It wasn’t long after Sept. 11, 2001 that Santo Mascarella knew his printing volumes were going to change.

As manager of printing solutions at CAE Inc., Mascarella oversees the purchase of equipment that is used by most, if not all of the flight simulator specialist’s 4,000 employees.

When

he began negotiating a contract for a new fleet of multi-function printer/copier/fax machines, therefore, he wanted to move away from the traditional arrangement, whereby customers are charged a minimum fee based on the expected amount of pages printed.

The aerospace industry’s overall decline once the war on terror began meant CAE needed a contract that would change as the market changes.

“”Everything is nice as long as (your business) is going like the stock market — up and up and up,”” he says. “”When it gets a little slow, you’re not printing.””

Though CAE had used products from Kodak and most recently Xerox, Mascarella settled on 45 multi-function devices from Canon Canada.

These include Canon’s imageRunner 105, the imageRunner 2200, the imageRunner 2800, the imageRunner 3300, and the imageRunner5000.

Under the terms of the agreement, CAE only pays Canon a lease fee if the company isn’t printing, which means the company is no longer paying for printing it hasn’t actually done.

Vital Belanger, Canon Canada’s director of sales, Eastern region, says CAE represents a growing number of corporate customers rethinking their long-term printing strategies.

“”Any customer of this size may see some changes over time,”” he says. “”Certainly there’s some flexibility in our deal.””

The flexibility isn’t just in the contract, according to Mascarella. Like many businesses, CAE has moved some of its business processes from manual to electronic, but that doesn’t mean its printing needs have gone down.

In the past, for example, blueprints and drawings used to make equipment for CAE’s civil or military aviation customers were hard-copied from the original or from microfilm.

For the last few years, however, business unit managers frequently print off drawings for a meeting, throw them out afterward and then re-print them as required.

He says the same holds true for more basic print jobs.

“”The paper has gone down, but not quite as much as we expected,”” he says.

“”Before, if we had a proposal, the project manager would go to the print room, hand them a document and the print room would print 50 copies to distribute via internal mail.

“”Now, the project manager could either go onto an MFP (multi-function) 5000, scan it, put a group name on it and e-mail it to everybody.””

Due to the confidential nature of some customer’s documents, as part of its solutions, Canon includes software that allows users to electronically send a file to a multi-function device, but it won’t print until they go to the machine and entered a personal password.

Belanger says the evolution of security features such as this will be one of the main areas that differentiates multi-function products in the future.

“”The equipment and manufacturing is a pretty mature business,”” he says. “”In order to win all the major battles, it’s certainly the solution-providing (that will win new corporate clients).””

Eighteen of the Canon machines CAE purchased are printer-copiers and four have fax-capabilities included. Twenty also have scanning capability.

While the use of multi-function devices means putting all your print jobs in one basket, Mascarella says he hasn’t had any problems adapting to an all-in-one device.

“”If it’s the feeding mechanism, the engine still runs,”” he says.

“”It’s only when the engine is down that you won’t be able to print and copy.””

Mascarella says his maintenance plan will consist of conducting reviews of the machines every six months and, depending on the volumes produced at various business units within CAE, he may rotate them.

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