually the customer relationship manager or sales representative assigned to the account. Successful dealerships often engage the expertise of a print management specialist, someone who can drive the review process; a person who knows the dealership’s data collection software, and how to interpret and manage the information the software gathers.
In subsequent segments, the process will be examined in greater detail. The information that follows will show that the MPS specialist will likely be an experienced juggler; keeping multiple tasks on schedule, often seeking feedback from all involved. The leader will be responsible for ensuring all aspects of the review are accounted for and presented in a cohesive manner.
A basic outline for a simple review might include the items shown below:
- Objective Review
- Data Analysis
- Improvement Plan
- Business Review Presentation
- 90-day Review Follow up
In “Conducting Managed Print Service Business Reviews – Part II” we’ll focus on Initial Review Attendees, Identify the Objective of the Review, and Information Discovery. In Part III we’ll expand on Data Analysis and will follow with the development of an Improvement Plan, discuss the Business Review Presentation and conclude with a Review Follow up session in Part IV of the series.
An initial meeting will need to be called to introduce the idea of a business review, identity why it is needed, suggest potential benefits that can be realized, and offer that recommendations will be made from an analysis of the discovered information.
People attending the meeting from the dealership side could potentially include:
- The MPS Specialist
- The Sales Manager, Director or VP
- The Account Sales Representative
- The Service Manager, Director or VP
- The Dealership Manager or Director
SUGGESTION – Only a minimum number of dealership staff should be involved with the introductory meeting. If the dealership shows up with an entourage in tow, the customer may feel as though there is a problem. During the first meeting a limited number of dealership staff will encourage an open exchange of ideas.
From the customer side it is important to include all parties that may be involved. If the software is yet to be installed, that may include a person who will help with software deployment. If the business orders and replaces their own supplies there may be a purchasing agent involved. Certainly a financial manager/decision maker should attend as should the person or department responsible for network and imaging equipment management. The list of customer attendees may include any or all of the following:
- The business principle (owner, manager, decision maker, etc.)
- The business financial manager (owner, CFO, decision maker, etc.)
- The business purchasing agent
- The business IT manager (network manager, CIO, etc.)
- The business network staff
It cannot be stressed strongly enough — Business reviews should be done for the benefit of the customer. If portrayed in any other way, the results obtained will likely be incomplete. The customer may put up roadblocks if they perceive the exercise to be something that “helps” the dealership.
Several years ago a much quoted InfoTrends report stated 90% of businesses did not know what they spent on print; noting 3-6% of corporate revenues were consumed on document output. Printing and its related outlay (supplies and other consumables, equipment management and service, etc.) accounted for the third highest business expense, right behind rent and payroll and just before utilities. And a popular Gartner Group report touted as much as 30% of printing expenses can be cut when controls are put in place.
But getting command of the cost entails much more than monitoring what is spent on toner and service. Businesses need to know how their equipment is being used, where printing is being done, the efficiency of the machines being used and more. A comprehensive MPS business review can provide this information.
While most of us understand printed output may be in decline, the fact remains OEMs are still selling equipment, suppliers are still marketing toner and service centers are still servicing equipment. Because document imaging continues to be a largely unknown cost item, businesses are seeking help in controlling the expense. Dealerships should leverage the need as they present the idea of a business review.
During the initial meeting the MPS provider should encourage the customer to share their ideas and business goals regarding print. In addition the dealership should describe the process it will use to learn about the businesses printing process. In an earlier blog series I wrote about assessments:
- Fleet Assessment – Imaging Fleet Assessment for Device Management …
- Fleet Assessment: Round 2 – Assessment Opposition
- Fleet Assessment: Round 3 – Anti Assessment perspectives
- Fleet Assessment: Wrap-up – Reasons in favor of good assessments
Business reviews should also include a business machine assessment as well, but please note: When camouflaged or used as a sales-technique an assessment will likely be flawed. Assessments that are NOT done with a focus towards solutions are self-serving for the dealer, and therefore give prospects – and the MPS providers’ customers reasons to object.
So what are we talking about here? Good assessments provide customers more than just output volume of the imaging fleet. If volume was all that is needed, the dealer already has that. They could simply add up three months worth of output from invoices, multiply by four and have a fair value of annual volume.
For an effective assessment, the MPS provider will use some type of data gathering software. This is likely to be the software already in use to gather meters. The provider can use the software to establish equipment reliability and note “troublesome” devices … those that do not provide reliable reporting detail.
Once deployed, the revealed device list can help dealers:
- Activate Off-line devices
- Identify machines with intermittent meter reporting challenges
- Research SNMP challenges
- Find / add locally connected devices
- Identify “non-manageable” machines
The software will also reveal device status detail including:
- Devices that report supply and service need
- Devices that do not report toner levels or report in accurate increments
- Devices that may have toner cartridges with bad reporting chips
- Alerting for devices that stop reporting toner levels
- Alerting for equipment that stop reporting
Assessment means someone will dig in to what is going on — with the key word being “DIG”. Assessments require getting a feel for the way the business prints documents; right down to learning what is printed, when it is printed and what machines are being used. Assessments uncover common problems and also provide opportunities for challenges to be overcome. The business machine dealer can use the assessment to make cost saving recommendations based on the discovery and analysis of the findings. During the assessment the following will also be learned:
- Device discovery
- Device connectivity
- Overall fleet health (age, serviceability, etc.)
- Device reporting capability
- Devices with over or under usage
- Inventory of supplies on hand
- Supply sourcing and cost
- Information needed to help meet business goals
… In Summary
An effective business review is all about preparation … The proper dealership personnel need to drive the process; getting the customer’s principles involved. An outline will need to be followed and open lines of communication established.
The goal of the review should be effectively communicated taking input from a variety of sources and with a focus on “What’s-in-it-for-the-Customer”. Once the groundwork has been laid, the assessment should be scheduled and conducted.
The review process may not be a simple task, but it will strengthen partnerships in the end.
Click here to read part three of the series: Business Reviews: Preperation