Stop Playing Whack-A-Mole with Printers

In the office imaging industry, we’ve been fortunate historically to be able to drive large margins, especially on supplies sales. In fact, 40% margins were typical on contracts for dealers that manage their businesses proficiently. The downside to our previous success is that it has in some ways created an environment of inefficiency. Typically, dealers service their fleets in one of two ways, they wait until a device is down and send out a technician, or they replace components based on a schedule provided by the manufacturers. However, there are limitations to both of these methods. In the case of servicing devices on a predefined schedule, known as preventive maintenance, these schedules are set to cover a wide range of devices including those used very heavily – which can wear out components more quickly. This means, for many devices, that parts are changed out prematurely – leading to increased service costs by not getting the full useful life out of the component.

For instances where service providers react to service calls when a device fails – aka reactive service – this results in numerous service calls which negatively affect the bottom line. Picture this instance, you are a service tech in an urban environment and a device breaks down on Monday morning, so you go to that device and service it. On Wednesday, a device at a customer a few blocks down needs repair, so you go to service that device. On Friday, a different device breaks down at the first customer on a different floor. This means you had three service calls in close proximity over three days at an average cost of $150 per call, not including parts. This is very much like a game of printer Whack-A-Mole!

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that hardware prices are declining rapidly, reducing profit margins and requiring service providers to improve efficiency to stay competitive. The good news is that there is technology available to aid in improving service efficiency. Many industries have used predictive analytics to improve the cost of service. We have seen this used in remote management of computers, energy and utility service, auto service and aircraft service to name a few. Within these industries, they have been able to reduce the cost of service by 20-25%! We’ve all heard of predictive analytics, but our industry is different than most. We already have millions of connected devices. We already have tools that can collect data on these devices. In other words, we already have the data – we’re just not using it. I predict that this technology will be used in the near future to capitalize on the opportunity in front of us. Those who adopt this new technology will have a leg up on their competitors and will lead the market. As a company that is working to help make this happen, I look forward to the potential this new technology will help us realize. It’s time for us to stop playing Whack-A-Mole and start using the data available to us to make better-informed business decisions and improve the efficiency of our operations.

For more information about Photizo’s Advanced Analytics practice, please contact Scott Hornbuckle at sfhornbuckle@photizogroup.com, +1 (502) 664-0733.

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