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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween: Grover's Mill, NJ

"...We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own.

We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. 

With infinite complacence people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small spinning fragment of solar driftwood which by chance or design man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space.

Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. In the thirty-ninth year of the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

It was near the end of October. Business was better. The war scare was over. More men were back at work. 

Sales were picking up. 

On this particular evening, October 30, the Crosley service estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios..." - Orson Wells, 1938.

In a world without the internet, Twitter, cell phones or email a fictitious account of an invasion from Mars scared children, and angered many.

I submit to you a feast for your ears and the kaleidoscope of your mind. Travel back when this new medium, radio, ruled and was blamed for the Death of the Stage show and rotting young minds...enjoy.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New to Copier Sales: Workflow Diagrams

"Workflow, that hot, new thing in the New Managed print Services." It's deja vu all over again.

The latest thing in MpS, not necessarily the newest thing, is "Workflow". You should be picking up  more chatter about workflow - you may even hear, "if you don't get into workflow, your dealership will die..." (Insert grain of salt, here.)

No doubt 2013 will see a BIG push of "workflow solutions": workflow software from providers  & workflow consultations from...consultants.

What does this all mean? What impact will this movement have upon the imaging industry, if at all?  Is this more hype, like color, digital, connected, and MpS?  Weren't we just evangelizing "managed network services"? (there is no such thing in the IT world, BTW)

For me, workflow/BPO has always been part of managed print services - part of the evolution, inevitable as the "p" in Managed print Services fades.

As we did so many years ago learning the ways of MpS, let's start with the basics: a standard, run of the mill, definition of 'workflow' -

"Workflow is a term used to describe the tasks, procedural steps, organizations or people involved, required input and output information, and tools needed for each step in a business process." - SearchCIO

Notice this does not specifically, or exclusively, refer to production printing workflow - Job submission can be represented as a workflow, but it is NOT the only example of workflow.

To some, the idea of defining how one does their job and daily business functions may sound complicated. Throw in the notion that workflow is usually expressed in the form of flowcharts, and the concept seems even more unreachable.

But it's not all that difficult to figure out.

All one does is determine how a process is completed, document the observed steps, and investigate bottlenecks.  As a matter of fact, if you've been selling copiers or printers or even MpS for any amount of time, I'm guessing you've embarked on the beginnings of workflow.

Let's take a look at an example, a purchase requisition (yawwwwwn). The following chart reflects a very basic process from requisition to purchase order:

This is a pretty straightforward flow with no deviation. Notice how the arrows suggest a motion or flow from one rectangle to the next.  All flowchart shapes carry specific meaning - rectangles are processes, diamonds decision points, and so on.

Of course, workflow diagrams can become pretty complex and detailed.  Below is a workflow chart for a system relating to data entry.

You can imagine how detailed a workflow diagram can get.

For me, it was always easier to jot down a quick workflow on the clipboard, binder, or today, on the tablet.

Here is an illustration of the decision process involved in installing a DCA, outlined on the Pad:
It makes sense to me so converting to Visio is a snap:

Approximate time to create, 12 minutes.
This isn't rocket surgery, scratching out drawings is just the beginning.  Apply your business acumen, a little software, and professional consultation into the equation, ultimately exchanging your knowledge for value.

How do you develop the ability to recommend and provide workflow systems to your existing MpS clients?   Is it too much to get into?  Can be. One thing is for sure, this isn't "hype" or "noise" - those who say so, do not get it - fain attention, then go back to work.

Welcome to the beginnings of Workflow. You won't get this stuff at the Monday morning sales meeting.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Red China Will Spy Through Your Printer and Kill With Toner


Communism: In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Capitalism: Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.

I've been thinking about this ever since the drywall from China was reported to be radioactive.

We all want cheap stuff - Walmart runs that idea into the ground as does Amazon.  But for me, it has been difficult to rationalize the success communist China is experiencing with Capitalism.  U.S. Capitalism brought down the Soviet Union and Block; U.S. capitalism succeeded in Viet Nam when our hamstrung military did not.  It seems to me that blue jeans, rock and roll and Mcdonald's is enough to dissolve the Great Wall.

Mao Zedong
But Communist China is still Communist China and communism abhors capitalism. 

Today, why are we surprised to hear that the Red Chinese have implanted secret spy chips in the motherboards of some of the most widely used servers in the world.  How much easier it is to plant a chip anywhere inside a printer or toner cartridge?

In addition to opening up our clouds to Red China, we've purchased killer dog food and poison drywall.  

More disturbing, in order to do business in the land of Mao, international companies must share proprietary technology with their Chinese competitors.  We've been doing just that for nearly a decade.  Is it any wonder the new Chinese fighter jet looks like ours?

What does all this mean?  What can we do?
  • STOP selling toner from Red China.
  • STOP buying clones from Red China.
  • Shun everything coming from Red China.
  • Highlight HP and Xerox's American heritage.
  • Tell end-users of possible harm resulting from Chinese clones or toner.
  • Remove Lexmark from all US Federal, State, and local Government contracts - Education as well.  This is a difficult notion - I know many good people at Lexmark.  But it isn't the same Lexmark, is it? (NineStar).
The 'copier industry' is clich├ęd and uneventful, yet often, because of our technology pedigree, the output device and document management segment are at the tip of the spear in business innovation.

It seems odd to mix geopolitical issues with managed print services, but here we are.  We were always integrated with politics, global issues, and future tech - we could be the first to call out Red China.


Killer Toner
MpS, Terrorism and Third-Party Toner

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