Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ikon Reaches Out To Customers

August 27, 2008

Dear Valued Customer:

As you may have heard, IKON today announced that we agreed to be acquired by Ricoh Company, Ltd, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions. A copy of the press release issued this morning is attached for your information. Ricoh has been one of our valued equipment partners for many years and we will now be joining forces with them to create a stronger global office solutions competitor.

As you know, Ricoh is a leading manufacturer of high quality multifunction products, printers, fax machines and related supplies, with a long history and global reputation for providing innovative, reliable and user-friendly equipment.

An important factor we considered when deciding to take this step was our mission to best meet the needs of our customers. We concluded that we would be better able to achieve this goal as part of a larger organization that was able to offer an enhanced range of end-to-end office solutions, including IKON’s expertise in color equipment sales and world-class service offerings, as well as Ricoh’s world-leading portfolio of office solutions equipment.

I want to assure you that we remain committed to you and your company, and have every intention of continuing to provide you with world-class service and support, regardless of the equipment you use. We fully expect that our suppliers will continue to do business with us on the same terms and conditions they have in the past and we will continue to provide you with the best solutions from our broad portfolio of product and service offerings.

While we are very excited about today’s news, it is important for you to know that it will take several months to complete this transaction. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for us. We anticipate that the transaction will close before the end of calendar year 2008.

I recognize that you may have questions regarding this announcement and your sales professional will be contacting you in the coming days to help answer any questions you may have. I want to thank you for your continued commitment to IKON and look forward to building on our relationship in the future.


Matthew J. Espe
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Ricoh to Aquire Ikon

In one swift swipe of the Kantana, Ricoh has erased the after effects of the Xerox acquisition of Global last year. Ricoh has acquired the world's largest independent channel for document management and services. Ikon's fiscal year 2007 revenue of $4.2 billion, IKON has approximately 24,000 employees in over 400 locations throughout North America and Western Europe.

"IKON has terrific strength in areas that complement Ricoh's growth strategy," said Shiro Kondo, President and CEO of Ricoh Company, Ltd. "IKON has advanced Professional Services capabilities with a long list of satisfied large customers. IKON is respected as well for its production print sales and service expertise. We are excited to add the very experienced IKON management team and the thousands of skilled and dedicated IKON employees to the Ricoh family."

Where does this leave everyone else. especially Canon. Canon was slightly affected by the Global buyout and also from KonicaMinolta recently purchasing Danka Industries. I'm thinking Canon is going to be hit very hard, could Canon now make a play for HP, really what else is left to maintain market share. Devastating for Canon if they do nothing.l

Recently we (P4P) conducted a poll of our members as to "Who would Acquire Who in 2009", thinking nothing else could happen in 2008. Our readership had these results:

(18%) Ricoh acquires IKON

(18%) Canon acquires IKON

(55%) HP acquires IKON

(0%) HP acquires Danka

(9%) Canon acquires Danka

(0%) Ricoh acquires Danka

Well, another surprise in an industry that continues to evolve.

Here's some posts from today of our P4P members when they heard of the acquisition.
  • the world as we have known it is rapidly changing.....any guesses what's next?I have heard that HP is in the process of actively opening direct sales offices around the county.
  • Not here but Canon has to be reeling from this! To tell you the truth, I never expected Ricoh to do this.
  • I knew IKON was looking at being purchased awhile back by HP so they have been on the market for awhile. Did I read this correctly... "requires the approval of the majority of IKON’s outstanding shares at its shareholder meeting and will result in IKON continuing as the surviving company" Sounds like IKON will be Ricoh's "brand" now. So the name Ricoh will be no longer or what?
  • I would imagine it will be like the Lanier acquisition. Keep the name for the time being as it is a "brand" people know, but I would imagine that it will be blended into RBS in time. Everything Japan does is on a 5 year plan, so there is no hurry for them.
  • It will be interesting. It might be a good time for some of the independent Ricoh dealers to look to Canon if they have an large Ikon company in their backyard. There is always fallout from these deals, there will probally be some very good Canon sales people looking to jump ship along with technicians.
  • I dont think anything will change, I think they will also continue to operate under the IKon name carry the same brands canon km and the other manufactures will continue to sell to them why not and why change perhaps ricoh will have better placement in goverment and the major accounts but that would be it . When best buys bought out future shop they couldnt cahnge there name my thinking is that this will be the same with this deal.
  • When Xerox bought Global and when KM bought Danka, Canon immediately dropped them. They won't sell to the competition. I know that on the Global deal that KM extended their agreement for an additional 2 years to allow for the should be interesting who the real copier %^$#$* are out there...
  • Toshiba bought out a dealer here in Vancouver able who carried canon and sharp they continue to lead with canon soI don'tknow about globally but I would think they would rethink there strategy and continue there relationship with Ikon Danka where they really selling anything.

Ricoh has made the move to keep the factories busy fo a long time, of course here in the US there will be another branding issue. Most likely, IKON will be merged into RBS, however I wouldn't be surprised if it went the other way. For me, I don't think its going to have a terrific impact, for the Ikon customers, I'm sure there will be growing pains and many hassles keeping up with the changes.

You gotta love this business.

-=Good Selling=-

Art Post

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Multi-function Sales Quotes for Copiers

Have you ever tried to find a competitive quote or proposal on the Internet? I've tried too and I've had no luck at all!

However, if you visit the P4PHotel, and register to become a member you can download actual proposals, quotes and view street pricing that has been recorded for various manufacturers and models. Who knows you just may find a competitors quote whom you lost a deal too or better yet get a true handle on what they are quoting and how they are doing it.

Our members are there to help in each other, and we have dedicated message boards for Ricoh Family Group, KonicaMinolta, Kyocera and Canon. Go and see what your peers are talking about in reference to solutions and hardware. Post messages and you'll be surprised on how many members are willing to help and share information.

-=Good Selling=-

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Copier vs Printers "MFP Wars"

Picked this information up on the web the other day, would like to hear pros and cons in reference to where we are going as a whole in the indsutry.

90% of all companies do not know what they are currently spending on internal desktop and network printing. Print charges are typically underestimated by 30%-50% by ignoring charges other than the obvious hardware, maintenance, and consumable charges.

Buyers Laboratory Inc., Gartner

Quoting insight from major research companies, we've outlined the document trends that can benefit an IT or facilities manager responsible for an organization's documents.

Document Trend #1Paper use continues to rise.

Office paper use is increasing 6-8% each year1.
Paper use is expected to grow for the next 20 years1.
Paper is thought to be 30% faster and easier to read than a computer screen.

Document Trend #2Print volume is climbing.

Print volume is growing 10-15% each year. The internet, email, and intranets are big drivers.
Printing surpassed copy volume in 19953.
End-users are printing multiple originals, rather than making copies.
Color printers are bringing new documents to the network.
The number of documents created and distributed electronically — then printed at the time of need — continues to grow.

Document Trend #3

Copy and fax are becoming secondary technologies.
Copy volumes are stagnant or in decline. Long-held habits are changing.
Fax volumes are being challenged by email. Email is free and arrives "at-the-desktop".
"The heyday of the photocopier is past — the tide of history is with the printer." — Better Buys for Business

Document Trend #4

Document devices are converging.
Print, copy, fax, and scan are now common features of a single device.
Printer-centric MFP's hold advantages in five key areas4:
Network ability
Ease of use
Print Quality
Total Cost of Ownership Document

Trend #5

Color is becoming mainstream.
Four years ago, color was $2.00/page, and very slow.
Today, color is as low as $.12/page, and up to 28ppm.
Color printers are currently the fastest growing segment of the printer business.

Document Trend #6

Output-Based solutions are the future.
In today's office, the as-needed approach to printer support is being replaced by Output-Based solutions ensuring reliable, hassle-free documents.
Research indicated that by 2005 75% of all printing would be done on a cost-per-page basis and 75% of all enterprises would outsource key technologies.
Enterprises should evaluate newer technologies — multifunction printers and new procurement options, including cost-per-page service contracts5.






Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ricoh MPC Series "Turbo Charge Your Ricoh MFP"

How can you get the most out of your new Ricoh MP Series Multifunctional Device without breaking the bank and getting the best bang for your buck?

By adding the these three Ricoh solutions you can enjoy increased productivity, reduce paper, reduce costs and reduce down time. Along with knowing that you are doing your part to conserve resources.

The solutions that I've outlined will add less than $100 a month to the typical 5 year copier lease, and depending where your companies workflow and volumes stack up, the savings could be well over the investment.

Our first solution is to add Document Mall 3 year/1GB Solution with the MFP browser. Document Mall is a robust off-site Document Management Software SaaS (Software as a Service) that can enable your Ricoh Multifunctional Device to push documents to an off-site Document Repository. From the LCD screen of the MFP, any user can see the file folder structure and then select where the paper documents need to go. Document Mall will then organize documents by type, using indexing and full search. Document Mall can also be used as a collaboration tool, where you can work on documents together, edit documents and create markups. What I like most about Document Mall is the ease of use, along with the ability to access documents where ever there is an Internet connection. You don't have to have a degree in order to enjoy the benefits of Document Management and you don't have to have an IT infrastructure to keep the system updated and running. This package can be leased for under $60 per month.

Moving on to Embedded Print Director, all Ricoh MFP's now have the ability to embed software on a Java card, thus enabling features that can be used through the MPF's LCD display. Embedded Print Director will monitor every copy and print on Ricoh MFP's. The long and short of is that every print and copy can be tracked for charge backs and accountability. At the end of the year the system can provide a full report on what was printed, copied, identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies on the network and can help IT maintain a balanced budget for Total Cost of Ownership. A single MFP package can be leased for under $20 per month.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ricoh MPC Series "Best of the Best"

You think I could have gotten a little more creative with the title?

Just about eighteen months ago Ricoh launched the MPC series, this series Incorporated the same engine for 5 different models and 5 different speeds. Let me tell you this was genius, from a sales persons point of view, if I knew one I knew em all. From a technical side and I do have technical back ground, these units just keep running and running and the quality is awesome from print one to 1,000,000.

What did Ricoh do right, well for one they introduced PxP toner, where the toner is chemically grown and particles are more uniform in size. Fuser oil was eliminated thus creating less user involvement, preventative maintenance was increased to 80,000 pages, support for heavy paper was added and to top it off color speeds were equal to black and white speeds!

From a sales point of view this system kicks butt because of several options that Ricoh added, such as a booklet maker to all of the systems, before this booklet makers were only available on the higher speed units. We know have heavy paper with 140lb paper through the 100 sheet by-pass and 120lb index through all of the paper drawers (this was unheard of in a Ricoh product).

Features that I like best is fax4ward to email, this really acts as a mini fax server, all inbound faxes can be routed to a folder or a single email address (what a way to save paper). The ability to store documents on the hard drive, view them in color and then print the documents from the MPC series, did I mentioned that you can also load them on the hard drive via the print driver! How about the ability to print onto 12x18 paper, thus giving customer in the AEC market place the ability to print half size CAD documents.

Above all, the reliability of this unit has been awesome in the field, not one complaint from one customer over the last 18 months and I probably have about 60 of these in the field. Whether the customer is making 1,000 or 10,000 pages a month the system does its work flawlessly.

In the near future Ricoh will be expanding this line up with an 18 & 22ppm system, thus covering a wider range of speeds and volumes. So, if you're in the Print4Pay Market, AEC (Architects Engineers Construction) or anyone who needs and awesome color unit. Go buy it, or lease it, the MPC2000, MPC2500, MPC3000, MPC3500, and MPC4500 is an awesome value that just keeps on running.

-=Good Selling-=

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Paper Made From Rocks!

The race is on! Paper from Trees or paper from Rocks, which do we have more of? If it's my property I could be a millionaire, I got rocks all over the darn place!

I picked this quote up the other day and I thought naw, can't be done and if it could be done, would I have to go out and get me a new shredder? Are companies going to start sending me information printed on "rock paper", will I be able to burn it, shred it, cut it or use it to sop up a spill?

Here's the quote:

"Three companies have unveiled paper made from rocks. TerraSkin, ViaStone and Paperocks have introduced sheets of paper made from crushed limestone that when combined with resin, form a white, rip-proof sheet. The companies claim that using their products will save trees."

My first thought is that trees are a renewable resource aren't they, we can plant as many trees as we like to sustain our paper needs. What about rocks, we can't make plant more rocks can we? Can we shred it, fold it, burn it, and how about using it as confetti? Can you image if they used Rock Paper as confetti in the Canyon of Heros when the Giants won the Super Bowl? I can also remember lime products being pulled from Little League fields, lime was used to line the fields.

If paper gets wet it just bio degrades, wonder what happens with rock paper? Can we still make paper airplanes, paper mache and origami?

-=Good Selling-=

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


SOLUTION!!!! Yippee!!

We're all in for the hardware sale, and we all know you can't make living (just yet) selling third party solution software. However for the savvy reps we do have Ecopy Desktop!!

While in an account today, I was sizing up the hardware specs with the IT Manager, I asked about adding a fax option to a high volume unit. The IT persons interest peeked when I told him that they could reduce the amount of pages printed on stand alone printers if they added the fax option to the unit. We then spoke about the ability to fax forward faxes to a network folder and or an email address. From here all in bound faxes could be monitored and then distributed electronically. So far, so good.

Next, we spoke about the advantages of LAN from from the desktop and here's where we hit a snag. The IT manager explained that all outbound faxes needed a cover page, and currently they were all using the same cover page that was created in an MS word document. In this fax cover page they had six different fields of information that needed input by the user. Now, my current LAN fax software only offers 5 different input fields, the one he was looking for was how many pages are being sent. Alas, we could not accomplish what he was looking for, I knew he wanted to reduce paper and I also sensed he liked the idea of reducing paper.

The solution that I proposed was e-copy desktop software. I explained how we can use his existing word template and keep this as a saved fax cover sheet for everyone. When they needed to fax from the PC, they would then print to ecopy desktop, then merge the file with the fax cover sheet that we saved in ecopy. From their, the users could use the markup feature for the fax cover page and input all of the information, plus when they selected the "view all" icon they could see how many pages were in that electronic document. This would then take the guess work out of figuring out how many pages were in a word, excel or something other type of document. Along with the feature of having the entire outbound fax saved to a file on the network.

In review, the speeds and feeds of the hardware were acceptable, however what made my system stand out from the others was the ability to combine E-Copy Desktop with the hardware to give the customer a real cost savings, real productivity savings along with a "green" solution. I also knew that no one else that the IT manager had brought attention to this type of solution.

We all need to sell hardware to live, however asking questions about "how do you do this and how do you do that" can lead to a very productive sales call.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sharp Imaging "Giving Customer What They Need"

Finally...., and Kudos to Sharp Imaging!! Sharp announced on May 7th, 2008 and they will be the first Copier Manufacturer to release a full line of A4 multifunctional devices. If you don't know A4 print devices are not capable of printing or copying onto 11x17 (tabloid size paper).

I've been touting this type of machine for about two years know and feel that this launch of A4 MFP's could vault Sharp into #1 in MFP placements in the US. I checked Sharps web site and did not find any of these new devices yet.

Below are paragraphs from the press release.

New Business Workgroup A4 MFP and Printer Line:With the unveiling of a new line of A4 MFPs and printers - its largest line of multifunctional peripherals (MFPs) and printers ever - Sharp is providing A3 performance in a sleek A4 footprint, leveraging its heritage in enterprise solutions to offer features and functionality not available in any other line in this class.

The new A4 lineup, which will include 18 color and monochrome MFP and printer models in a wide range of Segment 3 and 4 speeds, leverages this proven formula. For example, the new MFPs use the same next generation multi-tasking MFP controller technology as other Sharp product offerings. In addition, all MFP models in the series will support the new 3rd generation of the Sharp OSA development platform, turning them into a gateway for document-based business communications by integrating the devices with network-based applications.

The new line boasts advanced remote access and device management capabilities. A new printer administration utility (PAU version 5.0) incorporates a Remote Front Panel feature that allows an IT administrator to remotely take control of the device’s front panel, giving them the ability to see exactly what the end user is seeing. The IT administrator can remotely change settings, show the user how to perform a function, or diagnose and often rectify problems without deploying a technician to the device. To gain enhanced levels of support, the IT administrator can also grant the service provider permission to perform this function directly from their dealership. This unique MFP capability dramatically reduces unit downtime and service expenses.

All models feature Sharp’s award-winning network security suites that can be enhanced through data security kits encrypting document data using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption and secure data erase, which overwrites the hard drive up to seven times.
Sharp has enhanced its new line with a bold new look that complements today’s office environment. Featuring a stylish, textural exterior with chrome accents, the new Sharp MFP line offers appealing aesthetics in a compact design. The new MFP models also feature brilliant Sharp displays: an 8.5 inch (diagonal) WVGA Color Touch panel with thumbnail previewing for easy in IT-oriented workflow intensive environments; each speed is also available with a 4.3 inch (diagonal) Advanced Super View (ASV) color LCD display providing easy navigation for non-workflow, price-sensitive applications. This new look will be adopted for future Sharp MFP and printer lines.

These should prove to be awesome systems with great price points for cost per page and hardware. If any has information on these systems, please send me an email