by Brian Dawson, Print Tracker
The mission of the MPSA™ and its members is to address and optimize document management while enhancing the growth, efficiency, and profitability of the Managed Print Services (MPS) segment. In an effort to reach these objectives, the MPSA provides community-driven print management best practices – like those contained in white papers to help its members make informed decisions to assist in developing their MPS strategies.
As managed print services offerings mature, the definition of MPS changed. In early 2016, the MPSA published the following:
“Managed print services is the active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information including input and output devices.” – MPSA (Managed Print Services Association)
The MPSA Standards and Best Practices Committee
Over the past several years and through collaboration with numerous subject matter experts within the MPSA Standards and Best Practices (SBP) Committee and those outside the organization, the MPSA has compiled a set of MPS best practices.
Built on the foundation of the SBP Committee’s earlier work, "MPS Provider Best Practices: Supplies Management," the group’s efforts have culminated in the production of a comprehensive new break/fix service white paper. The work identifies standards MPS providers can employ to mitigate risk factors while providing world class customer service for their print management offering.
Focus and Scope
As part of a broader body of knowledge, this specific set of best practices offered by the SBP group centers on break/fix service. The prepared document is offered as a guide for the MPS provider’s leadership to help them choose the best business model for designing, managing, and improving its break/fix service delivery. The information suggested should be applied broadly to form the basis of a well-run MPS business.
While the scope of the prepared document includes best practices for break/fix service in MPS engagements, the processes and business model options presented focus on cost containment and customer experience. The SBP committee suggests benchmarking offerings against Specific, Measurable, Aligned/ Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound (SMART) standards to provide the best service in the most affordable manner.
After reviewing the ideas suggested, MPS providers can use the break/fix white paper recommendations to implement a wide array of break/fix strategies based on the business model they have established. The document takes into account three common break/fix business models where the MPS provider:1) has their own technicians;
2) utilizes and manages third-party technicians; or
3) invests in an all-inclusive page, that includes break/fix services from a servicing agent.
Break/Fix Offering Components
The MPSA’s break/fix service white paper promotes a pro-active service and support model rather than a reaction based program. The white paper includes seven high-level break/fix service components for each business model. Each section includes segments for best practices, impact on profitability and customer experience and defines program offerings for each of the three business types in the following areas:
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
2) Reporting and Processing
3) Customer portal
4) Technician portal
1) Criteria and Sourcing
2) Geo Coverage
4) Ongoing Training
5) Technician Benchmarks, Reporting and Review Process
6) Incentive Program
7) Technician Resources
Service Desk1) Communication method
Contract Management1) Invoicing
By way of content example, the MPSA’s Break/Fix White Paper includes the following excerpt:
Best Practices: Break/Fix Service Offering
A break/fix service offering is one of the most basic and fundamental building blocks of an MPS solution. Providers should define their solution and how it will be delivered. Offerings may cover areas like billing models, products covered, service level agreements (SLAs), and software solutions. MPS providers may start with a very defined and limited offering or have several options for their customers.
A break-fix service offering will vary because of billing model factors, such as Cost per Image (CPI), time and materials (T&M), user based, monthly by model, and length of agreement, and each component should be aligned with how the program will be administered. There are three different break/fix models for MPS providers to consider.
Provider’s Own Service/Managed Third-Party
Billing model factors are very important to profit and customer experience. For example, exposure to profit on a billing model would be a risk if offering CPI or user-based billing. Impact to cash flow could also be a consideration if the dealer, valued added reseller (VAR), or IT service provider bills these charges in arrears because of up-front costs. If the MPS provider bills monthly or annually, this would be less of a factor, as billing would usually be done in advance. The MPS provider would have risks in each of these models because they are all-inclusive billing models. T&M billing offers the least exposure, as the provider bills actual expenses plus a mark-up amount. However this model offers the least value to the client and is far less profitable for the provider.
This approach offers the least impact to profit exposure for the MPS provider because they have a set price and are not impacted by additional costs. Although this arrangement is more predictable and safe, the provider could have the potential to make more of a profit if the process is self-managed. In addition, the customer expectation for greater value-added services is increased to justify not going direct with the contracted break/fix provider.
Customer experience is an exposure in the wholesale page/solution model. The provider will need to place tight checks and balances in the process and how it might impact their customer. Ultimately, the partner engaging the client is solely responsible for the service delivery and upholding the relationship, even though the MPS provider has contracted the service.
… In Summary
The "MPS Provider Best Practices: Break/Fix Service" white paper produced by MPSA SBP committee members dovetails nicely with its earlier work "MPS Provider Best Practices: Supplies Management." MPS providers can use the information offered in both white papers to develop the foundation for a sound print management program.
Each business and reader must determine which set of best practices apply to their specific situation. Ultimately, the success of any MPS program relies heavily upon application throughout the entire lifecycle of the provider’s MPS program. As with all information, readers must determine a set of goals and objectives to be achieved and solved with the implementation of the white paper’s suggested best practices.
Join the MPSA today to gain access to full reports: http://www.yourmpsa.org/Membership. The MPSA is an active organization that offers monthly webinars to its worldwide membership. The MPSA offers a LinkedIn forums for the exchange of ideas as well: Managed Print Services Association.
Brian Dawson, Sales and Marketing Director, Print Tracker, LLC, is a productivity specialist, sales coach, mentor; offering managed print solutions world-wide with Print Tracker software. He is a Co-chairman on the MPSA’s Standards and Best Practices where he has been a participating member since its inception. View profiles at www.linkedin.com/in/briandawsonid and www.linkedin.com/company/514661. Contact Brian at bdawson@PrintTracker.net, (866) 629-3342 x7 or through Print Tracker.