Published Monday 22nd June 2020

In my previous letters we’ve questioned the conventional wisdom guiding firms’ real estate strategies and their emerging plans for returning to the office. This week it’s time for us to turn to one of the practicalities.

We need to talk about Kevin.

Kevin is a seasoned professional. For 20 years he’s been selling photocopiers, or using the more modern sales parlance – “managed print solutions”.
Kevin is worried. Kevin has been unable to sleep at night.

Covid 19 has killed Kevin’s Golden Goose; for years Kevin has made a good living from photocopier service contracts with minimum print volumes. Just imagine for a moment all that lovely commission being paid on a regular basis – emanating from clients paying a minimum sum each quarter regardless of how much or how little they’ve printed.

Then imagine how little they’ve printed over the last quarter – how little they may print over the next quarter, and the following quarter. And then consider whether they’d ever enter into a minimum volume agreement ever again. Some of them may even ask for a rebate…
You can see why Kevin’s bleary-eyed.

Nevertheless, Kevin hasn’t got where he is today without being resourceful; he knows how important it is to be pro-active, and to lead his clients in the correct direction to maximise his margin.

How about a “lease payment holiday”?

How about a “mid-contract review to save you money”?

Best not to mention that the agreement you’ll sign will refinance your whole photocopier fleet for another 3 or 5 years and retain machines for another 3 or 5 years that may be over halfway through their design life.

Best to ignore the reality of the post-Covid19 office and leave yourself unable to make the agile changes to your working practices that working from home or social distancing in the office may demand.

Certainly don’t mention the £five or even £six-figure hit your firm will take.

Extreme? Well, no.

Our Managed Print team have been receiving several of these sugar-coated trojan horse Proposals for weeks now. In every single case our clients would be placed at a significant disadvantage.

We can understand suppliers being commercial at this challenging time. But any Proposal needs to be seen in the context of your current and new abnormal needs.
Kevin doesn’t understand this.

To paraphrase Kevin in the movie of the same name “Why would I not understand the context? I am the context.”

If you’d prefer an independent review of your current arrangements and future needs, then our Print Management team is on hand for a free no obligation chat on Zoom or Teams.

And look out for Kevin, if he hasn’t been knocking yet during Lockdown – then it won’t be long.

Until next time.

Any resemblance to photocopier salesmen named Kevin, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. However, the events referred to are entirely factual.