Lexmark is Crushing it in Color – Lexmark Largest Ever National Dealer Show

David Ramos
 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!

IMG_4795

Lexmark literally owned the Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

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 Read more »

The YSoft Difference – Distinction in a Crowded MPS Space

David Ramos
 Feb 22, 2016

YSoft_v2_RGBWith headquarters in Brno, Czech Republic and offices around the world (including Asia, Australia, The U.S. – Dallas, Texas and multiple locations in Europe), the YSoft Group employs over 285 experienced professionals worldwide. Annual double-figure revenue growth has become a tradition at YSoft. It’s become their own personal benchmark in growth and nothing less than excellence today is an expectation.  Over 90% of their revenue is generated abroad, and now YSoft has a dedicated team making an impact in the U.S.  YSoft develops and supplies the YSoft SafeQ solution, which empowers large companies and organizations of any size to optimize their printing, copying and scanning needs.

YSoft’s Enterprise Print Management products, including the SafeQ product suite, allow clients to dramatically reduce costs, streamline workflows and increase document security via completely scalable solutions and licensing models.  Combine these product facets with extremely flexible dealer pricing structures, top-notch 24x7x365 service capabilities from YSoft directly, and an indirect-only sales model to create a relationship where your clients enjoy a low-cost, competitively priced, highly-rated product, and you enjoy a healthy recurring revenue stream, making for a great partnership for independent dealers to capitalize on.

Benefits of working with YSoft:

  • YSoft has been very successful in partnering with the leading MFD and MPS providers on a global basis.
  • They are a Xerox Platinum Partner that has been validated through the Xerox Direct Organization, with similar relationships with other OEM vendors such as Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Samsung, Toshiba, and Sharp, just to a name a few.
  • YSoft cost recovery products have a large install base among many of the largest companies in the U.S., and is now extending their focus to SMB; with very competitive modular offerings.
  • Simple and competitive per device licensing, allowing for fast quote responses –  Compliments and expands the value of your current MPS offering.
  • Purchase or subscription agreements available.
  • YSoft has a strong partner focus, with 20 YSoft U.S. employees dedicated to channel support.
  • YSoft manufactures the total solution for hardware and software to create a single point of contact for quality and assurance.

Read more »

Building a Business Case for Attending ITEX 2016

David Ramos
 Jan 19, 2016

Okay, so up front, let me address the elephant in the room…I know there has been some less than flattering feedback about the direction of the show the past few years.  I know this because you’ve been kind of enough and trusted me enough to tell me directly to my face or on the phone.  You know me, I appreciate honesty and I love people who are direct.  I’m simply asking you to do me a favor, the favor is this, read this piece and allow me lay out a few points as to why I believe you should attend this year’s event.  Fair enough? Itex Register

First, our industry needs this show to be successful.  We need an event, and as “We” I include everyone who is dedicated to the industry, that is independent, unbiased and most of all an event that provides value to and for independent office technology companies.   ITEX National Conference and Expo’s team has been working diligently for the past year to dig deep and renew the position of this show as the go-to resource for the independent channel.

Second, we have Read more »

Why Aren’t You a Member of the Business Technology Association? BTA Celebrates 90 Years of Dealers Helping Dealers!!!

David Ramos
 Jan 6, 2016

We shall start where all of the great journeys throughout history start, at the very beginning.  It was August of 1926 and a group of independent typewriter dealers…What is a typewriter? Google it Millennials, I don’t have time to draw you a picture. Where was I?  Oh yes…

90Yearslogo

It was August of 1926 and a group of independent typewriter dealers gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, to form an association that would one day become the Business Technology Association.  By 1933, the Association had grown so much that it was decided a name change was needed. The National Association of Typewriter Dealers became the National Typewriter and Office Machine Dealers Association (NTOMDA), a decade later in 1943; it became the National Office Machine Dealers Association (NOMDA).  Fun fact, new products announced in the September issue of the NOMDA NEWS in 1948 included such items as:

  • The Tape Recorder — a compact, magnetic tape recording and playback machine designed for non-professional use.
  • The Wire Recorder — a new, portable, low-priced model. The combination phonograph/wire recorder reproducer claimed to have 12 essential features of sound reproduction.
  • The Photo Copy Duplicator — designed to produce letter- and legal-sized exact facsimiles of anything written, typed, printed, drawn or photographed in a matter of minutes. Claimed to produce more than 30 finished copies an hour at about five cents per copy. Portable. Had a self-contained darkroom.

Fast forward to present day, the Business Technology Association (BTA), led by Executive Director Brent Hoskins and a Board of Directors made up of independent dealers/entrepreneurs, serves office technology dealerships, resellers, manufacturers, distributors and service companies. Its core members — office technology companies — consult, provide services such as managed print services, managed IT services and sell hardware, software and supplies with the primary goal of helping businesses optimize business information workflow. Through the association’s various educational programs, information, research, legal services, publications and guidance, BTA member dealerships are positioned to be the premier source of the office technology used by businesses throughout the United States every day.  Bottom line, this association is about dealers helping dealers.

National Typewriter and Office Machine Dealers Association August 20, 1928, Cleveland, Ohio

National Typewriter and Office Machine Dealers Association August 20, 1928, Cleveland, Ohio

So, if you’re reading this and you’re not a member, my question is: Why Not?!  This is seriously what they call a “no-brainer” because for a measly $430 a year…hold on, let me start this part again.

This is seriously what they call a “no-brainer” for only $1.18 A DAY you have access to the following (imagine I am saying this with the voice of Don Pardo):

  • Legal Services – Led by the esteemed Bob Goldberg (he doesn’t even make me refer to him as esteemed, I do it out of the respect I have for his contributions to the BTA and our industry)
  • Free Publications & Online Resources – Like Office Technology Magazine
  • Channel Trends & Statistics – Including our very own InfoTrends Dealer Vertical Market Opportunity Analysis (yes, it’s a shameless plug, sue me after you become a member and have access to Bob Goldberg’s legal services)
  • Business Support Services – Including our very own InfoTrends Ask the Analyst service (alright, alright, that will be my last shameless plug)
  • Discount Programs
  • Insurance Programs
  • Education
  • BTA Scholarships – These scholarships are awarded to children of dealers & the children of their full-time employees.
  • BTA Navigator Program
  • Volume Purchasing Agreements

In addition to all of these fabulous benefits, the BTA holds five District Events per year (I know I said no more shameless plugs but this one isn’t about me, thus it doesn’t qualify as shameless), in the West, East, Southeast (traditionally one in first quarter and the annual Fall Colors event in North Carolina) and the Mid-America event. This year the Mid-America event will be held in BTA’s home city of Kansas City, Missouri, on June 8th thru June 10th to celebrate the association’s 90th Anniversary. These events feature industry leaders, networking opportunities, educational sessions and opportunities for exhibitors to meet one-on-one with attendees.

So, let’s go back to the beginning.  Founded in 1926…let that soak in for a moment people…founded in 1926!!!  Another fun fact, did you know that of the Fortune 500 firms in 1955 vs. 2014; 88% are gone?  Gone people, gone!  My Peeps at BTA have been diligently serving the independent dealer community since 1926!!!  And…AND…they all still look great!  Valerie, Teresa, Mary and Elizabeth, they don’t look a day over 30!  Brent and Brian…well, let’s just say they look great for 90 and we’ll leave it at that. :)

If you are already a member of the BTA you know first-hand all of the great work this group of individuals on the staff do for you on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and the contribution made by the association to our industry throughout its proud history.  If you are not a member, pick up the phone or email this man, Brian K. Smith, listed below and join today!  I promise you, if you invest the time to maximize even a fraction of the benefits I listed, it’s worth every penny.  And again, the pennies, work out to be like $1.18 a day!

Brian K. Smith – Membership Specialist

Business Technology Association

12411 Wornall Road, Ste. 200

Kansas City, Missouri 64145

800-505-2821

brian@bta.org

Congratulations to the entire staff at BTA and the countless volunteers, who are too many to name in this blog, for your many hours of hard work making the association successful.  A special shout out to Brent Hoskins for his dedication to and stewardship of the association.  Last fun fact, Brent also doubles as editor of Office Technology magazine.  So when he retires, the Board will have to hire two people to back-fill him; good luck with that. Brent is someone I both personally and professionally have a tremendous amount of respect for and is also someone I believe could be the nicest person on the planet. Much continued success to the Business Technology Association in 2016 and here’s to the next 90 years of dealers helping dealers!

 

 

Sharp National Dealer Meeting – Turning The Corner, Abounding Enthusiasm

David Ramos
 Dec 11, 2015

I have just returned from the Sharp National Dealer Show held at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas.  Quite frankly I could do a positive write up on the event based on that fact alone just because I love Texas!  But I’ll keep it professional and focus on the host (Sharp) and their event content but first let’s get some housekeeping items out of the way before I do a deep dive on the most exciting facets of the event.

Unless you have been living on the moon, you know that Sharp has struggled financially.  In May, they unveiled an annual loss of $1.9bn.  However, my prediction is that Sharp will never die and they will continue to evolve and adapt.  This is not to understate the issues they face, only to emphasize the fact that Sharp, like many companies that have confronted this class of challenges before them will most certainly evolve and adapt.  Executive Managing Officer of Sharp Corporation and President of Business Solutions, Mr Kazushi Mukai stated in the General Session to open the event, “As you have read in the news, Sharp is struggling through the restructuring process of transforming from its legacy categories which have been accumulated throughout history.  However, while it has taken a lot of time, we are basically through that change.”  So, let me make the statement again, they (Sharp) will continue to exit certain businesses; they will most certainly evolve and adapt to the changing industry landscape, but SharpWillNeverDie.

The message throughout the event was on Sharp’s commitment to B2B business, not consumer expansion.  Doug Albregts, President – Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America, stated “The B2B world is about relationships and we will work hard to expand your opportunities in this market” and have positioned Sharp for growth through B2B with a number of tactics:

  1. People
  2. Training
  3. Simplifying Programs
  4. Improving Delivery Times
  5. Working Capital
  6. Tech Data
Doug Albregts

Doug Albregts, President – Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America discusses relationships and partnerships.

How has this strategy and execution started to pay off?  Sharp had their 6th straight fiscal of revenue growth for SIICA despite exiting non-core businesses.  In spite of all the challenges, MFP revenues also grew 6.5% over the prior period and the profit story is equally impressive.  Last fiscal, the Sharp US Document Business was one of the most profitable in their history.  SIICA grew its operating profit by 145% vs. the prior fiscal period.  That is a foundation of results they can continue to build on.

The Sharp team was very excited and enthusiastic about this meeting, and rightly so, as it kicked off the strategy that Doug Albregts and his team had carefully been building over the last 2 years and of course, they also had some new print devices to launch.  New products from workgroup color to high speed mono…I want to be brutally honest here, I am NOT a widget guy.  The widget is the least fascinating piece of our industry to me, even back to the time when I was selling said widgets down the street in my first job at Xerox.  I am more from the business vein of building solid relationships with my clients and solving business problems, the widget is just a mechanism to help accomplish that (I can hear the collective whining from the industry “Gear Heads” as I write this piece, get over it Gear Heads).  Are we clear on my feelings about this?  Because it’s really important as to what I am about to write next, which is something I have never ever once said or written, ever.  One of the most exciting moments during the event, if not the most exciting moment was the launch of 10 new clean sheet design A3 product line in the 30 – 60 PPM range (click the link and read all about it). All models will use the same engine, accessories and most importantly common parts and supplies, making this one of the easiest product lines for service operations to support.

Did you read that last part?  This is how exciting it was for the participants, just so I paint you a clear picture.  When Shane Coffey, Senior Director, Product Management at Sharp Electronics, presented the new product line up, Dealer Principals, Sales and Services leaders, all in the audience literally shouted with enthusiasm and everyone in the audience was vigorously applauding…over a widget launch people, a widget launch!

image1

Shane Coffey, Senior Director, Product Management & Mike Marusic, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Supply Chain and Service discuss launch of 10 new models built on clean sheet design.

Now here is why the announcement was met with such enthusiasm by Sharp constituents.  Almost 70% of operating income contribution in the dealer business model (most commonly and affectionately referred to as the Tom Johnson model) is derived from service operations.  So when you create a product platform that locks in the same cost structure for the 30ppm device that you will receive on the 60ppm device and all speeds in between, and reduce parts and supply expense and oh by the way, reduce “Car Stock” for technicians, you immediately drive; improved cash flow for your dealers, improved operational efficiency for your dealers, and improved profitability for your dealers.  One of the number one complaints I hear from dealer principals and service leaders is that of their manufacturers developing too many models with no commonality from one product to the next and increasing the difficulty for the dealer to manage the service component of their business.

Dealer principals and service leaders repeatedly state their challenges when it comes to service efficiencies coming in variations of the following:

  • Predictability of service events
  • Risk of bad products
  • Parts and supply stocking and ordering
  • Financial risks due to improper inventory management
  • Parts car stocking and deployment
  • Territory structure at the technician level
  • Hitting service productivity benchmarks

The new product line up was designed based off Dealer feedback and will certainly have a positive impact for all of the Sharp partners.  Sharp’s product fair showcase was also excellent and one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, with over 60 partners showcased such as YSoft, DocuWare, MWAi Forza, Print Audit, the Business Technology Association and many more.

Sharp has made significant improvements in its restructuring, they continue to invest in the office technology space, they have further expanded their partner network, and, most importantly, they are highly committed to the office equipment dealer channel with the right programs and product design to improve dealer profitability and operations.  With a strategy like this Sharp, will never die!”

Konica Minolta Acquires Copytronics Information Systems

David Ramos
 Jun 5, 2014

Will report to 2013 acquisition CopySource President and Chief Sales Officer Tim Marshall, demonstrates continued focus to strategic investments.

In June of 1972, Paul Shields moved his family to Jacksonville, Florida. With $1,500 to invest, a fresh contract for a copier dealership in his pocket that still had a signature with wet ink from his pen, Paul created Copytronics, Incorporated. With one employee and through hard work, dedication and a lot of late nights, he managed to sell $150K in sales revenue during the first year. After you factor the rate of inflation, that $150K would be roughly the equivalent to $838K in revenue in 2013 US Dollar value. That is some impressive productivity! Read more »

Ricoh Acquisition of mindSHIFT – Launch Pad for Services and Sign of Acquisitions to Come

David Ramos
 Jan 24, 2014

Best Buy acquired mindShift in 2011 for $167 million. The strategy at the time was to use mindShift to break into cloud services and target more SMBs.  Best Buy was focused on developing a services business and the thought was that with the combination of mindSHIFT’s cloud, data center and professional services would allow the two companies capture a greater share of the $40 billion small and mid-sized business MSP market. Paul Chisholm, chairman and CEO of mindSHIFT at the time in 2011 stated of the acquisition by Best Buy, “We are very closely aligned with Best Buy in both corporate vision, and in our culture of integrity, customer value and results.”

That was then, this is now, and the current reality for Best Buy is to leverage an asset (mindSHIFT) and go back to doing what made them great and focus on their core.  Bottom line, this is a good/needed move for Best Buy after a disappointing 2013 that was capped off by a holiday price war with Amazon where it lost badly. Read more »

Canon Looks to Maintain Base with Eye Towards the Future – Dex Imaging Opening Canon Only Branches?

David Ramos
 Dec 12, 2013

I could have very well titled this “Industry Consolidation and the Ripple Effects” given the nature of the chess match being played out between two industry titans. Canon in one corner, looking to regain momentum (Canon’s loss of market share has been well documented with acquisitions of IKON Office Solutions to Ricoh – $1.62 billion, Global Imaging Solutions to Xerox – $1.5 billion and Danka to Konica Minolta – $240 million, couple this with the mixed result of their CBS Direct Operations the impact is measurable and the desire to win it back is understandable) and in the other corner, Konica Minolta, the current King of the independent dealer community.  Ask an independent dealer owner about what they like about partnering with Konica Minolta and why they have made such a surge in revenue and units, and the first answer is Rick Taylor and his leadership, what follows next from their mouths varies but it is typically like an evangelist giving testimony at a revival.

For those that do not know, Dex Imaging is one of the largest independent dealers in the United States with annual revenues approaching $150M (it’s probably safe to say will have superseded that mark by the close of 2013).  Their plan is to reach $250 million in annual revenue by 2016 and they have 26 locations in Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Alabama and Mississippi.  They made two acquisitions in the Florida market, both announced in May of this year.  In the May press release announcing the acquisitions, Dex Imaging called itself the single largest- and fastest-growing independent dealer of Konica Minolta and Kyocera document imaging equipment in the U.S.

Dex Imaging Acquisitions 2013

1. TonerType, LLC
2. U.S. Imaging Solutions

Read more »

Konica Minolta Makes a Move and Continues with Acquisitions as a Business Strategy

David Ramos
 Dec 10, 2013

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. today announced that it has acquired CopySource Inc., a business solutions dealership headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., to increase Konica Minolta’s reach in the southeast Florida.

In addition to today’s announcement, Florida has been a hotbed of acquisitions in the past 24 months from OEMs, Independent Dealers and IT firms all positioning for growth.

InfoTrends Channel Strategy Service Data

State of Florida Acquisitions - Click to Enlarge Image

Read more »

Toshiba LEAD – The Race to…wait for it…One Billion Dollars!

David Ramos
 Nov 25, 2013

Revenue diversification and revenue growth as a corporate strategy to increase sales from new products and new markets is nothing new. Expanding into a new segment of an industry that a business is already in, or investing in a promising business outside of the scope of the existing business are solid avenues to diversification. What is so unique about Toshiba America Business Solutions is how they get there; with technology creation, innovation and a true brand agnostic approach. Need proof they are serious? 25% of their core MFP product page is HP & Lexmark and almost their entire printer product page is NOT THEIR PRODUCT. This is not the bait and switch of a Global Imaging Systems, where you are assured that yes, you will be able to continue carrying multiple product lines, only to make the non-Xerox line noncompetitive with high internal transfer costs making it difficult if not impossible to recommend products that compete with the core Xerox line. No, this group at Toshiba is different and the independent dealer channel should take notice.

Toshiba LEAD for the second consecutive year struck home a message of “Revenue Beyond Print”. Digital Signage and the Ellumina Digital Signage services along with Virtuoso digital signage displays, and LED signage for outdoor usage was eloquently showcased and created a very positive buzz among the independent dealers, Toshiba direct employees and end user attendees. Highlighted throughout the technology floor and general sessions were applications and content vs. hardware which made it easy for dealers and end users to envision the digital signage market opening as well as key vertical market opportunities were demonstrated.

 

Toshiba Digital Signage in Tesla Dadeland Showroom - Miami, Florida

Read more »

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux