– By Antonio Sánchez Navarro & Andrés Ripoll Merchan –
In our previous article on Lean management in MPS, we talked, from the perspective of the distributor, how MPS benefits from Lean management principle: creating more value for customers with fewer resources (see more atLean Enterprise Institute). Once a distributor implements lean management into its MPS business, it sees reduction in costs, a streamlining of current processes, an increase in sales and improved loyalty from the dealers. The results show up in a very short time frame. But the distributor is not the only one to benefit from the process, the dealer does as well. Due to the dealers’ exposure to the customer, the dealer is the one that will benefit the most in having a well deployed and managed MPS program that includes lean control components.
The dealer has full exposure in a non-controlled MPS program. When billing for printed pages, he/she is assuming all the risks of all the variable costs. This lack of control results is great losses in the dealers P&L statement. Duplicate shipments, lost cartridges, early cartridges replacement are just few of the problems that are the most common causes for a dealer experiencing frustration in MPS. For these reasons, an MPS infrastructure is best to orientate and deploy services from a lean perspective. A full set of advantages then show up and take care of these challenges naturally on a daily basis. These advantages can be summarized under the following categories:
a) Customer oriented advantages
The customer can finally move all the responsibilities of managing the printing resources to an external supplier: the dealer. This can only be done when the needs of all printers are so well under control and proactively managed by the dealer, that there is truly no more need for the user to pay attention to the local stock of toner and/or have to manually order any supply.
Once this is accomplished, the customer can focus on its own business. He/she delegated the tasks of managing the printing resources, but do not abdicate his responsibilities. The customer still remains in control of the following two aspects:
- The printer’s operation: the user has both the capacity and the tools to verify at any point of time that the printer is well managed. A Dashboard provided by the dealer indicates to which extend the cartridges are delivered at the appropriate moment of time (not too early, not too late), and if the installation of toner (and other supplies) is done on time or too early. The access to this information ensures a “green attitude” by minimizing the waste. The technical issues are handled and closed on time, therefore reducing the number of visits of the technician and the down time of the printer.
- The printer’s cost: In the end, the customer remains responsible for the final cost of printing. Whether he/she pays per page or pays per cartridge, the customer has full transparency to understand that the cost per page is fair. The quality of the service is the first and major indicator. But should there be cartridges lost after their delivery, or should there be waste of toner due to an early cartridge replacement, all this is the responsibility of the customer. If the dealer has set up the necessary tools to help the customer perform these tasks, and if the customer fails to do so, it is fair that these corresponding cost increases are applied to the customer from the dealer. The dealer remains responsible for the control, identifying any deviation from the best business practice.
The dealer’s proposal shall necessarily include the controls and transparency mentioned above as part of its service.
On top of the customer oriented advantages, lean applied to MPS generates cost oriented advantages and business strategy oriented advantages. All together they shape the new ecosystem for the dealer, where its value added proposition (service and consultancy) becomes more relevant than its transactional business, under the eyes of its customers. We shall see these advantages in more detail in Part 4 of this set of articles.