Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Do You Expect from Sharp but a Grunt

I changed up the title a bit, my Father-in Law has this saying "what do you expect from a pig but a grunt" that he uses when he is annoyed with someone or something.  I'm changing it up a bit to express my annoyance with Sharp.

The other day there was a thread on linkedin that stated something to the effect "look how many dealers have just signed on with Sharp in the past month because they have the best products", plus there were some 5 likes to the thread. 

To give you a little background, I had a call and an email from a marketing company or it might have been from someone at Sharp Marketing a few years ago.  But, I distinctly remember the gist of the call/email, the marketing person stated that they needed to do a better job at getting press releases out to social media.  Since then, I set an alert for Sharp and have posted every press release for Sharp that I came across. Not once in the past three years do I remember reading a press release about Sharp signing on a new dealer in the US.

What gets me, is that within a week or two after the report from Nikkei that Sharp may sell it's copier division, I read a press release from Sharp USA that they had signed on a new dealer.  I really didn't think that much about the release, then a week a later there was another press release stating Sharp had signed a new dealer, and then another and another.  I get it Sharp needs to pump up the volume for Sharp USA, in light of Sharp Corporations debt debacle.  What I don't get is why Sharp USA has waited until things were REALLY BAD to get the word out.  In my eyes Sharp USA with their meager market share should have been doing this years ago.  Why wait until the ship is sinking?  You can check it our on the Sharp USA site, no mention of new dealers before September 2012.

Sharp used to be the bomb of the industry,  when you thought about office copiers in the mid nineties, you thought SHARP! Starting in the mid nineties IKON started buying every Sharp dealer that was breathing in the US. I'm pretty sure IKON bought 97 dealers in or around 1996-1997.  Then one day the shoe dropped, IKON dropped Sharp and reign of dominance for Sharp copiers came to an end.

I've got nothing against Sharp, however Sharp USA should have never waited this long to tell the story of the new dealers they were signing, as a matter of fact when you visit the press release link that I posted Sharp USA never really posted many press releases related to MFP's and copiers.   

Last week press releases had Sharp now laying off 11,000 workers, and they really weren't specific about were the layoffs were.  Just today a report from Bloomberg states that it seems the deal between Hon Hai and Sharp could be dead.  Sharp's stock on the heels of the Sharp bailout from Japanese banks dropped an additional 3% and down to 196 yen.  Sharp borrowed 368 billion yen to stay afloat until June of 2013.

I'd like to see Sharp come out of it, however I think it's time they got out of the MFP and copier business and sell to Kyocera or Toshiba.

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, September 28, 2012

Top 5 Trending MFP & Printer Solutions

Those of us in the know are always trying to catch on the latest and greatest MFP & Print solutions.  Here's my top 5 from the last year with a short overview on each. When was the last time you hugged your copier solutions rep, cause if they are bringing these solutions to the table then you owe it to them to reach out and hug them!

1) PretonSaver:  Need to get more bang for the buck out of your toner cartridges?  Take a gander at Preton Saver software, Pretonsaver will eliminate those pesky little extra pixels of toner and can offer toner savings of up to 25-45%!

Hey, maybe it's not a bad idea to go back to selling maintenance agreements, not include the toner, but do include licenses of PretonSaver.  Just think about the talk track to the end user.  You buy the toner, we'll do the service/maintenance but we'll also sell you "x" licenses of PretonSaver that can save you 25-45% of your toner costs for your MFP and your printer fleet!  Thus you would have the extremely low cost per page of service/maintenance coupled with an almost 50% savings on the toner.  Look at it this way, if manufacturer is stating 6% coverage for toner, and the toner cost is $32 for 8,000 pages that puts the retail toner cost at .0032, using PretonSaver you could lower that cost to .00144.  That's a savings of .00176, over the life of the MFP if you printed and copied 400,000 pages you would have a savings of $704 and that's only for one MFP! Can you image the savings on the fleet? 

2) Print Audit:  I've always been a fan of Print Audit, even before they became a Print4Pay Hotel sponsor.  Plain and simple their software works, day in day out, simple to use, simple to install and the ease of use is second to none.  Print Audit has a wide variety of print management software that is designed for the end user of the office equipment dealer.  I can't tell you how many calls I get from customers claiming "my color volume has gone through the roof", "this machine is costing me more than the payment on my car", and those customers are right. They have no way of controlling printing, whether it's color or black. It's not the dealers fault, nor is it the manufacturers fault, the end user needs to take some accountability and place limits on printing or re-direct printing to lower cost devices.  Print Audit 6 will do all of that plus more, and it's done behind the scenes, once you set the print rules it like "set it and forget it", Print Audit 6 will insure that limits are enforced and re-directing to lower cost devices is now the norm. Copier Dealers, there's never been a better time to become a Premier Print Audit partner, everyone is looking to reduce costs, prints and their Premier SaaS model allows you to sell software by the click, by the seat or just a flat monthly fee!

3) Doculex: Doculex has been a mainstay in the office equipment industry for many years. Doculex my first introduction into Document Management Software. If you had to ask me name the first document management company that comes to mind then it would be Doculex.  By no means am I document management guru,  however Doculex has roots in the MFP industry, long before other DMS companies were soliciting their wares to MFP dealers Doculex was already there with a very impressive channel of MFP Dealers.  "By becoming a DocuLex Reseller, you can provide your customers a complete document management solution, increasing your recurring revenue and customer retention. Attract new customers and add value to your existing customer base. DocuLex can provide direct support for you and your customer, and customers can get started with the DocuLex Archive Studio Content Management Software solution for as little as $ 40 per user per month."  Just and FYI Doculex is a sponsor for the Print4Pay Hotel and we'll have a guest blog posted for them soon along with webinars for our members.

4) Nuance:  In particular their ecopy paperworks, sometimes you just need simplicity right?  I just love showing ecopy paperworks to my existing customers and potential new accounts. eCopy paperworks is one of those rare software programs that you can fully understand all of the icons and master after 5 times.  With ease you can whiteout/blackout text, add lines with arrows (color lines too), highlight an area in different colors, add digital notes, add signatures, OCR a document (drop back into word or excel), .pdf a document, use the TWAIN scan feature, draw freehand notes, move pages, delete pages, cut, copy, paste and even add hyperlinks to a document.  I use ecopy every day and can't think what I would do if I did not have paperworks anymore.   Over the years I demo'd this product many times and I've never had someone tell me that they didn't like it. Take it from if you're in need of software that will convert documents to .pdf's and you need to do markups on documents the ecopy paperworks is the best I've seen in years!

5) UDOCX:  A couple of years ago before I even knew that web browsers could be used in MFPs, I had a thread posted on the Print4Pay Hotel forums from the marketing person for UDOCX. The thread pointed out that in Europe on Ricoh devices with enabled web browsers users could now scan2sharepoint, scan2MS365 without the need to have a software installed on a server. This was genius, the UDOCX is software as a service, users would pay a monthly fee and you were off and running with a powerful web based scanning solution (with no server hardware or software to maintain) from the MFP. Now, web enabled MFP browsers took a little longer here in the states, but at least with all of the new Ricoh MFP's you're good to go.  It's my understanding that you can also use the UDOCX service with Xerox, Sharp & Canon systems.  UDOCX will also support cloud printing and scan2fax.  Scan2fax, think about it, no MFP fax option to purchase, no telephone line charges, no call charges, no taxes and no FCC charges.

-=Good Selling=-

The Transition of the Copier Industry "Part IV"

Part IV

During the 1928 Presidential Campaign the Republican National Committee ran an ad that stated based on the Harding & Coolidge administration that they had "put the chicken in every pot and car in every back yard".  With the introduction of many cloud based document management solutions like Doculex and Intellinetics the  right for Document Management Software for every business both large and small.  Forget about the paper and how about the electronic files, if you don't have a Document Management program how the heck are you finding the documents you created last week, last month or a few years ago?  I get it, they're stored on a drive, and then named under a nested folder which is under another nested folder an then another.

Think about how much time you spend looking for documents whether they are paper based or electronic, if you don't have a managed document service/software you're inefficient.

What can Copier Manufacturers Do:

First they need to forget about all of the cool acronyms and marketing gimmicks.  Today's copier  manufacturers need to start buying companies (software) and focusing on business solutions or developing a new media (that's called R & D) that that will give them a renewable revenue stream (the old renewable revenue stream was putting toner on paper).  I'm of the opinion that manufacturers should start buying companies like dropbox, officedrop, box and document management software companies that have Cloud Document Management Services.  Why let others control the document when you're in the document business?

Manufacturers could bundle their own free service and then offer a pay service. There are many SBM accounts that could benefit from a cloud service document management software. Traditionally what's held the SMB business back is cost, ease of use, and training.  Cloud services billed monthly whether by storage or clicks to create a renewable revenue stream, it's kinda like cloud back up and disaster recovery solutions, the more you store, the more you'll pay.  But cloud document management software can have an immediate ROI impact, which is unlike backup and disaster recovery solutions (who the heck wants to sell insurance, not me).

Sell monthly/annual subscription services that allow SMB accounts to connect there MFPs to share point, ms 365, their CRM, their DMS or their business line of software.  I understand their are some 3rd party companies offering these services, but what do you have to lose beside pages?  Control the document stupid!

Here's a thought, maybe buy some of the most popular CRM's or business lines of software companies and develop those connectors for your MFP's.

Here's another idea,  how about selling print licenses, here you would install 500 printers (all inclusive except for paper), have the customer buy 5 or 10 million pages upfront and then renew the license when the prints have expired.

Do what Ricoh did, come out with your own business tablet and create customized software solutions that will improve a business processes. Printed pages may go away, however the document is here forever.

I don't believe I'll see the end of putting toner or ink on paper in my time, I do believe that one day there will not be a need for paper.  If you've ever watched any StarTrek episodes, you may or may not have noticed that you never see a sheet of paper.  Who knows maybe the likes of Toshiba, Sharp, KonicaMinolta, Ricoh, Canon, Kyocera, Xerox or Samsung will market the first transporter.

Our transition to a services led approach will require us to lead with more diverse services, managed print stream, managed print, document management and storage solutions. Stay tuned for part 5 and "Whats the future for copier dealers".

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Transition of the Copier Industry "Part III"

Part III

The digital copier industry of today is changing again and companies like Xerox, Ricoh, KonicaMinolta and Canon are making the transition to service led companies. These companies sand their dealers will be the sole provider for documents whether they are created electronically or printed, we/they want to help customers with print stream management, forms, email, archiving of documents (electronic and paper), they also want to provide consulting to help businesses increase efficiencies, provide easier work flows and reduce your costs.

I'll take an example of Ricoh because I'm more familiar with their products since I sell their products. One of their brightest products is the ewriter, it's not for playing games, surfing the web or doing your fantasy football at the office (Ricky), the ewriter is a business tablet that is designed to address technology gaps in the digital work flow by replacing paper based solutions with digital alternatives (I borrowed this from Ricoh). Basically, the Ricoh ewriter will replace paper, maybe the best example I can give is my own. When making a sale, I need to produce a sales order, a maintenance agreement, and a lease. I need to print these documents and then have the customer sign them. Bring them back to the office and then print another 10 pages of information to complete the order process.  This type process is archaic, thus if I had an ewriter all of my forms would be on the tablet, I enter the information on the tablet, capture the customers signature and then transmit the documents to the office. Then I'm done, thus if I wrote 10 orders per month I could increase my efficiency 4-5 hours every month. In ten months I could write another weeks worth of business! So why aren't dealers embracing this technology!

The Ricoh ewriter is just an example of awesome technology that is changing our industry.  Other manufacturers have also developed real-time visual communication devices for the office that share video, audio an image sharing.  Thus if you had one of these in each office your offices you would be able to communicate in real time with video, and audio.

It's not only just about the hardware also, it's about the services.  Dealers and Direct branches can now offer an array of services including Managed Network Services, Managed Print Service, Managed Print Stream (managed print stream seems to be one of  the most overlooked solutions in our industry) and Managed Document Services.  Our industry is preparing for the eventual demise of what got us to where we are today. Putting toner or ink PAPER!

The holy grail is how can we get to new renewable revenue streams with print volumes that will be on the decline ?  Of course I have some ideas, however I'll address these in Part #4

-=Good Selling=-

The Transition of the Copier Industry "Part 2"

Part #2

When digital copiers first arrived on the scene, we were all happy that copiers were now capable of network printing, network scanning and faxing. In the early days the biggest benefit to the end users was that if the copier jammed (and they all did), during a copy or print job, you would be able to clear the jam, then reset the system and the copier remembered what page was not copied or printed and you would be able to continue with the job.  When this happened with analog systems you pretty much had to trash the entire copy job and start all over, what a drag that was especially if it happened with a demonstration.

For those of us that were in the industry with the emergence of digital copiers we saw the benefit of having one system that would replace three systems, the existing analog copier, the printer and the fax machine.  The cost per page of fax machines and stand alone printers always and still have a higher cost per page.  I can remember in the late nineties compiling my own cost per analysis for each device and it wasn't easy.  You had to access specs from brochures, get cartridge prices and yields from industry published copier, printer and fax spec check books.  It was an easy sale when you could present an immediate ROI for most customers to replace three systems with one. Traditionally analog copiers and digital copiers always had a lower cost per page than laser printers and fax machines. I'm thinking copier dealers started the managed print/copy trend by offering an all inclusive cost per page contracts with the digital systems and we didn't even know it.

We did have our issues!  We were copier service and sales companies now trying to offer support and solutions for print/fax and scan environments.  Many of the early network copies never printed as fast as they were advertised, print drivers were awkward and it seemed we always had some type of issues with installing print drivers, and addressing print issues. But, we moved forward as an industry with improved technology from the manufacturers and other third party suppliers.  I believe the service model for copiers and the planned obsolescence of supplies and parts always kept us in tune and in front of the customer.

At sometime in the late nineties and early 2,000's we started to see third party hardware and software solutions from companies like eCopy, and Equitrac. I'm sure there were more however I can't remember any of the other players.  Companies like Ecopy and Equitrac allowed copier dealers to move into selling software, supporting software and also presented opportunities for professional services. Within a few years there were many other companies that emerged with additional solutions.  All of these third party providers added value to the digital copier.  Thus salespeople had more opportunities to sell solutions in many different vertical markets and larger companies as well.  The once ridiculed copier that took the butt of all the office jokes emerged as the central hub in the office for processing information on paper.

The digital copier industry of today is changing again and companies like Xerox, Ricoh, KonicaMinolta and Canon are making the transition to service led companies. These companies will be the sole provider for documents whether they are created electronically or printed, they want to help customers with print stream management, forms, email, archiving of documents (electronic and paper), they also want to provide consulting to help businesses increase efficiencies, provide easier work flows and reduce your costs.

more to come with Part 3

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Transition of the Copier Industry "According to Art"

Part One:

Once upon a time we sold just a copier, that machine only made copies and nothing else.

There was no stapling, no two sided copying, no document feeders, one paper tray and a single sheet by pass tray was the norm.  You also had to make sure you didn't place a cup of coffee on top of the copier since most of these devices incorporated a moving top (platen).  

As the industry evolved we saw the emergence of companies that developed sorters (remember Gradco), key counters (remember Hecon), coin op units (can't remember one of these), copier cabinets, and even a company that sold custom covers for the devices. Yey, back in the day every new copier came with a cover and yes when asked "do ya think I should cover the copier at night"?, we stated yes, but please make sure you turned it off!

I can distinctly remember one company back in the eighties that manufactured a foil overlay for plain paper copiers. It was a novel idea that allowed users to make a copy of a document and then you could either slide the copy underneath the foil sheet (which was sealed on one side) and then run both the foil and the copy through the by-pass of the copier in one pass.  Presto chango... all of the black image on the page was changed to the color of the foil.  The foil would only stick to the black toner once the media passed through the fusing section.  These foils came in many different colors and the most dramatic was the GOLD foil, we used to tell potential customers that you could turn your copies into GOLD!(pretty lame)  You could even get fancy and with the use of removable tape and scissors cut strips of foil to get different colors on the copy.  This was probably the inexpensive and easy way to get a color copy, the foil media was primarily used for certificates and proposals.  It was awesome, walking in with a proposal that had the look of gold print. Check it out, you can still get this stuff, I just may buy a pack just to mess with some of the younger reps in the office.

Someones novel idea added some sizzle to copiers at a time when the analog copier market had matured. That was also true for companies like Gradco, Hecon, and it's been so long I can't remembers the rest. Point is new products and new services not only helped us with hardware but we provided solutions for our customers.

How about the key counters, can you remember how popular they were?  It seemed that every school had one.  The concept was that you had to have a little box that had a mechanical counter (called the key counter) in into the connected the copier. If the key counter was not in the copier, the copier would not operate.  This is was used as a way to control copy usage. 

At a time when the analog copier industry was maturing. These products and solutions allowed copier dealers to sell more machines and capture additional clicks (back then toner was not included in any of the maintenance agreements).  The copier manufacturers saw the success of these companies and thus started adding their own sorters, their own counters and expanded the offering for accessories for copiers. 

Dealers and Manufacturers have always been on the front lines to introduce new technology that will help customers increase efficiencies, and reduce costs. In my 33 years in this business it's more about how we can improve our customers work flow and reduce your costs, whether it's imaging with copiers, printers, duplicators, managed print, or document management.

I'll have part two of this ready in a few days........

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Selling Copiers & MFP's "Are you Tracking"?

It wasn't until I visited my son at basic training that I was picked up on the word "tracking", in the Army "tracking" refers to "do you understand what I'm talking about"? My son made a statement and at the end tagged it with "are you tracking"?

Even though I work with a CRM software that tracks everything I do (I liked it a lot better when I had index cards, they were mine and all mine, I'm figuring sooner or later the company will give me a cell phone and then...well let's say I'll probably not be sipping Margarita's at the Jersey Shore anymore) from calls, to opportunities and dollar amounts, I still keep track of my sales and opportunities on my own excel spreadsheet.  My manager once asked why I do this since all that information is already in the CRM.  I told him, I do it so I can have a quick glance of everything I need to know on one document/file, things like name of account, what model number, what serial number, spiff from the manufacturer, total sale, total GP, commission, bonus, term of lease, date of sale, monthly totals, quarterly totals, bonus totals, future opportunities, accessories, maintenance agreements and the cost of the equipment (dealer cost). Thus at anytime I can get a quick snap shop of what's going on instead of accessing multiple screens of data from the CRM.  "Are you tracking"?

At any given time I can tell how much profit I'm generating for the company, back out my salary, my benefits, taxes, expenses and pretty much it's my way of knowing that I'm performing and can help when I need to negotiate in the future. This has also proven to be a great time saver, in some cases I had a question come up on a sale, if I did not have the spreadsheet then I had to access scanned files, look at order forms, leases, etc in order to have the answer. I never thought that a simple spreadsheet would save so much time, and especially when it comes to commissions!  "Are you tracking"?

If you're going to stay in this business's you need to track all of your sales, three, four and five years can come around in a hurry. I've also found that having the spreadsheet allows me to work and or review my sales and  pipeline and whenever and where ever I need to.

A few years ago I wrote a blog about tracking the sales that I didn't make, you can also keep these in the CRM, but I like to have them in both places.  You might have not been able to secure the customer the first time around, however when you follow up in 2-5 years what you'll probably find out is that the salesperson that sold them the first copier is no longer with the company, thus you would be that go to person, right?  "Are you tracking"?

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why Not Sharp!

This is interesting, in two weeks there has been two press releases in the US that Sharp has signed on new MFP dealers. I follow all of the Sharp USA press release and can't ever remember getting a Press Release about "signing on a new dealer". I mentioned this today in conversation with another industry analyst today, and we both agreed that A) things are really bad with sharp and B) Sharp USA is trying to hold the fort together at least in the USA Marketplace.

Just today another Rueters report stated that the talks with Hon Hai (Terry Gou aka Ming the Merciless) has stalled! Hon Hai in March of this year agreed to purchase a 10% stake in Sharp for 500 yen per share. Hon Hai is now holding out for a management role in return for it's investment.

Sharp is seeking 3.87 billion worth of capital from two Japanese vendors by September 20th. The report also went on to state that Sharp has now mortgaged nearly all of it's domestic offices and factories, even the factory that makes the coveted Apple iPhone.

In light of the new development where Hon Hai now wants a management role in Sharp is quite the turn of events. I've read other reports that state their would be quite the culture clash with Taiwanese and Japanese Management

Sharp just reported today through a bloomberg report that they will return and post a fiscal profit next year.

For our industry, some have high hopes that Sharp will sell their MFP business and some state that Sharp will keep the profitable MFP business. Here in the states, I'm hoping they end their misery of low market share and sell. For an industry where many say print is on the decline means that there are still too many players. We see it everyday with eroding MFP hardware and supply pricing. Taking another player out of the industry in the US marketplace will help Dealers, Direct and Manufacturers to at least stay profitable.

As the MFP industry shrinks, it will also affect jobs, and I hate to see anyone lose their job in this economic climate, but for the good of the industry someone has got to go.

Why not Sharp!

-=Good Selling=-

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Selling Copiers & MFPs "The Quarter Aint Over Till It's Over"

The end of the third quarter draws closer and closer.  My end for the quarter will be September 24th, since the 23rd is on the weekend. I'm surprised that I haven't received an email yet that we'll be closing the month on the 21st because the bean counters can't keep up with the orders! hehe

Sales is always what you make of it, if you have to have the Desire to be the best.  After 33 years in down the street sales I'm still  not satisfied with just making quota, not just satisfied with eeking out a living.  For some reason I need to BE THE BEST, all of the time and if I'm not then watch out because I'll outwork the other person to BE THE BEST.

As I move into the last quarter of the third quarter, I've got a lock on Presidents Club again (the wife will be happy) and I find myself in need of 30K (to make the top tier of 166% of quota) in sales for the final 7 selling days of the quarter. Some may look at the final 7 days and say oh my gosh, how am I going to do this I have only 7 days left!  To me 7 selling days means that there is still 33% of the month left and it should be more than enough time to get the numbers I want.

In my bucket for the month I believe I have almost 90K of opportunities that have a shot (even the slightest chance of closing) of closing before the end of the quarter.  Out of this list I have a target of six accounts that have more than a 50% chance of closing. That 50% chance equals some $50k of business, the business is there I just need a little bit of luck (the harder you work the luckier you get), and some pre-planning to get what I want.

I prepare in advance a plan to close the sale, most of my sales can center around ROI (return on investment) and or lower costs, this can make it a no brainer to move forward NOW. So, lets take an appointment that I have tomorrow with an incumbent account.

This particular account can be a problem account, they have more than two years left on a lease for a color MFP, but they are blowing out their color prints to the tune of overages each quarter that are exceeding $3,000.  From the review that I've done is that their color volume has exploded.  So tomorrow I'll be there with a report analysis for the last 12 months for the lease cost and the service/supply costs. I'll also have a projected solution to upgrade the current system to another that has a much lower per page cost.  Thus, I'll be able to present the customer with an immediate savings proposal, however what I'll also have is all of the paperwork ready to sign the deal on the spot (the lease, the ma and the sales order). Why wait and make another trip, right?  If they agree then off we go with the order. 

My point is that we should always be prepared to close, you nor I can tell the future nor the outcome of any meeting.  Sales is not a 9-5 job, I'll be doing the paper work after I finish this blog tonight for this particular customer. Why? Because I want the darn sale tomorrow!

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Church Leasing a Copy Machine in Central New Jersey

Just this week I was able to help a New Jersey Bayshore Church that was shopping for a Ricoh Copier (multifunctional system).  As with many churches the economy has taken it's toll with lower donations, and higher operating costs. 

The current scenario found the Church with an outdated PC (which they owned), that was slow, and working with an outdated Operating System along with outdated Microsoft Office Applications.  The Church also had an existing copier lease that had nine payments remaining, the copier at the New Jersey Church was performing ok but it was evident that they could benefit from a new system that would offer them color scanning, scan2dropbox, scan2officedrop, scan2email, OCR and fillable forms. Th fillable forms turned out to be a BIG thing, each year the church would upload the new CCD forms to their web site, from there the parishioners would be able to download the forms, fill them out and then return them to the church.  When the office staff reviewed these forms they had to muddle through the handwriting on the forms, granted that 80% of the forms were legible but there were many forms that required a phone call to the parishioner to validate a name, phone number and or birth date.

A great feature that came with the Ricoh copier was the ability for the Church to create a .pdf fillable form from a word document and then upload that document to the web site. Thus when the parishioner opened the document they were able to type the required information on the form, then print the form for delivery or even email the form to the Church staff.  The end result was neater forms, and less call backs for unreadable information.

Even though the software that came with the Ricoh copier was helpful,  the Church had also expressed that they could not pay anymore than what they were already paying on a monthly basis.  I had my homework cut out for me.

After reviewing their maintenance and supply costs, and the monthly lease cost we were able to put a package together that include a new DellOptiex PC, Mircrosoft Office Professional, and a new Ricoh SP5210SR multifunctional copier that included delivery, installation of the Ricoh copier, and installation of the Dell OptiPlex PC.  The cost?  The cost per month was the same as the current copier lease (zero increase in cost), the benefit was new equipment, time saving software and a new PC with all of the extras that they were hoping for.

If you're shopping for a new Ricoh copier in New Jersey, or you may need some new PC's, IT support or Managed Network Services. We'd like to speak to with you to present our award winning New Jersey support and to see if we can lower your total cost of operation.

-=Century Office Products-

1 of 3 Nice Sales I had from Last Week

Last week I had the chance to visit one of my favorite Architects in New Jersey.  It was that time again and he was interested in upgrading his present leased Ricoh Color Copier/Printer/Scanner for something newer.

I don't like to release the names of my accounts so we'll use Bill for the name of the Architect.

Bill had some unique needs for a new color multifunctional copier.  For years Ricoh has had a feature in their multifunctional copiers called the "Document Server".  The Document Server is a partition on the hard drive of the multifunctional copier that allows users to scan and print documents to that portion of the hard drive.  You also have the ability to name the document, name the user and password protect the document.  The main benefit to the end user is that these documents now reside at the copier for easy re-print access, plus you can embed features like folding, stapling and magazine.

Bill has this unique need that most his documents were hand created renderings of visual concepts that he as working on.  Thus, the ability for the Ricoh multifunctional copiers to store and reprint these at any time enabled Bill to reprint the documents with the correct finishing applications for each visual concept.

Bill was also a MAC user, thus he was excited to hear that he would be able to print from his network to his iPhone and iPad without any additional cost.  The icing on the cake was the new booklet feature for MAC users, yes now MAC users are can print booklets to the Ricoh Color Multifunctional Copier for the first time! Before, Bill had to scan his hand created visual renderings to the document server and then have them print in a booklet format. 

Thus the new Ricoh MPC3502SPF was quite the buy for him,  with architects TIME is money, and the new Ricoh MPC3502 will save him many hours per month to work on additional projects and or create additional visuals renderings that may help him get additional projects this year.

If you're an architect and you're shopping for a new copier in New Jersey or if you're looking to lease or buy a new copier in New Jersey.  Please feel free to give m a call 732.977.1211 and see if I maybe able to help you increase your efficiencies, lower your total cost of operation or help with a placing a new wide format copier system for your architectural firm in New Jersey.

If you're looking for a copy machine in New Jersey please give me a call or fill out this handy form.

=Greetings from Art=-

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dealer Event of the East for October 2nd & 3rd & AL East Pennant Race

Back in the grand old days of the copier industry, there were no dealer events and shows. 

Once every year a National Office Equipment Show would be held in the US, every other year the show rotated from an eas to west venue,  Back in the day the show was called NOMDA (National Office Machine Dealer Association).  I had the chance to only go to one NOMDA show that was held in Atlanta in the early nineties and it was an awesome experience.  Every copier manufacturer was showing their latest and greatest in copiers, fax machines and duplicators.  The after hour parties were also exceptional.  I can remember crashing a Ricoh party one night were the theme was to something to do with the Wizard of OZ.  Years ago when sellling copiers when someone told me that they were considering a Ricoh my favorite response was "whats a Ricoh"?  My times do change right?

Time changes everything and NOMDA is now known as BTA (Business Technology Association), BTA is the trade organization for Office Equipment Dealers. BTA has a long laundry list of exceptional services that are available to the Office Equipment Dealers such as legal services, advocating for the dealer channel (this would include many new laws that may be coming to states for hard drive data destruction and deletion), monthly webinars, education and a BTA Market Place.  The Print4Pay Hotel is now a BTA member and I'm excited about having access to additional information that can help me grow a bigger and better Print4Pay Hotel.  I've only scratched the surface of the BTA offerings, I recommend you go here and take a tour of their web site and become a BTA member.

With many manufacturers now offering their own dealer shows, the National type show has not been around for sometime, however BTA does a really awesome job of presenting District BTA shows and events.  One such District event is schedule for October (2012) the 2nd and 3rd in Rye, NY.  This event will open at 3:30 PM on the October 2nd with a keynote by Norihiko Ina, President and CEO of Kyocera Document Solutions (I'm going to ask him if they purchased the Sharp MFP division, hehe).  A welcome reception will follow at 5:30PM where attendees will get a chance to network and visit exhibiting sponsors (more than 30). October 3rd will see breakfast from 7AM-8AM, followed by opening comments and three education sessions. Lunch and then another 2 education sessions and then closing comments.

The BTA event is unique in that all of the events, seminars and exhibiting sponsors are all in the same room.  Exhibitors will also have door prizes and you'll need to be present to win, this creates an extremely fun atmosphere at the end of the show. After the show about 5:30PM buses will leave for Yankee Stadium where attendees will be able to take in one of the last ball games of the regular season and by all accounts it could be an awesome experience with the pennant race being so close! If you're interested in signing up, click here.

As we all know, we can never stop learning, knowledge is the key to driving profit and building your business, BTA provides an important service that will help dealers build their business while keeping dealers up to date with the latest trends and market information.  I will be at the show, I'll do some live tweeting, some blogging and an excited to be a part of the BTA experience.  If you're a Print4Pay Hotel Member or a reader of the mfpsolutions blog please make sure you say hello. I'll be looking forward to shooting the breeze with everyone!

-=Good Selling=-

Friday, September 7, 2012

Color Printer Deal Equals Buyer is a Liar

It's a late Friday night at home in Highlands, NJ, and I just got finished watching the TV show "Pickers".  These two guys kinda remind me of Laurel & Hardy, and they always seem to offer a fair price to the seller, which got me to thinking about of the potential deals that I was working on today.

One of my accounts is the in the health care business and about 5 years ago the CEO (he had an IT background) had purchased a Ricoh Color CL7200 from me.  Through the years I've tried several times to get him to upgrade the CL7200 into a color MFP system, at ever turn he balked and kept the printer and kept a small SOHO MFP.  The company is not one of my larger accounts, however it is one of my smaller accounts either since they has 70 employees and most of them are on the road on any given day.

The other day the CL7200 threw a service code, we dispatched the tech and our tech got the printer functional again (after more than two hours), but also put in an estimate for parts that needed to be replaced.  All I can tell you is that the parts price was up there, as soon as I saw the estimate I called and suggested a few pre-owned C811's that we had.  We were emailing each other back and forth and finally the CEO stated that he wanted new and to get him some pricing. I know there is no money to be made on these printers since you can find them on the Internet, I gave my best price too move the deal quickly. 

He had a service bill for a good chunk of change, had an

Monday, September 3, 2012

Top Ten Copier Proposals from Last Week

The Print4Pay Hotel has unique forum where we will upload proposals and quotes that Print4Pay Hotel members and additional pricing that I find in my day to day activities.  To date the Print4Pay Hotel forums has posted more than 500 proposals and quotes!

Some will say, "I don't need to know what the other dealers, or direct branches are doing",  and I'll say you're being foolish. Cost per page agreements and hardware pricing is changing month by month, every single new product launch of an MFP or printer continues to see lower cost per page pricing and lower hardware pricing.  How can you not keep up with the Jones and how can you not care about what the norm is now for cost per page pricing on a 45 page per minute device?

If you want em, we have em. Here's a list of our last 11 "pricing on the street" uploads:

canon 4051_4045_8095_7105 proposal

"pricing on the street" for savin mp2852sp

"pricing on the street" for Sharp MX-M283N

"pricing on the street" for Kyocera 3500i

"pricing on the street" for Ricoh mp2852sp

"pricing on the street" for Ricoh mp2852sp dealer

"pricing on the street" for Savin MP4002SP

"pricing on the street" for Ricoh MP4002SP rac

"pricing on the street" for Ricoh MP 4002 sp dealer

"pricing on the street" for Kyocera 4500i

"pricing on the street" for Sharp MX-M453N

Stay tuned for an update on the more than 20 RFP's & RFQ's we've just uploaded also!

-=Good Selling=-

Ricoh New Healthcare "Niche" MFP & Printer

A few weeks ago, one of our manufacturers reps came to our office was telling us about a new series of printers (at least that's what I thought) that were being marketed specifically for the health care industry. I had mentioned in previous blogs that I thought the industry would have more success if printers or MFP's were designed to capture certain vertical markets with features and media that was specific to to that vertical market.  Look at me, I'm now a soothsayer!

All kidding aside what Ricoh did was to give a new product designation to a few existing printers and MFP's and then marry them with some additional unique features and media capabilities.

The new Ricoh SP5210DNHW and SP5210DNHT are two of these new "health care" laser printers.  The speed is 52 pages per minute and is similar to the SP5210DN series. If you'd like to download the new health care brochure go here.

These "health care" printers include these features:

  • Traylock
  • Wristband printing (only SP5210DNHW)
  • Portable Print Configuration
  • Teflon Coating
  • Locked Print
  • DataOverwriteSecurity System
  • Hard Disk Drive Encryption
In addition Ricoh is also is also introducing a health care version of the Ricoh SP C431DN which will be relabeled as the SP C431DNHW and also the SP C431DNHT.  The SP C431DNHT does not have the capability for the traylock and wristband features, however the SP C431DNHW can accommodate the wristband printing but no traylock feature.  My head is already spinning!  I can't keep track of these model numbers! 

One of the claim to fame features is Traylocking, Ricoh mentions in the brochure that paper trays can be locked.  Thus the health care provider can secure wristband stock, prescription paper or other expensive or sensitive media.  This is enabled by a key lock system on the paper tray.  I can only think of how many calls we'll get for lost keys, maybe a four digit pin would have been a better fit.  The four digit pint could have been saved in the admin section of Web Image Monitor.

The second unique feature is the ability for the printer to print onto "narrow media" such as identification wristbands, this media would be loaded in one of the locking paper trays.  Ricoh incorporates an innovative Teflon-coating for the paper trays that enables the trays to easily accept specialty papers and minimize misfeeds.

The third difference is the Portable Print Configuration, this is accomplished with an SD card that his populated with printer system settings that allows user to transfer print settings from one machine to another.  This is a nice feature and I could use this many times over when configuring printers in the field.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to help a customer program media, paper trays, and other settings and then they need the same settings on all of their print devices.

Yet another feature would be the locked print feature, locked print means that the user has to authenticate to the printer to release the print job.  In conjunction with the locked print feature Ricoh also offers an Hard Drive Encryption Option, which enables encryption for documents, address books, data, and passwords. Users also have the standard DiskOverwriteSecurity System to protect confidential information as to where the hard drive will overwrite latent digital images on the drive.

Dang, I really did want this to be this long, it's taking up my nap time today! 

Ricoh also offers four MFP health care solution systems, borrowing from the SP5200 ad the SP5210 series Ricoh now offers the SP5200SHW and the SP5200SHT (SHT?), both of these devices print and copy at 47 pages per minute and they offer the same configuration of the printer version.  Ricoh then offers two 52 page per minute devices designated with SP5200SFHW and the SP5210SFHT.

You can go here and download the brochure for the specifics on the MFP's as to what features they have an don't have.

In closing, I think we'll see more niche type offerings from the manufacturers as our industry continues to change.

-=Good Selling=-

Ricoh New MP6002, 7502, 9002 "Print Features Reveal"

Last week I posted Ricoh MP6002, 7502, 9002 series "Scanner Reveal" , this week we're going to cover some of the exciting new print features for the Ricoh MP 6002SP, 7502SP and the MP9002SP, keep in mind that these light production systems can also be purchased with out the network print and scan. 

Tip:  If you really want to know what a system can and can't do, go to the manufacturers web site and download a copy of the operators manual.  I've won a few deals because I pointed or specific advantages that I had over another product, showing the end user prints/copies from the manufacturers owners manual will provide proof that you are speaking without forked tongue.

Here's a few hardware print specs for review:

  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • Integrated USB 2.0 Type A port and SD card slot
  • System Memory = 1.5GB
  • Print Controller = Celeron M @ 1 Ghz
  • PDF Direct Kit
  • Print from USB & SD card slot
  • Up to 1200x1200 dpi
  • Optional Adobe PSIII Genuine
  • Optional Parallel, Gigabit, Wireless LAN and Bluetooth
  • Optional Genuine IPDS
  • FPOT (First Print Out) MP6002SP = 3.9 seconds, MP7502SP = 3.2 seconds, MP9002SP = 2.9 seconds
  • USB 2.0 Type B High Speed
  • USB 2.0 Type A High Speed (used to connect external devices such as card reader, keyboard or Bluetooth
  • Standard HDD Encryption  & DOSS
What I like:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Selling Copiers and MFP's "What Would You Do"?

I had a rep email me today about a certain scenario and asked for my help.

He gave the scenario that the system he was looking to replace was an older Ricoh MPC4500 (45 page per minute color) with print/scan and fax.  He had suggested that the end user get an Ricoh MP3002 (30 page per minute color) with print/scan and fax.  He then stated that the customer did not want to get a slower device than what they already had, they were doing abut 6,000 pages per month in black and 400 pages per month in color.  I was also told that the color volume was much higher in the past however the end user had either moved a certain job or was not doing that job anymore.

Let's back up a little, the end user is currently doing business with a Direct branch, they have a few payments on the lease and are very happy with the support and service they have received during the term of the current lease.

The current lease price with service is high at almost $500 per month considering that the monthly volume is so low. 

Here's a few of the questions I asked him;

  1. What were you trying to accomplish by recommending a 30 page per minute color when they have a 45 page per minute color?  He then stated that the incumbent was a Direct location and he saw an opportunity to try and "right size" the end user and also thought that he would be able to position the monthly price lower with a new lease.
  2. How much are they current lease payments and how many months are left on the lease?  There are two payments.
  3. Where any service and supplies built into the lease?  Yes, 9,000 per month for black, color is billable. However moving forward they want 6K per month and color billable.
  4. Are they happy with their current vendor (meaning the Direct branch), Yes, there are no issues.
  5. Is there anything unique in their work flow for scanning, printing, copying, faxing or saving of documents?  Here I got a no, just looking to replace an existing system with a new system.
  6. Is there a desire to enable mobile printing? No
Please keep in mind that I was not on this appointment and I am getting all of this from the rep. 

What did I get from all of this?