Lexmark is telling its VARs to think managed services when it comes to offering printing solutions.

The Lexington, Ky. printing vendor announced Oct. 23 that it expanded its channel program to allow its VARs to offer more managed services to customers as a way to add value to its products.

The program, called the Lexmark Fleet Manager, allows VARs to offer different managed services to their customers that includes programs for assets, billing information, consumables status and delivery, device availability, and fleet operations.

Once the printing solution is sold, VARs can then offer their services to remotely monitor and maintain the equipment. Solution providers and VARs can then benefit from annuities and additional services. Lexmark officials also see room for VARs to offer document management consulting.

"This is a very comprehensive tool and it enables our partners to offer a variety of fleet-management services for their customers," Paul Rooke, president of Lexmark’s printing services and solutions division, told Channel Insider.

Printer and copier vendors have been turning to managed services as a way to bolster sales through the channel at a time when companies are buying less hardware, including printers and copiers, but looking for means to reign in the cost of consumables.

In June, Hewlett-Packard officials announced that the company would push its VARs to offer more services, such as managed print services and document management solutions.

Click here to read more about HP, its managed services for printing and how the move has affected VARs.

The flexibility of the Lexmark partner program is that it allows VARs to customize the managed services they offer to customers.

For example, through the consumables managed services program, VARs can monitor a customer’s toner needs throughout the company.

VARs can then begin to offer to supply toner to customers and that can be coupled with a maintenance program. When a VAR sends an employee to fix a company’s equipment, they can also supply new toner at the same time.

Click here to read more about Lexmark and its approach to the channel.

Lexmark has been using these types of managed services with its enterprise customers for a number of years but this is the first time that it has offered the channel a chance to use these tools for managed services.

In addition to large enterprises, Kevin Goffinet, vice president and general manager for worldwide small and midsize businesses for Lexmark, said that the new partner program was scalable and would allow VARs to offer it to enterprises, medium-sized businesses, as well as SMBs.

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In addition to its partner program, Lexmark also announced that it was expanding its channel program that allows VARs and solution providers the ability to offer customers cost-per-page financing programs to lease printers and other products.