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.
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.
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?