Friday, September 12, 2008
MFP Wars " The Rise of the A4's"!!!!!
Not since Minolta incorporated the first zoom lens in a copier will there be a more sweeping change in the MFP landscape! I've been on this kick for over two years, when HP launched the first A4 MFP!
Whats Hot!!! A4 MFP devices, what is an A4 MFP? A4 actually represents the paper size that can be reproduced on the system. A4 devices will print, copy, fax and scan letter & legal size. A3 devices will print, copy, fax and scan letter, legal and ledger size.
Gartner predicts that A4 print centric devices will emerge as the preferred device for distributed print needs in a report dated December of 2007. Heck, I could have told then that back in 2006. Make no bones about it A4's are here to stay and A3's will be a niche market for some manufacturers, what I really can't figure out is why companies like Ricoh, Xerox, Canon, KonicaMinolta and a few others have ignored this tremendous opportunity to garner clicks?
So, who has A4 devices (35ppm and above) on the market now? As of right now there are only a handful. HP and Samsung have thier own devices, while Muratec, Xerox and Nashua have relabeled the Samsungs. Samsung recently introduced a 55ppm and a 40ppm color A4 MFP. Word on the street is that Muratec will be picking up both of these boxes.
In May of 2007, Sharp announced that they will bring to market an entire line of A4 devices code named Frontier. Kudos, they will be the first manufacturer to have a complete line. In talking to a friend at SBS, I was told that these devices are ready to go and just waiting for the initial launch.
So, whats not to like about A4, well its certainly not the price. An A4 45 ppm system that will copy, print, scan and fax can be purchased for under $5,000. Compare that to a traditional A4 device will run you twice that!
Some have asked where the sweet spot is for A4 vs A3 devices. As of right now, A3 devices have a much lower cost per page. The sweet spot depends on where your monthly volume falls, as of right now 10,000 or less a month will save you money over the traditional A3 (even with the lower cost per page).
Speaking about lower per page costs, I've said it before and will say it again. The first manufacturer that comes to market with and A4 with the cost per page of an A3 device will dominate the market. Savvy reps will instantly sell the TCO advantages, with that the HP and Samsung devices will be short lived. Typically, an A4 device will have a mono cost per page around .015 compared to current A3 devices that average .009. It's not uncommon to see A3's at even lower cost depending on the monthly volume. The higher the volume the lower the cost per page.
Here's an except from a brochure for a popular A4. "When compared to the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a general A3 multifunctional TCO, at an average of 10,000 pages per month, can result in one of the lowest running costs in its class.
Infotrends reports, “We believe that the role of workgroup A4 MFPs will grow strongly, pulling A4/letter size pages away from A3 copiers and MFPs, thereby weakening the demand for these larger devices,” commented Bob Leahey, an Associate Director at InfoTrends. “A3 devices will remain vital in the U.S., but the push by major suppliers of workgroup A4 alternatives is having an effect on decision-making regarding office equipment purchases at U.S. companies. Because of this impact and other factors, A3-format technology will represent a declining share of the installed base of U.S. office equipment over the next several years.”
All hail the rise of the A4!