August 10, 2021
The use of remanufactured cartridges is considered to be the most sustainable consumables option; for the printer, it is a different story.
In May this year, an MPS dealer took 30 HP LaserJet Enterprise 700 MFP M775 printers out of service at the end of a five-year MPS programme. Collectively the 30 printers had printed 2.8 million pages at the cost of (hardware and OEM consumables) €88,000 ($104,000), or €0.032 per page.
At a recommended (by HP) maximum use of 7500 pages a month, these 30 printers were collectively capable of printing 13.5 million pages over the five years. With a maximum duty cycle of 120,000 pages per month, the printers are robust enough to meet the challenge of printing 13.5 million pages.
Yet at the end of the contract, and capable of printing an additional 10.7 million pages, the MPS provider sold the printers to a used printer dealer for €60 ($70) each. Not a unique situation but a regular one and gives rise to many questions. The first being: Was the original MPS project over-specified and oversold?
An assessment of the printers would have highlighted the low page count, and the MPS contractor could have put an alternative plan in place.
- Replacing the 2 (yes 2) heavily used printers,
- Moving other printers around to even out the number of pages printed.
- 11 devices had printed less than 1000 pages per month, while:
- 3 devices had printed less than 500 pages a month
Changing the strategy
As a business, the first question is: Do you need to change your printers? The answer is simple, check your page counts, and you can quickly calculate how much useful life remains in your printers. You will be surprised how much longer they can continue printing.
The only issues you have to consider are:
- Can you still obtain the consumables?
- Whether you can continue to get spare parts
- Will your operating system supports the printers
The short answer to those questions if you have printers that are five years old or less is yes, yes, and yes, and any printer or IT person will be able to advise on how to keep your printers working.
The sustainable option
Had the organisation continued to use the printers beyond the five-year MPS programme, their costs to print 2.8 million pages (maintenance and OEM consumables) over the next five years would have been €54,000 ($63,000), or €0.02 per page. Switching to remanufactured cartridges and the costs would have reduced to €32,400 ($38,200), or €0.011 per page.
The good old days!
Market share on new printers was governed by the installed base and then by the availability of empty cartridges, and everything was transactional. A new printer with a new cartridge design would see a slow take-up by remanufacturers waiting for empties, toners and OPC’s to become available. The general lack of availability of empties. This gave OEMs an 18 – 24 month virtually free market.
The strategy changes
The introduction of contractual sales (MPS) to lock in the OEM consumables business on a pay per page basis, combined with the introduction of more models and cartridge types, tighter manufacturing and more IP deployed locked in OEM consumables sales and also frustrated reuse. Until dealers realised they could make more margin by using remanufactured consumables in MPS programmes.
At the same time, the market has changed from selling new printers into virgin markets to one where everyone has a printer. Prices of new printers are a lot lower, with an entry-level colour printer retailing for a few hundred euros. This effectively puts a false ceiling on the sales value of reused printers.
Where is the sustainability?
Printers are most often replaced purely based on the age of the machine. If the company bought the printers, they get depreciated over 3, 4 or 5 years and then replaced. If they are part of an MPS programme, they get replaced with new printers at the end of the contract. In comparison, a dealer would value a car according to its physical condition and its mileage. No so for printers.
What sustainability benefit is there in making new printers that will replace in-service printers that can continue printing. Other than to keep the production lines going and manufacturing something that is not needed yet.
Our take on this: Remanufacturers have made tremendous inroads into promoting the sustainability of reused cartridges, yet there is so much life left in used devices that are negated by current market practices to sell off, at almost scrap value, printers that are less than halfway through their useful working life. Unnecessarily changing printers is both a waste of money and bad for the environment.
Categories : World Focus