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Friday, July 29, 2022

Is Recovering Print Volume "Just Like Riding a Horse"?

Walt's Spin 

No.  Recovering print volume is not just like riding a horse.

But is hardware making a comeback? 

Last week HP announced 23 versions of A3; color and contoured skins, 'speed subscriptions', and - hang on to your hat for this - excitement. That's right, honest to goodness get up and take a look excitement. Put aside what you've been told about HP 'stealing your data' - nothing new there. 

Ignore the delayed stress.(Mopier, Hawk, Edgeline, Samsung...) And for heaven's sake, bury those 'Deja Vu' feelings, "Didn't Panasonic try this, just before they exited the copier niche?" 

Xerox, Ricoh, and HP are hitting the hardware trail with new devices - great. No surprise there. Xerox or HP state goals of getting to 80% of pre-Covid print volumes. 

Aggressive or delusional? 

I know that the C-suites in all the OEMs are studying ways to move away from manufacturing copiers. Of course, I'll believe it when I see it.  But are their stated goals over-optimistic or just pipedreams?

The answer is 'neither' - which is worse.  Their stated position is a meta-position - something that MUST be said to satiate stockholders, vendors, dealers, resellers, and the remaining, elusive and dissolving demand.  If HP stepped up to the podium today and announced, "As of January 1, 2025, HP, Inc. will no longer manufacture printers. Have a great day."  Imagine the ripples through the ecosystem as suppliers, dealers, customers, and prospective clients scrambled to adjust to a printerless HP.

And it isn't like something like this hasn't happened - it has.  In 1993, IBM was a bleached whale far from the once Blue Dynasty - by 2003 the company had moved from hardware to services and is today a profitable and leader in the services niche.

But it will happen - Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, HP, they'll all pivot off the box.

The key to print volume, which leads to service agreements, and new hardware placements, is one cannot 'create demand', one can only 'recognize demand'.  

Demand is moving.  Is it dipping below the horizon out of reach or we will they ride like the wind, into the future full of exploratory hope and passion?


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