Aug 26, 2016
Lexmark’s National Dealer Show, May 9th – 11th, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida absolutely DID NOT SUCK. This was my first time attending a Lexmark event as an analyst and no offense to Lexington, Kentucky but did I ever luck out that my first Lexmark event was held in sunny Florida and bonus, just a few hours from home in lovely Orlando. Winning!
I arrived early on the 9th and was greeted by this scene right outside my room, which I thought was a great way to kick things off because Lexmark Dealers owned the beach that week, absolutely owned it!
Mike Johnson, VP of North America Business Channels, kicked off Day 1 thanking the members of the press for their support, management for their support, dealers for their support…which I thought was a really nice touch to do in an in depth fashion, discuss how each of the mentioned groups uniquely contributes to Lexmark’s overall success.
I know the theme of the event was overwhelmingly about color and A4 potential for dealers. But one of my key takeaways from the event overall was balance. These OEM events can be overwhelming at times with too many vendor partners and “solutions” presented but this event although it had a high number of partners; they managed to keep it in an intimate enough settings that you didn’t feel overcome. Many great partner companies were at this event including ACDI and Strategy Development, MWAi with their popular dealer-ERP system FORZA, Business Technology Association and many others.
Unless you have been living on the moon, you know that Lexmark was acquired by purchasing consortium Apex Technology, PAG Asia Capital and Legend Capital (a major stakeholder in Lenovo) and I thought that Ron Binkauskas, VP and GM, NA Imaging Solutions and Services did a great job describing the purchase as a “Strategic Alternative Process” and also that Lexmark branding will remain the same and that management will also stay in place. This would behoove the purchasing consortium because this Lexmark team is really made up of solid individuals but also as a team have a real track record of success together.
Brock Saladin, VP and GM Global Channel Sales and Marketing shared Lexmark’s Channel Strategy. Traditional Office Equipment Dealers (OED) represents the most strategic area of focus for Lexmark along with their focus to SMB. This group grew 23% in revenue from last year and with the launch of some really nice products, I would expect more of the same in the coming year.
Phil Boatman did an outstanding job of walking the press core through the new product line and the one that was most exciting (yes, I just said a print product was exciting) was the XC 8160/8150. Bar none, the hottest new A4 product on the market.
- 120 images per minute scanning
- MSRP – $26,000, increased to allow leasing flexibility.
- <.01 monochrome
- <.07 color
- Feeds heaviest stock in its class
- Roll off packaging
- Multi-position stapling
- Hole punch options
- 4 year warranty covers parts and maintenance kits (labor for first year) CPM full color A4 MFPs.
This product and associated launch has one key component that will allow for it to succeed. You see other OEMs and traditional OEDs in our industry shy away from A4 devices so as to maintain their base of A3 devices which is where 50% of their revenues come from and they need a healthy 35% equipment margin so as to incentivize their sales people to actually sell the devices (because they like to earn commissions). Well this A4 device was built like a robust A3 as far as serviceability and with the margin structure of A3 on the financial side, this will keep the sales rep engaged, keep the dealer owner’s happy because equipment revenue won’t fall off the cliff…additionally let’s be honest here people, if only 2% of paper manufactured is 11X17, how much click revenue do you think you are actually generating on that size media and how long before A4 competitors start pointing out that the A3 vendor is overselling them on hardware? Watch this “Steel Jungle Gym” by Lexmark become a trend as A4 centric companies start to disrupt the A3 market. Oh, it’s going to happen doubters, I know who you are, I hear you snickering. Well, the data is the data all you haters…Lexmark color unit sales for 1st half of 2016 grew 80% YOY. That’s right, 80%!
There were some excellent guest speakers as well. Sandy Cross, Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion, PGA of America. Her topic was, well, Diversity & Inclusion…and she did a stellar job of discussing how the PGA is driving new customer growth and participation in golf. Also, Bob Goldberg, General Counsel, Business Technology Association did a remarkable job with a dealer panel that included Tom McMahon, VP & GM, Florida Operations for Milner, Inc. Jim Fall, VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development for Cannon IV. Vennetta Diesel, Sales Manager for Millennium Business Systems and finally John Hastings, Senior Vice President, Sales for Loffler Companies, Inc. Now, just between you and I, I normally take a nap when Goldberg speaks but for this event he really captivated the audience with some great questions for the dealers, so I was able to stay awake the entire session. Great job, Bob!!!
I also gave a keynote and as usual, I was spectacular. However it is truly bizarre doing a write up and describing to everyone that you literally just gave a keynote for the ages (You hear me Lou Slawetsky? A keynote for the ages, as in, the best of all time.) and that said keynote should impact dealers strategy for the future relative to MPS and A4…so, I’ll just do this. Click on this link MPS: You Need to Get it Right Now! and read this article by Tom Callinan, he does a great job of encapsulating everything I presented and he does it with a very poignant message for the dealer community.
A special thank you and congratulations to the entire team at Lexmark, Ron Binkauskas, VP and GM, NA Imaging Solutions and Services, Mike Johnson, VP NA Business Channels & SMB, Tom Knight, VP and GM of R&D, Brock Saladin, BP & GM Global Channel Sales & Marketing, Greg Chavers, Director US Copier Channel Sales, Brian Henderson, Director Global Marketing, Phil Boatman, Business Alliance Manager US Business Channels , and finally Sean Endicot (the Magic Mike of the industry), Senior Manager, NA Channel Business Development. You all did great work putting on a fabulous event, that was channel-centric and office technology dealer focused.