PrintIT Reseller spoke to Integra Business Solutions’ Commercial Director Bob Davies, to find out more about the launch of an enhanced Managed Print Solution that’s available exclusively to members
This is not the first time that the UK’s largest dealer buying group has dipped its toe into the MPS market, twelve months ago, it teamed up with ISN Partners to develop a tailor-made printer control and management solution designed for office supplies organisations, IT services providers and small dealers.
“Our initial offer provided a simple entry-point to MPS, and that was essentially because at that time we couldn’t find the right solution that would provide members with a true hands-off approach,” Davies explained.
He added: “In the OP sector, dealers are in the main relatively small businesses where resourcing constraints mean that running an MPS solution in-house is a big ask, so what we did was provide the print auditing software and break-fix elements, enabling them to offer it to customers as a complementary service, and to some degree that was successful.”
Davies acknowledges that for many resellers, it’s a significant leap to move from a largely transactional-based business model where the onus is on the end customer to order supplies before they run out to a managed service that makes replenishment the dealers’ responsibility. “You need a champion within the business to own it, and that’s not always practical a small business,” he said.
Integra recognises that a system whereby an external MPS provider manages the contract, essentially building a direct relationship with the resellers’ end customer, was not the right fit for its members and so forged a relationship with Centrex Print Services – a trade-only organisation.
“The relationship with Centrex is exclusive to Integra,” Davies said, adding: “They are a trade-only organisation with no interest in winning business from end-users, which makes it a really attractive proposition for our members.”
Integra’s new and improved MPS programme offers members a comprehensive ‘white label’ solution. “Centrex Print Services has over 90 service engineers across the UK and Ireland and will work with our members to offer comprehensive sales support, they will conduct a print audit, as well as provide support across deployment and installation, as well as a full break-fix service,” he said.
Davies stresses that as the MPS market continues to grow, there has never been a better time for members to get involved to maximise their revenue opportunities.
“The new programme is designed to offer members a competitively priced MPS service, from entry-level printers through to a full MPS solution. As MPS becomes increasingly important in the office products market, Integra members now have an even greater opportunity to gain new business and protect their existing customer base. This low cost programme will allow them to capitalise on the opportunities MPS presents by enabling them to own and manage their clients’ print requirements and offer a clear, fair and competitive print solution.”
Centrex has invested heavily in the infrastructure and competencies that make entry into MPS simple. Underpinned by a comprehensive range of printers, it offers a complete end to end process allowing members to maintain complete ownership and determine which option is right for its customers.
Davies added: “We have brought a range of Samsung printers into the offer, backed by the OEM and with the imminent merger with HP, we see this further strengthening the partnership down the line.”
Centrex will visit end customers on behalf of or with the dealer, install a DCA and after a period of time, typically a month, produce a detailed report that highlights the benefits of switching to a managed print service and the potential savings.
Members’ customers will benefit from significant savings on their print costs, full predictability and visibility of print usage together with automatic replacement of consumables resulting in reduced waste and improved carbon footprint. “But the real value add for our members is that they will retain the customer relationship,” he said.
“The market is moving very fast and managed services is very much de rigeur today – we’ve seen members offer everything from MPS to office cleaning, to plumbing and electrical services. We’ve spoken to many resellers who have lost business because of other vendors coming in and offering MPS. Those dealers that look to expand and those that have expanded into the managed services market will become even more successful,” Davies stated.
MPS in practice
Such is the strength of this new expanded offer, Integra has tested it out in-house. “Working with Centrex we conducted a full print audit at Integra House, following which we rationalised our printer fleet and deployed a much more fit-for-purpose solution,” he explained, adding: “The end result was that we reduced the amount we were spending on print by £13,000 per annum.”
Prior to the formal rollout, Integra presented the strengthened MPS solution to two members to guage their reaction and ‘test’ that the offer fully met their needs. “Following that presentation one of our members Holt Business Services sold it into one of their customers, making them officially our first MPS client,” Davies said.
Integra members have access to a dedicated support page and campaign area which will include sales collateral and promotional literature to help promote its MPS programme.
The group has put together a comprehensive set of marketing collateral and is providing unparalleled support for its members helping them to make the move into MPS.
“I think one of the biggest issues is ensuring that you are talking to the right person within a customer organisation and that you are asking the right questions,” Davies explained. “So as part of the support we are providing we have put together a crib sheet with all of the questions dealers
Other tools to support members to market the MPS offer to their customers include a brochure which can be branded and which clearly explains how it works and the end-user benefits. Integra has also designed a series of ‘Did you know?’ flyers, this range can be used by all of its members to proactively promote MPS to their customers.
“We also have a set of Samsung brochures detailing the product specs and benefits as well as guidelines on pricing that they can push out to win new business,” Davies added.
“We are putting a lot of support behind this. The programme is simple and straightforward. We are taking any complexity out, making it easier for our members to win in this area and we are confident that we are now offering the solution our members need,” he said in conclusion.