Category: Office

Lexmark Acquired by Apex

Allison Correia and Brendan Morse
Apr 21, 2016

Lexmark logo

Back in October 2015, Lexmark announced plans to explore strategic alternatives for its business which many took to mean they were exploring a major move like splitting the company in separate two entities, selling a significant portion of the company, or to sell the entire company as-is.   Six months later, Lexmark announced on April 19, 2016 that it entered into a definitive merger agreement with a consortium of investors led by Apex Technology Co., Ltd. (Apex) and PAG Asia Capital (PAG), under which Lexmark will be acquired for $40.50 per share, representing a 30% premium to the price back in October (the day before Lexmark announced they were exploring strategic alternatives). This makes for all-cash transaction value of approximately $3.6 billion, net of cash. Read more »

Focus on Change and Opportunities at ITEX 2016

Barbara Richards and Brendan Morse
Mar 13, 2016

Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity
On March 7th through the 9th industry leaders, exhibitors and dealers gathered in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at the Broward County Convention Center for the ITEX 2016 National Conference and Expo. The show’s theme “Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity” was indicative of the expanded role of portfolio diversification and business operations transformation is playing within our industry. ITEX 2016 Pic

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Xerox Making MFPs Smarter with New Enhancements

Allison Correia
Mar 11, 2016

Xerox ConnectKey User Interface

Yesterday, March 10th, Xerox announced advancements to its Xerox ConnectKey technology to expand what multifunction printers (MFPs) can do in the workplace. The Xerox ConnectKey-enabled i-Series MFPs are equipped with ready-to-use apps, speed up paper-dependent business processes and make it easier for users to collaborate and work more effectively. The technology also gives Xerox and its partners opportunities to better understand customer business needs and uncover new recurring revenue streams. Read more »

HP Printing Reinvented Event – 8th March 2016

Andy Carroll

This week saw HP host a large event in Lisbon, Portugal to announce their Spring 2016 product launches, themed around “reinvention”.
The primary focus of the event was the launch of the PageWide Business brand within their office lineup, but there were also significant updates announced for the OfficeJet Pro range, along with further refreshes of their LaserJet line, with more devices based upon the JetIntelligence engines that made their debut last year.

3-HP PageWide Enterprise Color Flow MFP 586z Printer

The HP PageWide Enterprise Color Flow MFP 586 (Image courtesy of HP Inc)

Whilst the OfficeJet ProX/EnterpriseX range shared the same printhead technology used in HP’s high speed Web Press devices, it now also shares the same branding. HP PageWide Business devices build on the platform established by the X range, but improvements to the ink formulation have allowed both higher speeds (now up to 75ppm) and increased page yields (up to 20,000 pages from a black cartridge). In addition the PageWide Enterprise range now shares the same security features that were introduced on the LaserJet Enterprise devices last year, so features like SureStart and whitelisting are now available to customers no matter which printing technology they choose to employ. The PageWide Business portfolio is expanded further still by the addition of specific products designed for managed environments, which employ cartridges that are both unique to the managed products and offer even higher page yields. It is expected that the use of derivative products for managed environments will be an increasingly common strategy, as it allows the channel more flexibility when costing out managed contract.
The next stage of the PageWide platform was also mentioned, with a very brief teaser of an A3 device offered only as “coming in 2017”.

The introduction of PageWide could have threatened to overshadow the long standing OfficeJet Pro range, but that has also received a significant refresh, with some significant improvements clearly inspired by developments made in the LaserJet family.

2-HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer

HP OfficeJet Pro 8740 (Image courtesy of HP Inc)

The paper path has been tuned so that two pages can be handled simultaneously, allowing for duplex speeds that get close to simplex, especially when printing longer documents. Single sided pages now also exit the device face down, and collect on an contained paper tray, as opposed to hanging outside the main unit as has been the case for most previous desktop inkjet devices. The input tray has been integrated more closely within the device body, aimed at reducing the risk of parts being exposed to damage under daily exposure to bumps and knocks, and supports up to legal sized paper.

The OfficeJet Pro 8730 also has the dual scanning heads present in more recent Laserjet MFPs, which allow for single pass scanning of both sides of a page, and also gains the option for an additional paper tray to double the input capacity. Finally, the user interface is presented on a much larger screen (5 inches) and features swipe and tap functionality that should be intuitive to smartphone and tablet users. The overall effect is that the newer OfficeJet Pro devices present a more robust appearance, with design cues that appear to make it less distinguishable from laser devices.

In his introduction, David Ryan described the current portfolio as HP’s “best lineup in decades” and it’s easy to see why he holds that view. The last 12 months has seen some real innovation from HP on areas such as security and energy consumption, which play well in an Enterprise environment , but equally on user facing improvements like first page out times, duplexing speeds and single pass scanning. In a highly commoditized category these are real areas of potential differentiation from other OEMs, and with A3 devices now confirmed as part of next years plans it gives other industry players a lot to think about. HP may not have reinvented printing per se, but they may well have reinvigorated their position in the category.

Canon Solutions America … Execution and Growth

Jeff Hayes
Feb 25, 2016

CSA LogoCanon Solutions America (CSA) hosted about 50 industry analysts in Boca Raton, Florida this week to celebrate the third anniversary of the company’s formation, as well as to discuss their progress and direction. The company demonstrated increasing momentum in the critical areas of:

  • Enterprise solutions and services
  • High-speed production inkjet printing
  • Large format graphics and technical printing

Based on presentations, product demonstrations, and access to the Canon Solutions America management team it is evident that CSA has a robust product line, is tightly coordinated across business units and geographies, and is supported by highly data-driven field operations.

Toyo Kuwamura, President and CEO of Canon Solutions America, citing 2% revenue growth in 2014 and 2015 (and even better profits), stated “we are in very good shape now”. Mr. Kuwamura revealed that CSA’s 3-year plan calls for 3% revenue growth in 2016, 5% in 2017, and 6% in 2018 with a goal of being 20% larger in revenue and profits by 2018. CSA’s recent growth rates stand in sharp contrast to other large competitors that have been experiencing revenue declines in the mid to high-single digit range.

Toyo Kuwamura - CSA

Much of CSA’s success can be attributed to solid execution across all aspects of the operation, including product development, solutions selling, field service, and customer engagement.

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Remanexpo 2016

Andy Carroll
Feb 18, 2016

Between January 30th- February 2nd the aftermarket industry came together again as part of the annual PaperWorld trade show in Frankfurt.  Hosted for the second consecutive year in Hall 6.0, this years Remanexpo show saw a noticeable shift in the mix of exhibitors, with the larger domestic European remanufacturers taking a much reduced share of the floor space, with brands such as Clover and DCI returning with a smaller footprint focused on interacting with existing customers.  Indeed some of the previous years largest exhibitors, such as KMP and Armor, decided against exhibiting but were present to take advantage of the newly introduced “Business Lounge” facility, which offered dedicated meeting rooms on the show floor to cater to the evolving needs to both exhibitors and attendees, therefore allowing industry players to meet with their customers without having to invest quite so much in their own stand presence.
However, whilst some vendors had reduced their footprint this gave the opportunity for others to become more prominent, particularly domestic German brands such as Pedro Scholler Printservice and WTA, who received the award for Remanufacturer of the Year during the show.

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Ninestar’s stand was indicative of the trend for prioritising meeting space over product display.

One common theme across the majority of stands at the show though was how little actual product was on display, reinforcing the trend that many vendors see the show primarily as a venue for cementing business relationships with existing customers rather than generating significant new opportunities.  In fact even the leading Asian brands such as Ninestar and Print-Rite had a much smaller share of their stands dedicated to showcasing their cartridges, with meeting space the clear priority. Perhaps as a result of this trend, or as a consequence of the hard work the industry has put in over recent years to promote respect for intellectual property, there was only a single incident involving German authorities seizing potentially infringing products.

Evolution was also a key theme across much of the event, with signs that the aftermarket is increasingly looking towards opportunities outside of the printer & copier market in order to maintain or grow their businesses.  The trend was most evident through the increased presence of 3D printing devices on display, which themselves continue to evolve in capability.  Print-Rite had first shown off their own 3D printers at last years show, but their ‘Colido’ range has already developed substantially since then to include more than five distinct models, from entry level through to industrial prototyping, and even a 3D printing pen.

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The Polaroid branded 3D Printer produced by EBP

However, perhaps the most impressive display of 3D print came via Environmental Business Products (EBP), a UK based inkjet remanufacturer, who have seen their traditional market begin to shrink as a result of the decline in the consumer inkjet category.  EBP have taken an intelligent approach to 3D print, developing the hardware in house but choosing to licence the Polaroid brand in order to give their products a recognizable name around which they can go to market.
Large brand names have been absent, to date, from the consumer/prosumer end of the emerging 3D print market, and EBP’s approach could help the market begin to reach a more mainstream audience. In addition to their branding strategy EBP have also been innovative their consumables offering, with a one time use sheet on the print area allowing for much easier removal of the final printed structure, and also the ability to print using both PLA and a wood based material.

Features such as a Wi-Fi enabled camera, SD card support and an easy to use print interface also contribute towards presenting a more consumer focused product, and while the size of the unit, and it’s initial price point, will unlikely allow for dramatic uptake in the home environment, it could provide an example for the wider industry of what is required to reach a larger audience.

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Apex are looking towards the smart home as the next application for their chip technology

The Internet of Things (IOT) could also be a target for some parts of the imaging aftermarket. Apex and Static Control held a joint stand for the first time, although still very much maintaining the presence of both brands individually.  Apex’s focus on their chip technology was no longer limited to applications in printer cartridges, with smart home devices such as light bulbs, door locks and environmental controls looking like a major area of potential expansion for the company.

The knowledge and expertise built up by the aftermarket, as a result of trying to keep pace with the technological innovations employed by the OEMs to restrict third party cartridge use, clearly now has applications that are much wider than the printer consumables market.

Overall the feedback from those attending the show was heavily positive, something that hadn’t necessarily been the case in recent years, and it is clear that, much like its participants, the show itself is evolving to meet the changing demands of its user base. It will be interesting to see to what extent wider opportunities take a share of focus as complimentary markets emerge, and whether that will create gaps within the printer aftermarket for other players to exploit.

 

Kodak Alaris Partners with Google to Build an IoT Strategy

Allison Correia
Jan 29, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the millions of smart devices that are connecting with each other, and we see it impacting and infiltrating the document solutions industry.  Last year, Google launched Brillo and Weave, the key parts of their new IoT platform, to enable easier device setup, phone-to-device-to-cloud communication, and user interaction from mobile devices and the web. Google is presenting Weave as “a solution for everyone:” OEMs, app developers, and end-users. With Weave, OEMs can build interoperable communications into their devices, build on Brillo, or add the Weave capability library to their existing OS.  App developers can use Weave to extend the reach of their iOS and Android apps by building one app to control multiple devices at home or work, and leveraging Google services such as voice actions. Read more »

How Life Unfolds

Jim Hamilton
Jan 26, 2016

You may have seen the television ad where a boy is throwing paper airplanes over a fence to communicate with his dad, who is away on active duty. Each paper airplane contains a note from the boy to his father. A kindly neighbor on the other side of the fence notices the airplanes, puts them in a box, and sends them to the father. Sometime later, the neighbor receives a box in the mail full of paper airplanes with notes from the dad to his son. The neighbor takes the airplanes and throws them one by one over the fence, where they are discovered by the boy. The story is heartwarming and it’s a Hallmark moment for sure, but this is not a greeting card commercial. What is this ad promoting? The answer might surprise you—it’s paper and packaging.

Letters to Dad

This is one of three television advertisements created by the Paper & Packaging Board as part of a campaign called “Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds.” This multi-million-dollar promotional campaign began in the middle of 2015 and includes not only television exposure, but also print and online ads. The target audience is 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!

 

 

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