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Multifunction Printer: Is it Time to Review Your Contracts?

May 7, 2021
Read Time 2 mins

It’s a new world out there. Is your printer contract working for you? Or are you working for your printer? Let's dive into the details and show you why the multifunction printer life is better for you. 

When Covid-19 reached our shores last year and the lockdown happened on 27 March, work-from-home (WFH) became the new normal for many. It is likely that most companies will continue to support and encourage tailored working arrangements. Half of the time at work and half of the time at home seems to be the sweet spot according to Global Workplace Analytics, which also estimates that 25% of workers will be expected to continue to work from home. 

What role will the office multifunction printer (MFP) play in this new world, where remote working is further accelerating a shift to digital technologies? Moreover, are you satisfied that your multifunction printer supplier has provided you with a reasonable contract? 

When lockdown happened, most South African insurers gave their clients discounts on their car premiums as people were driving less,” says Bernice Hynard, general manager for Print Solutions at Tarsus Distribution. “Sadly, we did not witness the same kind of logic applied to the office automation industry. 

Instead, customers have remained tied into evergreen contracts that began with the fax machine, then morphed into photocopier contracts and more recently multifunction printers. Little has changed since then, even though the world of work has been completely transformed. 

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Multifunction Printer Contract? 

Hynard cautions that there are several catches to watch out for: 

  • How flexible is your contract? 
  • Is it meeting your current needs? 
  • Are you paying a fixed price for a fixed number of printed pages? In other words, if you were paying for 50 000 prints, have you been able to reduce that figure to say 10 000, in line with new business needs? 
  • Most importantly, do you believe the contract is reasonable? 

No More Static Contracts 

Hynard describes the multifunction printer sector as a static one in which business has always been conducted in a particular way, and that the time has come for change. 

Traditionally, it’s a hard sell business, she says. “The salesperson gets the business owner to sign on the dotted line and a result is a contract that is almost impossible to get out of, regardless of how your office automation needs may change. In a post-COVID world, many businesses are likely to be printing a lot less than they were before, yet inflexible SLAs are keeping them trapped in a costly agreement that no longer serves them. 

What the sector needs now she says, is to investigate opportunities that offer customers cost containment options. “For us to maintain credibility and integrity as an industry, we need to acknowledge that companies are tied into long-term contracts that are costing them too much at a time when businesses are under enormous pressure to survive. The way devices are financed is a first step to addressing the situation. 

Next, as an industry, we have to stop selling customers the biggest possible machine with all the bells and whistles, just so that we can give them the biggest possible invoice. 

For example, she says, in the new hybrid way of work, it may make sense to replace a central colour device that prints 200 000 pages per month with a more flexible solution that allows for a number of smaller multifunction printers more suited to current needs. 

Perhaps they no longer need colour,” she adds. “By tailoring better solutions for customer needs, we can be sure that they will keep coming back, instead of feeling fleeced. 

It’s Time For Change 

Just as other industries like vehicle insurance and exercise venues have allowed costs to change according to usage, businesses should be paying less for printing costs because they are printing less than before, Hynard stresses. 

Explore your options,” she says. “Review your contracts. Tarsus Distribution has given much thought to the ways office automation contracts can be reviewed and customised to users’ needs. I am confident that we can help any customer who is seeking a more cost-effective and productive option. Give us a call and we and our partners will do the rest. 

Want to know more about the role of printing in the post-COVID-19 workplace? Click here to read more. 

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