Category: Supplies

xpedx + Unisource … Will Bigger Be Better?

Jeff Hayes
Jan 31, 2014

International Paper (IP) and Unisource Worldwide (UWW) Holdings have announced a definitive agreement to merge their distribution businesses and form a newly created, publicly traded company that will be the largest paper distributor in North America.

This is a big deal. Two of the largest distributors of paper, board, and related supplies for the commercial printing and packaging industries are merging. It would be like Sysco and US Foods, UPS and Fedex, or Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks merging — OK, maybe not that big, but you get the idea.

The new xpedx/Unisource (unipedx? I hope not.) will have an unparalleled combination of product assortment, availability, logistics services, operational efficiencies, and, potentially, pricing power in the market. According to IP, the combined xpedx and Unisource business will have projected annual revenue in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion, and will have about 9,500 employees across more than 170 distribution centers in North America.

xpedx (blue) and Unisource (red) North American Locations

InfoTrends graphic from xpedx and Unisource data

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How do customers make purchase decisions?

Christine Dunne
Jan 27, 2014

As part of InfoTrends’ research for clients, we have mapped the steps in the customer decision-making process. Typically, the customer journey includes six main steps: satisfied with current device, trigger event/need recognition, research and fact finding, evaluation of options, purchase, and usage experience.

Upon returning from my maternity leave a few weeks ago, I began wondering how I fit into this model. I received a multifunction printer (MFP) for Christmas that I had selected myself. As it turns out, my decision-making process aligns with the steps outlined above. I will discuss my experience below, followed by some questions print device vendors may like to consider. 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

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Konica Minolta Makes a Move – 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

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Shuffling Paper, Challenges in the Channel

Tim Greene and Norman McLeod
Nov 18, 2013

Many readers know that two of the biggest paper merchants in the U.S. (xpedx & Unisource) are planning to merge. The combination of xpedx (about $6 billion in revenue) and Unisource (about $4 billion in annual revenue) would create a giant in the U.S. distribution business. Whatever you think you know about Xpedx and Unisource, they are definitely not JUST paper merchants, those days are way over. Both companies have important initiatives in packaging, digital printing and yes, wide format.

As the big paper merchants come together we see other companies organizing to compete. Read more »

The Mopria Alliance: Simplifying Print for Mobile Users

Zac Butcher
Sep 30, 2013

Mopria LogoOn September 24th the Mopria Alliance was announced by founding members Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox. With the express purpose of driving simple mobile printing this is a move that many involved in the industry will welcome.  Whilst I have been calling for simplification and standardisation for some time, the reality is that a collaboration of this nature requires a great deal of work in the background.  After spending some time on the Mopria Alliance website I was pleasantly surprised by the substance already in place.  For anyone interested there is a detailed FAQ section, a YouTube video and a knowledge centre with plenty of content.  There is also an open house scheduled for prospective alliance members on October 17-18.

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International Paper Closes Another Mill … Wake-Up Call for the Office and Commercial Printing Industry

Jeff Hayes
Sep 16, 2013

International Paper announced it will permanently close its massive Courtland, Alabama mill by the end of the first quarter of 2014. This is a huge decision for IP and speaks very loudly about the long-term demand for printing and communications paper. Printer and copier manufacturers, inkjet and toner vendors, office products and supplies resellers, and print service providers need to take notice.

International Paper Courtland Alabama Mill

Source: Decatur Daily

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Staples Earnings Don’t Bode Well for Office Equipment & Supplies Industry

Jeff Hayes
Aug 22, 2013

Staples’ most recent earnings announcement and efforts to reinvent itself suggest the office equipment and supplies business has entered a period of long-term decline. Vendors and resellers need to take notice and develop new strategies for growth.

Consider some of the financial highlights and comments from Staples’ conference call with analysts: Read more »

Frankly Speaking: Paper Will be the New Gold

Frank Romano
Jul 12, 2013

As paper volumes drop because of electronic substitution, and paper mills cut capacity to sync with demand, paper will become a rare commodity. And rare commodities are worth a lot of money.

I would start hoarding paper now instead of gold and silver. Some day, we will have new denominations based on sheets, reams, cases, and of course, rolls of paper. It may not be uncommon to hear “Can I Read more »

Focus on Europe 2013 Conference

Andy Carroll
Jul 9, 2013

Attendance at The Recycler’s annual Focus on Europe conference continues to strengthen,  perhaps a reflection of the remanufacturing industry becoming more tightly knitted in  the face of increasing business pressures .  This year saw around 115 delegates eager to explore networking opportunities, share their experiences and discuss the challenges the industry faces.  A year on from a warm and sunny Nice, Europe’s remanufacturing community gathered once again, this time in an even warmer Vienna.  However, the hottest topic for the industry continues to be impact of “clone” cartridges, which has dominated many of the discussions in previous years and was equally as prevalent this time around.

Colin Davison, from Triton Engineering, gave some valuable insight into the latest pressures impacting on the industry in Zhuhai, with enforced wage rises and the seasonal labour impact of the Chinese New Year contributing towards the closure of a number of cartridge manufacturing facilities in the area in recent months.  However, while a reduction in the number of facilities potentially supplying the markets with low cost clone products will likely be welcomed by domestic remanufacturers, MSE’s Luke Goldberg suggested that, in some markets, the damage may have already been done, with the number of local remanufacturers having contracted significantly over the past decade.  On a more positive note Luke’s colleague, Mark Dawson, was eager to remind attendees about the values upon which the remanufacturing industry was founded, and additionally that they should remember that the majority of end users still decide to purchase OEM supplies, so a quality product can still compete without having to focus entirely on lowering prices.

In addition to the clone discussions, there were also a number of sessions which informed the audience about new standards and legal requirements that the industry need to consider.  Of primary interest was the session relating to the new ISO 29142 standard, which relates to cartridge information, such as whether it is an Original or Non-Original cartridge and environmental factors like hazardous substances contained inside and applicable collection programs.  It was clear from the presentation that the standard is still very much a work in progress, and is a framework that will continue to be built upon in the future.
Of more immediate importance to the industry are the implications of the EU REACH legislation, which deals with chemical substances such as those contained in toner cartridges.  Failure to comply with the REACH legislation can result in criminal prosecution, so remanufacturers should ensure that their toner power supplier has registered with the EU and has documentation to support its compliance.  The REACH directive represents another area where clone cartridges might potentially be exposed, as resellers of clones will need to ensure that the chemicals inside meet the legal requirements of REACH.  Infringing upon OEM patents exposes resellers to civil litigation but, with the possibility of a jail sentence, the penalties of breaching REACH could be much more severe.

This years conference provided a good balance between keeping the audience informed about important wider issues and providing a forum for attendees to discuss their experiences of the last 12 months and look for partnerships that would drive future business.  When the industry next meets, at Remanexpo in January 2014, it will be a barometer of whether the impact of clones has peaked and whether the remanufacturers have begun to focus on the 75% of the consumables market that is still going to the OEMs.

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