by Kevin DeYoung
So much of this industry seems to be focused on prints. “Prints are decreasing, Cost per prints are degrading”, “the paperless office is coming”, “color volumes are growing”.
Somewhere down the line these aspects of the office automation industry became monetized and a point of focus. We do assessments to figure out how many printers, print volumes, output capabilities, downtime, uptime, etc. Transaction models are created that substitute better output devices that will lessen burdens, costs and increase productivity.
It was never ever about that.
This industry was founded on business processes and information distribution in the most efficient, accurate least burdensome way. We followed the most important business documents, how they were pathed; timing, errors, burdens and the evaluation of whether or not we as resellers could improve the actual business state of our customers.
There was no thinking or prejudice to prints. No one in 1980 thought about how many copies were going to be made; the thought was about how quickly and accurately information could be distributed.
One of the greatest minds in the history of the world Cai Lun in 105 AD invented paper. Before that, kings and emperors had to travel and read their orders and laws. China invented the mass production of paper and for over a thousand years closely guarded the paper creation process. The concept of copies, prints and outputs is old and for some reason has been confabulated into an important issue.
We as an industry need to remember what started all of this in the first place. The need to disseminate, control, reference, process and accurately act on data. The devices that do that are only relevant to the extent that they facilitate these actions in the most cost affordable least burdensome way.
A true MPS Provider operates without prejudice to prints. The word print is poorly defined; we think of that word as toner on a piece of paper as opposed to data presented as an image. This image certainly can be on a piece of paper but it also can be on a monitor, cell phone, tablet, phablet; whatever. We are not in the business of getting companies to print more or less. We are in the business of improving business processes; we always were, we always have been.
How sad is it for a person to sell a “thing” on the basis that it prints faster, is cheaper and therefore the basis for the transaction is a cheaper faster thing than the older slower more expensive thing? Where is the relevancy for the salesperson, reseller or customer? We ponder, debate and theorize new transaction angles as opposed to expending that same energy on how to make the customers’ processes better.
A solution could be one where it results in less prints, more automated workflows. It also could be one that results in more prints.
What matters is did we as an industry make the customers’ business processes better? The reduction in burdens, increases in process accuracy, decreases in costs, and improvement in our customers’ profits and competitive strategic market positioning is all that counts. The money doesn’t know where it comes from. We should re-center our temperament and focus on improving our customers’ important information distribution in the best way possible. If this results in more or less prints—who cares?
Kevin DeYoung is the President & CEO of Qualpath Inc., a Florida-based Managed Print Services (MPS) provider. Qualpath has been recognized as the Top MPS Indirect Provider by the Managed Print Services Association and Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the USA. Kevin has 32 years of experience in the Managed Services and Office Automation Industry. Previous to Qualpath Kevin served as President of Kodak Latin America and CEO of Ameritrend Corporation, an Inc. 500 Company. Currently serving as President of the Managed Print Services Association, Kevin advocates for the Industry at both the end user and provider levels. Kevin is a graduate of the Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business.