Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kyocera in The House...the MPS House?

Kyocera unveils managed service

From an article by Nick Booth, CRN. He is discussing Kyocer's new program with Kyocera’s distribution manager, Alicia Shepherd...

“The printer is the only IT product whose sales model has not changed in 10 years. There are endless options for print applications, so customers will only get the most out of their printing inventory by adopting it as a managed service.” she said.

Welcome aboard.

The number of "players" continue to increase, but...wait...I seem to remember Kyocera sells...hardware, right?

Well, it is the beginning of the month...isn't it?



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canon Copier Profit Down 12%

Clippings from the news...


Forbes-

Japan -

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Canon Inc posted a 12 percent fall in quarterly profit on Thursday, hit by weaker monochrome copier demand and a firm yen versus the dollar, but the camera and office equipment maker kept its full-year outlook that exceeds market expectations.

April-June operating profit at Canon (nyse: CAJ - news - people ), which competes with Xerox Corp (nyse: XRX - news - people ) and Ricoh Co Ltd (otcbb: RICOY.OB - news - people ) in printers and copiers, dropped to 160.15 billion yen ($1.5 billion) from 181.47 billion yen a year earlier.

Reuters-

Profitability at its office equipment operations has come under pressure as an economic slowdown has meant businesses are putting off buying or replacing copiers, although its high-end digital cameras enjoyed brisk demand.

The company, which competes with Xerox Corp (XRX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Ricoh Co Ltd (7752.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Konica Minolta Holdings Inc (4902.T: Quote, Profile, Research) in printers and copiers, is also grappling with the soaring cost of raw materials and the profit-slicing impact of a stronger yen.

"We expect the yen to remain strong and for high raw materials and fuel prices to continue. The operating envrionment is tougher than we had originally thought," Canon Managing Director Masahiro Osawa told a news conference.

Yahoo News -

Canon said its group operating profit dropped to 160.15 billion yen in the April-June quarter from 181.47 billion yen a year earlier. Net profit fell 13 percent to 107.84 billion yen on sales of 1.11 trillion yen, down 1.9 percent.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Excerpts From Espe


IKON has turned around, will it last?


These are some questions asked of Espe after the 3rd quarter conference call:


Amanda Seguin – Lehman Brothers

"...Okay. And then one more follow-up. On the Konica Minolta Danke deal, just wondering if that’s changed, if there’s any update on your relationship with Konica there and the machines in the IKON channel?

Matt Espe

Nope. Konica, we like the 350 and the 550, the equipment is terrific and the relationship is intact.

Shannon Cross – Cross Research

"Hi, good morning."

Matt Espe

"Hi, Shannon."

Shannon Cross – Cross Research

"Couple of questions. Just starting – can you talk a little bit about the competitive environment in the services business as you go out and do some of these bids, the sweep bids and that, you know, with the HP getting a bit more aggressive, Lexmark is probably desperate from a desperation standpoint I would say? And then they are also obviously playing their queue. I’m just curious at sort of what pricing, what it looks like in terms of how savvy customers are becoming in terms of getting all of you to price against each other and then what people are looking for and what sort of drives their decision-making?..."

Matt Espe

"Well, let me try to answer that. That’s a very good question. For many of our customers, this is now round two or three of outsource agreement, certainly round two.

So to your point, the customers are more savvy.

But what we are seeing is, we continue to see extremely high retention rates because the switching costs are high. And we’ve been able to leverage fairly strong product portfolios with very strong workflow solutions at our customer base. As a result, you just tend to get embedded into clerical workflow. So the switching costs are a little bit higher. So it makes it very difficult even for companies – strong companies like Canon – or I’m sorry, Xerox and HP to come in and knock us out.

When it’s a brand new "Greenfield", if you will, it’s a little tougher, but we have very strong references. So it’s – we think we are very well positioned because we’ve got a very broad and diverse product range and we’ve got great leverage with very strong workflow solutions, and we’ve got great process experience in a number of verticals.

Our product line – the equipment lineup is stronger for mid-market than a couple of manufacturers you mentioned. Our experience is broader and deeper, and our ability to sort of refresh the offering during the course of a managed service agreement is very good. And we’ve got a very, very good track record of delivering on precisely what we commit to. And that brings some sustainability as well."


My summary:

- IKON has moved from OMD to Oracle
- Color equipment revenue up 12%, placements up 7% and color equipment is no 38% of total units.
- B/W Office revenue down 11%
- IKON is losing low-end office market to "retail"; is of no concern
- Production up 3% B/W, 6% color
- 39 C7000's and 33 C6000's sold past quarter
- Analogue now at 7% of MIF (Machines In Field)
- Professional Serivices/Total Managed up 4% due to new programs to existing customers
-
Source - Seeking Alpha, here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Break Into Pharmaceutical Sales By Selling Copiers?

I found this article somewhat interesting. From the article:

"...The technology market including copiers is a very different type of sales environment compared to pharmaceutical sales. Since customers can often be one time purchasers only, sales people in technology tend to use a more aggressive form of sales in order to secure the orders..."

-- Technology sales people are more aggressive.

Ok, well, it seems that most everyone outside of the industry has got all us sales people inside the industry all figured out.

I haven't looked at a possible client as a "one time" purchaser in nearly 10 years.

More --

"...An overly aggressive drug representative can easily turn off physicians and even lose the opportunity to future appointments. I’ve actually seen this happen to some drug reps out in the field as doctors have candidly told me that they refuse to see certain reps because of their aggressiveness. Therefore, some pharmaceutical companies will not hire former sales people who were in more aggressive selling environments unless they can prove that they can tone their styles down to adapt to the pharmaceutical medical scene..."

-- Tone THIS down, I got you're TONE...right...here...

"... whether one should try to get some experience selling copiers in order to break into pharmaceutical sales. The answer is all previous sales experience dealing with real customers is an asset whether it is dealing with copiers, rental cars, medical equipment or even retail sales. The key is being able to use these selling skills and adapt one’s style to fit in well with the pharmaceutical sales environment. In many ways, selling technology equipment can be a more challenging form of selling because in many cases, one doesn’t get the benefit of foll
ow up appointments with customers..."

-- I think this guy just "dis'd" me...didn"t he?

Well I remember a few years back when a Pharm recruited all the USC cheerleaders for
sales positions. It is a brilliant idea and one I would participate in, especially the interviews - but I digress.

Check this funny blog post about Pharm-Rep watching.

But how can anyone from an industry like that make judgments like this?

Click to email me.




Printer Operations Group - Ed Crowley Brings them into the Light


This Post introduces POG but the real "gold" is in the white paper found here.

Go get it.

I was impressed. The ideas are good.

What I find most intriguing is that this represents yet ANOTHER definition and approach in Managed Print Services - specifically from the true, billable, Consult
ant side.

I will not break down the white paper - go get it.

But here some highlights from the White Paper:

- Billing for assessments

- Vendor Neutrality

- The Deployment Curve - 4 stages

- "Root C
ause Analysis"

- Result of an assessment is a Road Map not a Proposal for Products

- Cultural Navigation






Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bad Experiences with Leasing - Toshiba, IKON, Canon, Saxon

The copier industry has a self inflicted black eye

Here from a Church in Florida-

Leased Copier-The Final Punishment
By Kevin McCord

"...When renewal time came around last year I was interested in working with them again, but found their prices far too high. I was in a position to buy a machine outright. When they got wind of that, they pulled out the lease agreement. We were a few weeks beyond the 90 day notice for non-renewal. The lease agreement locked us in for 12 more months with a machine we didn't want to use. They were not interested in our future business enough to let us give written notice a few weeks late even though we had spent those weeks in negotiations with them..."

Here from a school I think near San Francisco -

Copier leases: A few experiences and thoughts
By Greg Beuthin

"...We had two major beefs with our current copier lease company:
  1. Response time was supposed to be 4-6 hours, but we had increasing delays, up to 8 hours in some cases. And often what would happen is an agent would arrive, and 15 minutes later declare “Parts are on order, I’ll be back in X days.”
  2. We had an per-machine copy quota system. On the simple b/w copier, our lease included 18k copies a year, on the large multi-use one, 380k However, because of location, the b/w copier was used far more than the other copier, and we got hit with massive overage charges - even though we were twice as much under quota for copies on the large machine..."
-- more --

"...It’s stories like this that are helpful to people when they are reviewing their final lease copy agreement. We got screwed by Canon similarly, but only for 3 months (our lease said we had to provide 90 days notice, so we had to pay for 3 extra months). Of course, had I not waited until the last week to finalize a contract with another company, I would have been better off..."

Here a bad experience -

Shame on you Toshiba Business Solutions

"...In order not to “auto renew” most copier leases have a very strict code of how, when and where to send your formal cancellation notice. And if you don’t abide you have just bought yourself another 2 years with an outdated copier, congratulations.It’s the equivalent of a current boyfriend or girlfriend denying your right to break up with them because you didn’t do so at the right time or place... "

In this post from a church -

I hate Ikon Office Solutions

"...
After 3 years of leasing a copy machine from this company our contract is out at the end of the month. That is a good thing...since we own a machine now we don't need to lease one. The contract is out, we have to pay the remainder of the lease...which is right and fine. What is wrong is that they charge us to come pick it up!!! I lease a machine from them (Ikon)...which means it is theirs and DOES NOT belong to me (newpoint)...their words in their contract. So they send me to a company that will come pick it up...for $375!!!!! ..."
-------

Anecdotal, I know. But still - the story is repeated over and over.

Leasing is a difficult issue to understand and it should be simple. It should be easy to understand and easy to explain and Leasing should be explained and all the ramifications transparent.

I think the necessity of "contracts" does not over ride the




Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Organization's Paper Operational Review

In Virgina, they even got a Senator to participate

"...Participants included Senator Fred Quayle, Delegate Dave Nutter, Gwen Baily Assistant Clerk of the Senate, Linda Belflower of the Virginia Employment Commission, Paula Dehetre of the Office of Workforce Development, Fred Duball of VITA, David Nims of the Department of General Services, Tiffany Moklebust of Gartner Group, Stephanie Holt of Xerox, and Jim Dougherty and Tony Williams of Virginia Correctional Enterprises..."


The article is here.

Some of the items I found of interest -

Current Costs -

"...
Virginia departments and agencies currently have a printer inventory of 34,221 and thousands more copiers. In FY06 the state spent $7,499,837 on paper, stationery and forms..."

"...In addition to the printer, copier, and paper expenditures, the state spent $37,702,417 on printing services that include designing, printing, collating, and binding..."

The Recommendations

The reports puts forward 5 recommendations, but I like number 4:

"Recommendation 4: Move toward or transition to the implementation of managed print services--as appropriate for meeting agency and department mission and goals. Managed print services (MPS) are services offered by an external provider to optimize or manage an organization’s document output. A MPS contract can include assessment services, asset management, output management services, and support services. The external service provider either owns or leases the hardware, with the customer paying a monthly or quarterly fee—based on a cost per page or cost per seat. Gartner suggests that candidates for MPS are midsize or large organizations with 100 or more employees. Agencies and departments should document their print needs and determine if the use of managed print services would reduce their print cost."

Seems the Great State of Virginia "gets it".








Monday, July 21, 2008

Shareholders Petition Court to Delay EDS/Hewlett-Packard Merger Vote, Announces Baron & Budd, P.C.

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a hearing scheduled by Collin County District Judge Greg Brewer on July 24, shareholders of Dallas-based Electronic Data Systems (EDS) will be asking the Court to postpone the July 31 shareholder meeting

It looks like stockholders are questioning the sell price of the deal - because of the increase in revenues and better EDS profit over the past 12 months.

They want more money.



Managed Print Services: Leading Edge and Bleeding Edge


Don't let the SALES GUY touch the machine!

I recently had the honor of attending a training session intended for "technical" types. Both pre-sale and post sale technicians were in attendance - about 13 of them and 1 of me. Resellers from all over the country - Edgeline resellers; Edgeline technicians.

That's right. 13 tech's and one sales person. Oh the fun we will have.

The classes were covering Job Accounting for session one and Printing Security in session two.

I won't bore you with the details, but I will tell you this - early in the first session the instructor queried, "...what's going on out there in the field, do your customers seem to be interested in reducing printing costs?" - I am paraphrasing the question but the response, or better yet lack of response, I am not.

The collective answer? "Nope." "Not on any customers mind or radar.", "They just want to reduce their lease payment, that's all"

I fell out of my chair - I blurted it out, "MPS is the hottest issue out there right now, if you think your customers aren't on it, you are wrong." - And my reward for being one of the first to contribute to class discussion?

Dead silence. Blank stares. Crickets.

The first time I participate in class, and this is what I say? I felt it was going to be a very long two days.

Well, the experience improved - a great deal. The guys represented the highest level of certification available from HP. I found everyone engaging and knowledgeable about the industry and their place in it.

We all have common struggles, challenges and successes.

Still -

After reading Ken's articles, "Crossing the Document Output Divide" and "Customers Don’t Know What They Don’t Know." I wonder exactly where MPS is in the industry. It doesn't feel mainstream. It feels new and frontier-like. It feels like we are still making this up as we go along.

I wonder about the blank stares and shrugged shoulders I observed in class. I wonder about the blank stares I receive after I explain my version of MPS to a prospect.

With Managed Print Services, "Bleeding Edge" and "Early Adopters" are titles not only applied to prospect types but also Provider types.

This is a special time.

Leaders Lead.


Click to email me.






Men With Pens



Shooting From the Hip

No, they do not sell Penis-Mightiers. In my quest to improve writing skills I have looked at many, many sites - this one is a good one.

I really liked this post.

They are on my Role and can be found here.
Click to email me.




Sunday, July 20, 2008

Edgeline - "Just an InkJet"


Just an Inkjet printer? Well, yes...it's like comparing the Kon Tiki with the Space Shuttle.

I have heard this from a few prospective Edgeline clients recently.

- And I have to ask myself, how did this come to be?

- How did this statement of fact come to be an objection in the selling process?

- How can Edgeline Technology, ink based, first be compared to and then relegated down to the level of a "DeskJet 500"?

In a phrase, "My Competition and the Ignorance of my Prospect."

The ignorance issue, I can deal with. Ignorance can be cured, stupidity can not. And in this case, if Ignorance is the disease, I am the Cure.

More importantly, what lies beneath this "objection" is the fact that competitors to Edgeline may be paying attention and developing strategies against it.

I can not tell if this is an organic occurrence or if some "xerograhic" people are distributing "talking notes" - to be honest, I can not imagine anyone (Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, K/M) worrying too much about their eroding market share relative to Edgeline.

Edgeline just isn't there yet. Well, the Edgeline technology is but all the necessary "accouterments" around the technology (channel, brand recognition, business philosophy, etc.) from HP are not in place just yet.

Edgeline has only been on the streets for about a year now - and there is a long row to hoe on the way to moving 3400 units a year.

It will get there - and in five years, we may be all all lauding how impossible it must have been to use machines that only produced color at 60 page per minute.



If you like this post, try these:


So Really. What is the Big Deal about "Ink Jet"??

A Return to Edgeline

Edgeline...and the BreadCrumbs...





A Return to Selling


"Copiers, are all the same."

You could call that statement "The Neutralizer". In one swoop, you have just made all the copiers your prospect will ever see or evaluate into a commodity.

Let's face it, most clients already think that all copiers are the same. So why not confirm their beliefs, putting all the "spec sheet minutia" aside and concentrating on real problems and business cases.

This strategic approach not only puts the prospect into a different mind-set, but re-positions the sales rep into a Selling Professional.

Imagine, if you sell copiers and every single one was the same. How would you differentiate yourself? Think about it...your first copy out time is identical, all the machines scan to folder, use electronic bread crumbs to clear misfeeds, have large, proven, successful, U.S. based, global manufactures behind them, and easily connect to the network.

Well, yes, salespeople in general "take the path of least resistance"(translation, we're lazy) so the easiest way to differentiate is to lower the price. It's also the simplest way to fall into the commodity model. But then again, sales people take the path of least resistance.

For the rest of the story, go here...

Click to email me.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Xerox and HP Stock News, etc.

Some interesting moves with each company's stocks...

"Hewlett Packard Co (HPQ) more shares bought by Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc." Here

HP Green


HP has been recognized as a certified IT Asset Disposal vendor by IDC, a leading provider of global IT research and advice. From this announcement:

"...Older assets with residual value are typically remarketed, while obsolete or damaged equipment is channeled into HP's recycling process. HP recycled nearly 250 million pounds of hardware and print cartridges globally in its fiscal year 2007 - an increase of approximately 50 percent over the previous year. HP also reused 65 million pounds of hardware, refurbishing it for resale or donation, which increased its annual reuse rate by 30 percent.

Started in 1987, the HP Planet Partners recycling program now operates in more than 50 countries, regions and territories. The program seeks to reduce the environmental impact of IT products, minimize waste going to landfills, and help customers conveniently and responsibly manage products at their end of life..."

"Xerox Corp (XRX) holdings reduced by Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc" Here


Speaking of Xerox

From a recent article from ENN,

"
Xerox has signed on as a founding member of the Information Overload Research Group (IORG), which will focus on boosting workplace productivity by fighting information overload. Xerox joins Microsoft, Intel and IBM, which are also members of the group. IORG's mission is to build awareness of information overload, conduct research, help define best practices, contribute to the creation of solutions and resources, offer guidance and facilitation and help make the business case for fighting information overload."

Good to see somebody is fighting information overload...except, aren't these people pretty much responsible for all the information overload in the first place?

From Guam:

Auditor: Copier contract may be illegal
.
School system says it's an ongoing contract, doesn't need bid-

"...In February, Island Business Systems and Supplies filed a procurement appeal against GPSS with the public auditor. The business estimated GPSS purchases $130,000 of Xerox-brand copier equipment per month..."

Is it me, or does 130k/month sound like alot?

Of course, the appeal comes 3 years into an agreement. This sounds and looks like sour grapes on the part of the losing vendor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tasty Toner...Yum Yum....

Printers and copiers around the globe will soon be changed for the better as they will begin to use soy-based toner That is according to The Ohio Soybean Council, Battelle and Advanced Image Resources.

In an article in the Ohio Farmer(here) this new technology is being commercialized by
Advanced Image Resources, a Georgia-based company and will be available later this year. AIR will produce the soy-based resin that serves as the building block for the new toner, and sold under the trade names BioRez and Rezilution.

"With more than 400 million pounds of petroleum-derived toners and resins used annually in the U.S. to make 3 trillion copies in photocopiers and printers, there is a great market opportunity for soy-based toners and resins," says Tom Gandolfi, AIR President. "While other soy-based inks have been used in the printing industry for over 15 years, gaining a 30% market share, this new technology is the first of its kind in the laser printer and copier industry."

And from the AIR site:

Specific improvements achievable with bio-based soy toners include:
  • High quality of copies and prints
  • Easy and ready removal of toners from fused images in the recovery of secondary fiber in a paper de-inking mill
  • Simpler and less capital intensive de-inking process
  • Help in finding value-added uses for office waste paper and thus increase collection and recycle of waste paper
  • Raw material for toner resin is based on renewable resource and thus minimizing reliance on scarce fossil source
  • Total energy savings – in the manufacture of resin, de-inking process, less need for virgin cellulose fiber
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions
  • A systems oriented solution that helps OEMs, secondary fiber mills that manufacture de-inked fibers from office waste, waste paper collection and process industry, and society at large by offering an environmentally friendly solution that has benign impact.
So it seems that this type of toner will allow for easier "de-inking" which is involved with recycling paper...interesting...

I wonder if this will do the same for Soy futures as Ethanol did for corn...

If you liked this little post, perhaps you would like some of these:

How Green Is My Money..."Will Going Green in Business printing go the way of OS/2?"

Paperless Offices, Killer Toner , Carbon Offset - "A World Without Sin"

Edgeline Success by being Green



Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sometimes...You Wear Stretchy Pants in Your Room...is for fun..


Sometimes, I Google myself, it's for fun... Today, when I Googled me, I found two other me's.

One "Greg Walters" is from Missouri and has been a member on the Raytown city council for 24 years. His recent post is "News and Views" and includes an article regarding a "
New Formula for Sewer Rates". (Don't laugh, he has hundreds of responses to his posts.)

Yes, yes, I know - this post has already gone "out of scope" - hang with me...

Disparately trying to find some thread, some morsel of commonality between this Greg and that Greg, I searched his blog for "printers", "copiers", "green", "HP", "Canon" - the results? Zilch, nada, zero - not a thing, a crumb or inkling towards MPS.

When all hope was lost and I was about to dial up Obama for some change - I found it! The common thread! - Humor!!

This off of his Blog:

"The following are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word , taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gettin' laid!

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me? Your Honour, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Guess.

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law. "


LOL!

Buh, By... DANKA. KONICA MINOLTA Completes Aquisition



"As expected, Konica Minolta reported that moving forward, Danka will sell only Konica Minolta products but will continue to sell third-party solutions as they have in the past. Effective July 1, Danka will no longer be an authorized Canon dealer..." - Cary Sherburne

And from the Tampa Bay Business Journal - "
Effective immediately, Konica Minolta Danka Imaging will market Konica Minolta's lines of office systems, production print systems, network printers and application solutions, a release said..."



Friday, July 4, 2008

The Fourth Of July and the American Way -

July 4, 2008 -

Celebrate the 4th - go buy something, go sell something, anything...just like Wal*Mart...

I was disparately seeking a timely and interesting subject for a Fourth of July post - and two of the sites I visit most, provided me with WAL*MART.

Cory Smith's "I love Walmart but I hate them too." post resonated with me as well as Ken Stewart's Global-nomics At Work In Your Backyard. Excellent work, gentlemen!

But I think this all started over here. A great site mixing Technology with Politics(YIKES!) I love the mix, I love the argument - Tsudohnimh is the author, go check it out.

-----------
You may ask, "What in the world does Wal*Mart have to do with Managed Print Services, Edgeline or printing?"

Good question. On this blog we talk specifically about printing - but in a "galactic" sense, I am really talking about the application of technology in the business world and the impact/results of that application.

So how did Wal*Mart get so big? The answer, my friend, is through the application of technology - something we Americans do quite well and should be more proud of.(U!S!A!)

History Lesson - Back to the Future

Do you remember Mr. Kresge? No?

Ok, to be fair, I know of the Kresge name because I grew up in his "back yard" and the library at my University had his name on it. But Sam owes Sebastian everything - and Sam knows it.

"Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a modest five-and-dime store in downtown Detroit...and changed the entire landscape of retailing. The store that Kresge built has evolved into an empire of more than 1,500 stores and an Internet presence that reaches millions of customers...



"When Kresge opened his first store in 1899, he sold everything for 5 and 10 cents. The low prices appealed to shoppers and allowed him to expand to 85 stores in 1912, with annual sales of more than $10 million..."

sound familiar ?

"...War and financial depressions hit America hard over the next decades, but Kresge stores were always there to offer families products at prices they could afford. They also offered people what other businesses at the time could not -- jobs to support their families...

By the 1950s, it was evident that the company needed to change to continue to be a leader in the growing competitive retail environment. That change came through Harry B. Cunningham, who became Kresge President in 1959. Cunningham had been studying other discount houses and developed a new strategy for the Kresge organization.


Under Cunningham’s leadership, the first Kmart discount department store opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan(a few miles from my house growing up). Seventeen additional Kmart stores opened that year, leading to corporate sales of more than $483 million that year...

In 1966, sales in 162 Kmart stores and 753 Kresge stores topped the $1 billion mark. In 1976, S.S. Kresge made history by opening 271 Kmart stores in one year, becoming the first-ever retailer to launch 17 million square feet of sales space in a single year." Want to learn more? Click Here.

Enter Technology-Inventory Control catches K-Mart short.

Up to this point, Inventory Control relied on clerks walking the floor with a clip board tallying all the empty space on the shelves. And then reporting this information up and over to the "Buyer" process. This could take weeks to get replacement stock back on the shelf. So K-Mart and all retailers stocked huge local, warehouses full of goods and merchandise to reduce the re-stocking cycle and increase "turns". 

Keeping these warehouses full added a great deal of cost (COGS). These costs were passed to the customer through the selling price of each product.What separated Wal*Mart from K-Mart was Wal*Mart's ability to know exactly what was being sold, down to the store, shelf and SKU - live.

Think about it. In the retail world, Inventory Control is the core of everything - and on-line purchase data, live customer reporting was (and still is) the Holy Grail. I.C. was a science and an art.

The application of technology allowed Wal*Mart to move away from the traditional way of managing the buy-stock-resell cycle. Implementing Just In Time inventory management, reducing warehouse cost, these savings were passed to the customer through lower prices at check-out. Lower prices increased the number of customers, increasing profit and allowing Wal*Mart to reinvest in even more technology - further reducing costs, and again increasing the number of customers and profits allowing for even more investment in technology(it's a cycle).

Wal*Mart's growth attracted more attention from manufacturers of consumer goods; everybody wanted to get on the train. The application of technology put Wal*Mart in the driving seat when it came to what was placed on the selves in all their stores - a major shift. Now, Wal*Mart could dictate the terms of how companies worked with Wal*Mart - forcing vendors and manufacturers to lower their production costs - through the application of technology - driving cost even lower.

All this before the 60 Minutes article, the protests and anti-Wal*Mart town meetings.

Are you interested in Wal*Mart's history of technology use ? Then check this time line out.
So in addition to dog food, lawn chairs, paint, and deodorant - throw in BarCode readers, IBM 3740's, the largest privately owned satellite network, EDI, RFID and now you have a pretty good picture of a company who ended 2006 with $349 billion in sales, nearly 2 million employees and 6,775 stores worldwide. All of this in spite of the 60 Minutes article, the protests and anti-Wal*Mart town meetings.

That's right 2 million employees.



And so now, we move away from technology and into the social and geopolitical.

- Corporations are made up of people
- Successful corporations sell goods at a price higher then what they bought them for
- The U.S. Government is not an entity upon it's self; the people of the United States are the government...
- Successful administrations give the people a safe place to work on "the pursuit of happiness"...



"I don't dislike Americans, I dislike your government."


People have said this to me dozens of times. Usually they are from Europe, you know, the "Sophisticated Continent".

Once, while in Costa Rica, a gentleman from Holland sat across from me drinking a beer and said, "I don't dislike Americans, I dislike your government."

I had to take him to task by explaining to him he didn't know what he was talking about because he was ignorant regarding Americans and our government. I explained to him that in America, the people are the government and for him to "dislike my government" meant he disliked me and all Americans.

Of course to most "sophisticates from the continent" rule by the people is a translation for mob rule or Anarchy. I think this is due to the Royal rulers in Europe's history and DNA.

This idea of the government being separate from the people is a kin to the corporation being separate from the public.

There is really no such thing as a living "corporation". A company can not be "evil", a company can not be "good"; people are good or evil(more likely a little of both). When I hear people bash WalMart or StarBucks or MicroSoft or the US government, I hear people bashing other people.

In politics we vote at the ballot, in economics we vote with our dollars.

This is a very very basic principle - if people don't like something they won't buy it(this is called "Demand"). Simple. So, if some think that a popular talk show host should be censored they aren't censoring a critic they are censoring the will of the purchasing public (the people). If no one listens to the show, no company would want to advertise on the show and the show should naturally die.

Another example - Music. If Madona's next song doesn't strike a chord with listeners nobody will buy it. If nobody "votes" for her song through dollars, Pepsi won't be calling, no MTV appearance, no Grammy, and she will need to re-evaluate her musical options and business strategies.

If Wal*Mart didn't provide a service people want, nobody would buy at Wal*Mart. And if Wal*Mart was a terrible employer, nobody would work there. We vote everyday.

Local Community based businesses vs. Lowes vs Ace

- Does anyone still sell buggy whips?

- Do the Luddites still have a club?(actually they do, right here)

- Is the earth still the center of the solar system?

- If a comet appears in the sky, does this mean the crops will be good this year?

- When a volcano erupts, shouldn't we throw a virgin in to appease the volcano god?

My point is, everything changes - one day Burroughs is king of computers, the next IBM; D.O.S. to Windows; Xerox to HP, WalkMan to ipod, Beta to VHS, HD to BlueRay - everything changes.

If you were to sell buggy whips after Henry Ford replaced buggies, you went out of business.

Change is everywhere and constant (so how a candidate can say, "I am for change" and actually get a positive response from an adoring public, is beyond me, it's like saying you're for the Earth spinning - I blame the public school system, but I digress)

Bring it Home

Belief systems change and the application of technology is the Agent of that Change. It worked for Wal*Mart, it brought K-Mart back from the Dead and we no longer expect good crops and fortune when we see a shooting star.

America leads the world in the application of technology. The initial six American naval frigates were the first of their kind, unique to America.(Carolina Oak found only in the U.S.) And were implemented to defend against a specific threat to trade(The Barbary Pirates), to reduce the re-stocking cycle and increase inventory "turns" of spice, tea, etc.

Today we apply the technology that put Apollo on the moon. In our flat panel TV's, cellphones, laptops, garden hoses, rain coats, glue and light bulbs all these products share a heritage with the USS Constitution and The Eagle - and can be purchased at deep discounts from your local Wal*Mart.

HAPPY FOURTH - go buy something.


** Photo credit to Dayaran.



Click to email me.



Happy Fourth!

We hold these truths to be self-evident... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.





Thursday, July 3, 2008

Konica Minolta - The Next IKON

Know thy self-

Today, Konica sells boxes, and they do it very well... yet their portfolio of EDM is growing and the phrase, "Konica Managed Print Services" is starting to hit the streets.

Konica/Synnex/PrintSolve -

One company, a copier company, can offer clients total print management. Konica reps can first place copiers, gaining credibility and determining their client's internal decision processes. Once this is done, in addition to gaining more "share of wallet" by adding new machines, the Managed Print Services angle can increase profits, account control and establish Konica as a partner intent on helping the client reduce costs.

From the Konica Minolta website, "
Konica Minolta, together with SYNNEX Corporation, offers your business a way to enjoy precise control of printing costs, the latest in printing technology, better workplace efficiences, and improved total cost of ownership."

The Managed Print Services selling process may go like this:

1. Establish relationship with Purchasing/Facilities by selling Konica copiers.
2. Build upon the initial relationship by offering up a "free" print analysis.
3. Run PrintSolve's USB audit tool to obtain monthly average volumes.
4. Send inventory report to Synnex
5. Synnex determines which devices to support, the number of toner cartridges, maintenance kits, etc. required for the total volume of the MPS agreement, generating a total cost.
6. Synnex gives Konica the cost per copy, who in turn adds a margin and proposes to client.

The client signs agreement with Konica Minolta. The program is a cost per copy which includes all supplies and service for the life of the agreement. The customer calls Konica- or may even call Synnex directly for service and supplies - dependent on how Konica works with Synnex.

Now the above scenario may not result in a Managed Print Services Agreement as I define it, but in a Managed Print Supplies Services Agreement - I am not sure who would provide the actual service or maintenance work.

But wait - there's more.

If we look at Konica's EDM portfolio you will see companies like Captaris, E-Copy, Planet Press, and Digital Storefront. Now look at IKON's portfolio and you will find, Captaris, E-Copy, EFI, Westbrook, EMC, etc. IKON's portfolio is more robust. But Konica Minolta is growing and adding staff - IKON is not.

The bottom line here is K/M is growing into the services space at a controlled and managed rate - with what appears to be a plan. True, "full blown" Managed Print Services should include Electronic Document Management Solutions as well and the company that can articulate the value and support a multi-faceted, longterm, combined MPS/EDM strategy will elevate beyond the box and truly help clients save money.

If we apply the Photizo Group's "Three Stages of MPS Adaption" EDM is within the 3rd stage of the three stage process and if correctly marketed and implemented, Konica Minolta could position itself as the "Go To" MPS/Copier provider.

Watch Konica Minolta.

SideBar:

Synnex and Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Edgeline: Konica is not the first to position Managed Print Services through distribution -

Kyocera - October, 2007

"The Fairfield, N.J.-based vendor said it was teaming up with Synnex, Fremont, Calif., to combine its EcoPro lineup of printers with Synnex' Printsolv managed services offering -- an offering that provides assessment, tracking and management functions that solution providers can deploy in print MSP deployments.

In jumping into the space, Kyocera Mita executives are hoping the company can broadly expand its channel footprint beyond its direct sales, office products channel and retail, as well as change its business model to cost-per-page from hardware and supply sales."