Top 5 Reasons Why Dealing With the Manufacturer Direct Is Not Always the Best Option

Calculating the Top 5 Reasons Why Dealing With the Manufacturer Direct Is Not Always the Best OptionThere are a lot of buyers that think they can’t get a better deal from the manufacturer direct. Time and time again we have proven that this is not the case. There are many reasons that our clients continue to acquire MPS (Managed Print Services) from SmartPrint, the independent MPS experts.

Here are the top five.

1. Support, services, and expertise for 100% of the office printing environment. Several years ago, managed print services companies typically managed just the printers and small multi-function devices. Copier manufacturers held control of the large copiers. Today, independent MPS experts can easily manage all components of the office print environment, from the desktop personal printer on an executives desk to the large production copier in the print shop, and of course, the required software solutions and integration services to make it all work for your business, simplifying everything. 

2. Solutions that don’t tie them to hardware brands. Independent MPS companies will provide software solutions like FollowMe printing secure access, workflow software, document management platforms, print infrastructure security software and more with no scheme of trying to tie the client with a hardware brand by relying on the hardware to work with specific software. The approach should be best in breed software, and the ability to change hardware brand in the future depending on user requirements, cost, and security. 

3. Flexible services to support custom programs; you are not a number. Given that independent expert managed print services companies typically only focus on MPS, they can be nimble and provide services, service desk relationships that work, custom reporting, simple billing, and access to an expert live on the phone, when required, that knows their account. 

4. Better total cost of ownership. Independent MPS companies should provide assessments that include balanced deployment of new hardware, and management of existing hardware. We find that when a manufacturer proposes a plan to improve a client’s print environment, it’s about selling as much new hardware as possible with a like-for-like replacement strategy, rather than a balance of user efficiency and cost control. 

5. And, yes, better hardware pricing! Independent companies are more nimble, have lower sales, admin, and general business expenses. Leading managed print services companies can be more competitively priced on the same hardware devices as compared with the actual manufacturer of the hardware. It simply costs the manufacturer more to run sales, delivery, and implementation. If you think differently check into it!

If you are interested in understanding more, please contact us.

Copier Buyer Beware: MPS Is Not a Lease Extension Plan – the Devil You Know Is Not Always the Best Option

man from mps company holding an mps lease extensionAs many true Managed Print Services (MPS) companies will agree, a lease extension or equipment upgrade prior to the end of term is most often not a good idea from a total cost of ownership perspective. It’s interesting that we have recently seen the following tactics from copier manufacturers.

1. We have seen them extend leases at low costs to keep machines that they manage in place with hopes of differing their customers’ decision on going to market.

2. We have also seen them offer unsolicited proposals to try and get their clients to upgrade equipment with as much as 3 years left in their current lease commitment. There are some important things to think about.

Top 4 things to think about before approving the copier company’s proposal:

1. Significant cybersecurity risks. Copier equipment typically has significant risk from malware attacks and as a network entry point for hackers; and almost all copier device brands (old and new) can’t be managed with software tools that can support automating locking devices down from threats, remediating a cybersecurity attack if one happens, or reporting on potential areas of risk and cybersecurity activity.

Recommendations:

  • Dig deep, most of the manufacturers will assure you that their devices are bulletproof from cybersecurity threats. They aren’t! No matter which brand there is always the risk from hackers, but there are some leading brands in this space that are many years ahead of the competition.
  • Deal with independent experts, independent MPS companies are services companies and should provide
    recommendations for best in breed equipment, while taking cybersecurity hardware brand capabilities into account. If they can’t explain how you are best protected (automated security profiles, reporting etc.) then keep looking for the right partner. On the other hand, when you deal with the manufacturer, the sales rep/dealer rep has one purpose, to sell as much hardware as possible; therefore, not necessarily in the best interest of the customer.

2. Early upgrades can cost your company dearly. If the copier manufacturer or reseller sold you on a 60
month lease and the equipment is already failing to meet the expected up-time for your users, then it is the
wrong manufacturer and partner. The early upgrade is typically positioned where they say they will make the
existing lease go away; in actual fact, they are always adding the remaining financial commitment of the old
lease to the new lease amount. Re-financing is not recommended!

Recommendations:

  • Do not replace failing equipment with the same brand of equipment. You will most likely be in the same
    position in 36 months.
  • Find a leading MPS company to help you with short and long-term strategies to improve your office printing environment, which may include moving troubled device(s) to a lower volume area and getting them out of the environment when it makes sense.

3. What you had before is not what your users need today. Like for like replacements are usually not a good idea. A lot has changed since your company last upgraded copier hardware. It’s time to look at the full office printing environment.

Recommendations:

  • Engage a trusted independent MPS company to assess your environment and recommend devices and
    software that will improve your business’s competitive edge with more efficient document workflow and lower total cost of ownership.
  • Be sure that your buying committee looks past historical brand preferences. As experts in this space, many of the biggest brands have not invested enough in research and development to build equipment and solutions that will keep your organization efficient and safe, now and in the future.

4. It costs more to run that old equipment. Extending an existing copier lease is the wrong decision. The old copier devices are typically more expensive to run, even with the cost of capital (whether leased or purchased) factored into the monthly operating cost. With printing and imaging devices it now seems to fall in line with Moore’s law as related to the processing power and storage capabilities of technology that consistently doubles every two years.

Recommendation:

  • Find an independent MPS company that will recommend best in breed hardware that will last for the required term of your company’s refresh plan.

If you are interested in understanding more, please contact us.