Resellers need to add more consultation to printer sales, according to manufacturer Lexmark. But VARs are worried they could do all the work only to be undercut.
Lexmark claims that businesses have little control over their printing costs and that more than half of printers are under-used, with as much as 30 per cent overlap between devices.
Eamon Ryan, vice-president for Lexmark's EMEA printing solutions and services division, said resellers must offer advice on ways of managing printing, including managed services, consumables management, and asset tracking and workflow assessment services.
"They can no longer just be box shifters," said Kevin Spinks, Lexmark's SME director.
But Mark Bayliss, senior product manager, printing and imaging division at reseller Integrex, said resellers will be reluctant to do all the leg work, only to risk a company such as Dell stepping in. Dell and Lexmark signed a deal to work together on printers in September 2002.
Bayliss said: "We always said we were not happy with the alliance, but believed Dell would be rebadging only the low-end models and not the full range.
"We are proactive and show customers how they can install better solutions and how to make savings. After we have done all the hard work, which could take months, there is nothing to stop us being undermined by Dell offering the same printer at a lower cost because it can bundle it with its PCs."
Jason Harcourt, analyst at Context, said: "Dell is signing other partnerships with companies such as Samsung and Xerox. With smaller companies, resellers may do all the donkey work and not win the business."
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