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Information Collected and Reporting

Congratulations!  Your print management collection software is rapidly being installed at customer locations and emails are beginning to overflow your dealership’s inboxes.  Now what?

The information gathered by MPS software can be overwhelming if the business is not prepared for its receipt. Aligning it to those who are responsible for sales, meters, supplies and service allows multiple users to process the data as it is received, and by doing so, can help dealers fulfill contractual obligations as well as the customer service promise.  Routing incoming information just makes good sense.

The data gathered by the dealership’s MPS software is typically sent via email. For example, email inboxes could be set up as follows:

Many dealerships have such inboxes prepared and are already using them.  If your dealership has not, consider doing so.  Inboxes accessible by more than one staffer are easy to manage.

Gatherable data

The information gathered may be formatted in various ways, and commonly included information is shown below:

Network name Total engine counter Faxes
MAC address Total color counter Scans
Model Total copies Toner levels
Serial number Color copies Maintenance kit levels
IP address Total prints Document feeder information
Print server Color prints Device location

Be mindful of individual device capabilities.  For example, just because collection software can gather serial numbers, doesn’t mean the report will include the information.  Some devices are limited in what information they provide.  Also be aware that connectivity makes a difference in reporting accuracy; devices on the network provide more detail than those connected locally.  Better software like Print Tracker allows administrators to include missing information.

Meter reporting

Meter collection is the bread and butter of the MPS world.  Automated meter reporting can be used to detail monthly billing based on actual printed output or to assist with fleet assessments for greater cost control.  Automated reports can be scheduled by the dealer or be generated on demand for specific date ranges.  Advanced reporting may include:

Volume analysis Site scorecards All meters reports
Volume analysis with charts Usage reports Average volume reports
Summary reports Total Volume charts TCO reports

… as well as a host of others.  Collected data can be used for cost per page analysis and to prepare proposals and can also help salespeople make equipment recommendations based on the discovered volume output.

Meter reports may include multiple listings for each device to allow for data comparisons across specific date ranges, or be formatted in columns for quick data analysis.  Software like Print Tracker provide both in a single report having tabs for meter summary and complete meter data, including information on total engine count, copies, prints, faxes, scans, supply levels, service status, custom counters, duplex usage, and more.  On demand reporting may include calculations for average monthly volume and over or under device utilization based on manufacturer recommendations.

NOTE – Collection software companies often partner with industry providers making collected data available for import into their offerings.  Companies may include those with ERP and CRM platforms, parts and supply capability, proposal generation tools, document imaging and storage and many others.  Check with your print management provider to see with which companies their collection tools are configured to integrate.  Print Tracker is flexible, having multiple report templates, offering several data sharing opportunities, and can provide customizable reporting for specific business needs.

Toner Alerts

Modern imaging devices report very accurate toner levels with 1% or even 0.1% accuracy being quite common.  But there are a large number of devices that only offer accuracy to 5, 10, 20 or even 25% levels.  Many older machines only report service messages when they are almost out of toner stating “Replace Toner” or just “Toner Out” on the console.

When installed, the collection software can be configured to send machine supply status for discovered devices.  Many products allow alert setup using Administrative software.  Print Tracker software’s deployment files can be built so predetermined thresholds are enabled during the download allowing installation management to be kept at a minimum.

Alert emails typically generate when a device condition falls below the predetermined toner threshold set by the dealer.  The email is sent to the dealer (and possibly the customer’s representative if enabled) for action to be taken.  A variety of alert reports are often available for the dealership to manage their customers’ imaging fleets:

Site status reports Device totals Consumables reports
Low toner levels Device volumes Supply history review

… and many others.  Information contained it the reports can help dealers provide “just-in-time” supply fulfillment, and alleviate the worry of stale or excess inventory.

Supply and dispatch staff can process incoming alerts taking action as they are received.  Logged actions may include creation of supply sales quotes, direct dealership supply fulfillment, or drop shipment from the dealer’s supply partner.

Be mindful of individual device capabilities and how alert thresholds are set.  For example, if toner supply thresholds are activated to alert the dealership when there is 10% toner left and machines at the installation location report in no more than 25% increments, the only notification that can trigger is when the device runs out of toner … passing from 25 to 0% as it runs out.  A setting of 10% could result in a call from the customer and require an emergency supply fulfillment delivery.

Service Alerts

As with supply alerting, service alerts can be routed to personnel that can take action.  Like toner alerting, there are many levels of machine and collection software capability; some report basic information like “service needed” or “service soon”.  Others report specific transfer or fixer unit levels.  Some collect software products report drum levels and with the many modern machines, specific levels for each drum color, bonding agent and waste toner levels may be included.

Software providers offer a variety of reports for imaging fleet service management:

Site status reports Device totals
Alert reports Device volumes

… and others.  Data contained in these reports can help dealers keep their customers’ machines operational as alerts are generated the moment the need is apparent.

Dispatch or Service staff can manage incoming services alerts as they are received as well.  Logged actions may include service car preparation, contacting the customer to arrange service fulfillment, and scheduling of a service technician.

… In Summary

After deployment, getting reports and deciding what to do with them is the next major process dealers, IT shops and VARs typically consider.  With so much information available, funneling incoming data to those individuals or departments that can process emails as well as generate needed reports will help keep customers happy.

When data begins to flow, be sure your team is ready for it to be received.  Highly trained administrative staff can document actions taken as they occur, logging them in an action history file within the software for future reference.

Defining how alerts are handled will differentiate a dealership and increase customers’ satisfaction levels.  Leveraging collected information so that customer service is enhanced helps dealership fulfill contractual obligations and keep costs low.  GREAT print management software and a strong collection software partner can certainly help.