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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Greg's " Deep Impacts" of 2015: HP Inc., Epson & Sunset of an Industry

"Greg, what were the biggest events or issues from last year?'
...a seasonal tradition.
This year, like last year, my initial reaction is, "Not much."  Which is soon followed by a wave of angst.

Most of the industry is insane.

OEMs keep releasing new models...which aren't all that it's 1999.  Mobile print, document management, managed print services, automatic toner replenishment, managed services, and that fictitious managed network services are all the 'rage'.  Same as last year.

The consolidation continues as dealer after dealer is gobbled up by yesterday's rival or taken over by a capital investment firm.  Same as last year.

Clients aren't making copies and office print is on the decline.  Same as last year.

But there are golden nuggets in 2015; it wasn't simply the "Year of Tears".

1.  HP Split - Jettisoning print

This was no surprise.

I believe the world of print is heading into HP's wheelhouse - smaller devices, low operating costs, and direct supplies management.

Managed print services is not complicated.  When considering the influences, especially MPS automation, there's no need for a dealer. With today's technological advances in M2M, a national company can provide toner and service more efficiently than a 'local' reseller.

Someday, HP will deliver MpS anywhere in the country - without a local service network.  No need for a middleman.

The split is good for HP, not sure if it's good for the channel.

2.  The Sunset of An Industry

Xerox is in decline and Icahn, the Master of Disaster, buys more and more.  He's going to oust Ursula then slice and dice the Big X - another Kodak moment.

Meanwhile,  Lexmark the wallflower, hikes up her skirt, beguiling suitors with promises of MpS, revenue streams.  Multiples are good, but who's going to ask Lexi to dance?

HP's vision, as mentioned above,  is one of continuous transformation.  As business evolves, and technology removes the mundane components, like print, loud, hot, expensive machines designed to make marks on paper,  lose relevancy.

Consultants still place the OEMs in the upper right and tag big spenders as 'visionary' - whoever has the largest marketing budget or the nicest rooms in town, gets the best reviews and accolades.

Elsewhere, offshore concerns are marching to the 'print/copy is relevant' drum, churning out devices like crazy.

All points Terminus.  Like Childhood's End, one day, the memory of a once great paper-making machine will be remembered in song, not substance.

3. Epson: Shining Star, for you to See

Yes, I mocked the hell out of the 'bags of ink'.  But I poke fun at those who attract. You should consider Epson for the following reasons:

  1. De-emphasize print - I know it hurts, but the print is not all that important, and the walk-up copy is dead(except for SLED) in the end, print is simple because fewer people print.  Why fight the trend?  You cannot win. Epson takes the complexity out of printing with this device  Just sell it.
  2. "Close and forget" mentality - Imagine a device that requires one or two touches a year and one toner delivery every three years.  Quick, do the math.  Get a good chunk of margin up front, put the device on MpS, and forget about it.
  3. No technicians, no toner delivery, just monthly billing - That's all.
About this time last year, my advice to independents was to jump on the reduce-print-servers bandwagon.  I told a bunch of dealers to get with a company called PrinterLogic - they didn't.  Today, Printerlogic is banging big deals all over the world.

You could have been part of that movement.  You could have been telling your clients how to reduce the cost of print by decreasing the number of print servers.  You could have elevated the MpS discussion above and beyond toner and service calls. You could have sold a bunch of stuff, too.

But you didn't and now you've lost a bunch of accounts.

Boo, f'n, who.  If you're not retiring or selling out, get on the ink-bag train. Call Epson, now, but it might be too late.

10 Years Out - 

What is the future of print, in the year 2025?  No business print.  Little in education, more in government, and healthcare will be paperless.

The Internet of things will be the Internet of everything - plants will talk with light bulbs which will communicate with coffee tables, the paint on your walls, and your inhaled nano's.  Everything, everyone will be connected, all the time.

Information will finally move at the speed of thought.

How about in the year 2020?  Just like the computer dealers of the 1980s, copier dealers will fade into history. Few copier dealers will remain.

Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas! From me, Greg Walters...2015

That's right,


and happy Chanukah...

I'll keep saying Merry Christmas until another country celebrates "the Holidays" on the Moon; on account of the United States of America, as of this date, is the only country to have done so...pass the eggnog.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why I Think Franklin Planners Will 'Save Print'

Yup, that's right.

Back in the day, every single salesperson worth his or her quota carried a Franklin planner. Heck, I think HP, IBM, and Canon gave every rep a planner and the "Seven Habits..." in lieu of a PC and printer.

Instead of checking smartphones and pecking the qwerty, we'd unzip and unfold our cool, custom binders, jot down notes, check off tasks, and review calendars.  And by 'jot' I mean, write down...with a pen or pencil...on paper even.
"...sometimes, reps would copy entire months, off the glass, and submit these "reports" to management..."
Scheduling the next appointment was in real-time, face to face, and "...if it didn't make it in my Franklin, it didn't exist..."

Business cards were stuffed in plastic sleeves for easy access and we wrote down phone numbers.

No.  Really...we did.

At the end of the day or week, one might review the past and plan future action items or follow-up tasks.  Again, we wrote on paper.  More advanced users would apply sticky notes, and custom forms. (show-offs)

Leadership loved these things.

Old-school sales managers would surprise audit your Franklin, checking for scheduled meetings over the next couple of weeks - funnel review included handing your planner over to your manager.

Sometimes...and get this...sometimes, reps would copy entire months, off the glass, and submit these "reports" to management.  Penny a click, penny a click...

So here's my plan.

If every single HP, Lexmark, Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, Epson, Samsung, Muratec, or Memjet, sales rep indeed, if every sales, branch, or district manager, each VP, AVP, and C-Suite employee in every manufacturer and dealer ordered a Franklin planner today, the industry would lead by example.  The industry would save itself.

For this to work,  The 'Planner' must be the required tool for funnel reviews and account planning. Follow me here...if the industry is serious about saving itself by repeating the same mistakes over and over, it should drink its own champagne and regress back to paper.

Move off Outlook, turn off the carphones.  Get back to alphanumeric pagers, pink phone message pads, and overhead transparencies.

Fewer screens, more carbon paper.

Worried about productivity? Hear meetings without beeps, whistles, and tweeting sounds.  No more heads buried in a keyboard checking Facebook during your copier technology roadmap presentation.


Go full tilt.  Stop "selling the cloud" and referring to yourself as a technology company - everybody knows you're just trying to make your MFDs relevant.

Do you want relevance?  Move your entire ordering process back to paper.

CRM? Yeah, it's a 1-30 tickler file.  Slide deck?  Sure, it is a deck of real slides.

If the industry wants to return to the hey-days of 1986, I say, put your value prop where your toner bottle is and get rid of your digital technology.

I dare you.  I double-dog, dare you.  I can't wait to see the direct reps sporting pleather binders and a return of the receptionist!

Require your professional salespeople to scan their Franklin at 7:00 AM and again at 5:30PM.  Penny a click, penny a click...

While you are at it, bring back the original QWERTY and put the receptionist to work, typing up proposals.  And yes, make 20 copies for every meeting.  Penny a click, penny a click...

"Receptionist Wanted:  Must type 120 words per minute and be versed in grammar."

Gosh, the possibilities are endless...

Satire -

We all know nobody in the imaging industry is going to lead into the past by giving up all their paper-reducing technology.

I guess the big question is, how can they expect their clients to do so?

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Greg Walters, Incorporated