My particular area of expertise over the last 10 years has been helping Office Equipment and MPS providers to do a better job with their programs. One of the most contentious issues I continue to run into is how hard it is to effectively implement an auto toner fulfillment program, also known as Just In Time (JIT). For better or for worse, saving customers the hassle of manually ordering toner every time a machine runs out is one of the promises we make with Managed Print.
The trouble with this promise is that the process is a lot more complicated than people realize when they make it. That’s where Print Audit comes in with its MPS Certification Report. This report is ground-breaking in that it actually ranks and rates individual printer models for how easily they can be incorporated into an auto toner program.
How exactly does Print Audit accomplish this rating? I asked our Vice President of Sales, Rob Thiessen:
“Print Audit’s MPS Certification score is an objective rating of a printer model’s suitability for automated supplies management. It focuses on the reporting of supplies information through the Printer MIB, and reflects the cumulative value of the information available. This is accomplished through a five point rating system. It measures frequency, consistency, and detail provided regarding supplies levels on over 2400 networked printer models.”
What are some of the most common impediments to a good JIT program? From my experience the biggest problem we have is promising we can do JIT on every device in the office. As the MPS Certification Report highlights, not all devices are best suited to be able to allow for JIT. Here are some hotspots to be careful with:
- Locally Connected Devices: Locally connected devices are the most obvious roadblock as they don’t effectively report over the network. Sure, some devices that are locally attached do have the ability to “auto order” on their own accord, but this usually bypasses the Channel in favour of the OEM. And it has to be setup one device at a time and does not allow for central management of the process. It can get messy in a hurry.
- Devices that don’t report granular % increments: Not all devices report their toner levels in the same way. Some only report in 25% increments, others only a status indication like “low” or “empty”. And other devices report in granular increments until they reach 20% and don’t go any further. The best devices to include in a JIT toner fulfillment program report in 1% increments, right down to being empty.
How would a dealer use the MPS Certification Report? The MPS Certification Report is only available to Print Audit Premier members. A member would cross compare a customer’s list of devices with the MPS Readiness Report BEFORE they told the customer which devices would or would not be supported for auto toner fulfillment. They would look at the overall rating from 1 to 5 and make a decision on the devices they would support. For devices NOT considered MPS ready the dealer has a host of options at their fingertips. They could recommend replacements for devices not supported with newer devices that are. They could also put a subset of devices on a “manual order” schema that would clearly illustrate the customer’s responsibilities for devices not capable of JIT toner fulfillment. Personally I would do my best to help the customer to understand how much easier their lives will be if their entire fleet is MPS ready. This would benefit both the end-user customer and our sales reps – a real win-win combination.
Which OEMs rated highest overall? There were 19 manufacturers out of 35 in the list who rated 3.5 to 5 on the MPS Certification scale. Some of the OEMs in this segment are (in no particular order): Lexmark, Copystar, Hewlett Packard, Kyocera, Xerox, Muratec, Dell, Samsung, Memjet, Oki, and Epson. Keep in mind the overall MPS Readiness rating is an average of potentially many individual printers, each having its own rating. For example, an OEM who rates high on the MPS Readiness scale overall will still have specific models that could be rated below the average individually. The only way to know for sure whether or not a specific printer model is MPS ready, is to check each one against the MPS Readiness Report.
What are some things we can expect in the future from this report? Print Audit is now working on integrating the MPS Certification Report right into Facilities Manager. Soon our Premier members will have the ability to automatically run an MPS Readiness Report directly against a customer install. There will also potentially be an MPS Certification score and icon listed on the device detail view. The report itself is just the start and Print Audit will be working on full integration with our software solutions in order to provide the best experience for Premier members.
How can I get access to the MPS Certification Report? Print Audit is committed to providing all of its subscription members with this highly actionable business intelligence.
If you would like to know what options exist for your company, please click here to register for more information