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The changing workplace must pivot around sustainability

As we trudge through this pandemic, many are viewing economic recovery as a chance to reassess our priorities in favour of the environment, however it’s easy to imagine this comes attached with a weighty series of compromises. Richard Wells, Head of Business Sales for Epson UK, talks about the profitability in today’s marketplace when marrying sustainable technology with collaborative managed print services.

Richard Wells
Richard Wells

Sustainability in print
Anyone who knows Epson, has met with our team, or has listened to our sustainability manager Daniel Quelch or our product manager Dan Wogan, will know why the sustainability benefits of our portfolio are also the benefits that are helping our partners to succeed in business.

Let me put this into perspective. By switching from laser printing to Epson’s business inkjet technology, European businesses could save enough energy annually to power 800,000 electric cars for a year, cut €152 million in energy costs and lower CO2 emissions by 410 million kilograms, an amount it would typically take 19 million trees a year to absorb. This is because our inkjet technology is Heat-Free, has far fewer replacement and total parts overall than laser, so there’s minimal intervention and a lower eco footprint from manufacturing and recycling the laser printer’s additional parts. On top of this, Epson business inkjet printers come with high yield ink bags rather than cartridges, so the customer can benefit from fewer consumables that last longer.

Energy saving trust, an independent organisation dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, recently switched to Epson’s inkjet technology thanks to the expertise of our channel partner Office Odyssey, after realising they could cut the energy consumption in their office by 86%. The mission of Energy Saving Trust is to address the climate emergency and this case study is a great validation that printers have just as much a role to play in helping to protect the environment as other technologies.

just add paper
just add paper

A green balanced deployment
A workplace ecosystem with optimal print and scan access that maximises productivity and minimises the workplace’s eco footprint is what we refer to as the green balanced deployment. This fundamental part of Epson’s proposition helps underline the marriage between sustainable technology and a highly productive workplace, and it also reinforces the versatility of Epson’s portfolio in supporting businesses across all different sizes and sectors.

For example, an A3 workgroup printer such as the WorkForce Enterprise has a popular role at the heart of the office to offer the full breadth of fast, high-volume print jobs, whereas the wider office may also need closer reach to an A4 desktop for more immediate, smaller jobs of 1 to 2 pages. While A4 mono printing might offer a unique solution to those within administrative roles, A3 desktop scanners may offer a more productive solution for those in accounting.

Being able to meet all the customers install requirements in collaboration with one brand that spends $1.2 million daily on R&D to help maximise the sustainability, productivity and reliability of its products, is just one of the reasons why Epson is a brand resellers continue to build their trust in.


Finding the right print service for you
There’s nothing all that sexy about printers and the term ‘fit-and-forget’ is how we often describe the relationship customers want with their printer installation. Epson invented cartridge-free printing for homes with EcoTank, providing ultra-high ink yields to minimise the need for buying new ink. We’ve now sold over 50 million units worldwide and are expanding EcoTank into our business range because of the necessity for printer hardware to simply function and not be an added burden to people’s busy lives. The ‘fit-and-forget’ attributes now expected from consumer and business printing helps explain the growing trend of print as a service and why the majority of Epson’s business inkjet printers are now sold by our resellers through one of our MPS solutions.

For many businesses, the demands for print solutions are small and simple and with the pandemic causing a surge in small business start-ups that adapt to changing business and consumer needs, resellers need to be able to meet this demand with minimal hassle to themselves and the customer. ‘Just Add Paper’, our newest entry-level proposition, means you can offer your customer selected desktop or floor-standing printers combined with ink and warranty, all provided by Epson, while all the customer needs to do is (you guessed it) add paper. This basic model means resellers enjoy a great upfront margin for low operational commitment and financial risk while the customer enjoys fit-and-forget printers with ink bags that last up to 86,000 pages. Just Add Paper doesn’t require print expertise from the reseller and is a great way for resellers to add print to their solutions portfolio.

Print365 is one of the most common print services making its way into SMEs and is another proposition that is helpi ng resellers achieve high margins for low operational commitment and financial risk. With Print365, resellers are selling print as a 36, 48 or 60 month-long service and receive the payment from these invoices upfront from Epson who are then delivering the printer, ink and service to your customer throughout the duration of the contract. The scalability, flexibility and hassle-free experience of Print365 is what makes it so popular among UK businesses, both in the private and public sector, and for the reseller it’s a great way to build business without draining their resources.

It's better to collaborate rather than compete with the channel and 100% of Epson's business sales are conducted through our resellers
It’s better to collaborate rather than compete with the channel and 100% of Epson’s business sales are conducted through our resellers

Epson Print Performance (EPP) need logo is designed for resellers with the infrastructure and experience in making larger installations for bigger businesses, oft en spread across different locations, and earns them a profit per page printed by their customer while Epson provides printer ink and maintenance. With EPP, the print service the reseller offers the customer can be as bespoke as they like and while resellers usually apply their own MPS infrastructure with EPP for a higher earning per page printed, they usually work very collaboratively with our end-user team to help maximise their service and relationship with the customer. To be an EPP reseller you must also be a member of Epson’s partner programme, but as with all of our MPS offerings, the financial risk is being handled by Epson, leaving the reseller to focus on their business and their customers.

What reliability means to the customer
What can’t be underestimated in a managed print service is the importance of oversight from resellers around their customer’s printer installations. Epson Remote Services (ERS) is a tool designed for resellers to maximise visibility of what’s happening across their customers’ print fleet, whether it’s a paper tray that’s not been pushed all the way in or a maintenance job that needs quickly fixed. ERS can notify resellers in real-time about issues, often before the customer even knows about it, which helps give them the confidence in service from their reseller. As ERS is also available via a cloud based APP on smart devices resellers can be fully informed and quick to react to any changes in a customers fleet status.

According to a recent survey to over 500 IT service professionals, respondents go through an average of 76 minutes in downtime each month due to printer maintenance. And in response to what would motivate them to make sustainable technology purchases, the most popular responses were better product reliability (39%), reduced cost (38%) and lower energy consumption (37%). One of the greatest benefits of business inkjet printers, as well as having low energy consumption, is that they have far fewer components than a laser printer and are consequently less susceptible to specialist maintenance. In turn this means inkjet causes a much smaller footprint for getting service engineers on the road, as well as the manufacturing, storing, and recycling of replaceable parts. And while there’ll always be a need for remote servicing tools like ERS, it’s important for resellers to know that the kit they’re installing with customers is designed in every way to help minimise maintenance requirements.

Competitor's laser printer consumables versus Epson inkjet consumables
Competitor’s laser printer consumables versus Epson inkjet consumables

Why partner with Epson?
It’s better to collaborate rather than compete with the channel and 100% of Epson’s business sales are conducted through our resellers, which is important to know because from my experience it’s all too easy to misplace judgement in a brand that’s dressed as a lamb in wolf’s clothing. Although office-based printing isn’t a growing marketplace, Epson has gradually been increasing its market share together with a fewer number of more dedicated resellers that are making good on Epson’s lucrative product and service offering as well as its channel-only stance. Our continuity of new products are enabling businesses to effectively meet the increased demands for home working and our range of print services have opened doors to new business for resellers with varying levels of experience and infrastructure so they can use our technology to leverage their own expertise and business expectations. We have an end-user sales team that is identifying leads for our resellers before working with them to help secure and develop these leads into wider business opportunities. And the biggest success that comes with achieving a higher market share is that our resellers are directly reducing the environmental impact of their business, their customers’ businesses and the print industry as a whole thanks to the sustainable benefits of business inkjet.

Epson’s Solutions+ and IT+ partner programmes are designed for print service providers and IT resellers respectively looking for a partner to help drive their business, utilising the full extent of Epson’s marketing and sales support but avoiding all the financial risk. There’s that old adage that in any business partnership, what the customer really wants is the expertise and esteem of a global corporation but with that dedicated, first-name-basis support of a local business. When you explore a partnership with Epson, you will quickly understand how closely this adage fits within our business model.

Whatever workplace we enter into post-pandemic we will still see the demand for reliable print services and even more so we will see an increasing appetite for sustainable solutions. The relationships our resellers have with our sustainability manager Daniel Quelch, our end-user team, our sales teams, our marketing team and myself are what help to ensure they’re equipped in every way to secure and maintain new business. Our sales-support mechanism is driven by people that understand the channel, understand the importance of Epson’s sustainability proposition in the current climate, and understand the business growth opportunities for resellers siding with business inkjet.

There’s no shortage of commentators on what the workplace will look like post-pandemic but from a personal and a professional perspective, I’d want to see something that can benefit both the environment and our channel partners, and we’re doing our best to deliver this from Epson.