Managed Print Services Provide a Professional Approach to Procuring Output Devices

The domain of Output Devices (copiers, faxes, scanners and multi-purpose devices) – usually referred to as ‘office equipment’ – is often an area of much controversy as it is serviced by many different companies with often divergent agendas and sales philosophies.  When examining the advent of Managed Print Services (MPS) in South Africa, one notices that it offers procurement departments and end-users the option of recruiting the expertise and services of specialists who focus on the entire estate of in-house copier and print facilities.

MPS is a fast growing service, but unfortunately not, as of yet, well understood by the market as it still tends to be confused with office automation. Nevertheless, the buyers of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) equipment are beginning to realise that they have to move away from the traditional approach of hardware procurement and replace it with a more cost efficient and business-oriented approach:  I.e. the object being to satisfy business management and user requirements in such a way that it will reduce costs in a sustainable and measurable manner, and ultimately ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace.

The office, copier and printer industry’s best practices are presently based on what they and the vendors in the industry consider ‘best’ to enable them to achieve their sales targets.  Even the watchdog Gartner’s research points mostly to information based on the details they gain from hardware vendors and service providers, and hence, are skewed in favour of the industry’s sales norms and not necessarily the consumers’ best interests.

During a recent discussion with SmartProcurement on this thorny topic, Jannes du Plooy, Chief Executive Officer of Solution WorX, had this to say:  “In practice we have not found one example where industry’s best practices can be successfully applied.  As such, we apply a client-centric approach and list all the factors that require consideration before deciding what is best for the client and what will enable us to arrive at an accurate TCO assessment.”

Some of the factors that Solution WorX takes in account when assessing an organisation’s output devices include:
The above approach of Solution WorX thus necessitates a detailed analysis of the exact needs of a particular organisation:  “Believe me”, Du Plooy continued, “no two companies or businesses have the same profile.  For example, it should be noted that within a specific organisation the requirements within each building and on each floor might very well, and often does, differ.”

In our next article on this topic we will focus on typical Office Automation Request for Proposal (RFP) vs. Managed Print Services RFP.

Jannes du Plooy can be contacted on the details below:
Telephone:  +27 86 170 5907
Cell:  +27 83 397 7739

** The subject of output devices is one of the topics in SmartProcurement’s host of One-Day Continued Professional Development Events.  In this specific session delegates will be shown how to put the spend category of output devices under the scrutiny of the procurement discipline, by applying the tried and tested yardstick of ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO).  The next One-Day will be held on the 2nd of December in Centurion, Pretoria, and on the 4th of December in the Western Cape.  For more information, please contact Erieka Santos on 086 133 4326 or 083 454 6915, or alternatively e-mail

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