Print Management Insider Blog

“Moneyball” for Office Equipment Dealers

Posted by James Hills on Mar 12, 2015, 2:11:40 PM
In the last decade there has been a revolution in sports called ‘analytics’ or ‘advanced stats’. It has literally changed almost every aspect of all major sports. This is best, and most entertainingly, demonstrated in the movie “Moneyball” (based on the book by Michael Lewis). If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do, as it is a classic underdog overcoming the odds story. Not only that, it’s a true story. It’s about the manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane, facing the challenge of building a competitive baseball team with one of the smallest budgets in Major League Baseball.

So how does he do it? By hiring a guy who demonstrates that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success than most of the traditional measurements, like stolen bases and RBI’s.

What they found is that these qualities were cheaper to obtain on the open market than the more historically valued qualities. As a result, the A’s made the playoffs in 2002 and 2003, and in the process, made all the other teams change the way they viewed the value of analytics.

Since then, every team in every major sport has followed suit. In the last year alone, every NHL team has created a position in their organization for an ‘analytics expert’. The Toronto Maple Leafs even made him a VP!

The truth is though, that everyone is playing catch-up. They don’t want to be the only ones not doing it, because they know they’d be at a disadvantage.

Guess what? The same is happening in the office equipment industry. The info we have all been leaning on in the past are things like, meter reads, device class, toner costs, etc. Is this what you use as evidence, along with your reputation and fair prices, to convince your customer to do business with you?

What if an ‘analytics aware’ company were competing for the same business, but came in with information like this:

Mr. Customer, what we see in your organization is that although 85% of your volume is going to your low cost device, 32% of it is coming from Outlook and Explorer, and is being printed in color and not duplexed. Not only that, 8% of that volume is from a website called ‘’. Do you know who Mrs. Catlover is? I think you might need to speak to her about her printing habits. Oh, by-the-way, you told us that you have eliminated all local devices, but we see 2 of them. They are being used by Mr. Soonto Befired and Ms. Onmy Lastchance.

Now, it is vitally important to recognize that information does not mean actionable intelligence. After all, a million monkeys with a million typewriters…you get the idea. You need expertise, either in-house or third party, to bring that thinking to the table.That’s where relationships with with a company like Print Audit and its Premier program pay dividends, as it includes both the tools and the thinking to put your company in the drivers seat with ‘analytics’.

There’s another land grab about to take place in our industry, as there are so many office equipment dealers who have the “we’ve done it this way for 20 years, and it’s not let us down in the past” attitude.

Well Billy? What do you think?

Topics: analytics, business, business strategy, Business Tips, managed print, Managed Print Services, moneyball, MPS, new business, Office Equipment Dealers, print audit, print management, print tracking, printers, printing, sales, sales cycle, statistics, stats, strategy, success, tips

James Hills

Written by James Hills

James Hills is the Vice President of Sales for Print Audit.

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