– By Antonio Sánchez Navarro –
In a market where most of the players try to compete by setting up barriers, Memjet stands out with an astonishing proposition, which seems to be in contradiction with the protection of its supplies business: it designs its products ready for ink re-fill. We are certainly not used to such a market approach from an OEM. As a matter of fact, Memjet is not just trying to find a place in the overcrowded segment of color by differentiating on speed and quality output. The built-in re-fill easiness reduces the printing costs and sets up the base for a long term competitive cost per page (CPP).
The three pillars for Success.
CPP is the first of the three pillars that influence the signing of an MPS (managed print service) contract. It is one of the main drivers of a customer’s decision. It is also one of the most relevant arguments of a dealer’s MPS proposition. A competitive CPP is a must for dealers to offer a new technology, and also for customers to accept the replacement of their current printing resources. In an economy where the growth of revenue is very hard to obtain, the cost reduction is sometimes the only argument accepted to decide on a new purchase.
The second pillar is the capacity of the printer to be managed from remote: the so called printer MPS compliance. Memjet also claims it has built the SNMP of its products to be MPS compliant. The normalization tests performed by Nubeprint confirm their compliance on the models tested, and rates Memjet printers pretty high at this respect.
The third pillar is the specific MPS infrastructure set up by the service provider. No matter how well a printing device is MPS compliant, if the dealer does not have the appropriate technology and procedures in place, the printer will not be managed as expected in terms of service excellence and costs control. The MPS processes and systems in place should ensure an automated and accurate printer management that benefits the end-customer (he will really receive an outsourced service, with no need to call to communicate page counters, nor to request supplies or stock them), and the dealer (streamlined processes reduce both its direct and indirect costs, and reduces its oversized infrastructure, with a legion of people collecting unnecessary calls, or a billing process that lasts for days or even weeks).
When all three pillars are in place, success takes care of itself.
The frustration of current MPS players.
When a crowd of dealers of all sizes joined MPS 4-6 years ago, their expectations where to grow the business and get rid of the erosion of margin caused by an excess of people offering the same standard products. They realized too late that MPS is not just billing pages, but a full change on the way they do business, with big emphasis of process streamline. Nowadays the dealers offering MPS have acquired an experience (bad experience). The day to day reality is a chaotic and expensive infrastructure where the phone lines burn every day, and where there is a lack of profitability due to uncontrolled costs. Everybody has learned from it, though those that really are financing the lesson are the dealers that invested US$50K to several 100 thousand dollars in overpriced tools, not the OEMs nor the SW vendors that hide the limits of the technology they sell.
The confirmation that a printer manufacturer is adapting its products to the requirements of MPS should be interpreted as a relief for the MPS industry. It is a step in the right direction, though not enough to re-boost the MPS offering in matured markets like the US. MPS requires much more attention than just collecting counters or toner level data. The recent trend of distributors or large players to put in place MPS open infrastructures (for more details see article http://nubeprint.com/will-a-bull-market-return-to-managed-print-services-in-america/) will really make the difference as it shall universalize the ability for dealers of all sizes to access MPS yield management technology.
I personally think that the approach of Memjet is interesting, brave and honest. I am convinced that should their product be technologically reliable (and I have no reason to question it), they will obtain a reasonable market penetration.