Monday, April 30, 2007

Ricoh Vision 2007 @ Dallas, Texas

Well, I'll be on my way in the morning for Ricoh's Vision meeting for Ricoh Dealers, will try to get access every night to give a short report on what I heard and saw. Say tuned, and be sure to check in the next few days! Ricoh is Ichiban!

Friday, April 27, 2007

MFP Dealers "Seasons of Change"

The last eighteen months in the New York Metro Area has truly been a "Season of Changes" to remember!

Some of the acquisitions Connecticut Business Systems (Ricoh & Konica Minolta)bought by Global, Carr Business Systems (Canon, Ricoh & Konica Minolta)bought by Global, Stewart Industries (Savins largest Dealer in US) bought by Global, Copy Dynamics (Canon) bought by Stewart Industries (Global Owned), Northern Business Systems (Ricoh)bought by Toshiba, Lanier US now Ricoh Business Solutions and then all of Global purchased by Xerox WHEW!!!! All of these dealers have territories with in 100 miles of each other, it's the megalopolis of the NE and the greatest NOPA numbers in the US.

So, I'm sitting at my home office the other night and started to ponder on how the competition has changed. We'll it seems that most of the competition now is a "Direct Sales Force", as much as Global will say they are not direct how are they going to compete against a Xerox Direct Sales Force and on the other hand how am I going to compete against all of these organizations? Ricoh Direct Branch, Toshiba Direct Branch, Konica Minolta Direct Branch, Sharp Direct Branch, Xerox, hey what the heck happened to all of the Dealers?

I was on the phone today with a friend that is the Sales Manager at Sharp Investment Dealer today and we counted the dealers that were left that were doing about 5 million in sales volumes and not less 1 million, we could only think of 5! Just a few years ago there were 15 Dealers.

So, how do you compete? It's the basics, cold calling, mailing and the casual dropping to say hello to let the account know that you are available for them at any time and anywhere. Remembering that the customer is always right and as long as you believe and treat the customer that they are always right they will always buy from you again and again.

Thank God that Manufacturers Direct Branches have not found away to compensate the best sales people, if so we would all be working for them. Direct Sales Branches are too rigid in structure, too many layers of management, and takes months to implement changes. Guess that's why I like working for a smaller dealer, it is easy to make changes, and decisions can be made in minutes. If I had worked for a Direct Branch I would have not been able to watch all of my sons baseball games from Little League through college, would not have been able to take those long weekends and GOD bless cell phones take a couple of extra weeks of vacation each year (gee, hope my boss does not reads this, however I think he will, just kidding Jack!).

Well, it's off to Ricohs National Convention in Dallas, we see many friends there and will have a few things to say when I get back!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Why are MFP manufacturers not GREEN!

You've hear it over and over, it's all about capturing pages, especially in the SMB market place. So, why do MFP manufacturers like Canon, Xerox, Ricoh and Konica Minolta continue to manufacture stand alone laser printers that have a high per page cost with thier AIO cartdiges (All In One) and are not good for the environment?

Since I have sold Ricoh for so long, I'll start with a Ricoh MFP161, this unit can be purchased as just a copier, or fax/copier or a copier/printer/scanner/fax. This system also prints at 16 page per minute and can up to three paper source trays. Whats great about the MP161? The low cost of toner! The toner cost is .004 per page at retail. An Image Drum for the Ricoh MP161 is around $160 and has a yield of 45,000 pages which has a per page cost of .00355. Total per page cost at retail is around .00755. Oh, and by the way the toner cartridge is rated at 6% coverage.

Ricoh also sells the BP20 laser printer, which prints at 22 pages per minute, and can also have upto three paper sources. The Ricoh BP20 uses a AIO (All In One) cartridge that houses the toner and the drum. Retail cost for the cartridge is $124 and the yield is 5,000 pages based on 5% coverage. The retail cost per page is .0248 per page.

These numbers represent a savings of .01725 per page.

I realize that these per page costs do not include the fuser units, however I am going to give them a bye, because I think each one will negate the other. If the BP20 needs a fuser most customers will throw it (this really helps us GO GREEN) out because of the price and buy another printer, representing an increased cost to almost as much as the cost of the fuser replacement on the MP161.

Here's my spin for all of the MFP manufacturers, lets assume they all have the technology to implement a World Wide "GO GREEN" strategy. Take the existing MPF engine of the MP161 and sell it with out the scanning attachment (top part of the unit). Increase the print speed to 20 pages per minute or better. Hey, I'll be the first one to admit I have no clue what it costs to manufacture the MP161 engine or the BP20 laser printer. However if all of the manufacturers took the time to educate the buyers on Total Document Volume, Total Life Cycle Cost and the detrement to the enviroment from laser printers and AIO cartridges being discarded, they may have something.

I don't mean to rip one manufacturer with this, they all have the same philosphy in place when it comes to stand alone printers. I choose Ricoh products, becuase Ricoh is what I know best and believe they have excellent products. Canon, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, anyone that is using AIO cartridges in stand alone laser printers is not helping us "Go GREEN", yes they all have recycling for the AIO cartidges, however at this time I do not believe any of them have a recycling for the laser printers nor their MFP's.

Will MFP's ever outsell standalone printers in this market?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On Demand "Boston" 2007 Review

Noreaster Steals the Show in Boston for On Demand 2007

Wind, Rain, Dreary and Damp weather cuts attendance at the show.

This was my fifth year attending the On Demand Show, twice in Phili and twice in New York City, the attendance is Boston was poor compared to having the shows in New York City. Get year they are going to have the show the first week of March in Boston!! Who the heck wants to be in Boston the first week of March? I'll be in sunny Florida next year at that time and I will not have any regrets about not attending the show!

Most Interesting TechnologyThe worlds first duplexing duplicator from.... Ricoh, the DX 4640PD! Seeing is believing, the DX 4640PD was producing double sided (letter size) pages at 120 pages per minute! The technology is pretty interesting, both pages are scanned onto the 11x17 master, the paper then contacts one side of the master for the first image and then turns to make contact with the master again for the second image on the reverse side. The technology is the patented turn around system and roller that Ricoh developed. Great applications for church, associations and maybe Print4Pay market. The engine that they are using is the HQ7000, which is only capable of 400dpi printing, I would have rather seen this available at 600dpi for the Print4Pay market, however I think Ricoh can get more pages out of the association and churches markets than Print4Pay with the 400 dpi device. Print4Pay really needs a 600 dpi machine and the ability to produce 11x17 two sided.

Best Looking MFP KonicaMinolta's bixhub C550, 45 ppm color, 55 ppm mono, Biometric Authentic Technology that reads your finger vien to authenticate! Plus a snazy color swivel screen that seems easy to navigate. The KM rep told me that system is rated for 30% business color usage, plus I liked the idea of having large indicator lights when the paper trays were empty. Konica Minolta also showed a perfect binging system for their high end Pro series.

MX-M1100 from Sharp Hi speed digital MPF from Sharp, looked very similar to Ricoh's MP1350 and even had 11x17 large paper deck just like the Ricoh, the more I looked at it the more it looked like a direct copy of Ricohs MP1350, however it was not. One neat feature was the ability to plug in a usb drive for printing documents. The system was demoed to me, copy and print quality was very good, however one thing I noticed is that there was hardly anyone looking at this system.

Neat Stuff Panasonic showed a desktop scanner that was able to scan checks, documents and credit cards all in the same pass! NEAT!

Panasonic "Eye Candy" line of color MFP's the colors were cool, they had the yellow one on display and when looking at it I had the urge to build something. I think it reminded me of Stanley Tape measures. This system also had a usb port for file printing and image viewing, now that was pretty cool, I was able to plug my usb in, then all of my pictures were displayed on the color screen, from their I was able to select what I wanted to print and print them in a collated order. Very Nice!

What was Missing! HP EdgeLine, was no where to be found! They had brochures and that's about it. That was the biggest disappointment of the show, did you all know that the HP EdgeLine not have a "stress plate" for moving the system? How the heck are you going to get this up or down a flight of stairs? Since there is no "stress plate", you can not use a "stairclimber" Can you image trying to install or remove this system up and down a few flights of stairs!

Hey why don't they have this show in Orlando or Vegas in January! I'm sure the attendance would go way up!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I can remember Captian Kirk from Star Trek, always tell Scotti (Chief Engineer) that they always needed more speed to get out of a jam. Well, beleive or not RAM Logic, Inc., has the technology to increase speeds copy and prints speeds for multi functional copiers for the Ricoh Family Group.

Ram Logic offers two chips one that is compatible with Ricoh Aficio 1060, Gestetner 6002, Savin 2560, Lanier LD 160 (including sp versions)and the other is compatible with Ricoh Aficio 2051/2060, Gestetner Dsm651/660, Savin 4051/4060, Lanier LD151/160 (including sp versions).

I was at a meeting the other day for Ricoh and we were speaking about the MP9000, MP1100 and the MP1350 and how all these units are identical, except for the software (chip) that controls the spacing of sheets when running through the copier, if you decrease the gap or space between sheets the result would be a faster copier/printer.

Think of the upgrade possibilities for some of your existing accounts. You could call or visit and ask if they would like to increase the speed and productivy of their unit for only one dollar a day, turn all of the 55's to 75ppm devices. That's a 37% increase in speed!

When talking with Ram Logic, I understand that they are developing the technology for other RFG units as well. I would love to see one for the MP series of devices.

I love the idea and the marketing potential can be enormous, of course you'll have to get approval from Dealer Management and of course the manufacturer will not like it, there's a lot of smart people out their always thinking and it's people like RAM Logic that enable us to sell more solutions for the customer.

Just wish there was a way to beam the "off lease copiers" back to the leasing companies, now that would really be awesome! Here is Ram Logic web address

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Off to the SHOW at AIIM/On Demand

For the fifth year in a row, I will be attending the AIIM/On Demand Show. This years show is in Boston, MA. Products I looking to evaluate, HP's Edgeline CM8050/8060, Samsung's 6345N, a Ricoh Digital Duplicator (with duplexer), and then what ever tickles my fancy. I'm sure the buzz on the floor is going to be awesome with the recent bombshells that were launched this week and last week! I've hear that Konica Minolta may have been hit the hardest in the Xerox Buy of Global!

Will give you all a run down when I'm back in town

Monday, April 9, 2007

HP's Touted Edgeline MFP's "Ready to Rock"?

Information sure has been limited prior to the US launch of HP's CM8050 and CM8060, however isn't the Internet fantastic? I was able to download a brochure on the CM8050/8060 from HP's site in Singapore.

Truly, State of the Art Technology from HP......when it comes to ink technology! HP is claiming speeds of 71ppm for the 8060 and 57 ppm for the 8050. One phrase that always concerns me is this one "up to" , that's how the CM series is being marketing, with this phrase "delivers speeds at up to 71ppm for less complex documents". This sounds to me that this is a "draft mode" and in order to have better quality you will need to sacrifice speed, how much speed? I have no clue at this time. I will say if I am spending $15K plus on a machine, I do need to know what speed it will print my color documents at. Also, what constitutes a "complex document"? Is it MS Word, MS Publisher, Quark, Pagemaker, give me a little help when I'm reading the brochure.

I truly love the idea of a print head that does not move and the paper does, this is awesome technology. But, if HP is gonna play in the big boys back yard, why would they develop a system that can only handle a max 58lb stock? Canon has proved over the years that customers who buy color MFP's want thick media flexibility, plus the ability to duplex the thick media. Plus, how often do I have to replace the ink cartridges? Am I putting a gallon of ink in at a time, ya and you all thought gas was expensive!

When trying to get an idea of the cost per page on the CM series all I read is that the cost is "around" 25% less than color printers and then this disclaimer at the bottom of the document reads IDC Insight, “HP’s Edgeline Technology: HP Edges Ink into the Office”, 2006—”IDC estimates the colour cost per page of the Edgeline technology-based MFP will be about 25% less than the average colour cost per page of similarly featured colour laser MFPs from competing manufacturers”. Hey, I'm ok with this also as long as you can tell me what the average cost is, just seems like to much mumbo jumbo to me.

Some other items that I found is a 12 second FCOT (first copy), 1,500 Sheet of standard paper supply with three paper trays, an 80 sheet by-pass paper tray, plus a choice of three output devices. Oh, forgot this one, the CM8060/CM8050 weighs in at hefty 725LBS!!, with out accessories. It also seems that no booklet maker was designed for this system.

So, what does this mean for the other MFP manufacturers, Xerox, Ricoh, Canon, Kyocera Mita, Sharp and the others? I'm not sure.... I tend to think that HP will stay at home in the markets they already own, some aggressive dealers will branch out and take some business from the their rivals. To date I have not seen any prints from these units, nor the type of paper that it's printed on. I've heard that the color cpc will be at .03 cents and black at .01, that's very inexpensive for color and average for black. Good reps will put their heads together and find a way to sell against it for awhile, however it seems like ink technology is the future for hi speed color I will be in Boston later this month for the "On Demand Show" and hope HP will have the unit there.

See you in Boston!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Personal Desktop Scanners "Wave of the Future"?

A few months ago I was in a clients office doing an analysis for their printing needs in New Jersey. As I was going from office to office, I noticed that everyone had their own personal desktop scanners. This particular client had 12 Fugitsu ScanSnap S500's ($495 Retail)and all were connected locally via USB. As I made the rounds with the owner to each office, I was curious why the desktop scanners and not scanning from the MFP's, he stated that scanning at an MFP wastes time and productivity and for $500 each, he figured he was saving almost 20 hours a month of productivity! He also stated that all documents are scanned locally and then distributed or archived. I thought this was pretty neat idea and tucked it away in the ole memory banks. Just a few weeks ago doing another print analysis I again encountered 15 of the these scanners at another location, hmmmmmmm is this coincidence or a new fad.

Just yesterday one of my clients called me and asked me to quote on 6 desktop scanners similar to the Fugitsu, although he mentioned that he had seen the Canon DR2050c (Retail $695) and liked what he saw. Now this got my attention!

The Fugitsu Scan Snap S500 comes with a 50 page feeder, ABBY Fine Reader, USB 2.0, and scans at 36ppm in mono chrome and 18 ppm in color (150 dpi). Nice little box plus it is an upright scanner, the foot print is just under the size of a letter size piece of paper.

When comparing prices on the Internet, this are no margins, maybe $50 per box, however an solution like this may get you the MFP sales over someone else where scanning is an issue.

Keep it in your back pocket, I surely will.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Xerox Slams Home Run with Global Purchase!!

Boy oh boy, you just never know whats going to happen in our industry! Xerox down and out for the count three years ago, and boldly takes a step where no manufacturer has gone before. Xerox has upped the anti in the MFP War. Xerox acquiring Global Imaging located in Tampa, Florida will add an additional 1400 sales people on the street in the SMB market, plus an annuity stream that may top 1 Billion Dollars. The total price is $1.5 Billion, I'll bet there are a lot of Global Execs counting their greenbacks right about now and getting ready for an early retirement.

However, what does this purchase mean for the rest of the industry? Ricoh, Canon and Konica Minolta stand to lose substantial placements and revenue streams in the years to come. Hey, I think it may be time to start buying Danka and Ikon stock, if you think Ricoh and Canon are going to stand buy and not do anything... I think you haven't seen the whole picture yet. The time may be right for Ricoh to buy Ikon and Canon to buy Danka, its all about protecting your channels. Well, Xerox just took a big chunk of their channels today!

If Ricoh and Canon bought Ikon and Danka, could we see a replay of what happened twenty years ago, when Ikon and Danka first started. Could there or is there enough room for another huge round of dealerships being merged and bought to form a new conglomeration of dealers under another National Corporation?

How will Xerox handle their new partner? I for one would like to know how Xerox is going manage a direct sales force and then the sales force of Global, they are of two different cultures in the industry. Can they develop a successful marketing and dealer program that will enable both the direct sales force and Global to co-exist? Will Xerox handcuff them with short margins on boxes, supplies and parts? What about the logistics of supplying a 21 new core regions? I'm sure there is going to be many headaches and many success stories. Another question, what happens with Xerox's direct sales force? Will they be merged with the 21 core offices, will they be able to keep their jobs...... very interesting, we'll have to wait and see.

How will the Global employees react, their culture was always to sell against Xerox. Xerox was the name you had to beat, do they then become complacent because they now have the name?

I havn't seen or heard from a Xerox salesperson in my territory in the last few years and yes I concentrate in the SMB market place. Now, things will change as they always do and will, I will also have to change as I always do, when Xerox comes to town!