Will Service be the Next Frontier on the Imaging Industry?

For many years, focus in the imaging industry was on hardware, for buyers, pushing price/performance versus competition.   Today, we all talk about cost per page but with a heavy focus on supplies costs as a component of perhaps an MPS (Manage Printer Services) contract.  We talk less about service/maintenance perhaps because there has not been a lot of advancements related to Service that would warrant a lot of discussion.  In my opinion, this is likely to change to the extent that Service/Maintenance may in fact be the next frontier for printer manufacturers to address.

Today, printer manufacturers and the printer channel make a lot of money on maintenance and support.   However, as printer technology has advanced over the years and printer manufacturers have taken many steps to protect their lucrative supplies business, comparatively, very little has been done to increase the efficiencies in maintenance and support.

I believe this is likely to change however as struggling printer manufacturers continue to look for ways to improve their business efficiencies.  Companies such as HP are integrating more and more sensors into the printer hardware, not because they have a love affair with sensors, but because they are looking ahead with plans to monitor more and more components that could potentially fail.   Other manufacturers are increasing the lives of major components even for the life of the printer itself.  Why would HP do this?   The answer is that once you have the sensors that you need, the data from the sensors put component MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure), plus lots of historical service and maintenance data can be feed into a Predictive Analytics model and accurately predict when a part will fail.   After all, isn’t the “holy grail” for maintenance and support really to know what part will fail, in what printer it will fail, and when that part will fail with the ultimate outcome of replacing parts before an actual failure occurs?

The results of such a predictive model are significant including reduced printer downtime (resulting in happier customers, increased consumables usage), reduced support costs (service personal deployment is more optimized), and reduced parts inventory costs.   Photizo estimates that service and maintenance costs could be reduced by 30-40%.

Service and Maintenance is one of several uses cases for Photizo’s new Predictive Analytics solutions.   For more information, please contact Scott Hornbuckle at sfhornbuckle@photizogroup.com.

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