Color is the New Black – How to Profit From Changing Printing Trends

23-Oct-2015 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

by Christian Pepper, LMI Solutions

While nearly all MPS providers use remanufactured monochrome cartridges extensively across their contracts, very few have adopted color as evidenced by the OEMs greater than 90 percent market share.  This creates a great opportunity for savvy resellers.

Imaging industry trends

A.  From 2008 – 2012 the Great Recession encouraged businesses to lower printing costs first by removing unwanted/unneeded  print and then by migrating very expensive color pages to cheaper monochrome.

B.  Since 2012, the rate of printed page volume decline has settled at about 3 percent per annum and that is predicted to continue.

C.  Since 2012 printer OEMs have tried to stem the volume loss, by migrating end users to color pages from monochrome. They have launched more efficient and lower cost (to buy and operate) color devices.

D.  Research shows that color documents are far more “valuable” to end users than monochrome, increasing the professionalism of their marketing, document comprehension by the recipient and even boosting on time credit account payment for those that send color invoices. 

E.  Color pages can still be charged between four and 10 times that of a monochrome page

By switching to aftermarket color cartridges you can dramatically lower your toner cartridge purchase costs.  This enables you to reap more profit, pass on some of the savings to your clients, or be more price competitive in deals where your opponents are using OEM.  However, as you have probably learned over the years, not all aftermarket color cartridges are created equal, and while customers are willing to pay a much higher price for color than monochrome, they also have very high quality expectations.  To help you select the right partner here are the top three things to consider:

(1)  Image Quality

Unlike a single monochrome cartridge, in a color device there are four cartridges that have to interact with each other to produce great results.  Furthermore, as its rare for all four color carts to run out at the same time, you should select a vendor whose image quality is comparable to the OEM, or else when you change out one of the toners the end user is going to notice that their print looks different (and probably complain) 

(2)  Reliability

Color documents are very personal to end users – How their logos and other regularly printed documents look will be noticed and scrutinized – not just when they first install the toner, but every day until the cartridge is empty.  As color pages are so much more costly than monochrome, end users also pay close attention to how long that cartridge lasts and what value for money they are receiving.

(3)  Intellectual Property Compliance

High quality color is very challenging to produce from an engineering perspective and some vendors that (often) manufacture in Asia take shortcuts by blatantly copying the OEM’s IP.  This is called counterfeiting and increasingly OEMs are suing resellers in the USA that choose these products (that usually turn out to have low image quality and be unreliable).  Before you choose an aftermarket partner, research where they manufacture, what steps they take to ensure they respect OEM IP and whether they can indemnify you against future complaints (and of course whether they have the financial capability to back up that indemnification!)

Investigate these three areas, select a high quality provider and you will be in great shape to make the switch from high-priced OEM to a lower-cost and more profitable alternative.

For a free guide on more best practices to help you switch customers from OEM color to high quality aftermarket color, download this free guide.

Christian Pepper began his imaging career at Lexmark in the late 1990s designing and managing their corporate asset recovery program.  In the 2000s he joined and went on to become a shareholder of Printersdirect, a printer refurbisher. In 2008 he emigrated from the UK to the USA to grow the USA subsidiary as demand for high quality remanufactured printer hardware increased in the Managed Print Services channel.  LMI Solutions acquired Printersdirect in 2014 and Christian joined the company as Director of Marketing and Business Intelligence.  He resides in Phoenix Arizona and is a regular industry speaker and editorial contributor.

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