How managed print services can save the day!
The paper profits problem: how managed print services can save the day for copy-print providers
Is it possible for copy-print service providers to survive in an increasingly paperless world? The good news is, yes, absolutely. The bad news is, some things have got to change first.
Paper lives, but demand is down
Paper isn’t dead or dying. Businesses still need printers and copiers. A completely paper-free work environment does not exist and, in a lot of corners, is not desirable. Having said that, there’s no point sugar-coating it: demand is down. Print volumes have dropped because of IT improvements and the prevalence of digital solutions. Organisations no longer need to print their data in order to keep it. They rely increasingly on electronic files to save on space and storage. And thanks to improved software, tasks that previously required users to look at a physical print (e.g. reading, editing or proofing a document) can be completed on-screen just as easily.
What’s more, these technological advances have enabled and encouraged businesses to become more sensitive to the effect of paper and print consumption on the environment. The prevailing ethos is that if you don’t need to print, you shouldn’t. More and more companies are ‘going green’ to reduce their impact on the environment and, in many cases, improve public perception of their activities.
The other half of the profits problem
Obviously, this downturn in demand for paper and printing means reduced revenue for copy-print providers. But this is only half of the profits problem. At the same time, the price per page is dropping because providers are undercutting their rivals to be competitive, and the cost per page is rising due to more graphics and higher pixel counts. That’s not to mention the general increase in overall business costs—higher rents, salaries, transportation costs etc. These conditions combined with the downturn in revenue are making it difficult for copy-printer providers to turn a profit.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There is a way through these woods. The key is in realising how and where savings can be made.
Finding out where copy-print providers are losing money
For instance, under a copy-print service contract, customers will often dispose of a toner or print cartridge too early. This leads to wastage and lost income for the provider, who ends up supplying more cartridges than necessary. Copy-print providers need a way of finding out how much toner is left and only delivering new toner when it is absolutely necessary.
In addition, sometimes customers will use more toner than anticipated when the service contract was drawn up. This means the provider has to regularly send out an engineer to conduct meter readings to keep track, otherwise they’ll face losses on the contract. Furthermore, time-consuming administrative tasks involved with meter reviews and stock checks are a further cost and prone to human error. If there was a way of automating these processes, a copy-print provider could save on administrative, staffing and transportation costs, and eradicate the possibility of losses on the contract.
Finally, if the provider has no access to accurate, meaningful data and reports, they can’t identify when a device needs replacing or a contract is about to run out, slowing down the process of renewal. This will lead to financial losses, due to payments stopping at the end of the old contract and not re-starting until a new agreement comes into force. Reports would enable copy-print providers to seize all sorts of opportunities and become more proactive in their approach to customer service.
The solution: managed print services
Managed print services (MPS) are a way of optimising printers and copiers and all the business processes related to them. A good MPS solution needs to address toner wastage, contractual losses, unnecessary running costs and missed opportunities. It should also interface with a company’s finance applications, so that invoicing and accounting can be integrated seamlessly.
This is where Evatic MPS comes in, a well-established software package that boosts efficiencies, improves time management, enables precise data handling and cuts costs.
Our MPS module receives data from the end-user’s printer/copier and calculates the ideal time for toner replacement, triggering the order process automatically and ensuring just-in-time delivery. This reduces wastage dramatically. Customers also get automated meter reading, invoicing, contract management and reporting, and the ability to make profitability calculations. This reduces administrative burdens, cuts out human error and eradicates the possibility of losses on service contracts.
In addition, copy-print providers can better manage their service and maintenance schedules with Evatic MPS. The automatic transfer of data between their end-customers’ machines and their in-house Evatic database means they can plan maintenance visits logically, i.e. attend to multiple issues in one visit and save staffing and transportation costs.
The icing on the cake? Set-up is fast and it’s a breeze to use.