Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Comes Home to NJ

Sandy the wind is howling' over Atlantic City tonight Forcin' a light into all those stoned-out faces left stranded on this forth of July Down in town the circuit's full with switchblade lovers so fast so shiny so sharp As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers along the shoreChasin' all them silly girls Sandy the aurora is risin' beh ind us The pier lights our carnival life forever Love me tonight for I may never see you againHey Sandy girl Now the greasers they tramp the streets or get busted for trying to sleep on the beach all night Them boys in their spiked high heels ah Sandy their skins are so white And me I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades bangin' them pleasure machines Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk where they promise to unsnap their jeans And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag I got on it last night and my shirt got caught And that Joey kept me spinnin' I didn't think I'd ever get off Oh Sandy the aurora is risin' behind us The pier lights our carnival life on the water Runnin' down the beach at night with my boss's daughter Well he ain't my boss no more Sandy Sandy the angels have lost their desire for us I spoke to 'em just last night and they said they won't set themselves on fire for us anymore Every summer when the weather gets hot they ride that road down from heaven on their Harleys they come and they go And you can see 'em dressed like stars in all the cheap little seashore bars parked making love with their babies out on the Kokomo Well the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they doThis boardwalk life for me is through You kmow you ought to quit this scene tooSandy the aurora's rising behind us The pier lights out carnival life forever Oh love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever

Why Copier Manufacturers Need to More Involved w/ Social Media

So you think just because you're using the likes of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace that this is your social media campaign?  Most copier manufacturers seem to tout the latest press releases, product releases, green issues, contests or some off the wall little no facts.    If this is your benchmark for a social media presence then you need to take a step back and understand that most manufacturers are missing the boat with web forums.

There are tens of thousands of forums, maybe more.  We run a web forum titled the Print4Pay Hotel, site is dedicated to those of us in the imaging industry. It is a secure forum and you need to register in order to view and post messages.  There are also many non secure forums, these are forums that allows end users to read the messages (threads, posts, replies) but in order to post a message you may need to become a member.  In these forums members/users will ask questions or carry on conversations through the forum, the web forum is an easy way to find out what a product can do or can't do. Many users feel more comfortable talking about a product or service in a third party secure forum.

Let's look at this hypothetical situation, some company bought a XYZ color production system and to date they are not happy with with the system due to print quality not being what they expected.  They've had numerous service calls and still the same result.  As an end user what else can you do?  A lot of end users are turning to web forums where they can find additional information, in the color print production this would be Print Planet (there are others, however I follow this one). Once on the forums the end user can read what others have posted in reference to the same unit, and they may be able to get a workaround or help from another user that has the same system.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Was Ricoh USA in fact absorbed by IKON?

We're going to take you way back to December 2nd of 2007 when I posted this poll Print4Pay Hotel forums Who is Going to Acquire Who in 08! .

The Print4Pay Hotel forums is for anyone who is in the office equipment business, we have over 2,000 registered global members. We share infomation and news in a secure format via our forums. To date we have almost 40,000 threads related to the industry.  I like to call it the wiki notes  of the copier industry for the last ten years.

On with the poll question.

Who is going to Buy Who in 2009:
The results were:
18%   for Ricoh to buy Ikon
18%   for Canon to buy Ikon
55%   for HP to buy Ikon
0%    for Ricoh to buy Danka
2%    for Canon to buy Danka
0%    for HP to buy Danka

Plus these two threads:

Could the writing be on the wall???Always give a second look at a company when they start to buy back their own stock!  IKON Office Solutions (NYSE: IKN) 23% HIGHER; announced that its Board of Directors has approved the repurchase of $500 million of its common stock. IKON intends to repurchase up to $295 million of its common stock through a modified "Dutch Auction" self-tender offer at a price of not less than $13 per share or more than $15 per share (posted by yours truly).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sharp Corp's Swan SONG "We did it Our Way"

A Print4Pay Hotel sing along!  A classic, just use the lyrics below!

And now, the end is near
And so we face the final curtain
My dealers, We'll say it clear
Did we make our last MFP, of which we're not certain
We spanned a century of business
We manufactured copiers, tv's and fax machines
And more, much more than this, we messed it up our way

Regrets, we've had a few
But then again, many more to mention
We did what we had to do to try and save our business
We planned each charted course, each careful step along this last year
And more, much more than this, We did it our way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When we bit off more than we could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
We screwed it up and accepted a bank bailout
We faced it all and we stood tall and did it our way

We copied, we faxed and printed
We've had our time, our share of losing
As the debt draws near, you'll find us boozing
To think we did all that
And may we say, not in a great way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, we are Sharp, we did it our way"

For what is Sharp? is sincerity and creativity
If not ourself, then we have naught
We made some aweful choices and suffered some terrible losses
The record shows we took blows and we did our way!

Yes, it was our way

This is intended for entertainment, have fun with it!

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There is No End in Site for Sharp "Part Deux"

Look at that a new Sharp picture for the Blog
Today......Reuters reports that Sharp Corporation may lose 5 US Billion Dollars in the first half of it's fiscal year.  Reuters went on the report that the loss was due to restructuring and valuation losses on inventory. I'm not an accountant and I can't tell you what valuation losses mean.

The report also stated that the 5 US Billion dollar amount is double what Sharp had projected in August of 2012. It was also stated that Sharp is looking to generating and operating profit for the time period from October to March. 

During lunch to day I had the chance to catch up with fellow blogger Vince McHugh,  we were discussing how can Sharp get themselves out of the hole with their massive debt.  Plus what company in their right mind would want to buy manufacturing divisions of Sharp that are losing money? 

In the news tonight the economic climate seems to worsening in Europe, the US dollar is still losing ground to the Japanese yen, and yet Sharp Corporation debt is staggering!  Now, I'm sure they have a plan if everything goes according to plan, but over the last five years it seems that nothing goes according to plan.  Just as the US might start eeking out a decent GDP, Europe may be sliding deeper into a recession.

I posted a response on Vince's Blog the other day when the Sharp discussion came up.  It's plain and simple:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Top Ten Copier Proposals from September 2012

The Print4Pay Hotel forums had a banner month for September of 2012.  In total there were 20 copier/MFP proposals that were uploaded the our Proposals/Document Library forum.

Sometimes we'll get quotes/proposal documents from the field that are emailed (we upload those to the site) and at other times we'll get emailed pricing that a Print4Pay Hotel member saw, with these we then create a document that can be downloaded called "Pricing on the Street" . These documents will have the purchase price, the lease price, the maintenance cost, the overages, where the pricing came from (state) and what accessories were included. We also have a promotion that allows a member to email two proposals and he or she will get a FREE Premium Membership.

Seeing the proposals from others is just part of the learning experience, I still enjoy seeing proposals from other sales people, some are quite good and some really stink!  However, I'll admit that I will borrow ideas and layout of proposals I like.  Let's face it I'm selling just like you and really how many times do we get to meet the DM these days.  Maybe 70% of the time, so I need to put my best foot forward with a proposal that will capture someones interest and make it stand out from the crowd.  Seeing all of these proposals enables me to stay current with the competition and deliver a professional proposal that is on point.

Proposals and "Pricing on the Street" from September 2012:

"Pricing on the Street" for MBM 307A Folder

"Pricing on the Street" for Ricoh Color SPC431dn

Konicaminolta bizhub25 proposal

lanier LD140C proposal

"Pricing on the Street" for Ricoh W3601

canon C2020 proposal

"pricing on the street" for Sharp MX-M453N

"pricing on the street" for Kyocera 4500i

canon 4051_4045_8095_7105 proposal

Canon imageRunner Advance C7065

If you'd like to see more proposals and quotes or would like to be a member, click here for a Premium Membership and get unlimited access to all of the forums, quotes, proposals, rfp's and documents or you could be a Basic Member (free, no access to quotes, rfp's proposals, and documents) become a Basic Member of the only site for copier and mps sales professionals in the world. To date we have over 2,300 registered members, 402 followers on twitter and more than 1,100 contacts on linked in.

-=Good Selling=-

Muratec MFX-2590 Spec Review "Gotta Get Me One of These"

This will be somewhat of a cut and paste from a previous blog I did labeled "The Hottest Little MFP from Texas".  A few weeks ago I attended the BTA East Grand Slam event in White Plains, NY.  I recommend dealers and sales people find a way to get to these events in your area, they are awesome, plus you get to win stuff. Dang, I even won stuff!

Muratec America showed the MFX-2590, to tell you the truth it's been some time since I got hyped about an A4 MFP (by the way maybe we can change the MFP to MFC since it is a Multifunctional Copier), but the MFX-2590 had some of the features that I've been asking for, it's like Muratec America must have been reading my mind or probably just reading the MFP Solutions blog.

In the previous blog, I spoke about the over sized large color screen, scan2print, scantag, and the single pass dual scan document feeder.  Yup, I was impressed.  But there are many other features that I didn't blog about. So with out further ado, I'd like to go through some of these for everyone.

Printing Highlights:
  • Standard Duplex Print (two sided printing), with the average cost of a sheet of paper now approaching a penny a sheet, two sided printing can cut your paper costs by up to 50%.
  • Secure Print will hold the document in the MFX-2590's memory and allows you to go the device and enter a pin code to release your document, will keep prying eyes away from our P & L's
  • Print documents that are stored on a USB drive, this is a great feature to have. Think about this, a salesperson comes into your office, and needs to print a presentation or a document, are you really going to let them on your network?  The USB drive allows for visitors to print from their USB drive without logging on to your network.
  • Optional bar code printing, years ago in order to print bar codes you needed to invest in dedicated printing hardware.  Look around you'll see bar codes all over from hospitals, mail rooms, grocery stores and manufacturing plants. The need to print bar codes is an essential need in most companies.
  • Copy and Print on Demand, the MFX-2590 allows you to copy or print documents to the MFX-2590's hard drive. Once on the drive you have a digital library of those much needed documents. No more scouring the PC or the filing cabinet to find those docs, leave them on the MFX-2590 for easy access.  This feature will also lower your print costs due to the fact that when a document is printed from the PC/Workstation it is usually printed to a local printer. These local (network) printers have a high cost per page, thus printing then from MFX-2590 will lower costs!
Scanning Highlights:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 Tips on How to Lose Your Top Sales Producers

Do you need to get rid of your top producers or maybe you're looking for them to find a new home with a competitor.

Just follow these 10 Tips:

1)  Don't update your demo room with the latest and greatest MFP's, some owners and managers will say, "aw we never do that many demonstrations anyway, why should we have the extra expense?".  I'll state that if you're not updating your demo fleet then your competitor is, plus how can you test new features, print samples and demonstrate the system?

2) Don't fix pricing errors in your price books: It's commission time and surprise surprise you told the rep there's a mistake, adjusted the commissions however you never revised the pricing. Funny, you had the time to correct the commissions but not the price book.

3) Make sure you don't give out the sales persons commission statement until a day before or a day after commissions are paid, thus if there is a mistake you can get another 30 days to make it up.

4) Don't invest in a lead generation program/lease UCC service or do any marketing to your existing clients. It takes money to make money, you need to invest, funny everyone wants new business but no one wants to pay for it.

5) Ignore emails from your sales reps, all they do is complain anyway right?

6) Don't update your price books for new models until you get a call or email from your sales people.

7) Don't offer them any advanced sales training and new product training.

8) Don't ever offer up any empathy for your sales team and rightly so who cares about them they're just sales people.

9) Don't ever give them a raise in salary (for a job well done) like you you with the rest of your employees. 

10) Don't follow through an Incentive Trip that you announced for your Top Producers.

In sales we (sales people) understand that the grass MAY not always be greener on the other side of the hill, however sales people will and can put up with many deficiencies and I believe it's because we make mistakes also and we understand more than anyone that it is not a perfect world.  The problem with sales people making mistakes is that they pay for their mistakes and hopefully we will not make the same mistake twice. 

I'm sure there are many principals that are so removed from the sales process that they really have no clue what transpires on a day to day basis. If a rep is consistently making points about the process, then he or she is then labeled as a complainer. On the other hand those points that the rep is making may not be making it up the chain of command, thus everyone believes there is a perfect process.  Many reps will just say nothing at all, and then just turn in a resignation. In most cases your sales producers are trying to help fix deficiencies in your process.

Your top sales producers want to to do well, they want to overachieve, they want to make more for themselves and their families for a better way of life.  Just maybe those "C" people at the top need to take a step back and engage with their sales people, and ask them, what it is the good the bad and the ugly.

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

There is No End in Site to Sharp's Crisis

In a editorial release the other day from The Asahi Shimbun, they reported that "there in no end in site Sharp's Crisis".  The report went on to state that the Hon Hai Group deal with Ming the Merciless (Terry Gou) is on hold and this deal is critical to Sharp's turn around. One of the key factors maybe that Hon Hai wants a seat on the Sharp board, and Sharp seems unwilling to move on this.  This could be a deeper culture issue with the Chinese and Japanese. 

It was also reported last week that the two main Japanese bank lenders MAY send and executive team to protect their interests, at this point there's been no further news about this. 

While we've been following all of the news & rumors about Sharp on the Print4Pay Hotel forums, it seems to be the general consensus that Sharp USA may also be starting to feel the effects of Sharp's financial mess. I for one have put doubt in current Sharp MFP clients and will continue to bring up the financial crisis for Sharp, and if I'm doing it, pretty much means anyone with half a brain is also bringing this up. 

Ask yourself what has value that Sharp can sell?  Is there any real value in business units that can't make a profit with LCD TV's?

Here's some of the recent threads on the Print4Pay Hotel forums:

  • Art, I'm beginning to hear rumblings of contraction in their direct branches and even possible sell offs.  Can anyone confirm/deny? If true, is this welcome news for Sharp dealers?
  • Heard of some NC, ehhmm consolidation.
  • well Sharp was announcing a number of new dealers recently this could be a play to be a Dealer only org in the US. come to think of it why are OEM's in the business of selling anyways? You would think OEM's would adopt a dealer structure like the Automotive industry.
  • They could be going to more of a master distributor type of model. It is way less expensive for them to support 4-5 big wholesalers than 3-4-500 dealers across the US. The dist then has to give tech support, parts dist etc. A few years ago they pushed all the smaller dealers doing less than $500K annually thru distributors. This may be their long term master plan....... But who the heck knows?
These are only four of the 80 threads and 1,300 reads that were posted about the Sharp Crisis, I'm sure there will be many more in the coming months and days. If you'd like to read or post additional information, go to Print4Pay Hotel forums and enjoy.

Could Sharp be the next Kodak?

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Top 5 (#2) Solutions/Products at BTA East Grand Slam Event

As many of you know I attended the BTA (Business Technology Association) BTA Grand Slam Event last week in White Plains, NY.  One of the bigger vibes from the show was the Yankee game that was scheduled for the last night of the show.  The Yankees were playing the last game of the season and still chasing the American League East Pennant, my what a difference a week and a half makes right?

So, I'm in sitting in the restaurant in the Doral Arrowwood Resort for lunch, a few minutes later two guys sit down in the next table, and they were talking about the Yankees. Mind you I'm a Yankee hater, ever since they traded Roger Maris back inb the 60's.  But one of the guys wasn't sure what time the game was on Wednesday night, so I chimed in with the time and to my surprise it was Chris Polek (CE0) of Polek & Polek.  I had never met Chris before and it was a pleasure to meet one of my long time sponsors of the Print4Pay Hotel forums.

Polek & Polek is a supplier of generic toner for printers and copiers, I know first hand that they spend a lot of time to have the best quality aftermarket supplies in the business.  I used to do business with them when I had my own dealership back in the eighties, I never had a problem with any of the products that they sold. 

While at the BTA Event, after every speaker there was a 45 minute break that allowed dealers to go and meet the vendors (awesome), and after one of the breaks I went over to talk to Chris to catch up and to ask me to tell him more about the products he has available.  He mentioned staples, I said what? Staples... Polek & Polek carries aftermarket staples for all of the MFP manufactures, better yet they are manufactured by Swingline (who can ask for a better product manufacturer, right).  Chris explained the dealers can save up to 40-45% off th manufacturers wholesale price.  Chris told me that one of his largest dealers had told him that by just buying the staples from Polek & Polek that they had saved over $10K in one year! That's awesome.

Whether you're in need of aftermarket drums, toners, developers, staples and I'm sure a heck of a lot of other stuff maybe it's time to fatten your profits and give them a call and tell me the Print4Pay Hotel mentioned that they are one of the "go to" vendors in our industry!

BTW,  Polek & Polek is a sponsor of the Print4Pay Hotel forums and I'd like to thank them for their years of support.

-=Good Selling=-

Top 5 (#1) Products/Solutions A BTA EAST Grand Slam Event

I'm going to go over the first one of my top five picks for the BTA East Grand Slam Event was that was held last week in White Plains, NY. 

I've spoken about it and everyone else is also suggesting the need for office equipment dealers need to diversify from just selling copiers and printers and no one states it better than "Old Glory" from the Print4Pay Hotel forums,  Peter Drucker quote before, "Every company needs to prepare for the total abandonment of everything that it does." This is probably no truer anywhere else than it is with our industry".

Number #1 on my list at the BTA East Grand Slam Event

First off is Universal Laser Systems, in a sea of dealer tables there was "big red", and since I'm a hardware guy at heart,"big red" caught my attention.  At first I thought "big red" (I'm going to call it big red because the system does not have a name just a model number) was some type of futuristic printer.  Even after the first two minutes of the conversation I thought the system would fire a laser beam at a sheet of paper and produce color images on the page without the use of toner.  The Universal Laser System will acts as a big printer, however it's what the print does with the laser beam.  The laser beam is used to cut (die cut). mark,  engrave and create photographic images on virtually any type of media!  

My first thought is that this system would make an awesome on-demand puzzle maker.  But I was then handed a sample of images that were etched on wood, plastic, metal, glass and an ipad.  Think of the possibilities for producing ad specialty products on demand, or even placing a few of these in malls or resort areas!   Now, it's been a few weeks since the show and I'm thinking the system I saw was in the $15-$20k range, and at $300 to $400 per month on a lease, this system has some potential!  I was told you can hold margins, and was also told there are no consumables except for the different types of media. 

So, if you're looking to diversify and you're not sold on Managed Network Services, Business Process Optimization or selling boring on-line back up services you've seriously have got to check out this product!

Universal Laser Systems is looking for office equipment dealers to resell the product and here's another item that's on my wish list to sell, and make no bones about it, I will be able to sell one of these puppies.  Check out the video below.  BTW, this is just one of many videos on YouTube that are located on Universal Laser Systems youtube channel.

look for me to post #2 & #3 later this week or maybe late tonight.

-=Good Selling=-

Ricoh A4 Envelope Printer to the Rescue

I may be rehashing some information here, however I was ecstatic on how a Ricoh SPC431DN Color printer performed a few weeks ago.

Ever since I saw the first envelope press from Xante, I've wanted to be able to sell these.  For those of us in the know the Okidata C9800 is the engine of choice for Xante, PSI and Oki themselves. To make a long story short, these systems will print up to A3 (11x17), take super thick stock and have an EFI Fiery built into the system for color matching.  Pricing, well anywhere from $17K-$22K, a few years back I knew a print shop that picked up one up at a show for about $14.8  The claim to fame is that you'll print full color envelopes at 36 per minute, the cost for toner (color) would be about .02 cents (since you are print a small logo) and you could have a customer envelope feeder and conveyor.  Each of these companies also added a few other tweaks to the system.

Commercial Trade Printer Helps Me Out

Since we've got that out of the way, a few years ago I met a commercial printer who just prints envelopes for the trade. He has at least three of the OKI C9800's with the feeders.  I wasn't able to sell him anything however we hit it off since I was intrigued with envelope presses and how you could take an ordinary color laser printer and tweak it so the system could run envelopes all of the time.

Just about a year ago I asked this commercial printer if he would test a Ricoh SPC431DN for me, I was curious if this system could print envelopes without wrinkles and not misfeed.  We ran the test with a envelope feeder he had, we disconnected the by-pass tray and the Ricoh C431DN ran all of the envelopes without misfeeding and without wrinkles.  I then asked about the percentages of sizes of envelopes that he prints, I wanted to know what was the most common.  He replied that just about 75% of his work is with DL10's and smaller.

Existing Customer Emails Me

Fast forward to about a month ago, one of my clients emailed me and asked if I could supply a system that would print envelopes for this mailings. he had been in touch with Pitney Bowes, however Pitney wanted him to sign a ridiculous 69 month lease for something like $250 for a Pitney Bowes envelope printer.  Since I had the previous experience with the Ricoh SPC431DN, I figured it was worth the time to investigate.  I researched the Pitney Bowes Envelope printer (sorry I forget the model number) and it seems the printer was nothing more than a noisy (saw a video of the system on youtube) inkjet system.  The out put speed was fast, however it was inkjet and the cost was over $17K!

My Testing

I went back to my customer asked for any appointment and found out that his needs are to print 2,000-2,500 envelopes at a time and they would be doing a mail merge from an excel database and a database in PB smartmailer (was not made aware of this until later). I asked for a file from the customer and they emailed me an excel database. Luckily we had a Ricoh SPC431DN in the showroom, but it was only equipped with one paper tray.  In the next 90 minutes I printed off 200 or so envelopes without a hitch, no wrinkles no misfeeds, and the quality was awesome.

Sales Issues

In order to put together a viable solution for the customer, I had to configure the system with three additional paper trays.  However I was not able to test the system with the additional paper trays.  From past experience I knew that I could set each paper tray to due a "roll over", meaning that when one tray was empty, the envelopes would then pull from tray two, then three and four.  I made an assumption that if the system was capable of printing from one tray without issues then all of the other trays would work also (I crossed my fingers). So when I was ready for the install, I knew that I had to change all of the paper tray sizes to DL 10, change the media setting for each tray to envelope #1 and then set the auto "roll over" for each tray. I would also present a 36 month lease and also add in a maintenance agreement for the system with no toner. As far as the quantity of envelopes. I figured that each tray could hold about 100 envelopes since and envelop is three sheets of paper.  Thus with four trays we could load 400 envelopes.

The Presentation

Probably the best thing

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Transition of the Copier Industry Part V

What Can Copier/Printers Dealers Do?

You could do nothing and keep stealing pages from other vendors and have other vendors steal your pages.  There's no growth in pages!

Many traditional copier companies are now embracing and moving forward with Managed Network Services.  At one time I asked why the heck would we do that, the other day I got my answer, when it comes to on-site service and support no one does it better than copiers dealers, not IT companies, not phone system dealers nada they all stink. We are the best for on-site support within our channel.

Dealers need to diversify their offerings:

If you're just a traditional copier dealer then I might suggest adding systems where you can also can some maintenance agreement revenue along with break and fix.  Take a look at offering folding machines, folders/inserters, mailing equipment, paper cutters, scoring machines, business card cutters, and pressure sealers. I like the addition of pressure sealers because you can get more bang for your buck, you can sell the media, the pressure sealer and then reap the clicks from higher volume MFP's, light production units and even duplicators.  All of these devices will need service from time to time, most are very mechanical and with trained techs you should be able to garner a some nice margins with service.

Dang, I forgot this one, and it's huge, get on board with 3D printing, it's right up our alley, very little competition, high margins on supplies, high margins on maintenance agreements, the best is that they have to come to you for supplies. Typical users are Colleges, Universities, manufacturing, and Architects, when was the last time someone from a College or niversity call you for a product?  3D printers are on fire right now.

How about just becoming an expert with 3rd party MFP solutions?

I'm hearing and seeing  many dealers looking to add new services, but what about the MFP's that are in the office already. What about all of that neat software that can be embedded within the device that can drive BPO (Business Process Optimization). Many years ago dealers deployed specialized reps to visit accounts and sell the extras such as maintenance agreements, auto document feeders, and finisher/staplers. Why can't this be done with OEM or 3rd party solutions. New accounts are so dang hard to get, but it's your existing accounts where you can sell the extras and make some excellent margins. 

Pick 5 different solutions for 5 different vertical markets, train 5 sales people to sell these 3rd party solutions which could be programs like Print Audit 6, Doculex, Intellenetics, UDOCX. However, you also have depending on what manufacturer you represent all type of business process improvement solutions that can be embedded within the MFP. Before you jump on the MNS/Backup band wagon become and expert with your own solutions from your manufacturer.

One more idea, how about starting an hardware agnostic solution sales team that will go out and sell, install and train on 3rd party solutions. I don't have an accurate number but if I were a betting guy, I would bet that 90% of all mfp devices are not running and embedded software. There's treasure trove of opportunity!

Eat What You Cook:

If you decide to make the jump to offering BPO (Business Process Optimization) then I strongly suggest that you look at your own business processes first.  I'm sure there is pain in your organization with a process.  Look to solve those processes first, one I would fix at the place where I work is the sales process.  Here I would stream line the amount of paper needed and look into developing all of my forms on an ipad or a business type tablet, from here I would want the forms to go to my sale manager for review, he would sign off on them with a digital signature and then send them to order entry. Your company could then become an expert in that particular business process and pitch the solution process to other companies that have the same pain. I could go on and on, but look at your own company first, make the improvements and then sell the heck out of it.

Think about this for a second. you're selling BPO, curing a customers pain and then when they are ready to order you hand them sheets of paper to sign, DUH!

-=Good Selling=-

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Geesh, were do we go from here. 

In recent weeks I've heard more about BPO (Business Process Optimization), MNS (Managed Network Service) and MBS (Managed Backup Service) that I care to know.  However, it is the flavor of the year and the company I work for is excited about bringing these services to our customers.  The company I work for is somewhat unique in that we've been selling MFP's (Multifunctional Products), along with MPS (Managed Print Service)  for many years with MPS coming on board a few years ago. The uniqueness is that we have our own full staff IT division, we've been installing servers, pc, and networks for some time.   That uniqueness now allows us to offer additional services to existing and new customers.

So, not all copier dealerships are created equal.  Thus I would tend to thing there are many more copier dealerships that don't have an IT division compared to ones that do. Many industry pundits are stating the copier dealers need to diversify and offer additional services.   I know of a few dealers who have already added mailing equipment (folders, inserters, tabbers), other dealers that have added 3D printers, Managed Network Services, Business Process Optimization, Managed Document Services (MDS) an Managed Backup Services (MBS).

But can Dealerships and Direct Branches be everything to everyone? Really, what else is left in the office besides the phone system, security and the cleaning service. 

Do you let your existing reps sell these new services?

These are my thoughts,  HELL NO! There are still more than enough additional pages that are available (see my blog on Bucks County "A Case for a Managed Print Service Detective).  Let your imaging reps concentrate on your imaging portfolio for MFP and MPS, you're most senior and advanced reps will probably shine with BPO because they will have the imaging (MFP) knowledge to combine and create new work flows with existing software that your dealership or direct branch maybe selling.  Your new reps should be recruited from local colleges and they should go through an intensive training for MNS, MBS, MDS and MBS and then unleashed into vertical markets such as manufacturing, health care, law, construction etc. As long as you are hiring reps that have a back ground with pc's and servers you should be able to train them rather quickly with your IOP, your pricing, and phone scripts.  In turn,  if you need imaging (MFP) reps than hire for that purpose only.

We want all of my reps to sell the same services?

Well, you maybe in a heep of trouble with your most experienced and senior imaging reps.  From what I've seen the sales cycle for MNS, BPO, MBS and MDS is much longer than imaging, adding to the fact that you need multiple meetings with multiple people from both sides. A sales cycle of 90 days is not out of the ordinary here. Since these services are billed monthly I would expect that commissions are paid monthly, in a previous Blog I had stated that I heard from a rep that told me her commission percentage was 6.5% of the monthly billing.  Selling an MNS and MBS to an SMB account with 10 computers and one server could result in a monthly fee of $700 per month.  Commissions would be around $42 per month.  Take your best rep and let's say he or she gives you an average of $14k per month in GP, that rep is only good for "x" amount of sales per month.  So, lets say there were 7 sales that had $2K of GP for each (hey we're keeping it simple), now we ask that same rep to start selling MNS and MBS.  We could then see 5 imaging sales for a total of $12k GP and then two sales for MNS/MBS, thus the GP would be lowered along with lower commissions (along with $84 commission for the MNS/MBS portion, but the dealership or direct branch picked up $1,400 in monthly billing.  How about this one, the rep only sells 3 imaging units for a total of $6K GP and MNS/MBS, are you and the rep ready to bite the bullet?

My point is that the tenured reps unless they are going after huge accounts and they have a huge draw they will see no money in the MNS/MBS SMB business. WIFM?  Not much..., thus the need to train new reps that are dedicated the new services.

Quota for MNS/MBS:

If you plan on having a dedicated sales team for the new services, YES, by all means. Of course if you want to add to yur imaging reps quota, then NO!

The main gist of "services" is that you can control the network, with that comes the imaging, the BPO and everything else.  I agree that dealers need to diversify but Managed Network Services, Business Process Optimization, Managed Backup Service may not right for every dealership.

-=Good Selling=-

Muratec MFX-2590 MFP "The Hottest Little MFP from Texas"

On October 2nd & 3rd of this month I was able to travel to White Plains, NY to take part in the BTA East Region "Grand Slam Event".  FYI, I had an awesome time!

I was delighted to see my guys from Muratec at the BTA event.  If you're not familiar with Muratec..., then you haven't been in the copier/printer industry that long. Muratec is based out of Plano, Texas and when it comes to support from a copier/mfp one does it better than Muratec!

Below I'll touch on some of the knockout/lockout features that the MFX-2590 that makes this system tops on my list of A4 MFPs.

I was able to speak with Greg, Lou and Jim about this really cool Muratec MFX-2590 A4 (does not print/copy 11x17) that will copy (black), network print (black), network color scan, walkup and network fax (black). At first it looked like any other A4 MFP that's on the market today, however the first feature that stood out was the huge color LCD display. I'm thinking it was about as big as the display on my kindle fire, the size of the screen was 8.5 inches and that's awesome for an A4 MFP!  The comparable Ricoh that I sell has a color LCD screen that is so small that you'll need binoculars to see (just a little joke)!  But most important,  it is the size of the screen that matters because a larger LCD color screen will promote ease of use and users will find the system a pleasure to work with.

Ok, so I'm impressed with the size of the screen right, I then start looking at the extended features like scan2email, scan2folder and what do I see?'s all about the sizzle and the Muratec MFX-2590 is loaded! Scan2print is something that I thought every MFP system should have, think of it like this, you've got a color document in your hand, located on the 1st floor is the MFX-2590, you need to make a color copy but you don't have a color copier, all you got is a color laser printer and it's on the third floor.  The scan2print feature will allow you to scan the color document and send it to color print on your networked color printer (you scan program up to 5 networked print devices)!  Not only that, but you could send the document to print to another printer or MFP on your WAN (wide area network).  Features like scan2print, allows end users to tap into existing hardware resources without the need to get a color printer or MFP for each department or each floor.  When it comes to dealers and sales people the Muratec MFX-2590 allows us to be more creative with our solutions approach and gives us knockout features that aren't available on other similar devices!

Right, at this point I'm thinking I'd really like to be able to sell the Muratec MFX-2590, Greg and I start talking about scanning and again the MFX-2590 was sizzling with a one pass dual scan document feeder! I stated WTF, you're telling me this A4 MFP will scan both sides of document in one pass? when your working with two sided documents the MFX-2590 will scan 40 images per minute for color and a blazing 62 images per minute for black!  Woo Hoo!

So, we've got the awesome 8.5 color screen, the scan2print, the single pass duplex scan, the 80 page document feeder, scan2usb, scan2hardrive on the copier (enables a document library right on the copier), print from USB (awesome for vistors that have to print),  PC faxing (LAN fax), Walkupfax, Shift/Sort output (each set printed or copied set if offset from each other), ID card copy (means you save a lot of aggravation when you copy a health card or license), scan confirmation stamp (puts a little stamp on every scanned document) and this box is screaming with "sizzle" and value!

But we're not done! Now I'm sounding like Ron Popeil.  There was another touch screen button for "Scan Tag", ok well what is that I asked.  Scan Tag is a document imaging tool that enables users to input meta data at the MFP control panel and then automatically scan and index the document without having to return to their PC.  Scan Tag has been integrated to work with document management software applications like Doculex, Docuware, Idatix, SmartSearch, Sentryfile, Rebus, Intact and Computhink.

I've seen a lot of the new A4 devices from the likes of Ricoh, Canon, Xerox, Kyocera, and Sharp and in my opinion the MFX-2590 has awesome features for the end user and for resellers you have a combination lockout features that no other manufacturer can bring to the table.

Kudos to Muratec and the MFX-2590, btw the way I'll be posting on video of the MFX-2590 in action on the Print4Pay Hotel forums, pay us a visit, get registered, it's free!

-=Good Selling=-

PS  Muratec is not a sponsor or advertiser with the Print4Pay Hotel, however the Muratec MFX-2590 is "The Hottest Little MFP from Texas".

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bucks County "A Case for a Managed Print Services Detective"

Amazing, it simply is....I picked up this press release for Bucks County today titled "Commissioner calls for copy paper investigation". 

Bucks County, PA just approved a bid for copy paper in the amount of $167,000 dollars.  I'm going to go out on a limb and figure this was all for letter size paper and the each case of paper has 5,000 sheets of paper. I'm also going to make an assumption that the cost per case was $20 per case, since I've seen it on sale for that low a few times and this was a rather large bid.

At $20 per case the County of Bucks would have received 8,350 cases of paper. Cases of paper have 5,000 sheets of paper, thus we can figure that the total of sheets is 41.75 million sheets of paper! 

What does Buck County do with all  of this paper? 

Well it seems it's all used in the copiers, printers and fax machines.  Forty Two Million sheets of paper is...well... a whole heck of a lot of paper. I can only think of how many useless and out of date print devices they have!

Since we know how many sheets of paper they have, we can take and educated guess at what Bucks County is paying to put ink and toner on paper.  Since the average cost per page is for a decent size multifunctional copier/printer is around a penny and the cost for most stand alone printers and fax can range from 3 cents to 12 cents per page (and I'm not even thinking about color, just black). I would say the average cost per page printed/copier and faxed would be .03 cents.

Do the math and lets round it off to 42 million pages, 42 million times .03 cents is $1,260,000 dollars!  That's a cool $1.26 million dollars is spent every year for output!  Again this does not factor the cost of the hardware, nor does it assume that there are any color devices and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts there are many color devices.

So, what can Bucks County do to lower their costs? 

Well for starters they could call me to do a print assessment of all of their output devices.  I could be their Managed Print/Copy Detective and find out where there is waste, find the obsolete printers/copiers, evaluate the high cost printer/copiers, and recommend print management software, toner reduction algorithms and A4 MFP hardware that will lower the amount of prints and paper, redirect prints to lower cost devices and recommend a better security system than walk up users inputting a four or six digit code in the copier. I'm thinking there could be as much as a 25% savings to the county when it's all said and done. 

Of course this would be a huge assessment and take quite of bit of time to map and record every print device and of course someone with my ability does not work for free.  Consultants are people who tell other people how to do something that they don't know how to do.

So, Commissioner Martin, I'm here at your service, give me call and let' see how much we can save the Bucks County!

BTW, I already sent Commissioner Martin and email on this, and I hope he enjoys it!  the investigation has been launched!

-=Good Selling=-