OKI Data unveils a new strategy to get solution providers offering print services again

The dilemma facing many printer manufacturers today is that the channel simply isn’t interested in or is uninformed about the business opportunity around managed print services (MPS).

OKI Data Canada is trying to do something about it by piecing together products, business models, and incentive programs to make its managed print services as turnkey as possible for the solution provider and the customer.

Called Total Managed Print, the program pinpoints printing costs and develops a plan for savings as well as managing a company’s printer fleet, while offering products such as colour and mono MFPs, label printers, POS printers and dot matrix printers.

According to Dena Bernard, director of customer satisfaction and services for OKI Data Americas, the printing industry has remained the same for over 40 years. “What has not changed is the way we sell the technology. New business models have been generated and customer demand has heightened because of economic conditions, cost constraints, environmental initiatives and organizational downsizing.”

The Total Managed Print program identifies models that are five years old, performs a physical audit, print audits, analyzes office ergonomics, conducts application audits, financial audits, develops a blue print for change management, constructs a redeployment plan, while implementing remote hardware monitoring as part of a full lifecycle asset management strategy.Key to solution providers is that they do not have to carry supplies. OKI will supply the customer through a drop ship program from distribution so that the reseller just gets the margin on a cost per page model.

Margins under this system can be lucrative, OKI said that Total Managed Print creates a steady predictable revenue stream, helps to solidify customer retention and builds profit margins of about 40 per cent.

The Photizo Group, a printing consulting firm, found that the average savings reached about $1 million or 30 per cent of the total hardcopy fleet costs. Photizo analyzed data from more than 100 managed print services engagements to determine the full impact of MPS on an organization’s cost structure. The consultancy also found that Canadian business is adopting MPS at a faster rate than American businesses by 10 per cent.

Bernard added that OKI’s approach is not to come out with a specific solution nor do they want to define MPS for the channel, but to develop the infrastructure tools and programs for solution providers, IT resellers and print dealers to help fill their expertise gaps as they go to market.

“Printing is the least interesting spend on the IT side,” she said.

OKI is also trying to distinguish itself with channel partners by producing equipment that is designed with MPS in mind. The company began by changing its packaging, pricing and made it easier to fit into infrastructures that are engaged with MPS.

National sales director for OKI Data Canada, Mario Pallotta, told CDN that Total Managed Print helps resellers identify customer printing costs easier, while improving the overall document strategy and management of the asset over a long period of time.

Pallotta added that the Canadian subsidiary has formed an alliance with Qdata Inc., a Markham, Ont.-based POS solution provider for its label printing business. “Label point of sales is new but we are making a significant push into the solution provider channel and it is a logical fit for us with our dot matrix heritage. Those customers are migrating over time to label printing,” he said.

In addition to Total Managed Print, OKI unveiled PageStart. PageStart is an entry level program for those solution providers who have no MPS experience. Bernard said this program is totally turnkey containing bundled solution, a way to select accessories, determine shipping costs, installation and all consumables. There is an extended warranty and remote monitoring for monthly billing.

“PageStart is similar to the wholesale model where a dealer adds their margins and remains the face to the customer,” she said.

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