Managed print organizations form multi-national alliance

NPSA president Kevin Hiebert

NPSA president Kevin Hiebert

Major managed print services provider alliances in Canada and the United States are coming together to increase their ability to do cross-border business.

Canada-based National Print Services Alliance (NPSA) has announced that it will be working with the U.S.-based National Print Repair Network (NPRN) in a deal that will in effect create a powerful North America-wide block of managed print service providers.

The NPSA has five members across Canada, each with responsibility for an assigned part of the nation, while the NPRN ranks are currently closing in on 50.

For Kevin Hiebert, president of the NPSA and of Mississauga, Ont.-based Cell-a-net Printer Services, that means an opportunity to cash in on a growing trend he’s seeing with managed print customers.

“We’re seeing more and more cross-border interest,” Hiebert said. “Part of what made this really interesting for us is that we’re seeing more and more customers looking at Canada and the U.S. from a network or business perspective as one and the same. We’re seeing more opportunities that have a two-country component to it, and this allows us to get ahead of that.”

The deal will also give the Canadian partner group a window into the state of the managed print market in the U.S., which is generally a few years ahead of the Canadian market when it comes to the adoption of managed print, Hiebert said.

The alliance between the two alliances came about after year of dialogue between the two sides, and an understanding that both parties are seeking to accomplish similar things on different sides of the 49th Parallel. There are some differences to the models of the two organizations, though. While the NPSA has been largely focused on HP’s printing business, Hiebert describes the NPRN’s approach as being more multi-vendor, although still with a heavy HP component. But then, that more accurately mirrors the more long-term vision of the NPSA.

“We’ve been focused on HP because HP has been so supportive to us, but we’re actively seeking other OEMs to work with as well,” Hiebert said.

As part of the deal, the NPSA will deploy the common National Dispatch Portal system already in use by the NPRN, and developed by BEI Services. Hiebert said that at first, it will be only used by NPSA on cross-border opportunities, and NPSA members will use their existing processes to handle business shared amongst members within Canada. But over time, the NPSA expects to move to the common infrastructure across its business.