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Friday, June 27, 2008

A Week In The Life of Managed Print Services

June 2008.

One thousand miles and so far, yet to go.

Day One Victorville, California

Pre-Proposal Meeting - To review an RFQ for a small (30) fleet of copiers. Imagine if you can, a room full of copier people, all of them competitors asking questions relating to an RFQ. I sat in the back of the room and bit my tongue so many times I still talk with a lisp.

I swear, the copier guys still don't get it - but unfortunately, I don't think the prospective client gets it either - so it could be a match made in heaven for someone other than me. No worries.

Day Two - Santa Barbara, California - Initial Client meeting and printer fleet survey -

Ok, this is the "eat your heart out" part.

The drive to this client takes me past the Rose Bowl - yeah, the one you see around New Year's Day when Michigan comes out here and loses. Seeing the stadium always kindles something inside me - I remember watching the Rose Bowl on TV in Michigan looking at the sun and the short sleeves and shots of the bright, warm beach. Then looking out my window at the cold, post-x-mas, snow. LOL!

And then I remember the drives into Detroit or Flint in February - these cold, delayed stress-inducing visions are scattered as the turn in the road reveals the shimmering sunlight dancing off the Pacific Ocean! (yeah, that the Pacific Ocean).

Up the PCH to talk about Managed Print Services. 

The meeting is with all the right people - C-Level, facilities, operations.

During the meeting, I was instructed to "just inventory the fleet, so I can get a handle on what we've got here". Simple.

Same Day - Onward to Diamond Bar

Stopped in to review an Edgeline install. The client is 'stuck in a lease for a Konica - the Konica has never performed to spec, and for the last few months, prints with a "pinkish hue". Unfortunately, most of the reports printed are customer-facing documents reflecting important and revenue-generating information.

The lease has around 20 months on it still and of course, there is no easy way out. So the client is taking the Edgeline and moving the Konica off to the side as a backup that will act as a reminder to never do business with a copier dealer again...delicious.

Day Three - Imperial/El Centro, California. Four miles from the Mexican border.

Driving past the Windmills - you've seen them on MI:3 and many other movies and to the 86. The highway winds through the desert next to the Salton Sea. Point of fact, the Salton Sea was formed by accident; I have never seen swimmers in or boats on the Salton Sea.

I am currently engaged in a study of approximately 30 machines. This is a Mini-Assessment - a partial look at a subset of 400 copiers and nearly 100 single-purpose laser units. At the first look, we may be able to save 10's of thousands of dollars the first month after initiating a program.

Day Four - 210-bed Hospital - Mini Assessment

Meeting with IT director to interview and survey two departments. We end up looking at 4-5 departments and discussing strategy - the appointment takes 3 hours. Interviews with nurses uncover volumes of issues some out of scope but influential on the overall possible Managed Print Services project.

Primary findings indicate an "over-exuberance of selling prowess" in the last copier salesperson's delivery. The current fleet is over spec'd and underutilized - and machines are just too big(physically).

Same Day - The Hurd Meeting
After spending time at a local Starbucks sending emails and making phone calls, I head out to Hollywood(yes, that Hollywood) to meet a colleague before he meets with Mark Hurd and one of my clients.

We decide to meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel(yes...the hotel that inspired the Eagles', Hotel California) in the bar, The Polo Lounge.

Point of Fact: The Beverly Hills Hotel was built before the city and the city was named after the hotel. The hotel is nestled in a residential area and is the heart of the city.

The Polo Lounge is world-famous - with celebs sipping Martini's almost daily.
It's four o'clock in the afternoon - ordering a Martini I ask the bartender to "surprise me" - she delivers the best adult beverage I have had to date - I have no idea what is in it. Prior to walking in, I had never heard of the Polo Lounge - I am such a cad.

My colleague walks in and promptly orders water - oh 0h - I tell him, "don't feel uncomfortable with me drinking a Martini", he responds, "Please don't feel uncomfortable with me ordering water." we laugh and get down to business. We are reviewing the RFQ from our meeting four days ago.

Same Day – After 5

My client’s meeting with Hurd is concluded and as a special treat, one of my peers has invited a select group to accompany him and our client to the Magic Castle. I had heard of this establishment before – lots of magic, exclusive, club members only, great food, and libation.
But before we meet for dinner, my peer inflicts upon our small convoy “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” through the Hollywood hills (Bob Seger). Just when I think all is lost, we pull off into one of those “scenic” view spots. We scramble out, jog up a few steps, and BAM! The view is of the complete L.A. basin.

Starting on the left and rotating clock-wise we first see the Hollywood sign, then Madona’s old house,  Griffith Observatory recently seen in Transformers, the L.A. skyline dominated by The US Bank Tower they blew up in Independence Day, the Capitol Records building that was destroyed by tornadoes in The Day After and over to Century City and Santa Monica the areas destroyed in the movie Volcano.

And now - to the Castle. The dinner was great, the entertainment was world-class and business was discussed – a good time was had by all.

and with that...another week in the life fades to black...Ho Hum…

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