CIG and Print Audit Cost-Per-Seat (CPS or Seat-based Billing) video promo provided by Fit to Print series sponsor Clover Imaging Group.
As new build toner cartridges coming into the U.S. multiply exponentially, does history offer any clues as to what this means to the imaging industry?
Fit to Print is a monthly summer editorial series that explores key topics and trends pertaining to the aftermarket segment's accelerated transition from a commodities to services orientation. "Strategies for Evolving Your MPS Business" is the forth installment of four in this series, each of which has launched on the second Thursday morning of every month since launch through this morning, Thursday, September 7. (Click on the following links to check out previous installments in the series, "Can Seat-based Billing Save MPS?," "Raising Your Dealership's Social Media Profile," and "New Build History Lessons.")
Researched, sourced and written by The Cannata Report, Fit to Print is presented by Clover Imaging Group.
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As MPS becomes increasingly commoditized in certain circles, it’s critical that dealers explore alternative strategies such as Seat Based Billing (SBB) as well as focusing on Business Process Optimization (BPO) and workflow for keeping MPS viable for their dealership and their customers.
Bendix Imaging, Inc. in Watertown, SD, an IT services company founded in 2000, has done just that. Bendix began offering customers Managed Print Services in 2004. At the outset, the challenge was convincing IT directors to allow Bendix on their networks, which President & CEO Jeff Bendix, said was viewed as “sacred ground.”
“Then we had to bring in a physical appliance and install it on the network to monitor [the devices] on their networks,” he noted. “Building trust was another challenge.”
When print management device vendors moved to a Data Collection App (DCA) model that didn’t require installing a physical appliance on the client’s network, Bendix’s MPS business took off.
“Companies became more comfortable with a third-party company coming in and installing software on their network,” observed Bendix.
With the advent of Seat Based Billing (SBB), one would think a forward thinker like Bendix would have immediately embraced that concept, but he still needed some convincing. Working closely with some of the industry’s leading SBB proponents to perfect the SBB model, he was eventually won over and now offers customers this billing option.
“For the right customers, they’re very interested in it,” he said.
Who is the right customer?
“When you get into 100, 200, 250 users, IT departments have a lot more that they’re challenged to control,” he explained. “SBB software gives them the visibility to make decisions and [better] control what’s being printed through rules-based printing and quotas, and allows us to build a SBB model [based on] accurate information to provide rules and policies to enforce that, making sure that the cost model works for both us and the customer.”
Bendix doesn’t believe, however, that SBB is a good fit for smaller organizations because the provider’s exposure to significant swings is more prevalent.
While Bendix and his team avoid industry buzzwords like BPO (Business Process Optimization), and workflow, those too are key components of his company’s MPS offerings.
“Scanning, printing unnecessarily—what are you printing, how are you printing it, why are you printing it in color,” he said are critical for flushing out the workflow component of an MPS engagement.
He cites a customer with 200 users in nine locations whose highest printed application is Outlook with nearly 50% of that organization’s e-mails being printed in color.
“Viewed from that in a workflow and a costing standpoint, a few simple rules will have a significant effect on their cost,” said Bendix. “Why are people printing e-mails? When viewed from that standpoint it’s easy to have immediate and significant impacts on workflow. The next step is managing documents.”
Bendix Imaging has always focused on printers, supplies, and service rather than selling copiers, which Bendix says is helpful when looking at workflow in an MPS engagement. And with some of the latest software, Bendix can help its customers manage most of their workflow.
For every traditional copier that’s in an environment Bendix estimates there’s usually 7-10 printers.
“If we could redistribute the copying and scanning functionality throughout the facility rather than having it in one central location, that helps out with the workflow and we can control that with our MPS solutions,” he said.
Even though not every customer is a good fit for MPS or SBB, Bendix believes the tools used for MPS and SBB can still be used to service the customer and profit from it.
“For example, we almost have more device licenses in use for unmanaged machines than we do under contract,” he revealed. “The reason for that is we still want the supplies, we still want to fix them, and we want that visibility so we can go to the customer with [the information] and get that business, but we don’t want necessarily to put it under a contract.”
Maybe it’s a customer that’s too small and Bendix doesn’t want to provide them with an MPS contract, but they still want to service the account. Or the client has multiple offices, but Bendix only offers MPS to certain offices while the rest are doing transactional. Another scenario is a customer with 100 printers, where 80-90 are under contract while the rest are not because they’re either too old or it’s a brand where it’s difficult to find reliable parts.
“But we still want to monitor them and provide them with toner and basic service [on a transactional basis],” said Bendix.
The same thing goes for SBB software.
“I’ve got some accounts that have the software and we’re helping them managed their users and output and putting secure printing or PIN-code printing for departmental tracking and we charge them for the software but we’re not doing SBB,” noted Bendix. “We can still use the tools for SBB to make money and serve our customers, we’re just not charging them by the seat.”
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All Four Fit to Pint Series Installments
- Can Seat-based Billing Save MPS?
- Raising Your Dealership's Social Media Profile
- New Build History Lessons
- Strategies for Evolving Your MPS Business
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The Seat Based Billing (SBB) advocates have taken their show on the road to educate the imaging industry on the perceived benefits of SBB. Clover Imaging Group (CIG), Print Audit, GreatAmerica Financial Services, Supplies Network, and Office Document Consulting are all partnering with the Business Technology Association (BTA) to offer a three-city SBB Road Show, which kicked off on June 6 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Next up is the show's final stop on September 13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each session is held the day before a BTA event for ease of attendance. Learn more about and register for the SBB Road Show at sbbroadshow.com.