Part of the Series from our Guide to Postage Meters in Canada:
Being notified your model or device is now obsolete? Is soon to be dropped from support? This may not be a bad message to receive. It may be an opening for you to modernize and improve your processes and review your current supplier relationship.
Options to consider if notified
Many organizations have received this kind of notice and immediately jump to the conclusion they must change their device and will just contact their current supplier. Obviously it may be a cause for concern about future availability of support, service and supplies.
Looking at such a notice another way - it may be perfect timing to check out the market and see what alternative suppliers have to offer. Look for options that give you control over how it is best suited for you to do business. Following this process lets many organizations make a switch, obtaining a better solution while planning for your future needs.
Are you feeling pushed into a Vendors Timeline?
Vendors may decide to use an arbitrary date for telling you when your machine will stop accepting postage downloads. For example one vendor Pitney Bowes has announced that the following series DM 400, DM500, DM800, DM1000, DM1100 may no longer be useable past December 2017.
NeoPost has made similar assertions, and this means that future rate changes made by Canada Post or the downloading of postage may no longer be possible for you.
The three Canadian approved postage machine manufacturers offer postage machines and the related metering devices to control postage. Over time they may inform you that your currrent model is no longer going to be supported. If this feels like you are being dictated as to when to stop using your equipment, this can be true. Why? It will take away your ability to 'fill' your postage machine with new postage, as without the meter it will no longer allow for downloading new postage or rates forcing it to be obsolete.
This could be more about trying to get you to upgrade, vs. your choice of trying to maximize your investment of a postage machine over the long term. Fundamentaly most postage machines/meters have not changed much over the last 10 years, other than recently Canada Post removed the ability for parcel rates to be built in. If parcel rates is not something you used thru your meter, then the need to update it may not matter to you and this may be more about your vendors want to change you into a new platform to support their parcel postage system.
What to look at:
There are six key components which make up a postage machine acquisition which can affect the long term value of that deal:
- Price of lease or purchase of the equipment acquired based upon the appropriate sizing and feature mix required to meet business needs.
- Process and cost for updating of postage rates when Canada post changes rates so that the postage machine will be able to produce valid postage as designed.
- Cost of supplies to keep the machine running, usually a form of ink and labels.
- Service and Support costs for any needed repair during the period of use.
- Ease of process for adding money to your account to top up the amount available within the device for payment for postage being generated.
- Ease of interaction with your vendor: after sale how easy is it to reach or contact and deal with your vendor when issues occur? Waiting on the phone for extended periods of time is unproductive use of your time.
Each of these six components becomes an integral part of the ability for an organization to use the device they acquire for postage production and control,
Rate changes critical
The ability for a postage device to have its rates upgraded quickly and easily in the event that Canada Post changes postage rates is a critical component of the functionality of the device and ideally you want this to be bundled in so you do not incurr fees everytime Canada Post decides to change their rates.
Ease of getting postage: the internet has arrived to postage
One of the things that you will learn if you look at the market today, rather than just renew on an older machine, is that the internet has come to the postage world. Using your internet connectivity vs. sharing your old fax line for update of rates or adding postage to your machine can add convenience.
Wrapping it all up:
When model changes happen by a manufacturer, this is often what forces an organization to change devices and be pushed into the uncomfortable position of the expenditure for new equipment creating unplanned budgetary costs. Hopefully this will happen at the normal end of a lease period, or a number of years after your purchase acquisition, but it is not always the case, especially if the vendor becomes the one to dictate the timing.
In evaluating a new device, ask about the date of introduction to detemine the potential lifespan of this new equipment for your organization. If it has been around a long time make sure you ask whether there is any pending obsolescence or at least that the lease term (if applicable) will be fully covered by maintenance and support? Don't take the Sales persons word for it especially if your have recently received an expiry letter from upper management.
Reviewing your supplier relationship can be done by either dealing directly with one of the manufacturers or through an affiliated dealer who represents a particular manufacturer and can be your advocate. Often the dealers who handle mailing will also offer other types of office equipment and services which can lead to a broader relationship between you and them. This can reduce the number of vendors you have to deal with and be more efficient for your staff.
Caution is advised however as the notices you receive will not encourage you to look elsewhere, you will have to take that initiative yourself.