In a previous article on print toner, I suggested that most IT organizations don't have a good grasp of the toner buying, stocking and usage activity across their enterprise, and that few have made any significant effort toward optimizing their toner management process. This may be due in part to the fact that IT has higher priority activities to manage, with printing and toner management always stuck on the periphery. In addition, ad hoc management, while providing for a supply of toner when needed, does so without regard for possible cost savings through centralized purchasing and just-in-time delivery through an integrated supply chain. It also provides little or no visibility into an organization's overall toner situation. An outsourced managed toner service, provided by a third party that is already providing similar services to other customers, may be the best option for an organization looking to reap the benefits of proactive toner management without tying up valuable internal resources–money or staff. In addition to a comprehensive initial discovery of toner usage patterns and requirements, key elements of such a program would typically include:
- Centralized request management & procurement through a Service Desk
- Call-in or electronic order placement
- Order response & fulfillment based on tailored SLAs
- Just-in-time delivery, with minimal onsite stocking
- Installations/service by experienced, vendor-certified technicians
- Volume pricing agreements & continuous ‘best pricing'
- Full warranties, with onsite replacement/repair
- Regular consumption and expense reporting
- Data analysis & optimization recommendations
- Industry best practices & environmental compliance
Here's an example of the thinking that goes into a leading managed toner service. If a toner cartridge fails within the first 30 days, say, a technician would be dispatched to replace that cartridge under warranty, free of charge. If anything happened to the printer as a result of the failed cartridge–damaged or dirtied, for example–the technician would repair that as well, based on a warranty call and again free of charge. A managed toner service is a good transition step toward a full cost-per-page model, which helps organizations reign-in escalating print costs by consolidating service and consumables into a single contract, and using automated consumables inventory management and automated device monitoring/alerts to optimize the overall service process. To share your thoughts on managing print toner, or to find out how Compugen's comprehensive suite of managed toner services can help your organization reduce toner costs dramatically, send me an e-mail or call 1-800-387-5045.