MPSA Commentary

MPSA Member & MPS Industry Commentary
  • 29-Jan-2018 1:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our continuing series spotlighting the MPSA board and executive committee features Jennie Fisher.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s? 

    A: I became involved in the MPSA in 2009 by way of attending various events. I become involved with the Board as follows: 

    • 2012 - 2013 – Board of Directors  (Infrastructure)
    • 2012 – Present -  Membership Committee
    • 2017 – Present - Board of Directors (Chair of Collaboration Committee)

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: I bring vast financing experiencing which is important given 95% of all office equipment is financed. GreatAmerica brings great experience and credibility by way of offering a bundled product, and provides the finance solutions, the documentation and the integrations to support MPS transactions. I’ve worked with many of the leading dealers in our industry as they have gone down the MPS path and feel this perspective will be helpful to the MPSA.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: I feel like the group is energized and continues to be focused on helping the office equipment dealer/re-seller incorporate managed print, or enhance what they are currently doing. There are many dealers offering MPS as part of their go-to-market strategy, but there seems to be great opportunity in perfecting their success—I think an organization like MPSA is well poised to bring the experts together to help educate and share best practices and make that happen.

    I look forward to various educational seminars that we are working on at this time. Through the collaboration committee, I look forward to spreading the word on what MPSA can do through industry associations and organizations.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you're not at work?

    A: In the summer months I enjoy long walks, bicycle rides with my friend, leisure rides in my new toy and nurturing my yard and flowers.

    In the winter months I look for places to go that are warm! When I am not somewhere warm, I enjoy spending time at home cooking and reading.

    No matter where I am, I always enjoy spending time with friends and family!

  • 10-Jan-2018 9:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, Y Soft North America

    You’ve optimized your customer’s printer fleet and are managing their consumption, servicing and output. Is that the end game? If your customers are not asking for more services to help them be competitive, they soon will be.

    Under the broad term "business processes," organizations are looking for ways to speed up business by replacing human intensive processes – like paper-based processes – with automated workflows. There are many reasons to do so and collectively they go under the umbrella of productivity. But it goes a lot deeper than that.

    Before I go further, let me say that I am not advocating for a paperless office, nor replacing humans with machines. Far from it. There are reasons for office printing and scan to email. However, in many cases, there is a need to collaborate or repetitively process documents and manually copying, emailing and storing paper is not effective.

    What are the productivity gains for your customers?

    • Reduces human error. Think about the steps required to scan a paper document to email and how many errors can be made between the email arriving and it being downloaded from email, saved, shared and then stored. In industries where compliance regulations are required, human error can be costly and devastating.
    • Finding documents. In healthcare, this is the biggest driver toward electronic patient records. Digital documents can be searched and found much faster than their paper counterparts. Additionally, it is faster to share with other physicians. This applies to any industry.
    • Workflows can define consistency. Again, think back to the manual scan to email. The user has to decide many parameters: is it going to be a PDF or JPG, 200 dpi or something else, black and white or color. And, when they save it to their desktop, how will they name the file. Records management consistency becomes a huge problem. Workflows can dictate these parameters so the organization has accurate and consistent files.
    • Automatic delivery to a pre-defined destination. Whether a company uses a cloud-based document repository, an on premise application or a simple networked file system, automated scan workflows can automatically send a digital copy to a specific folder or even create a folder in the defined destination.

    This automatic delivery means the user has to only select the desired workflow (one touch of a menu) and then can shred the document. We call this scan and forget. The user doesn’t have to worry about anything once the scan workflow begins. All the things mentioned above happens without user interaction. This also solves a security issue. Scan to email means the user can send the document anywhere – unintentionally or purposefully to the wrong internal employees or external people.

    And lastly, IT administrators know that storage required for mail servers is not at an insignificant cost. Files shared by email is an enormous strain on mail servers. Similarly, facilities doesn’t appreciate rooms full of boxes or file cabinets which could be instead used for much more productive use.

    If you are looking for additional business process services to offer your MPS customers, look no further than the multifunction device where automated scan workflows can provide productivity increases. As customers look for ways to improve, they can find these services from a host of providers if they don’t see it offered from you.

    Y Soft has created an eBook on automated scan workflows. We invite you to download The Power of Automated Scan Workflows and learn how simple using workflows are for users and how easy it is for print administrators to create dedicated workflows for paper-based processes.

    Contact Mark at

  • 18-Dec-2017 6:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Continuing our Q&A series with members of the MPSA Board of Directors is Ron Alphin, ABM Federal.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?  

    A: I first became a member of MPSA in 2009.  I immediately joined the newly formed Standards committee as the first group was formedI served as a member for the first four years, then as Chair for next two years, and have been its Executive Sponsor ever since.  This is my third consecutive term as a Board Member.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: I started in the in the imaging industry 12 years ago. The first two years were for a Canon dealership. I started there selling copiers, and then moved to their new roles selling managed print services and managed network services.

    I then went to a national distributor, Supplies Network, for eight years.  They were just starting to build their MPS program and needed someone to build out sales and operational infrastructure. After we got the program established and growing, we migrated the sales to general sales members and focused them on just MPS, and I moved to fully build out efficiency and delivery of operational components of service, supplies, contracts, and software components. 

    I then moved to a supplies and parts remanufacturer, LMI Solutions, for a year and a half to focus on their operational delivery solutions around their MPS program. 

    Most recently I have taken on the buildout of the MPS solutions for a government-focused reseller, ABM Federal, where I am focusing on all services and solutions for the federal government.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: In general, I love to see companies focusing more on the software and true solutions around managing documents and information. It’s exciting to see this evolution beyond the early days of just focusing on the devices and supplies. 

    Specifically to my new role and company, I am very excited with the opportunity to bring MPS and other solutions to the government space.  Due to the strict requirements around information and security, and their very structure, they have been slow in their adoption of the type of efficiency and cost savings solutions like MPS can provide. They are where the commercial market was about eight years ago.

    Lastly, I am excited with all the options that exist for providers today.  It is much easier to partner, or even build and deliver your own solutions today than it has ever been. 

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you're not at work?

    A: As I grow older, it has become easier for me to understand the most important things in life, and time with my family and friends is very fulfilling.  However, those that know me well know I enjoy cigars, beverages, beach, and to chase my errant golf shots as a true hacker.

  • 27-Nov-2017 5:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Continuing our Q&A series, we will be interviewing members of the MPSA Board of Directors. First up, Sarah Custer of Supplies Network

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A: Supplies Network has been a corporate sponsor since the very early days of the MPSA (2009). Since that time, I've participated in many of the events, meetings and webinars hosted by the MPSA. This is my first time to take on a more official role within the group, and I'm excited to participate in this expanded capacity.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A:  I've been with Supplies Network since 2001 and specifically focused on managed print since 2009. I have the privilege to work closely with various parts of the channel from resellers and manufacturers to software and service providers. I believe this place in the chain provides a great deal of perspective on the needs and wants of all involved in a managed print engagement. My hope is that I can use this experience to help others achieve their goals in the managed print space. Additionally, I look forward to collaborating and learning the perspectives of others as part of this process.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: While there are many industry reports that indicate an overall decline in print, there is projected growth in pages printed in a contractual context. This excites me because, of course, this is the sweet spot for managed print services!  For those engaged in MPS, there is still a lot of opportunity to drive down operational costs and increase profits, while delivering a greater experience and savings for the end customer.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you're not at work?

    A:  When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Andy, and our daughters, Violet and Lilah. They keep us really busy, but when I'm able to sneak in some time for myself, I enjoy horseback riding. My oldest is almost old enough to start jumping lessons; I'm hoping this translates to an opportunity for more time at the barn for me!

  • 23-Oct-2017 7:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rounding out our Q&A with the newest members of the MPSA's executive committee is Treasurer Brian Stevenson.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A: Since 2009! It was a privilege to be one of the founding members that helped support the initial structure and launch of the Association. In the early days of the MPSA, Board Members were segmented by their area of knowledge within the MPSA industry. For me, that has always aligned with the interests of the independent reseller.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: At my age, it’s now a lot of experience! And hopefully some of it will be relevant and of benefit to our members.  I’ve had the experience of growing an MPS company (LaserNetworks) into one of the largest MPS providers in North America, eventually selling to Xerox. Since then, I’ve spent much of the past 5 years supporting independent dealers though my work with the TriMega Association. This has included developing key supplier relationships across our industry – from hardware, parts & supplies, software, outsourced programs, and other key areas of MPS.  If you have a question around anything MPS, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note & I’d be happy to provide some thoughts on a partner that should be able to support your efforts.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: The leading independent dealers have become very successful in delivering that last mile of support — with greater efficiency and awareness on the key drivers of cost and value. This is leading many of the OEM’s to rethink their Direct MPS models and are now shifting those direct MPS contracts back to the independents. I believe there’s more to come as the OEM’s shift their focus back to the channel.

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work?

    A: Living in Canada, we try to take advantage of our four distinct seasons: coaching my daughter's baseball team in the spring; putting the boat in the water and spending our weekends at the cottage throughout the summer; completing a triathlon in the fall; and enjoying the benefits of Après Ski in the winter!

  • 23-Sep-2017 9:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our series of Q&As with each new member of the MPSA's board and executive committee continues with Secretary Ann Priede.

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role? 

    A: This month marks my 30th year in the printing and imaging industry, and during that time, I've worked for a manufacturer, been an industry analyst, and am now onsite at a customer. I believe this multifaceted experience gives me a well-rounded view of the industry and the ability to understand managed print and all of its related issues from a variety of perspectives. I have also been a writer and editor for more than a decade, and I believe my collaboration and communication skills are important for the role of Secretary of the Executive Board. 
    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most? 

    A: I'm very excited to see MPS moving beyond the device into business processes, document workflows, and change management. These issues are at the heart of every business and truly allow the MPS community to add value to their business partnerships and help customers be more efficient. As a result, we are seeing new companies in the managed print industry bringing fresh ideas that will help us keep pace with -- and maybe even get ahead of -- the technology, user experience, and business trends that are driving not just print, but our lives as a whole. 
    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work? 

    A: I love to read and am an avid gardener — when the hot, humid Gulf Coast environment cooperates! I also enjoy being outdoors on the water and have recently taken up kayaking and boating, which adds an extra element of fun.
  • 23-May-2017 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Mark Schneider, Y Soft North America

    It’s difficult to pick up an industry magazine, view tech websites or attend a conference without hearing about Digital Transformation. The media hype and analyst predictions can leave one feeling behind the curve if not actively engaging with customers on the topic.

    The important thing to remember is that most companies are not nearly at the point of true digital transformation. According to IDC’s Digital Transformation (DX) MaturityScape Stage Overview, most companies are still stuck in stage 2. The fifth and final stage is still a long way off for most.

    Your customers are still on a journey and many are looking for solutions that help them progress to stage 3. As an MPS provider who makes a living on the printed page, is this a threat or is there opportunity for you?

    What is Digital Transformation?

    Using IDC’s definition, Digital Transformation (or DX) enables enterprises to drive changes in their business models and ecosystems by leveraging digital competencies. A quick summary of the five stages they’ve identified:

    1) Ad-Hoc where paper-centric workflows dominate.

    2) Opportunistic where scans are image only capture and connected to ECM or document repositories.

    3) Repeatable is intelligent scan capture where content can be extracted, indexed and categorization is automated.

    4) Managed which uses third platform technologies (think AI, AR, VR) to support real-time access and use across digital devices.

    5) Optimized is the ultimate level where automation crosses all departments and adjacent workflows are triggered through use of innovation accelerators such as IoT, cognitive systems or robotics.

    The business outcomes possible under each stage become more and more compelling. But only a small percentage of companies are at the forefront with associated budgets and resources to get past stage 2. By taking more practical steps, you can help them progress to stage 3.

    What’s in it for me?

    It’s a healthy sign for any industry to evolve and MPS is no different. Today, MPS is evolving to include MCS, Managed Content Services. Living in the paper world gives you insight into your customers’ paper based processes, in other words, stage 1 of digital transformation. And perhaps, some of your customers are scanning documents as image files and storing them in document repositories, stage 2.

    According to Gartner1, “The digital imaging and printing equipment, supply and service market is steadily declining… To survive, technology strategic planners of print and imaging providers need to make further inroads into MCS, (Managed Content Services) which optimizes customers' business processes and helps them reduce their dependence on printing and paper. MCS brings mostly new revenue and is a less mature business.”

    Stage 3, intelligent scan capture, delivers the value that customers understand and appreciate i.e. cost reduction and faster productivity. Intelligent scan capture offers you a new revenue stream and positions you as a trusted supplier that can help organizations on their digital transformation journey.
    Y Soft is helping MPS providers do this every day.

    My colleague recently shared tips on what to look for in a document capture solution in a MPSA webinar. The recording is available to members. I’d be happy to chat with you about it. Whether you offer scan workflows as a stand-alone solution or as part of  print management , you will drive value for customers who are looking to MPS providers to help them move up the DX curve.

    Be part of the evolution, drive value and increase your revenue! When your customer is ready to move on to stage 4 and 5, ….well we can’t say that AI, AR and VR technologies are ready just yet in the print and imaging industry. But we’re keeping an eye on them.

     1Gartner, January 2017, Exploit Print Market Dynamics Primer 2017, Document # G00318293

  • 26-Apr-2017 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The MPSA had a major presence during the ITEX 2017 show in Las Vegas April 18-20, hosting a networking reception the first night of the show.

    Held at Hussong’s Cantina on April 18 and sponsored by corporate members Clover Imaging Group, Muratec and Print Audit, the MPSA had a blowout reception complete with margaritas, guacamole and plenty of networking opportunities for current and prospective members. Here are some pictures of the event.


    Left: MPSA President Kevin DeYoung and Membership Chair Kevin Morris. Right: Attendees network at the event.

    Hussong's was packed with current and prospective MPSA members.

    Print Audit's West McDonald and BPO Media's Patricia Ames.

    A rousing game of flip cup hosted by Print Audit.

    Partygoers pack the room.

  • 01-Apr-2017 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recently, the MPSA announced its new board of directors and executive committee. To welcome them, we'll be doing a series of Q&As with each new member.

    Q: How long have you been involved in the MPSA and in what role/s?

    A:  I’ve been involved in the MPSA for about four years.  I initially got involved as a member of the education committee to learn more about MPS from the experts, then in time became the co-chair of the education committee. From there, my position evolved into additional committees, then vice president, and now to president.  Just like at our paying jobs, skills you develop within the MPSA open the door for advancement. 

    Q: What experience do you bring to this role?

    A: I’ve spent 100 percent of my time in the print industry post-college, including the last 11 years being highly involved in MPS with an OEM and independent dealership.  Having spent my previous MPSA term as the MPSA vice president, it in some ways was an internship for the president position. Ideas, thoughts, connections, and an understanding of the MPSA logistics will enable the MPSA to be successful again this term.

    Q: What changes or opportunities are you seeing in MPS that excite you the most?

    A: I’m excited to see MPS providers become more like consultants for their customers rather than just providers selling a commodity. With MPS far along in the innovation adoption curve, providers need to do more to deliver value to their customers.  Digitization, and IT services tie in with MPS are short-term opportunities for MPS providers to do more for their customers. 

    Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you’re not at work?

    A: When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling to breweries to learn more about brewing beer and of course, sampling all they have to offer.  Travel, photography, sports, and comedy are other passions of mine.  

  • 14-Mar-2017 10:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Patricia Ames

    We sat down recently with Bill Melo, chief marketing executive for MPSA Platinum member Toshiba America Business Solutions to discuss what Toshiba is doing, what’s new in the MPS space and advice for MPSA members.

    Tell us a little bit about what Toshiba is doing in the market with managed print services and how you're differentiating yourselves. There is a lot of discussion around the commoditization of MPS and you are a strong player in MPS - what is Toshiba doing that is working?

    BM: I think when it comes to services especially, there are two ways that you can differentiate yourself. One is very obvious and easy to appreciate, which is that you offer something that other people do not. And then the other way of differentiating yourself, which is more subtle and requires a bit more insight from the eye of the beholder, is that you simply execute better than other folks. This could be because of better systems or more experience or the degree to which you focus on something. The second method is harder to prove out, but I think we differentiate ourselves a little bit on both elements.

    I think we have a unique product set. When it comes to laser MFPs, we pretty much have the same thing as everybody else does, but what we have that is unique (and which we started to put into our MPS program) are thermal barcode printers. Barcode printers are used a lot in logistics and manufacturing operations for labels, and pharmaceutical scenarios for printing labels on prescriptions and wristbands and those types of applications.

    We’ve come up with a way of remotely monitoring those types of devices. So the same way you would use FM Audit or any kind of utility for getting meter reads from MFPs, we can deploy our solution to secure usage totals off those barcode devices. In that world, you measure by the linear inch, not by page. So we measure with linear inches, and we can offer MPS to incorporate not only the laser printers and MFPs but also these devices on the server/barcode side. I think we are the only ones that have this.

    Another good differentiator is to offer some solutions that appeal to corporations that have a sustainability or good corporate citizen initiative. Has Toshiba focused at all on this?

    BM: Encompass is the cornerstone of our larger MPS applications and implementations. Encompass is the cloud-based utility that we use for capturing what the customer is currently doing as well as designing an optimized fleet.  The insights gained through Encompass allow us to then offer solutions that can lower their printing costs that are very transparent. One of the updates we've recently included is building PrintReleaf into our MPS program. It's not only available to offer to customers, but it's actually embedded in Encompass. That makes it easy to incorporate into the overall story.

    PrintReleaf is a platform that ties paper consumption to reforestation. PrintReleaf allows companies to certifiably reduce the environmental impact of using paper products by automatically planting trees across a global network of reforestation projects.

    What would you suggest MPS providers focus on in 2017?

    BM: The most important thing they can do is make sure that their implementation and execution is solid.  If you are not just going in and completely replacing the existing fleet with one brand and selling it on a cost-per-copy model, then it's still a complex process of managing a blended customer-owned fleet. You need to optimize what they already own, augment it with new equipment and solutions that meet their needs and then put it on a really simple billing program. That’s complicated. If you're making it easier for the customer, essentially what you're doing is taking on that complexity yourself. That means that you need to be really good at assessments, pricing, implementation and reporting, or else all you've done is taken on somebody else's problem and probably made it worse. And made it your own.

    The MPSA has spent a lot of time helping build guidelines to do this properly. One of the latest trends we are seeing is a migration from MPS to MCS, or managed content services. The providers that have become adept at offering MPS seem to now be pushing into the workflow arena. Are you seeing any of that?

    BM: Yes. Toshiba has been offering workflow products for a while. We’ve recently launched our Nuance relationship with AutoStore and Equitrac for imaging. These solutions will be incorporated into our front panel on our MFPs. I believe that the “managed” model is really around using your expertise to relieve the customer's burden on an area that they're not expert at. We're just expanding our offering set logically to offer clients solutions to their current pain points. We have been offering managed workflow, security, scanning, digital and hardcopy to digital, etc., for a while.

    What are some of the biggest challenges you're seeing the channel right now?

    BM: Well, you mentioned commoditization at the beginning of this interview, and that is a real issue, because when we first started we were educating customers and for a long time were almost alone in that, at least in terms of the offshore manufacturers in the SMB and mid-tier space. Now everybody is offering managed print services. If your prospect is not very knowledgeable, all the offerings can look the same even if they are intrinsically very, very different.

    It is very difficult to show how you are different in a simple-to-understand fashion that captures the prospect’s attention. This is where you have to demonstrate your experience, and the toolset, and the knowledge of your salespeople, analysts and implementation folks. It’s tough. It is no longer a blue ocean – it is a very crowded pool.

    Is there anything you're excited about right now? Something new coming up, new opportunities or new technologies?

    BM: At LEAD, our dealer and end user educational program in May, we'll be demonstrating what I believe is an industry leading technology product customization and integration.  Our new Elevate platform is designed to make it easy to deliver a fully customized user experience from front panel design to workflow integration.  For our dealers, we've also developed a set of educational tools and sell-through programs tailored to seven different industries.  It's very exciting and I know that our dealers and end users will love it.

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