Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Cloud?

Technology is really amazing these days.   I’ve sold office equipment for many years and I’m convinced that 2012 will be the year we see technology such as Smartphone’s, Kindle’s, and iPad’s affecting the way I approach my customers.   Why…. Because of the Cloud.

Two years ago my neighbor, who works at a large software company in Washington, told me he was working on the “Cloud” project.  He explained that the “Cloud” was virtual servers that would replace traditional servers that business’s typically own and maintain on site.  That seemed cool to me but not too impactful to my approach to business.  I was mistaken.

What is most exciting to me about this major shift in business document needs is that Xerox is in the best position to help customers solve the Cloud Document Puzzle.   The Northwest Group (CTX, QBSI) has the best professional services team to help navigate through the security, network, software and hardware business objectives for organizations in the Northwest.  

Bring on 2012 …with technology and the Northwest Group with workflow optimization.  I can’t wait!

-Meredith : Major Account Manager

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Northwest Group Customer Care Center

In 2009, we recognized the need for faster remote support so the Northwest Group implemented the Customer Care Center.  This resource is comprised of certified IT specialists who are trained on a variety of technology solutions including hardware, software and network infrastructure.   With our CCC, we are able to provide our customer base instant response to daily issues involving print, scan, and fax. 

As our customer base continues to grow, so does our call volume. A top priority for the NWG remains to be finding more efficient methods to get our customers up and running again. When you place a service call at CTX, QBSI or Pinnell, you will speak with our CCC support who will immediately try to remedy the situation remotely.   Using state-of-the-art technology, we are able to remotely connect to your computer to see exactly what you are experiencing.  If after this remote session, we feel an onsite technician is required, then one will be dispatched to your office.  With this process in place, we have seen a 33% reduction in our onsite technician requests, simply because most issues are being resolved remotely.  This has been a tremendous relief for our customers who simply don’t have to be down very long and can continue with their day-to-day business. 

When you call us, we are your neighbors, we understand your needs and we know that you also need to stay productive and your device is a large part of that.  So give us a call and experience the terrific support from our Customer Care Center!

- Kristopher: Customer Care Center Manager

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Good Old Days

Many people my age are nostalgic for "The Good Old Days". For office equipment, however, the good old days are now. 

As a service technician, I have seen tremendous change both in processes and in the equipment over the last 25 years.

When I started in 1984, a typical service call took twice as long as it does today, while generating much more waste per click.

It was common for large production machines to have maintenance intervals of 20-30k. This would be like having your car serviced (for 4-6 hours at a time) every week or every 1000 miles.

Back in the day, many copiers used liquid toner. This is as bad as it sounds. The liquids were flammable and VERY toxic. Many unscrupulous individuals simply poured this hydrocarbon cocktail into the sewer to dispose of it. In today's society that would never be allowed.

Office equipment today is cleaner, easier to repair, and runs more reliably. For the end user, the future is even brighter. The machines themselves have more productivity increasing features than ever before.

They have incorporated the technology that previously was only available in commercial printing equipment into every day document production, allowing end users to often times fix an issue without waiting for technical assistance.

Xerox has also made a real commitment to the future. From the reduction of hazardous materials in manufacturing (RoHS) to the implementation of the ColorQube family and it's Solid Ink Technology, Xerox has shown an impressive and innovative environmental focus.

And to the future that my 5 year old granddaughter will one day inherit, with companies like the Northwest Group (CTX, QBSI and Pinnell) and Xerox working hand-in-hand, it can only get better.

- Mark: Senior Service Technician

Monday, December 5, 2011

Do You Know How Much You Spend?

Managed print is one of the last unaudited expenses in the office place according to CFO Magazine. According to the article, “most companies have no idea how much they spend”, (CFO Magazine, May 2008). You may say to yourself, “Yes, but that article was printed over three years ago. It is no longer relevant.”

OK. Then how much do you spend on printing? If you can’t answer that relatively quickly then it is still relevant today.

What is managed print? It can mean different things to different people. To the Northwest Group (CTX and QBSI), it includes all related expenses and opportunity costs related to putting an image on a piece of paper. Clearly that includes the cost of toner, the cost of the device, and the cost of maintenance. How about the cost of shipping toner or the cost of paying a person to manage the flow of supplies? Money is spent on these peripheral costs as well and should be included in the assessment.

The Northwest Group likes to work from this Managed Print Services (MPS) value statement: “NWG Managed Print Services reduces the amount of time, money, and resources spent on your printer fleet. By allowing us to manage your fleet more efficiently, you can spend your resources on more revenue generating investments.”

Companies have their own culture and way of doing things. NWG honors that by keeping the terms and conditions of our MPS agreement open. We tailor your experience within the program to meet your needs and to fit within your culture. Do you already donate empty toner cartridges to a local non-profit which then allows under-privileged people to keep a job?  Great, we will support that. If not, maybe we can direct you towards one or at least introduce you to our recycling program to help keep Oregon and Washington green.

I invite you to look into your print environment and see what is there. You may be surprised.

- Daniel: Managed Print Services Director