Magazine Article | November 13, 2012

How MPS Creates An MFP And Printer Sales Advantage

By Jay McCall, Business Solutions Magazine

By showing the value of managed print services (MPS), an imaging and information services provider wins a large MFP install with a similar MPS printer deal to follow.

ProSource is an imaging and information services company with plans to be a regional market leader. Within the past 18 months, the company has acquired two wellestablished businesses which deepen ProSource’s offerings — a document solutions company and a scanning business. Additionally, Owner and Chairman Ben Russert recently appointed Brad Cates as CEO and president, adding a new level of leadership.

With sales exceeding last year’s numbers by double digits, I spoke with Russert recently and learned a few things about what’s behind the company’s success. According to Russert, the company’s success is built on its service and sales reputation, with a number of services including:

  • hardware
  • managed print services
  • document solutions
  • scanning and archiving services

ProSource recently received a revenue boost from its managed print services “leg” after it beat out eight competitors to win a significant install with a major school district in Southwestern Ohio that has more than 30,000 students.

One of the primary reasons ProSource was able to gain an advantage over its competitors was that it took the time to fully understand the school district’s needs. “We discovered that over the past couple of years, many teachers had either brought in their own MFPs and printers, or they purchased them from local retailers,” says Russert. “The result was a mixed brand environment that was difficult to manage, plus the school was paying more than it needed to in ink and toner costs.” Another problem with the existing printers was that some had no networking capabilities, which put the burden of solving printer problems and replacing ink or toner on the teachers.

Demonstrate The Value of MPS
After visiting several schools within the district, ProSource followed up with the superintendent and presented a proposal. “We recommended they replace their MFPs coming off lease right away, and we showed them that by selecting our managed print services program we could proactively monitor their devices, automatically reorder toner when it got low, and we could cut their cost per impression in half,” says Russert.

Even though ProSource had a compelling offer, the school district found itself in a difficult situation with another MFP service provider to whom it was obligated by contract, although that contract was approaching the end of its lease. “The school had started its bidding process close to the end of its contract and was crunched for time to either sign another agreement with the previous vendor or select a new provider,” says Russert. Ultimately, it was a combination of ProSource’s pricing and its ability to meet the customer’s short turnaround time on rolling out the MFPs and printers that helped it win the project. Even though it was very labor intensive on the service provider to complete the task, its efforts have already proven worthwhile. “Unlike some of the customer’s legacy printers, which couldn’t be networked, the OKI MPS420b black and white printer and OKI MPS610c color printers support our PrintFleet remote printer monitoring and management software,” says Russert.

ProSource has installed a DCA (data collection agent) to capture the MPS reads on all printers. This sends a remote alert to one of ProSource’s techs if toner drops below a specific threshold, or if there’s a problem such as a paper jam or mechanical issue. “The agent also keeps track of the number of impressions on the device, which we use to determine the customer’s monthly bill,” says Russert.

ProSource also offers help desk services for applicationspecific questions, MFP/print driver questions, and MPSspecific questions. As its managed print services continue to grow, however, its troubleshooting calls are shrinking and its profits are growing.