HP sees managed print momentum with OfficeJet Pro X

HP says the OfficeJet Pro X, its first enterprise inkjet based on its PageWide array, the company says it's overcoming MPSP's concerns about ink.

HP OfficeJet Pro X

HP OfficeJet Pro X

It’s been more than a year since HP introduced the OfficeJet Pro X family of printers, business-focused inkjet printers that it touts as being faster to print and cheaper to operate than the laser printers with which it largely competes.

Given that value proposition, it makes sense that HP saw managed print – a sales motion largely focused on the same general office printing jobs for which the OfficeJet Pro X was designed – as a primary route to market for its new product. But with the launch, HP faced one of the same challenges with managed print service providers that it faced with prospective customers for the OfficeJet Pro X – would they buy into the concept of ink in the enterprise? The answer, thus far, appears to be yes.

“[Managed print service providers] view this product as a game-changer. When you think about MPS, it comes down to cost per copy in many cases,” said Andy Binder, general manager of enterprise ink at HP. “[The OfficeJet Pro X] lets them reduce customer cost and simultaneously improves their margins. Not many products can say that, and many MPS partners are embracing it.”

Binder said for “contractual” customers (customers under managed print agreements fall into this bucket), the printer is attractive because of its low cost of delivery – cost of acquisition is comparable to its laser counterparts, while cost per age is significantly lower. The fact that it spits out pages at twice the rate of its competitors is a nice bonus, but doesn’t necessarily fit into the bottom-line focus of managed print. The printer is the first to bring HP’s PageWide Array inkjet printing technology – where it runs a page through a column of inkjet nozzles as wide as the page itself, allowing the page to simply roll over the nozzles rather than requiring the printhead to move back and forth over the page. The result is an increase in print speed, and a jump in reliability that positively impacts the TCO story for the printer, and for managed print service providers, lower cost of operation and maintenance translate directly into better margins.

“We’ve been most successful in the contractual space [with the OfficeJet Pro X] because of this simple value proposition,” Binder said.

Binder made the comments on a recent tour through its inkjet facilities in Corvallis, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, where tech and print industry press were shown the research and development, planning, and testing facilities that developed the PageWide array and the ink that goes with it.

The PageWide array was originally introduced with HP’s web press products, and then brought down into the desktop/departmental space with the OfficeJet ProX. The company ha also showed off a modular approach to PageWide that it says will allow it to get the technology into large-format printers in the near future, and ultimately, it seems clear that the technology will become HP’s standard across at least the high end of its inkjet lineup.

“We believe the simplicity of the PageWide array will make it the lowest price platform for years to come,” Binder said of the technology.

Because it was running against laser, which is associated with long-lived consumables and reliability, those measures were key when developing the product. The company demonstrated its testing that led to up to 200,000 pages printed with no jams or misfeeds, and Binder said they tested twice the number of units and found half the defects compared to laser products.

“We met every test you would do on a LaserJet on this product,” he said.

The company is also touting the OfficeJet Pro X as a way to do “greener” printing. Compared to a Lexmark laser printer – for some reason, HP seems loath to put the OfficeJet Pro X head-to-head with its own LaserJet products – the company says the inkjet uses about 90 per cent less energy due to the lack of the need for a fuser, and produces 5.9 pounds of waste when it comes to consumables over 75,000 pages, compared to 57 pounds of waste for the same volume of pages printed on the laser.