Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another "GACKED" Sales Forecast: Idaho School District Reneges on Xerox Deal

More than $43,700, second place was $11,000 less, a month for copier services canceled and a bidding do-over. Not sure if the good guys won on this or not.

Either way, more mud in an already murky industry, slung for all to see.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the Xerox weekly sales meeting!

This story first hit a month ago - one of the losing suitors cried "foul" and gummed up the works for the winning vendor, and ultimately wrecking the school districts plan to upgrade copiers.

I felt at the time that there must have been more to the story than was written - hell, we have all been there before.

The risk of challenging a board's decision is daunting, and such a delta must mean a huge difference in offerings.

And indeed there is a difference - the most stark, Xerox proposed 1.5 "bodies" in their recommendation.

District officials said last month they "...went with Xerox because the company offered to provide one full-time employee and one part-time employee based locally to oversee maintenance of the copying machines..."

Some really quick math, reveals and approximate purchase price or funded amount, of $19k/machine. Wow.

The offended competitor, Fisher's Document Systems Inc., said its proposal offered to provide service within four hours.

"We do have concerns. Our patrons have concerns. We have stepped back," School board chairman Mike Vuittonet said Tuesday. Funny how they "have concerns" now, after the deal had been awarded and after the second place vendor objected - spineless public, bureaucrats.

Two words - Home School.

So everyone here is looking out for the benefit of some 34,000 students whose teachers will be using old equipment come this fall, right?

Xerox was just trying to propose the best solution - 1.5 bodies for 120, distributed copiers? HUH?

Fisher's Document Systems Inc, is just trying to save the tax payers money. And recommending copier's for 60 months is a GOOD thing? Were they recommending Sharp? Over X? Even with 4 hour response time and promised 24 hour machine replacement? Bravo Sierra.

Ultimately, the responsibility, the blame, rests squarely in the lap of the District for short-sighting the RFP process. For looking at printing the same way the board before them did and the one before.

I wonder how many copiers sit right next to fax machines and feet away from single function laser printers. I wonder how many thousands of dollars worth of toner and ink supplies are stuffed into Principal offices, teachers lounges and class room closets.

Was the RFP a 1:1 replacement?

And finally, how many teachers will be standing in line at the local Kinko's, the night before a quiz, coughing up personal fundage and paying for "clicks"?

The stench of "fail" hangs on everyone in this deal - pity the teachers and the students...


  1. Dollars to Dounuts, Xerox still wins the bid, however they may pull a BUFFALO!

  2. Greg,
    Anom here with another reality check for you. This is another case of you (and Art) completely not understanding the Xerox model. These 1 and a half employees would have made sure every install was perfect, every unit was properly connected to the network, every user was properly trained, proactive maintenance would have been done, and all supply ordering would be taken care of. This is not comparable to 4 hour wait for service, God willing the service guys have the correct part on hand. To compare Xerox's version of managed print service to a four hour service wait time is like comparing apples to bricks (not even oranges). Did the dealer offer a free Total Satisfaction Guarantee? Was the dealer going to bill for shipping of toner? Was the dealer going to do a five year lease and only three years of service. Was there a limit of copies on the service contract? Was the dealer going to charge a per scan fee? None of those things are even possible in the Xerox model, but done all the time in the dealer model. If the board felt that Xerox wasn't giving the best deal, why did they choose Xerox in the first place? They chose Xerox because Xerox could handle the managed print services and the education department could do what it's supposed to do, teach.

  3. Anon - I understand, completely, the X model.

    But in this case, I do not know all the facts of the deal.

    Do you?

    My primary goal here was to expose how ALL PARTIES are responsible for screwing the students; the school district being the number one criminal with X and the disgruntled loser simple accomplices.

    But if you like, let's analyze.

    For 1.5 people, the district is willing to spend 11k more per month for 60 months.

    Pulling out the 11k and applying a typical 60 lease factor, it looks like the district is supporting a $541,871.00 purchase with the delta(11k).

    So, on the surface, the district believes that having 1.5 people on site, to simply make "...sure every install was perfect, every unit was properly connected to the network, every user was properly trained, proactive maintenance would have been done, and all supply ordering would be taken care of..." is worth half a million dollars - ok, I am fine with that.

    But - when you say, " department could do what it's supposed to do, teach..." I need to query:

    How many more teachers could the district hire with $540,000?

    Indeed, how many teachers can 11k/month support? How many pencils, paper, musical instruments, and paintbrushes purchased?

    You think a few Kindles could be gotten for 11k/month?

    This apparent disregard for the good of the students is my point - not the relative benefits of X's MPS.

    That's all.

    Thanks again for commenting and taking the alternative view - good show.


  4. Greg,
    Thank you for your comment, it was well-thought out and well-written. But since you don't know all the facts, shouldn't you have done more research prior to villifying Xerox? Since you know the Xerox model, why not attempt to properly describe the Xerox solution, and then comment on it? You're very good, you're more than a blogger now, you're an actual reporter. When you start researching your articles properly, you'll be great. Bring yourself to the next level, you can do it. By the way, I did some research on the Fisher website for about a half hour and did not see a single satisfaction guarantee anywhere. If I were a buyer that alone would preclude them. They sell Canon, Lanier, Kyocera, and HP. So their techs then have to be trained on each different unit right? Versus a Xerox tech who only works on Xerox technology. Does the Fisher tech carry all necessary parts for all those manufacturers or does he show up within four hours and then order the part? Come on Greg, it's not even apples to bricks anymore, it's Tiger Woods versus Joe the Plumber at Augusta. Thank you again.

  5. Anon - I did not vilify X.

    The post is an opinion - My Opinion - based on the article(s) and other reports.

    I did, although again I feel I did not get my point across, vilify ALL OF THE PLAYERS and mostly the school district.

    I, like you, did spend much time on the objecting vendor's site - not impressive - but I also checked the School Board site, reviewed the minutes for the two previous board meetings and ran searches on all the board members.

    I also notice that IKON was a bidder as well; IKON does have a Cust.Sat. clause in their agreement...

    But this minutia is irrelevant, in my opinion, to the overall injustice the district and other school districts across the country continue to inflict upon their students - this district is the largest in the state and serves 34,000 students; with TAX DOLLARS no less.

    I've got no problems with Xerox - a bit player, minor accomplice in this scheme.

    Also - I just re-read my original post - there is nothing there that criticizes Xerox at all.

    I clearly state, "...Ultimately, the responsibility, the blame, rests squarely in the lap of the District for short-sighting the RFP process. For looking at printing the same way the board before them did and the one before..."

    This is not, nor did I intend slam X any more than they apparently deserve to be...

    But I must ask this, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHY they chose Xerox?

    Can you honestly tell me where the 11k difference is and how this district or any other district can justify such a huge delta? No guess work. Facts.

    Unless you were there, at the bid meetings, the sales presentations and bid review, how can you be so sure about your conjectures?

    And that's all they are, "conjectures".

    The Facts, as is generally known, are:

    Xerox won the deal, even though they are 11k more than the second bidder...

    The Second bidder filed an objection...

    As a result, the board restarted the bid process...

    Simple. I wonder if Xerox will re-bid with the 1.5 bodies.

    Either way - thanks for reading, keep coming back.

    Xerox has a very committed fan in you...keep it up.


  6. Thanks Greg, I appreciate your responces to everything I've written. Keep up the good work!