To say that businesses struggled with a difficult economy over the past 12 months would be a reasonable (or too nicely worded, depending on your perspective) statement.
There was – and still is – a real need to keep costs down while maintaining productivity, and a general movement towards managed services solution instead of owning and maintaining infrastructure in-house.
Printing, like all other fields of IT, has not been immune to these trends. Where the sheer weight of printing creates significant costs for an organisation in terms of toner or ink replacement, and the hasty call out for printer repairs and maintenance developed into a monthly bill, enterprises are now making the shift to a managed print services model. And, adapting to the changing climate, vendors and their partners are joining in.
In July, HP announced to the world that it was forming a new group dedicated to the managed print experience. Similarly, print specialist distributor, Dynamic Supplies, has a dedicated managed print business called PrintSolv, and Sydney-based Phoenix Toner got in on the action in March with a managed print solution its resellers could take to customers.
Although the shift towards managed print solutions is driven by cost, it does bring with it significant opportunities for channel partners to bundle in services and printer consumables, a traditionally reliable area for double-digit margins. So how do you best snatch up this business and get into the consumables game?
Learning to Find Opportunities
Partners need to be convinced of the value of selling consumables in the first place. Despite the wafer-thin margins that printer hardware offers, vendors still express baffled frustration that partners are simply not looking into consumables as a revenue option.
“There are a lot of printers sold by us and our competitiors, and there’s not a lot of toner sold by the reseller channel. That’s a funny equation, wouldn’t you say?” Kyocera Mita managing director, David Finn, said. “Resellers seem shy or adverse to following up printer sales with consumables – we know because a lot of endusers get quite frustrated and ring us directly to ask where to buy toner from.