Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking


Print volumes are down, businesses continue to shed devices, MpS providers are evolving from marks on paper to IT services and what do our OEMs do?

They release more than 20 'new' devices, each; fighting for every, last print, click, and cartridge.

To the end.




They're jostling for deckchairs nearest the pool - on the Titanic. What's worse, they expect you to fight with them - never mind that gushing sound.

"Better" toner, special ink, embedded keyboards, 'intuitive' user interfaces, digital on-ramps, document management software (tied to an equipment quota) will not save the vessel - 'rebates/kickbacks' and special hardware pricing is and always has been a 30 day approach.  Nothing can stop the water - people will not print as much as they once had.
There are no new "clicks."

It's refusing to believe in icebergs after being gouged from bow to stern.

But a few of us know. The Signs have been there, the writing was on the wall, and icebergs have been easy to spot.

We've paid attention to the quarterly earnings reports, understood the consolidation of our industry is now the disintegration of companies:
  • Paper plants have long shut down.
  • HP split in two; too big to fail?
  • Lexmark consolidated, then sold.
  • Xerox fading; too big to purchase?
  • Dealers coagulating then sell to investment groups.
  • Leveraged toner remanufactures closing all watertight doors, polishing the brass, then hoist the "For Sale" sign - as a whole or in pieces.
  • Who know's the truth with the offshore OEMs, they're steaming off into the fog, oblivious and happy.
Do not believe the tired old lines of "print is not dead".  It's the crew's way of not spreading panic.  Phrases like, "...its business as usual...", "...we see this merger as a way to better serve our customers...", "...we're excited about the opportunity to inject cash into new ideas..." are delivered to placate and numb you to the truth - "this ship will sink".

Recognize that your OEM wants more shelf-space and will wrap their machines in solutions, apps, rebates or warm, apple pie to get you to place units.

This Gregism is as true today as it was back in 2007,
"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we move machines."
This is a losing argument.  Today's technology prospect understands "the cheapest image is the one you never print".

We've got lifeboats, but you remember about the lifeboats, don't you? There are only so many.

Lifeboat One - Sell out. If you can, do it.

Lifeboat Two - Stay and swim. Good luck, Jack.  It took nearly a decade before Kodak went away, maybe you'll have the same luck.

Lifeboat Three - Find your way and survive to thrive. If you can sell copiers, you can sell anything. MpS practitioners can apply the same skills; assess, analyze, recommend and implement - to ANY 'As A Service' offering.

"As a service" offerings are materializing faster than print is dying.  Now is the time to look beyond the assessment, quota, clicks, billing scheme, and the old copier model.

We can help.

We have ideas, and tools to help you find your Way: http://www.asset-atlas.com/products

Reach out to me.

But hurry, there's water over the bulkheads, its only a matter of time.

grw

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"The Ship Will Sink"






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Reactions:

7 comments:

  1. Good tips for sinking ships. Ok folks, try to stay calm and listen to the captain's directions. Also keep an eye out for objects that could be sliding around. The last thing you want is to be near evacuation and get plowed by a printer. Good piece, thanks Captain Greg.

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    1. Craig -

      Watch out for rolling Edgelines!

      g

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  2. I'm a 22 year veteran of the game. I've seen the writing on the wall for years. Figures this would happen right when the King of the industry: Canon figures out how to build their best units ever and soon no one will care. So what do I do know? Jump out or ride it out...One thing is for sure: IF YOU CAN SELL COPIERS YOU CAN SELL ANYTHING. I'll parlay that into my next career!

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    Replies
    1. Metal - love the SN.

      Yup. There is a big world out there, full of opportunity.

      Thanks for reading.

      g

      Delete
  3. There will always be a place for hard copy/print, but it will be getting significantly smaller every year from here on out... I was in the printer/MFD world for 18 years... It's not even possible to compactly state how much has changed since I started. I guess telling you that I made 24,000 dollars worth of commission on FAX MACHINE SALES ALONE in 1999 (because of Y2K concerns) says something! That was in addition to a lot of commission on MFD's and traditional copiers back then too. Anyway... this trend is gonna continue. That's why I am now a Real Estate Broker instead.

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  4. Not sure I can believe in the "if you can sell copiers you can sell anything" line. From my point of view, the higher-ups are old men riding their way out to retirement who can't and won't try to sell anything else because they don't know how and don't want to rock the boat. They'll cling on to their old-fashioned business models till the day they retire and screw the business they leave behind.

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    Replies
    1. Anon - accurate view, although I've observed the 'old-men' phenomena for decades; there are always 'old-men' driving the status quo.

      I absolutely believe the "copier sales" statement, seen it.

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