What you don’t know will cost you money. That was the idea behind the original Ignorance is Risk article we published in 2017. This is true, but the problem with this statement is that the central benefits are often hidden in the form of opportunity costs, soft costs and other items that don’t always make the P&L. Let’s face it, for many of us, if it doesn’t hit the balance sheet it doesn’t matter. That’s also true for most of the imaging channel whether we acknowledge it or not.
In the previous article, we dove into how device data can be used from a sales standpoint to mine for new opportunities and create better dialogue with customers. If we’re not observant, we might look past the role that data analytics plays in driving additional sales and simply credit the growth in topline revenue to better sales effort. Overlooking the role of data in service dispatch and supply fulfillment is much more difficult when it comes to creating efficiencies rather than opportunities.
Spoiler Alert: The content of this post should not be groundbreaking and the concepts I’m going to discuss should be commonplace in our industry today. The fact that they are not demonstrates a lack of education in the channel. In the same way we would be critical of FedEx or UPS for not using air transport in 2018, we should also be somewhat self-critical for not using the technology available to us in the form of remote monitoring.
Supply fulfillment is the great golden egg of the industry. As Uncle Eddy in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation says, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.” Protecting this recurring revenue stream is a priority for every print reseller. How does having a remote monitoring solution in place help protect this?
- Remote monitoring solutions provide a record of successful supply swaps. It’s valuable to know that when you ship a supply it’s replaced in a timely fashion in the correct device. There are countless stories about customers stockpiling supplies for use in other devices, over-ordering supplies and simply wasting supplies. If you’ve spoken with your customers about ordering supplies when they ‘need’ them, make sure they actually need them. When you ship a cartridge and subsequently see the swap, you get valuable confirmation that the supply went into the device intended.
- Remote monitoring solutions provide a record of unauthorized supply swaps—swaps that take place without a preceding supply shipment. It’s equally valuable to know when a supply that you didn’t ship goes into a device. This is true whether the customer is purchasing on a per transaction basis or cost per page basis. Knowledge of unauthorized swaps can help quickly identify issues in the program or alert you to competition. If you don’t have visibility into the swaps, you risk shipping too much ink/toner on the cost per page or losing out to a competitor on the transaction.
- Remote monitoring solutions enable proactive supply fulfillment. Most distributors currently offer this capability and have been for years, but many dealers still don’t take advantage of this technology and instead wait for customers to let them know when a supply is low. If you or your distributor don’t have visibility into supplies consumption, you risk shipping too early or worse, too late.
In many ways, service dispatch is still uncharted territory for connected data. Many dealers still rely on the customer to trigger a service call. Some providers have taken the step to connect their remote monitoring solution to their helpdesk to streamline service management. Some of the benefits to this solution include:
- Timely notifications of machines that are down or performing poorly. Knowing a machine is having an issue prior to your customer letting you know is tremendously valuable in that it makes you instantly proactive and helps diagnose the problem quicker.
- Understanding which devices may require preventative maintenance. When you can see the entire fleet, you can provide service for multiple devices with one trip. The same way consolidating supplies shipments saves money, giving a service technician the foresight to service multiple devices on one call can do the same.
- Remotely manage some devices. When PrintFleet launched DCA Pulse2 featuring HP Smart Device Services, it provided the option to not only monitor but also to reboot the device remotely. Having a link to the device will continue to be more and more significant as this functionality evolves and will create a number of efficiencies for everyone in the service chain.
Before you dismiss this article as a shameless plug for PrintFleet, I ask that you treat this piece of remote monitoring advocacy as encouragement to simply embrace the full potential of the remote monitoring technology available to us. Think of it this way: if you didn’t have a vehicle and you walked into a car dealership, they would recommend a car over a horse or bicycle. Any automobile is going to be an upgrade over not having one at all.
Use the technology that is available to you to create more visibility within your customer environments, because what you don’t know will end up costing you. Download our free DCA Pulse Whitepaper Series to learn more about the latest in remote monitoring technology.
For a more comprehensive look at how a remote monitoring tool can benefit you and your customers, check out the following blog post: