Thursday, January 22, 2015

MPSA Announces Nominations Open for Board of Directors, Executive Committee


CHARLOTTE, NC -

The Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) announced the opening of nominations for its 2015 elections. Nominations for executive committee positions and Board of Directors positions will be open from Jan. 22-Feb. 6.

Individual members of the MPSA may nominate themselves or another member to any of the open positions. Nominees must be current members of the MPSA. More information as well as a nomination form is available at http://www.yourmpsa.org/nominations.

The following positions will be open for nominations:

• President
• Vice President
• Secretary
• Treasurer
• Board of Directors

As nominations are received, the MPSA nomination committee will confirm the nominee’s interest in participating, review their qualifications, and present the most qualified candidates to the existing MPSA Board of Directors for approval. The final slate of candidates will be presented on a ballot for election, and voting will be open to MPSA members Feb. 16-23.

The new Executive Committee and Board members will be announced Feb. 26, and inaugurated at a Board of Directors/Executive Committee meeting during the ITEX show in Ft. Lauderdale, March 10-12.

This is an opportunity to help lead the MPSA, an association dedicated to advancing the MPS industry by connecting great ideas and great people, and to inspire leadership within the MPS community.
“I’ve enjoyed every turn, and every obstacle we’ve surmounted and have never worked with a finer group of people,” said current President Greg Walters. “The association and industry are facing yet another inflection point. Help guide this non-profit, all-volunteer organization into the future.”
If you are not currently a member of the MPSA, this is a great time to get involved and help shape the dialog. Join an international group of professionals from every aspect of the imaging industry including major OEMs, renowned service providers and leading technology companies: http://www.yourmpsa.org/join

About the Managed Print Services Association

The Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves the MPS industry. Its focus is on the development of standards, education and industry guidelines that unite the different segments of the industry that bring value to all those participating. For more information about benefits and memberships, visit www.yourmpsa.org.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MPS AND WORLD DOMINATION - Nathan Dube


In a turbulent world, those most familiar with limitless horizons - far from shore - thrive.

So it is with our niche - the waves of transformation are swelling again and visionaries, the "crazies" are seeing the world through the MPS lens - the MPS of yesterday, when sirens called and Pirates sailed the edge.

Nathan is one such person - a rogue of sorts, in the good way and he comes to us with a tome of international drama, intrigue and managed print services.

MPS is many things if not a metaphor.

The original post is here.  Enjoy...

Monday, January 12, 2015 - Adventures in Office Imaging
Nathan Dube

It has been a long time since I have had any desire or perhaps any reason to write about MPS.  For a long time, I have felt that talking about the subject is beyond the dead horse.

I have always believed there are those who do it right and those who do it wrong. That it is essentially simple. For months now I have not chimed in about this industry or the players within it and for the most part, I had no intentions of doing so.

In light of reflecting on the past year, this has changed.
"I can not ignore the fact that chaos is breaking out across political, military and social dynamics in many of the worlds super powers and smaller countries alike. Terrorist attacks and the horrors of gun related tragedy are commonly found in the headlines of both mainstream and alternative news networks daily content."
The world is burning...

So what does this all have to do with managed print services?

Control and dominance.

As MPS evolves, the enterprise level players push BPO, print volume caps, excessive monitoring and auditing and various other dynamics on end users so that the share holders and CEOs of massive corporations can squeeze every last cent out of a previously ignored element of the companies expenditures.

While this is not always the case nor is it always done with an iron fist, I can not help but to notice how some of these tactics have a very "police state" feel to them. Treating end-users like commodities that can be regulated like products tends to create a tense work environment.

I for one have quoted a few software's that allow end users weekly printing volumes to be capped or limited to monochrome only. When I quote such a product I ask the decision maker how comfortable they will be as the point of contact to the angered and frustrated end users who's jobs have been complicated by their actions. This always tends to prevent a purchase of said software because all the clients who asked for the quote quickly back pedal after this question is asked.
"Treating end-users like commodities that can be regulated like products tends to create a tense work environment."
As an MPS provider who's foundation is built upon high quality re-manufactured toner cartridges, my company's CPC rates are enough to save large accounts thousands of dollars. These elements that create a dictator out of a CEO or VP of IT tend to strike the heart of my clients and so far, none have gone so far as to place these restrictions on their end users but I wonder about the enterprise accounts of some of the OEMs...

It is clear that large corporations are largely in control of various elements of the united states government and that money above all else (including people) is the driving force for these problems. It is the same force that leads the hand of men and women in powerful positions of corporations who would become the gestapo of the printing environment in their company.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand that end users occasional printing of full color photos of their kids birthday to post in their cubicle, coupons, emails, etc. is something that should be brought under some control...

That being said, I personally think a company wide proclamation from the president via email (or other form of communication) to the employee base as a whole where an emphasis on environmental sustainability and financial effect is made known, would be more effective and less likely to cause strife.

Some may think these ideas are extreme and that it is nonsense to assume this is happening on any level of concern what so ever. This is not what I have found...

What I have learned from watching humanity from my perspective as a human being is that once a tendency for a dynamic is enacted in one part of a system, you can expect the same dynamic to appear else-ware. Now, should the motivation of that dynamic be the all mighty dollar, you will most certainly find that dynamic spreading across the system as a whole should the decision maker in charge of said system be primarily concerned with profit over all else.

The managed print industry has been a catalyst for many things, I am under the opinion that it can be used as lens to view the world.
"What I have learned from watching humanity from my perspective as a human being is that once a tendency for a dynamic is enacted in one part of a system, you can expect the same dynamic to appear else-ware." 
From where I sit I will say this, if the elite of both the world and the MPS industry take control of the majority of either...

We are all f!$&ed.

This is why I would implore customers more than ever to do business with small providers as much as possible. Choose the local companies who care more about people than pennies. Support small business even if it must be multiple small businesses to cover your fleet across states or countries. Even if it means some logistical challenges.

At the end of the day if all your saving is money, your not really saving anything. In this respect, I would suggest a revolution in dividing the MPS market across smaller providers rather than consolidating them through larger corporations.

There is enough opportunity for everyone and there needs to be change in the system otherwise it will collapse.

In closing I will repeat my sentiment.

MPS can be used as a lens, what do you see when you look through it?




Click to email me.

Three Tips on Moving From Transactional to Value Add


My niece, Ft. Meyers, FL. Greg Walters, Director.
Moving from transactional to value-add, isn't all that impressive, but it is a start.  Also, for some business models, transactional selling is perfect - think paperclips, pencils and lightbulbs.

"Value Add" is not that much more evolved than "Transactional.  In the beginning, "value-add"  referred to adding services for 'free'.  The theory at the time was that the gross profit in each equipment sale was healthy enough to support the costs involved with adding value.

It starts with you, three things:

Try to forget about price, just for a second
This is difficult, but disconnecting from the price is your first move.

Don't tell your prospect you want to be more of a value add, trusted advisor, partner.  
They've heard it all before, show through action.

Consider moving to a different level of contact
Another challenging aspect, if you've been speaking with a decision maker whose only criteria is price and delivery (the first column), shifting to a different influencer is risky - but necessary.



If you'd like to learn how to move around the spectrum, email me at greg@grwalters.com.

Reflect upon your movement along the spectrum while enjoying some old-skool, sweet jams from Blackstreet, "No Diggity".



Monday, January 12, 2015

Equipment Quota's: This Far. No Further!


"We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats.
They invade our space and we fall back. 

They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. 
Not again. 
The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"

Captain Picard's, "White Whale" speech refers to a relentless invading force moving forward, overtaking more and more.  Equipment quotas's are like this - they never decrease, they are automatic, ubiquitous and numerically exponential.

This was the way of the past - mass production distributed costs across a huge number of like identical products supported though mass marketing -
"you can order any color you like, as long as it's black..." Hank Ford.
The machine quota driven, customer service experience is being recognized as an oxymoron by the very people you're trying to sell:  the prospect.

The End of Device Quota's are Near
  1. Product will be ordered custom 1:1- the end of commodity devices
  2. Production costs will approach zero - 3D manufacturing
  3. Time to market will be measured in hours
  4. All equipment based transactions will be direct - a myriad strong channel consisting of, specialized providers will service on an ad-hoc basis.
Your can start now.  The biggest battle goes on between your ears and in your heart.  If you search yourself, you know real customer service has nothing to do with your 30 equipment forecast.
"When you sell hammers, everybody is a nail."
The day is coming, some owners have already crossed the Rubicon, refusing to play the OEM quota game. Some manufacturers no longer enforce equipment quotas and more will follow, or get left on the wrong side of history.

This is big.  Our niche will be transformed forever; your customer's world is changing too.  Do you have the eyes to see, or are you a modern day Ahab?





Click to email me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Five To Do's for a Successful Year


It is the first week of the year and you're going to hear a lot about business plans, forecasts, funnel management and quota's.  Thousands of time saving, productivity enhancing, sales coaching, articles flow through the digital rivers of the internet - nauseating in its volume.

I ask you, how are you, personally, forging ahead in the new year?   Will you be part of another's plan or will you set the agenda?

My advice is simple - nod your head to whatever your manager says, tuck the dogma away, get alone and do the following five things:

1.  Download and print the chart below

The chart was developed to illuminate intent between clients and vendors. It works on a personal basis as well.

2.  Find your personal position on the chart

Trust yourself enough to be completely honest.  There is NO WRONG position. Think about the past year; did you add value beyond delivery and price?

3.  Find your employer's position

Step back and consider your organization's sales over the past 12 months. Did you see lots of devices delivered yet a handful of software implementations?  Are your equipment quota's higher than services?  Do you lead with the latest and greatest or solving real business problems?  Do you often hear your manager say, "That price is not competitive, bury the profit in the service, bundle installation into the lease..."?

4.  Where do your best client implementations fall on the chart?

Now consider your client base.  Did you sell machines or provide answers? Were most of your deals price driven?  Did they begin and end with a purchasing agent?

5.  Look at the gaps and imagine moving into a more desirable position in 2015.  What will it take?

Although there is no wrong position, if for example, your prospect is looking for a 'Specialized' relationship and your company only provides 'Transactional' services, your relationship is not sustainable.

By the same token, if your personal position is in 'Specialized' but your employer falls comfortably in the 'Transactional' column, you may have some issues to work out.

If your clients are all in 'Transactional' yet you want to get to the 'Specialized' area, what can you do to elevate the conversation?


This is a simple beginning to personal success - we can get deep on both the provider and client side of the spectrum.  The devil is in how your customers perceive your offering relevant to how they think of themselves; do you two match?

I'd love to discuss with you how to best use this tool.  It's been effective for providers and end-users alike.

For now, hang your chart in your cube, office, or on the dashboard.  Embed it into your pre-call planning or (god forbid) your pitchbook - heck, make it your wallpaper.

But make sure to take a pic and email it to me.  The most interesting one will get a Starbucks card on me.

Cheers!

Reach out to me: greg@grwalters.com and enjoy this sweet jam:


Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015: Beyond Managed Print Services

I was having a great discussion about paper, printers, sales people and the always changing business environment with my sister over the holidays. She's always goaded me about "The Death of The Copier" - like most, she believes I hate copiers, printers, and paper.  I don't.

Of course, she's been with the same paper company for 27 years, as with most conversations along these lines, she defends ink on paper like her lively hood depended on it - I guess, in a way, it does.

We talked about how reductions in her industry have led to less people yet more productivity.  The parallels between the premium paper and copier industry is logically, familiar.

My sister will be fine selling high-end paper to large printers who use billion dollar machines and an Indigo or two.  Still, we talked about the decreasing level of value her sales team provides for customers - again, familiar territory.

And so it is with our niche - as copiers became a commodity, more advanced talk tracks refrained from mentioning first copy out speeds, scan-once print-many, or manufacturers - ushering in the the death of the copier and the birth of EDM/DOC MAN.

Some say managed print services has been commoditized.  I disagree.  I believe the definition has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator - toner delivery.

It was inevitable. EVERYBODY ELSE SELLS MPS.

This is why I say, in 2015, give up selling managed print services.  Instead, talk about giving your client more hours by squeezing the amount of paper in your their workflow.  Incorporate paper flow into your basic assessments its simple, just ask.

In 2015, think about these types of value props:
  • "At ABC Company, I helped them find a better way to process payables..."
  • "At XYZ Company, we helped IT complete two initiatives..."
  • "I've helped my customers see more of their children's soccer matches..."
You can still make quota and move away from being thought of as pushing commodities.  When you start feeling the pressure of commoditization, think how difficult it would be to get up each morning and sell paper.

If what I'm saying makes a bit of sense, but you're not quite sure how to execute in the trenches, reach out to me and let's see get some business going.