LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lexmark Global Services is a little known group inside of Lexmark International Inc. that dealt predominantly with large enterprise customers. In the last six months, it has been engaging with U.S.-based resellers with a new offering called Lexmark Fleet Manager.

According to company CEO Paul Curlander, Lexmark Fleet Manager will be made available to the Canadian channel and all other major regions sometime this year.

Currently Fleet Manager is only available to the American channel, but the company is rolling it out to other regions. Partner training and certification for these regions has not been complete, said Paul Rooke, Lexmark executive vice-president and president of the printing solutions and services division.

“We packaged this to partners for them to sell. We added some extra functionality to make it easier for them. We started in the U.S., but we are working to extend this to other geographies. We are training partners currently so that they can be certified on these tools,” he said.

Fleet Manager consists of availability services such as electronic device monitoring, detection and diagnosis. Also part of the mix is consumables management, which automates toner usage and notifies you when supplies are needed.

“Fleet manager fills in the gaps in the SMB,” said Marty Canning, vice-president and GM, printing solutions and services division marketing and North American for Lexmark.

“This new offering gives the channel a chance to resell to customers the same set of services that have been successful for us in Lexmark Global Services. They will still retain the interfacing with the customer,” he said.

Lexmark Global Services currently managed billions of pages for its customers in 28 different countries, Canning added.

Rooke said that these tools are not regular fleet management tools such as desktop management software and other help desk tools.

“These tools (give channel partners) the ability to assess multiple sets of locations and users in one tool. You can see the whole set up of a customer and its assets,” Rooke said.

One U.S.-based channel partner has used Fleet Manager to help out an insurance company with consumables problems.

Western Southern Life Insurance’s colour ink costs were spiraling out of control, Canning said. The company’s 2,100 licensed users were printing internal financial and other word processing documents in colour. They also had to deal with field professionals in 181 offices throughout 23 states.

With channel partner OM Plus Technologies, it developed a software solution for Western Southern Life that only prints colour documents that go to customers.

The insurance provider saved more than US$200,000 in its first year and will realize cost savings of about US$700,000 over the three-year contract period.

Rooke said Fleet Manager gives partners an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market place.

“These tools manage consumables and with optimization services this can be quite lucrative and very profitable (for the channel),” Rooke said.

He could not pinpoint potential margins, but categorized them as “big”.

For Lexmark Fleet Manager is an avenue for the company to expand its business in the SMB segment.

“There is no way that Lexmark can cover the entire market. We need help and that is why we are offering this to the channel,” Rooke said.

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca

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