Tuesday, December 2, 2008
IKON-Ricoh "Questions to Ask"
I'd like to introduce Vince McHugh as our Guest Blogger for this month. Vince has over 25 years experience in the business.
The Canon Ikon letter has been out for a while now, and the following statement seems to be getting the most attention.
“…Canon will continue to sell spare parts and supplies to IKON for three years, and will provide certain technical support to IKON for Canon brand business equipment for at least one year.”
The first thing that comes to mind is I hope that you didn’t just enter into a 4 or 5 year (service included) lease with IKON on Canon equipment since they will only be able to obtain Canon parts for three years. But if you did you have time (and options) to make some decisions on what will be best for your company.
The more interesting part of the Canon statement is that Canon will provide “certain technical support… for at least one year.” Even when you ask someone at Canon they will not give you a clear definition of what that means. They fall back on the legal disclaimer that it is a private agreement between IKON and Canon and that they either don’t know or can not disclose the exact terms. OK, Fair enough, but where does that leave you as a business person trying make sound business decisions about your company and who will service and support your current Canon equipment. As business people we make our decisions based on the best information available to us at the time.
The above statement as to what type of support Canon will or will not give IKON in the next year or beyond seems to be vague by design. But don’t worry, I am going to help you get to the bottom of what kind of support you can expect from IKON on your Canon equipment.What you can do is ask your IKON-Ricoh Sales Rep, or IKON-Ricoh Service Manager to respond in writing to the following questions. These are questions that an Authorized Canon Dealer can answer “Yes” to.
Q1. Can the IKON technician call Canon Technical support? Do the IKON technicians have active Canon support IDs?
Q2. Do the IKON service technicians have access to the Canon eSupport Web Site and knowledge base?
Q3. Can the IKON service technician open up a problem ticket with Canon tech support?
Q4. Does the IKON service technician get access to all current Canon modifications for the Canon equipment that s/he services?
Q5. Does the IKON service technician get access to all current firmware, and patches (including security patches), on all current Canon equipment that they service?
Q6. Does the IKON service technician get access to all Canon Technical Publications (Tech Pubs) for all of the Canon equipment that they service?
Q7. Can the IKON service technician escalate a technical problem to Canon Engineering?
Q8. Can the IKON service department request and receive an on site visit form a Canon technical specialist at your site, to help them resolve a service problem in the field?
Please get the answers to these questions in writing, or via an email. If the answer is yes to all of these, I will be surprised if it is, have them go to the Canon eSupport site http://www.support.cusa.canon.com/ Ask them to log in to this site in front of you. See what they can access.
But if it turns out (as I suspect) that the answer is “no” to some or all of these questions then you will have a basis to make an informed decision on just how much value your company lost when IKON lost their status as an Authorized Canon Dealer. After all they were an Authorized Canon Dealer when you purchased your Canon equipment from them, and they were an Authorized Canon Dealer when you entered into a Service contract with them. And it is IKON not you who changed the agreement, by losing it’s standing as an Authorized Canon Dealer. If their loss of standing costs your business the level of support that you originally negotiated for, then maybe you have a basis to break that contract (consult your legal department).
That’s my $0.02
PS: Is the proper spelling on the new Ricoh-Ikon entity Ricon or Rikon? :-) I guess that will depend on who in management still has a seat when the music stops.