In Part 1 of this three-part series, we covered the evolution of Predictive Service.
Part 2 covers the key benefits of Flo-Tech’s Alert Management System, the level of service that sets the stage for Predictive Service.
Devices today are capable of reporting all kinds of information. For instance, let’s say you’re low on paper or toner. Or perhaps there’s a paper jam or some kind of error code.
If you were to turn on alerts for a single device, throughout one day you could potentially receive 10–50 (or even more) notifications from that device telling you what its status is.
Can you imagine turning on alerts for a fleet of 100 devices (or even 1,000 devices)?
Can you imagine how quickly you would become inundated with alerts? You’d soon shut them off, right? And that’s what customers tend to do.
So when a customer calls us, we ask them: “Have you turned on your HP Web Jetadmin alerts?” Many of them say, “Yes, we did—but we turned them off within an hour because the alerts were overpowering us.”
With all those alerts happening, customers feel like they’re drinking from a fire hose!
But there is a way out. The solution? Flo-Tech’s Alert Management System (AMS).
Alert Management System
AMS is a platform that can be used to remotely monitor a customer’s printing and imaging fleet. It’s designed to recognize the failure of a device and react faster than end users. AMS is also designed to tie seemingly unassociated events together (e.g., error patterns) and thereby predict some device failures, such as paper jams.
The most important thing to remember about AMS is that it’s truly machine-to-machine communication—there is no human involvement. It does everything in an automated fashion; that means a service tech can be dispatched without any human intervention.
Let’s go behind the scenes and look at the five key benefits of AMS.
1. Email alerts
With AMS, you can set up your network devices to send all email alerts to the AMS server via email. That means it’s highly efficient and doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth on the customer’s network. In fact, AMS receives 500,000 emails a month from customer devices, generating over six million data points a year for fact gathering.
When alerts are received at the AMS server, many action items can be accomplished. The easiest item is an email notification. With AMS, we’re able to email the customer with a message saying, “Hi, Joe. The printer on the fourth floor in Conference Room B is running low on toner. You can change it now.”
The best part about email alerts? They are customizable—right down to the level of the serial number of any device. So whenever the CEO’s office says that its machine is jammed, AMS is flexible enough to send an email every time that machine jams.
Again, in this instance, we’re not servicing the device, we’re just notifying the customer.
2. Dispatch technicians
Whenever an alert occurs, AMS can dispatch a technician—24/7. Once AMS sees an alert, it creates a call in our system automatically—saving customers time and money.
3. Watch List
The next thing AMS can do is to put a device on the Watch List. For example, take the classic paper jam.
The Watch List is unique in that most customer environments have multiple people printing to a network printer. Imagine there are five people associated with a particular device. And over a couple of days, each of those five people experiences a paper jam—but no one places a service call for repairs.
With AMS, each paper jam is recorded. Because of the first paper jam, the device is put on the Watch List. On the third instance of error, AMS automatically creates a ticket so that anyone can investigate the paper path issues within that device.
AMS dashboards give us visual displays that show the performance of specific devices.
For instance, let’s say a customer wants to see all the devices that are in the “low toner” state. By looking at the dashboard, we can instantly tell which devices need servicing; yellow would highlight a device that had been in a low toner state for longer than an hour; red would indicate that a device had been in a low toner state for more than three hours.
5. Database (reports)
All alerts go into the AMS database, and those alerts are used for analytics and statistics.
Two scenarios: without AMS and with AMS
Here’s a typical scenario without AMS: Imagine there’s a maintenance kit alert and the customer doesn’t replace the maintenance kit. (The customer didn’t pay attention to the alarm.) Eventually, the customer has an image quality problem.
So the customer calls the service provider and says, “We have an image quality problem.” The service provider sends a technician. The tech will get there at some point in time—it could be upwards of eight hours.
When the tech arrives on-site, the tech may—or may not—have the necessary parts on hand to fix the device right the first time. If the tech doesn’t fix the device right the first time, the tech has to go back again—and the device is still down.
The same scenario with AMS
With AMS, a service call is created before the event even happens. Because we’re monitoring the maintenance kit, we’ve prevented the image quality from ever getting out of hand because we already sent the technician out.
In most cases, the only downtime the customer sees is the actual repair time—an industry average of one hour.
- Creates a “closed loop” communication system, reducing chaos
- Reduces printer support requirements
- Creates service tickets automatically
- Reduces the volume of help desk calls
- Reduces labor, overhead and personnel costs
- Bypasses people and reduces the time needed to correct problems
- Alerts clients through email
- Improves device availability and customer productivity through Watch Lists
- Fixes problems the first time—techs arrive with the right parts
Now that we’ve explored reactive, preventative and AMS services, are you ready to explore the next evolution in managed print services…Predictive Service?
That’s coming up in the next part, Predictive Service [Part 3]: How to Reduce Device Downtime by 80% (or more).
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