The Federal Department of Finance and Deregulation has gone to market for multi-function devices (MFD) such as printers and faxes, in a purchasing initiative which will cover the majority of the Federal public sector.
According to tender documents, the department will establish two new three-year whole-of-government panels for the purchasing of what it describes as "major office machines such as printers and multi-function devices, and a managed print services panel for those devices to be purchased through a services arrangement". The panels are believed to work independently of each other.
Various sections of the printer industry have moved towards the managed services model over the past few years as a preferred option for delivering printing services to large organisations. HP has continued to be a dominant force in the market, strengthening ties with once-competitor, Canon and more recently launching a cloud printing service off the back of its managed print service fleet in several notable organisations.
Fuji Xerox has also traditionally been a force in the public sector, while rumours have circulated over recent months that Dell may look to enter the managed print arena as well.
According to the documents, the Federal Government spends about $57 million each year on the category. It will hold an industry briefing on the matter on 26 July in Canberra, with interested suppliers able to send four staff each.
Finance is seeking to execute contracts with the successful suppliers in early 2011, with the supply agreement to commence in the second quarter of the year.
The panel contracts do not guarantee work to any particular supplier - instead they provide an avenue for the Federal Government to achieve economies of scale while still giving individual departments the flexibility to buy from certain suppliers.
The news comes as Finance has increasingly sought to ink whole-of-government technology contracts in areas such as data centres to utilise its bulk buying power, primarily through its IT strategy group, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).
Contracts for telecommunications services, Microsoft software, data 0centre services, desktop PCs, datacentre services and more have all come to light over the past several years as the centralisation policy has gradually been implemented across a variety of fields.