Dec 5, 2013
There was an awkward moment in one of the conference sessions at Konica Minolta’s recent dealer meeting. Polly LaBarre, co-author of Mavericks at Work, was summing up her presentation and she asked listeners if they would promise to ‘walk into the office stupider, and ask more questions.’ Promoting stupidity seems like a losing proposition but the ‘asking questions’ part is right on the mark, and I think it is a good reflection of the way that Konica Minolta conducted its ‘Shape the Future’ event, which took place November 17-19 at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas.
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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
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Nov 22, 2013
The past few years have been difficult for Sharp. The company has experienced a significant decline in revenue and profits primarily from its domestic business (down 37% in FY 2013 from its peak in 2011), intense competition in the LCD market, and high cost structure. As Sharp restructures its business portfolio, there has been industry talk about whether or not they would stay in the office products and solutions market. Doug Albregts, President, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America spoke candidly about Sharp’s financial status and made several important announcements at their recent national dealer meeting in Orlando, FL that indicate Sharp is committed to the Business Solutions Division.
While Sharp’s revenue is down 18% since FY 2011, Albregts noted that through the first six months of 2013 fiscal year improved significantly versus the same period in 2012. In the first six months of 2013 Sharp Corporation posted revenues of $13.7 billion which was 22% better than 2013. Operating income has been positive for four consecutive quarters and in the first half of 2013 was $340 million versus a loss of $1.7B in 2012. Operating efficiencies and increased revenues are the primary drivers of the improvement in operating income. In addition, Sharp Corporation’s worldwide Business Solutions Division achieved revenues of $1.6 billion in FY 2013, a 14% increase over 2012.
Sharp appears to have weathered the storm by making necessary cuts (R&D, staff, underperforming businesses), focusing on the Asian market, and benefitting from a weaker Japanese Yen. The company is now focusing more on its core product development and go-to-market capabilities. In these areas, Albregts and his management team highlighted several important initiatives about the company’s distribution, product line, and cloud services.
Nov 3, 2013
With over 1,200 attendees and representation from 597 Ricoh dealerships, Convergence 2013 was Ricoh’s largest dealer event of all time. The executive team was very accessible and honest in their self-evaluation of where they have been, mistakes made along the way and creating specific plans for addressing the issues and growing the company.
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Oct 3, 2013
With nearly 800 business owners, software users and IT professionals attending the ECi Connect Conference 2013, this was the largest Connect event yet. The theme of Educate, Collaborate and Inspire was certainly well received by the attendees. The training forums were designed to uncover users business challenges and allow for them to exchange tips and ideas on how to improve their businesses and processes. The ECi Software Solutions family of companies provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) business management and business applications including e-commerce systems software for over 7,500 growing small and midsize companies. Their growth rate is staggering, and their customer base has literally doubled over a five year period. With a client base made up of various industries and vertical markets, such as, Hardware-Home Centers, Lumber-Building Materials, Manufacturing, Office Products, Office Equipment, Office Furniture and Janitorial-Industrial Paper, the industry specific software and services focus by ECi is impressive. Read more »
Sep 30, 2013
On 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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Barbara Richards and John Shane
Sep 28, 2013
Several years ago HP conducted a limited pilot program on HP Instant Ink and InfoTrends provided a brief overview of the program.
HP plans to roll out the expanded Instant Ink Program in North America with several retail partners within the next few weeks and more stores will be going online as time goes on. According to HP, the new plan will directly address customers’ pain points and concerns. HP hopes to move from a transactional supply model to a subscription model with this new program.
Figure 1: HP Instant Ink Highlights
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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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Sep 10, 2013
DocuWare has announced its acquisition of Branford, CT-based Westbrook Technologies Inc. Westbrook is an ECM vendor with a strong customer and partner base in North America. Westbrook Technologies Inc. has approximately 50 employees and will operate as a subsidiary of DocuWare.
The acquisition is a further step for DocuWare to substantiate its position as a global ECM vendor for small and mid-sized companies. In 2012 Morgan Stanley became an investor to support the company’s growth path.
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Aug 28, 2013
InfoTrends recently published its second in-depth primary research study on the manufacturing industry within the Business Process Automation Consulting Service. The manufacturing industry is a dynamic market with several sub-industries that can vary greatly in size and output demand, and because of these widespread differences, certain processes may require more exhaustive and paper-intensive workflows. InfoTrends broke down the manufacturing industry into four key workflow areas: 1) Product Planning/Design, 2) Procurement, 3) Production, and 4) Fulfillment. Within those areas, we broke down the industry further and discovered several major manual processes that demonstrate the biggest areas for automation opportunity for vendors: 1) Sample testing and trials, 2) Quality assurance/product inspections, 3) On-site supplier audits, and 4) Warehousing.
The following chart is an example of one of the most paper-intensive areas in manufacturing – Sample Testing and Trials. Due to the high frequency of the sample testing and trials process (occurring on average of five times per product) and paper being used roughly 38% of the time, automating this area will improve processing times and compliance initiatives (both of which are the top goals and objectives for manufacturing organizations today).
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