With budgets decreasing while the need for more resources continues to rise, schools have become more aware of the importance of dealing with reputable firms. Everybody wants a good deal but at what price. It’s good to know you’re dealing with a supplier that you can trust. Companies that are members of a governing body are able to offer that peace of mind.
Whether it is one printer, a fleet of photocopiers or a total document management solution, the procurement process can be time consuming and difficult to prioritise. That is why most education decision makers enlist the help of a photocopier supplier / consultant. However, too few people take time to check the background of the supplier or the contract they are signing which has lead to dire consequences. Horror stories exist where educational establishments has been left with debts in the thousands and in one case over £250,000 due to companies who operate unethically. To combat this, a new governing body called NAPPS (Nationwide Association of Photocopier and Printer Suppliers) has been launched in response to the lack of regulation and standardisation of services which has blighted the educational sector and cost schools and colleges millions of pounds through mis-selling and sub standard service.
Regulating Suppliers The Nationwide Association of Photocopier and Printer Suppliers (NAPPS) is a new industry body launched to regulate the photocopier suppliers market, which will help protect schools, colleges and other educational establishments. NAPPS has been welcomed by NASBM (National Association of School Business Management). Mr Bill Simmonds, Chief Executive has welcomed the initiative and is fully supportive of the aims of NAPPS. Mr Simmons adds, “Following revelations of the nationwide issue of mis-selling of IT equipment leasing agreements to schools, it became evident there was an urgent need to introduce some form of regulation into the sector to protect schools from such mal-practices. When seeking new agreements, we urge our members to take advice from as many sources as possible to safeguard themselves from dealing with un-reputable suppliers.”
He continues, “Any organisation that is working to regulate the services of these suppliers should be welcomed and we support NAPPS in its objectives to introduce an accredited Code of Conduct that will raise standards and help protect the education sector going forward.”
Operating Standards NAPPS will monitor and accredit the operating standards of photocopier and document management companies through its Code of Practice with the aim to provide a collective voice and trusted community of suppliers who will uphold the highest quality of customer delivery.
Photocopier and printer suppliers who sign up to the NAPPS Code of Practice, will make up the growing body of document management companies who are creating increased consumer confidence and assurance of a high quality service. “Our aim is to create a community of suppliers who educational establishments and other customers can believe in and have total peace of mind when working with them,” explains Aaron Warham, director of NAPPS. “As an association, NAPPS is committed to bringing positive ethical change to the photocopier and printer supplier community, so that going forward, schools and colleges working with NAPPS accredited suppliers can rest assured that they are receiving the highest possible standards of customer service from assured companies.”
The NAPPS community provides a ‘pro-business environment, where members, partners and affiliates are encouraged to openly discuss best practice, but never at the expense of the consumer. The NAPPS community is committed to placing the customer at the centre of all operations. Every Member of NAPPS has undergone a rigorous United Kingdom Accreditation Service (who are the sole national accreditation body recognised by government) certified application process.
Applicants must successfully pass this process and agree to the Code of Practice before they can become a member.
NAPPS Top 10 Tips NAPPS pooled the experience and expertise of their membership community to offer you 10 top tips to getting the most from your photocopier supplier. Use this list to secure the best possible deal. Even better, work through the tips with a NAPPS member before you reach a decision.
What to ask before you buy: Whether you need one copier or 100, comparing lease contracts is pretty straightforward. It’s easy to stop there, because comparing the value of service contracts can be challenging to say the least. A reputable supplier should respond favourably when asked the following questions:
Tip 1: Can I have the lease and service contracts separately? The service contract is a key element in your buying decision. Make sure your prospective supplier presents both contracts to you as separate documents. Clarity at this stage is essential.
Tip 2: What’s the service cost per copy? Did you know there was such a thing? Lots of customers don’t. Less reputable suppliers hide the service cost per copy by including it in the total cost per copy, which includes capital for equipment. Always ensure that all proposals state the individual charge per copy for service. Tip 3: What does the service cost per copy cover? The consumables and services included in the service cost per copy vary between suppliers. Make sure what’s included is stated clearly in the service contract.
Tip 4: Will you make additional charges for installation, networking, training, recycling etc? The service cost per copy rarely covers every service or product a supplier offers. This is a good thing as you don’t want to be paying upfront for every eventuality. However it’s vital that you establish what additional costs you might incur and in what circumstances, and that your supplier states this clearly in the service contract.
Tip 5: Are colour photocopier charges by the ‘scan’ or the ‘click’? A colour photocopier creates a colour copy by using 3 colours and black. If your service contract charges colour by the ‘scan’ each colour copy will incur four separate charges. If It’s by the ‘click’ you pay one single charge.
Tip 6: How long is the service contract? Lease agreements tend to run for between three and five years. Regardless of the length your supplier should service and maintain the equipment for the full term of your contract.
Tip 7: Your service contract may commit you to paying for a fixed volume of copies Often calculated monthly or quarterly, only agree to estimated usage if you are confident that it’s an accurate reflection of your schools requirements.
Tip 8: Everything is negotiable If the supplier is prepared to modify the service contract in your favour, go ahead. If not, don’t. Once you have agreed an amendment make sure that you receive it in writing from the supplier’s service director.
Tip 9: Check that the contracted terms match those of the final quote Always ensure that the lease and the service contracts are complete before you sign them. Check that the terms of both contracts match those stated in your suppliers final quote.
Tip 10: Last but not least, check the equipment Make sure that the equipment your supplier delivers exactly matches the equipment listed on your final proposal, together with your lease and service contracts. Confirm that devices fulfill the exact specification you have agreed to.
Further information NAPPS provides a free advisory service for schools. If you have experienced any problems with your current photocopier supplier or would like advice on an upcoming purchase, please feel free to contact the Association or give them a call on 0844 567 2629 or email email@example.com.
You can view the nearest NAPPS certified supplier to your school by visiting the NAPPS website at www.napps.org.uk