Small and medium sized businesses are becoming more demanding on their technology than ever before.
Unfortunately, however, limited capital resources have traditionally forced these organisations to settle for technology that only just meets their needs, instead of giving them the headroom for growth they need.
With the advent of rental finance and pay-per-page printing however, those challenges have been solved once and for all.
Neil Rom, MD of Printacom, local brand representative and sole-importer for OKI Printing Solutions says these innovations have been pioneered in the printing market by his company’s forward-thinking channel representatives.
“Two years ago, market demand spurred us on to set up a dedicated office automation-centric channel. That new channel brought with it, our first foray into the rental finance and pay-per-print models,” Rom says.
He explains that rental finance agreements are not entirely new –technology companies have over the past five years been phasing these alternative procurement techniques into the mainstream. Pay-per-use models are however an entirely different story.
“This topic is big news at the moment, because it gives customers a more logical way of thinking about and justifying their technology running costs.
“It also gives them a reliable and predictable way of budgeting."
Rom says that a pay-per-use model will generally be used in conjunction with a rental finance agreement. “The latter is around the ownership of the device, where the former is all about maintaining it,” he says.
“Both agreements are generally signed with the same reseller,” he explains, “and in terms of the pay-per-use part of the contract, the reseller will agree to a set fee per printed page (a fee that is calculated on a minimum monthly volume of pages).
“From that point on, the reseller becomes responsible for the replacement of consumables, servicing and support of that unit. If it breaks, the reseller undertakes to repair it and generally provide a replacement unit for the customer to use while their unit is in for repair.
“It’s a truly awesome model – there’s absolutely no burden on the customer.”
Rom does, however, advise that customers make themselves thoroughly aware of certain clauses resident in most pay-per-use contracts. “They’re not there to trip customers up, but rather ensure an equal footing for both customers and their resellers.
“As such, for the duration of the contract, it must be worthwhile for the supplier to service the customer. That’s the reason there’s a minimum monthly volume stated clearly in most contracts. Should the customer not meet this requirement, the reseller may be at liberty to terminate the contract prematurely.”
Other than that one thing, Rom says the pay-per-use model is proving to be a godsend for customers and the channel.
“It’s mutually beneficial,” Rom says. “Customers get cost-efficiency and superior service, while channel partners get annuity revenue. It’s a perfect scenario.”
While Rom says that the outright purchase model is still predominant in the local printer market, he can see that changing.
“The combination of rental finance and pay-per-use makes excellent sense,” he says. “There’s no reason it shouldn’t become one of the preferred routes in years to come,” he says.