The Business Of Efficient Customer Service

Brian Dullea

By Brian Dullea

Founded in 1945, Factory Motor Parts is a multi-generational family business based in Eagan, Minnesota, that provides premium original equipment and name brand automotive parts to professional service centers, dealerships, fleets and wholesale customers. Their 125 locations serve markets across the United States in the Midwest, Mountain States, Southwest and the West Coast, including Alaska, with 15 locations in Minnesota.

The Challenge:

Factory Motor Parts (FMP), a 72-year-old Minnesota-based national automotive parts supply business, was searching for a way to streamline and simplify the process of buying, repairing and maintaining almost 550 printers at 125 locations across the country. Because functional printers are vital for their retail business, their process involved keeping a new printer in storage at each location so that if one broke down, they plugged the new one in and shipped the malfunctioning device to a Minnesota repair center. Sometimes the Factory Motor Parts technical team wasn’t notified a spare had been put into use, so it wasn’t replaced and the next time a breakdown occurred it was an emergency situation trying to quickly find a replacement.

Toner orders were made from each location at their discretion, which oft en left thousands of dollars in spare toner in inventory across the country. Others would forget to place orders and run out, causing print jobs to be transferred to other printers.

“We had no good way to keep track of our printer units or our cost per print. Our locations had no technical or repair support when a printer failed, forcing us to keep extras at each location at a significant cost. We were purchasing printers from four diff erent vendors depending on the lowest cost at the time, which created more work for our accounts payable team as well,” explained Brian Dullea, Factory Motors Parts technical solutions specialist, who was instrumental in choosing and implementing a PrintVision program. “We needed team members at all our locations to focus on selling and moving parts, not on keeping the printers working.”

The Solution:

Loffler’s PrintVision team conducted a detailed analysis of FMP’s printing environment, costs and processes, and offered a cost per copy solution that included toner, technical support, service and maintenance for every location. Quarterly reviews provide print volumes and total fleet management reports, producing total cost of print ownership records.

Almost 550 printers were replaced with just under 400 in a right-sizing adjustment. Invoicing from five different vendors was consolidated to one. All maintenance is now conducted onsite at each location, with an average four-hour response time from dedicated local repair technicians.

Loffler’s PrintVision team monitors supply use and automatically ship supplies when needed. An online customer portal provides a proactive line of sight into all service activity with live, real-time data for the Factory Motor Parts team.

The Results:

In addition to a reduced cost of ownership for hardware, maintenance, supplies and support reaching more than $75,000 per year, the benefits of PrintVision save time and make work processes more efficient. Usage is monitored and toner auto-shipped when supplies are low so locations no longer have to manage toner inventory. “We had no idea how much was being kept in stock and whether it was being managed well,” Dullea commented. “We don’t have money sitting on shelves in toner and backup printer inventory all across the country anymore.”

Quarterly reports detail exact costs per page to print as well as the level of usage on each device, allowing for ongoing right-sizing and usage analysis.

Service calls from any location are made directly to Loffler, freeing up the IT team to focus on highervalue projects. Workflow and work load processes for purchasing agents and accounts payable workers were streamlined with one payment to one vendor.

Managed Print Services helps organizations cut print costs, reduce their carbon footprint and improve basic business processes. This unified approach to the management of hard copy print devices such as printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines includes an assessment, right-sizing, proactive management, and on-going optimization of the printing and imaging environment. The solution includes:

• Nationwide service and support.

• 24-hour online customer service portal.

• Automated supply fulfillment.

• Automated meter readings.

• All parts and labor.

• Live reporting of service and printer activity.

• Right-sizing recommendations.

• On-going review of program benefits.

• Toner recycling.

• Web-based data collection tool.

The Decision:

“The cost was basically the same for our two final choices for a print solution, but we felt most comfortable with the fact that Loffler was a local presence that went above and beyond what a lot of companies do to earn our business. We don’t want to call a corporate giant for support; we want to email or call people we know will help. Loffler has been impressive from day one and especially after the sale.” – Brian Dullea, technical solutions specialist, Factory Motor Parts

Implementation:

Loffler configured, shipped and installed 386 printers at 125 locations across the United States in two weeks.

Before the printers were shipped from Loffler’s warehouse they were prepared and equipped with processes that included:

• Updated firmware

• Configured passwords

• Changed font pitch

• Turned off banner page(s)

• Added a Loffler tag

• Changed carriage return

Factory Motors Parts has a busy technical solutions team of five people supporting their locations, so having every printer ready to “plug and play” was a tremendous help. Since the installation of new printers, help desk calls have decreased significantly, and are seldom related to printer issues.

“Loffler really listened to us and did what we asked. When we had specific, customized requests, Loffler said, ‘Yes, that makes sense; we can do it.’ A large company just would not do that. Loffler is big enough to do whatever we need them to do, but small enough to listen.”