Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Birth of Managed Print Services "According to Art"

So, I'm just about to pack it in for the weekend after having to doggie sit for my sons dog while he's off at drill for the weekend.  "Nutbuster", that's my name for my sons dog cause she's just big enough to jump on you and well, the name states the rest. 

Anyway I came across this article The Origin of Managed Print Services: Xerox or HP? by Jennifer Shutwell.

Anything with Managed Print, Xerox or HP in the title will tempt me enough to give it a read.  Jen puts some excellent points across about the economics of Managed Print.  The article is an excellent read and two statements stood out for me "With the continuous incline and growth of printing volume between 1991 until 2007" and "The origin of MPS was from neither Xerox nor HP, but created from people seeing a need for management".

I wanted to elaborate on Managed Print and where I think the origin was.  Now, I'm not saying that this was a Jersey idea, however back in the mid eighties there was a Canon dealer that went by the name of Duplifax.  I hated when I crossed paths with them because they had a unique offering for their maintenance agreements for copiers.  Once sold, the copier was put on a "managed care" plan.  That plan worked off the yield of the toner cartridge.  What Duplifax did was to package four or five toners together and build in the cost for service.  For example, four toners had a yield of 40K copies.  So instead of selling the toner for $80, they would sell the "managed care" pack for $800 and include service, parts and supplies for as long as the toner lasted. If you got the yield of 80,000 pages then it was a good thing for you and if you fell short on the yield it was then a better deal for Duplifax.

To me, a seasoned copier professional the term of managed prints means to manage output from systems that print.  Analog copiers print, but they were printing an analog image from a photoconductor, fax machines made prints, and of course laser printers made prints also.  Somewhere in the mid 90's we saw our first digital copy machines that were able to print, copy and fax (scanning came later).  For those of us in the copier industry that knew what the cost per page was for fax machines, and laser printers (some of the first laser printers that remember came from a Canon print engine, I remember the engines well because the low end canon analog copiers used the same type of toner cartridge, those of us in the industry knew that these cartridges had a high cost per page when compared to traditional analog copiers) we were presented with a treasure trove of accounts that we could migrate to one system while lowering the customers cost for "printing".

In effect in the late 90's copier dealerships were already starting to migrate prints away from printers and managing the cost with maintenance agreements that covered everything but staples and paper!

So there we have it Jersey invented the "Managed Care" approach for copiers in the mid 80's and Jersey again led the industry by offering a "Managed Print Service" with their All inclusive Maintenance Agreements for Digital Copiers in the late 90's!

Did we make you laugh, groan or smile yet?  It's my perception that Managed Print evolved from the elite core of Copier Dealers from the 90's, even though most were not servicing or supplying laser printers then, the idea and concept transplanted to the printer industry.

-=Good Selling=-


Joel Salus said...

Hi Art,

I just posted this response underneath Jennifer's article on the upsinsights web-site.

Hey, I'd like my industry (reprographics) to get some credit for blazing the MPS trail!

"Well, Jennifer, interesting article. To me, the “origin” of “managed print services” was the reprographics industry (what everyone used to refer to as the “blueprinting” industry.) Some of the firms (“reprographers”) in that industry have been providing “managed print services” since the 1960’s! We did not call them MPS back then; we referred to them as “facilities management” (FM) services (reprographics facilities management services, to be more specific.) Back in the ‘60s, a company called Lewis Frey Co. was providing FM services to very large architecture and engineering firms. (LF Co went BK several years ago, so LF is no longer in operation.) At my first company (Rowley-Scher Reprographics, based in Washington, DC), we started offering FM services in late 1983 – at the request of one of our customers. Later on, we expanded that segment of our business quite a lot. All of our initial FM’s were “staffed” FM’s. But, like an MPS service (of today), we provided all of our customers imaging equipment (all was analog in the beginning), we provided all of the consumables (paper, toner, ammonia, etc.), we provided comprehensive service contract coverage for the equipment, we accounted for all output on all devices (large-format and small-format), we managed everything for our customers, and we charged them “per copy” and “per sq. ft.”, all costs included in those “per unit” charges. Xerox used to operate a “Xerox Reproduction Center” business and was heavy into providing “staffed” FM services – for large corporate clients - back in the 70’s and 80’s. Reprographers specifically targeted the A/E/C Industry. Xerox (and Pitney Bowes Management Services, among others) targeted the non-A/E/C customer market. I will submit to you that copier dealers caught on to this segment (in my mind, rather late) and climbed on the band wagon because they finally realized that “managing” the fleet was the most convenient method for satisfying a large customer’s ‘entire imaging’ solution. You can call it MPS, but, when I questioned Mr. Crowley about the MPS term vs. the FM term (after describing what we did for our customers), he agreed that what we did was “MPS”, even though we did not call it that. Virtually all reprographers who provided FM services managed customer print-needs both on-site (at the customer’s office) and off-site (at our “back-up” support production facilities. Reprographers also offer “unstaffed” FM services."

Art Post said...


Thanx for the response, I think you got me with the FM services for wide format! Was lewis Frey a Jersey Company?

Nice read and than for the wide format perspective on this.