Category: Channel Strategy Service

Are You Ready To Get Your SBB On?

Sheryne Glicksman
Jun 19, 2017

Our industry has officially adopted a new acronym called SBB and it’s here to stay! I believe SBB has the potential to be disruptive, in a positive way, in our market today. So, what exactly is SBB?

Managed Print

Before we define SBB, let’s go back to another acronym called MPS. Managed Print Services has evolved, changed, slowed down and started up again in the past five years. It has been defined, redefined, renamed, rebranded and relaunched. Regardless of how you define MPS or what you do with your program, you’ve probably had some challenges here. One of the challenges that many customers and dealers have with MPS is the ability to capture true output volume and track that volume on a regular basis. Read more »

HP Announces 3D Printer Reseller Program

Jeff Hayes
May 9, 2017

HP made several announcements related to its 3D printing business at the Rapid + TCT 2017 show being held this week in Pittsburgh.

  • New HP 3D Printing reseller program with over 30 partners
  • Multi Jet Fusion installations at leading service bureaus
  • 3D Printing Reference & Experience Centers in the U.S. and Europe
  • Henkel to join the HP Open Materials Platform

HP_LOGO_CMYK_Large

HP 3D Printer Reseller Program

The most significant news is that HP is rolling out a new 3D printing reseller program. HP traditionally has sold most of its products through distribution, and it should come as no surprise that it plans to develop a global reseller network for its Multi Jet Fusion products. HP will be selling through a two-tier model of distributors and resellers in North America and Europe with some direct sales to very large customers with “transformative” projects.

HP is working with several of its key distributors for office equipment to carry the Multi Jet Fusion product line and related supplies and parts.

  • Synnex, based in Freemont, CA, is a $14B distributor that sells 30,000 technology products (active SKUs) to more than 20,000 resellers, system integrators, and retailers throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. HP is Synnex’s largest supplier. Synnex also carries 3D Systems printers.
  • Westcoast, based in Reading, UK, is a privately held IT distributor with turnover in excess of £1.6B and over 1,000 employees across multiple sites in the UK and Europe. The company primarily carries IT gear, printers, and supplies (ink, toner). While HP is one of Westcoast’s largest suppliers, the company also carries 3D printers from MakerBot.
  • Also International, based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, specializes in distributing OEM toner and ink cartridges to resellers, office supplies dealers, and retailers. The company claims to be the largest distributor of OEM supplies in Europe.

HP announced 32 authorized resellers across North America and Europe. Most of the resellers are VARs that are deeply focused on the engineering and manufacturing industries. The companies often carry other 3D printer lines (3D Systems and Markforged are most common), CAD and PLM software, and other specialty products and accessories. A few of the companies have an office equipment dealer heritage and have expanded into graphics and 3D printing applications. HP indicated that over 80% of the companies are entirely new to HP.

HP has been focusing on resellers that have service and support capabilities (a requirement) as well as market expertise, existing customers, and physical locations in target geographic areas. HP noted that unlike its open office printer reseller program, the 3D printer program is a “closed model” where resellers serve the installed base they create in terms of equipment, service, parts, and fusing agent.

HP Multi Jet Fusion Service Bureau Customers

Service bureaus provide a critical role in the evolving 3D printing industry as early adopters of technology with innovative business models. HP announced they have placed units with nine specialty service bureaus and large platform players including:

  • Forecast 3D
  • Proto Labs
  • SigmaDesign
  • Fast Radius
  • Go Proto
  • shapeways
  • ProtoCAM
  • Materialise
  • 3D Prod

HP Multi Jet Fusion Reference and Experience Centers

HP announced 11 locations in the U.S. and five locations in Europe where customers and prospects can see the HP Multi Jet Fusion devices in operation and test new 3D printing use-cases before purchasing equipment. These centers are primarily at HP reseller or service bureau locations.

Henkel Joins HP Open Materials Platform

Henkel Adhesive Technologies has joined the HP Open Materials and Applications Platform and will work with HP’s 3D materials lab in Corvallis, OR to develop customized, industry-specific solutions for HP Multi Jet Fusion customers. Henkel joins Arkema, BASF, Evonik, and Lehmann & Voss, to support HP’s platform for 3D printing materials and applications. Henkel has deep expertise in polyamide synthesis and formulation (the primary material used in HP 3D printers), and will be working to develop unique products that take advantage of the Multi Jet Fusion printing process.

Building Momentum

2017 is shaping up to be a critical year for HP and its 3D printer business. The company is actively shipping the Multi Fusion Jet 4200 and 3200 models in all major regions, has rolled out its reseller program in North America and Europe, has added some high profile corporate and service provider accounts, and has expanded its materials partner program.

While HP has extensive experience with the IT, office printer, and graphics reseller communities, it will take time for HP to build its 3D printer reseller base and deeply understand how to manage and drive this channel in terms of territories, market focus, selling model, sales training, promotional support, financing, field service, and other factors. The next key marker of progress will be HP’s rate of product placements and usage volumes over the next six to 12 months.

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!”

Lexmark International Set to Acquire Kofax Ltd

Anne Valaitis
Mar 25, 2015

 

 

In what seems to be shaping up as an exciting year in document and information technology, late yesterday it was announced that Lexmark International would seek to acquire Kofax Ltd for approximately $11 a share, or $1 billion. Upon news of the agreement, Kofax shares spiked 36%.  This is most certainly a disruptive move by Lexington, Kentucky-based Lexmark, and it positions them to be a “powerhouse” in intelligent capture and document processing while adding sophisticated platform capabilities for BPM.

Lexmark’s most recent acquisitions:

 

Lexmark’s acquisition spree kicked off in 2010, when the company acquired Kansas-based Perceptive Software (for a reported $280 million) with the goal of transitioning from a hardware-centric vendor to a solutions provider. Perceptive Software was a major provider of ECM software and solutions with specific strength in the higher education, healthcare and government sectors and its Image Now software platform offers a broad range of workflow solutions.

The marriage offered clear synergies for growth at a time when Lexmark’s revenue had slumped following the decline of the inkjet market.  Lexmark’s subsequent exit from the inkjet business reaffirmed the importance of new revenues streams. Lexmark, with its global infrastructure of direct & indirect channel for printing hardware, was an excellent fit for Perceptive with its advanced software solutions and vertical expertise. Both came from positions of strength in the medium sized business sector reaching up to the enterprise.

 

 

 

Irvine California-based Kofax provides a diverse set of software and platform solutions for information intensive customer interactions.  With $297 million in revenues reported in 2014, the company has direct sales operations in 30 countries and 850 channel partners working in 70 countries. Kofax has also made strategic acquisition investments in recent years.  In February 2013, Kofax acquired Altosoft to add business intelligence and analytics, then shortly after in July they acquired Kapow for data analytics. In September 2014, Kofax further strengthened its capabilities by obtaining Softpro GmbH for e-signature and fraud detection.
The combination of solutions from Lexmark (with Perceptive) and Kofax for sophisticated capture, intelligent routing, data mining/analytics and other key business processes creates a very strong and comprehensive portfolio.

“The acquisition of Kofax enhances our best-in-class offerings so our customers can capture, manage, access, and act upon their information more efficiently, and extends Lexmark into the high-growth smart process applications market,” said Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and chief executive officer. “Our customers will have a breadth of hardware and software solutions that connect their information silos and automate their business processes – enabling them to access the most relevant information at the moment they need it to drive business forward”.

“We believe joining forces with Lexmark benefits our customers, partners, employees and shareholders and the merger will build on Kofax’s rich history of continuous innovation,” said Reynolds C. Bish, chief executive officer, Kofax. “Our market-leading ability to simplify and transform the First Mile™ of customer engagement is a strong complement to Perceptive Software’s strength in managing information across silos. As a result, we’re excited about the future and working together to realize the full potential of this opportunity to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

 

The Kofax acquisition reflects Lexmark’s ever-growing emphasis on software (including enterprise content management, business process management, document output management, search, intelligent capture software, vertical-oriented solutions); other high value offerings like laser products and MPS; and creating synergies among all three. The Kofax pickup also provides Lexmark with strong end to end vertical industry solutions such as financial services, insurance and healthcare, thus providing a foothold in the entire document lifecycle.     This is a significant move for Lexmark into software, considering a short time ago they were primarily print focused. This industry will continue to change and transform rapidly away from printed pages, and towards flexible, sophisticated solutions designed to solve business problems.

 

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 »

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

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 »

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