This guest blog was contributed by Sarah Henderson

My mind replayed a classic Pink Floyd song recently when a dealer sales manager informed me pretty bluntly that he knows everything there is to know about MPS and that nothing new is being said or published that is of interest to him.

It is not uncommon for me to receive calls from individuals in the industry who need to vent or share their frustrations about MPS, so I took his comment with a grain of salt. Yet he made an interesting point: He believes many of his peers may be skipping some events or not reading industry articles closely because of MPS information fatigue or, even worse, truly believing there is nothing new to be learned.

Two days later I received an email from this same person asking me about the session “The Risk Matrix for MPS: Understanding the Importance of Risk Management” that I will be presenting at the Managed Print Summit during the Business Imaging Expo in Las Vegas on Dec. 10. His subject line exclaimed “NEW MPS CONTENT!?!” and he wanted to know exactly what I would be presenting. I was not willing to give him the content I have yet to present, so my reply was more focused on my personal approach to MPS education.

Thanks to this sales manager and other valued business partners, I consider myself a MPS learning practitioner. In fact, my favorite conversations include statements of frustration where a customer says, “I wish West Point could just do … ” because what follows is where the learning begins! We have candid discussions about pain points in implementation, sales or marketing strategies gone haywire. And when someone is really being honest, we discuss contracts that didn’t perform to the anticipated margin.

That is why I write and blog, and with each new industry event, I create new educational content gleaned from all of you: my valued peers, customers, the MPSA board members and industry partners. As this business model of MPS has grown and continues to evolve, topics of great passion are helping my customers understand the risk inherent to the constructing of the pricing as well as to contract management. This content comes directly from my daily work on the Axess MPS program, often deconstructing previously sold CPP-based contracts that dealers provide me when they are at the point of giving up. I work with them to understand how to make an individual deal more profitable and avoid those same pitfalls going forward.

We learn and grow together, and in that spirit, I am thrilled, in addition to the Managed Print Summit session, to moderate a dealer panel during the education sessions at Business Imaging Expo in Las Vegas on Dec. 12 titled “Ask the Experts: Leaders Share Their Strategies for Profitable MPS.” For this panel I have asked an old friend and two new ones to share with others what they have learned along the way. I wanted some fresh faces and new perspectives to help lead this discussion, including a business owner who started from scratch within the past few years. While I enjoy being a moderator and asking some pointed lead-off questions, I also look forward to what the audience will bring forth as I learn along with you.

All in all, each event is just another brick in the wall, but we have been building a business model that Photizo Group estimates will capture 70 percent of the North American office printing output by 2015. Can you really afford to sit on the sidelines and not embrace MPS or work to grow your program? When was the last time you took time out to learn? Events are where the ideas are sparked, questions are posed, and networking is valued. I take MPS education seriously and invest the time to bring something of value each time I am privileged to present. All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall too, so join us, and let’s all learn together.

Sarah Henderson

Sarah Henderson is Director, MPS Operations, for West Point Products. In this role, she plans, develops and manages the implementation of MPS programs and key infrastructure tools for multiple channels in North America through the Axess program. Since joining West Point, she has helped launch the industry-leading MPS TCO costing calculator, national service dispatch center, comprehensive MPS SalesPro training, and a full-service MPS delivery model for resellers. Henderson serves on the board of the MPSA and was named one of the Top 40 Most Influential People in the Imaging Industry by The Week in Imaging. Henderson’s background includes more than seven years in the imaging industry, with hands-on experience assisting dealers in implementing MPS and marketing strategies. Prior to joining West Point Products, Henderson was Director, Strategic Marketing, for the Office Equipment Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services.