There’s an old saying about services, “People don’t want a drill. They want a hole.”

Unless someone needs a lot of holes, buying the drill may not make sense.

Xerox is taking a similar attitude towards printers with its new managed print services (MPS).

With MPS, Xerox is moving partners from being primarily printer salespeople to service professionals. The goal is to make printing operations within the customer’s company more productive, reduce their total printing costs, and increase partner revenue – even if fewer printers are actually sold.

Managed print services can include:

  • Conduct a thorough, up-front assessment to analyze customer’s current printing infrastructure.
  • Monitor, manage and optimize customer’s total print output environment, end to end, regardless of printer brand.
  • Provide a roadmap to reduce the number and types of printing devices and supplies while meeting the needs of customer business.
  • Proactively identify and solve potential printing problems and replenish supplies before employees are affected.
  • Reduce environmental footprint through printing less paper, consuming less energy, generating fewer greenhouse gases and keeping waste out of landfills.
  • Training employees for a smooth transition so they are more productive and satisfied

And much more.

When people say that the U.S. is moving toward being a service economy, they often are thinking of industries like hospitality, fast food, fitness, transportation, and healthcare. Many of these industries have low paying jobs.

But with B2B services and some personal professional services the pay can be very good. There are hugely successful services firms in IT, consulting, custom manufacturing, financial services, marketing and advertising, and many other industries. For years IBM’s consulting services has been its fastest growing division. These services often turn into recurring revenue relations with companies.

Custom and professional services can be very good businesses, even for traditional equipment and manufacturing companies, if they’re solving the customer’s real problem.