A printer is more than a piece of hardware, it is the heart of your business. If it goes down, everything stops.
In a world governed by Murphy’s Law—everything that can go wrong, will—it makes sense to protect your investment. "With hardware, it’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when," says Mike Bisson, customer service manager, Mutoh America, Inc.
Most wide and grand format printers come with a standard one-year warranty on parts and service with the purchase price. Many vendors offer fee-based service plans for added protection in the event the printer goes down. For Chino Hills, CA-based M2 Display Graphics, buying extended service contracts for their Océ Arizona 250GT flatbed printer and 9090 eco-solvent printer was a no-brainer. "It’s like life insurance," says Ashur Mooshiabad, president, M2 Display Graphics. "I don’t plan on it dying tomorrow, but it’s good to have a policy" all the same.
Mooshiabad explains that his decision to purchase extended service stemmed from a previous experience, when out-of-warranty equipment broke down and repair costs skyrocketed. "Now, my people can pick up the phone and get issues resolved quickly." He was particularly keen on extending the service agreement on the Océ Arizona 250GT flatbed. "A printer of that high quality needs to be well maintained. I bought the first unit they delivered to the U.S. It was new technology and I wanted to be protected."
Mosshiabad used entitlements in his contract for several minor issues, but says he has had no major problems with the printer. "Everything we encountered Océ was aware of and could help," he says. "We really haven’t made any major service calls, at the same time it feels good to have the extended warranty," he adds.
Shops like BIGraphics and M2 Display Graphics rely on extended user service programs to keep their businesses up and running. Vendors are catering to this need. "Companies are constantly developing more advanced, more efficient products, but they usually don't think about service the same way. Service has to advance in the same manner as the equipment it supports, and that requires a fresh way of looking at what is one of the most critical aspects of the vendor-user relationship," comments Tim Saur, senior VP of operations, finance & service, Durst Image Technology US, LLC. The slightest chance of a technical malfunction is reason enough to talk to your service provider and institute a service of your own.
Look for a full feature article on user service programs in the June issue of Digital Output.