When It Comes to Managed Print Services, Don’t Overlook the Importance of Accurate and Reliable Data

Monday, 30 November 2020

Mark Kouwenberg, Sales Director at JetAdvice

Introduction

Managed Print Service (MPS) solutions are smarter and more comprehensive than ever before. They offer cloud-based connectivity, key process automation, just-in-time ordering and end-to-end supply chain management — and plenty more besides. With all these advances, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of accurate and reliable device data — which should underpin these solutions and their evolving capabilities.

The quality of data extracted from each device still determines how profitable your MPS agreements are and how successfully all your data-driven solutions will perform. Just like it always has. No matter how intelligent your MPS software and service management solutions are, unless they’re supplied with precise agent data, your customers won’t get their toner replaced on time, your billing won’t be accurate, and you won’t hit the SLAs that you set out in your contracts.

Style Over Substance?

This is an issue that’s been building for some time. In recent years, the importance of data integrity seems to have taken a back seat for many people in our industry. To a greater or lesser extent, we’ve all been focusing on expanded features and functionality. It’s true, of course, that these advances have helped the MPS sector to evolve and stay relevant to end users. But in some instances, data quality seems to have been sacrificed or even forgotten.

The impact of unreliable or inaccurate data can be huge. In one example, a dealer told us they missed out on billing over 100,000 colour pages each month because the MPS solution device counters weren’t accurate and couldn’t be trusted. However, the worst element of this experience was that the dealer waited over three months to get a resolution from their MPS software provider. They eventually gave up after several MIB walks, support requests, excuses and delayed responses. This episode resulted in a missed monthly income of around €5,000 — turning a profitable MPS agreement into a loss-making contract.

Just take a moment to consider the impact of inaccurate and unreliable data as we further automate workflow processes and remove manual touchpoints. How will this affect your operations, your bottom line and customer satisfaction on the short term and the long run?

Support Makes All the Difference

Obtaining accurate data is vital, as we’ve discussed. But a dealer’s ability to act promptly on data findings is equally critical. When dealers encounter issues such as discovering an unknown device or an incorrect counter, the speed at which the MPS software supplier responds and remedies the situation makes all the difference to the dealers. Yet many dealers neglect to consider MPS software supplier responsiveness when signing up for a new MPS solution.

Consider our previous example: What if the incorrect counter had been fixed within hours or — at worst — in just a few days? The financial impact would have been minimal, and the time spent — by both the dealer and the customer would have negligible. From our perspective, personal contact and instant support should go hand-in-hand with accurate data collection and analysis; whether you manage a few hundred print devices or have an installed base of 10,000 + devices.

Accurate Data and Efficient Devices

Coverage and wasted toner are the two main drivers of price per page MPS agreements. When thinking about colour printing, ink and toner account for between 70% and 80% of the costs — and, for a mono page, it’s around 50%. Upfront accurate information about coverage, therefore, not only helps you differentiate your financial approach, it also reduces the risk of ending up in a loss-making contract.

When coverage and wastage are low, dealer profits are high, but as they increase profits fall off rapidly. Dealers need accurate information to monitor usage, waste and coverage patterns and see if a different invoicing structure — such as tiered billing — would be more cost-effective. Conversely, customers may look back on their contract and feel that they were over-charged because their dealer missed an opportunity to switch them to a more cost-effective contract structure.

The frustrating thing — at least as we see it — is that the information dealers need to deliver responsive service has always been there. But for many years, it’s been buried deep within thousands of lines of excel sheets. We think of it like the early prospectors heading out to brave new lands looking to strike gold. They all knew the treasure was just beneath their feet, but they didn’t always have the tools to extract it quickly and make their fortune.

But MPS solutions like those offered by JetAdvice are here to help. Instead of going through all those thousands and thousands of lines by hand — which many organisations still do —MPS solutions can mine that data and make it actionable and profitable.

Conclusion

You’ll hear JetAdvice talk regularly about how dealers should pay close attention to the accuracy and reliability of data-driven processes that underpin their client-facing solutions. That’s because, as we’ve discussed, they have a significant impact on contractual profitability and customer satisfaction. The ongoing automation of workflows, reduction of human involvement and error minimisation is the way forward. But this is only possible if MPS systems are supplied with accurate data. Indeed, the more automation and machine-to-machine communications come into play, the more we will depend on reliable and predictable source data.

JetAdvice Manager offers native seamless integration with Asolvi’s Vantage Online, Winserv, 2Serv and Evatic — and have been technology partners for over eight years. For more information, please contact mk@euroform.com - Mobile: +31 6 24 77 26 62