Saturday, February 21, 2009

When a new sector is organizing itself, the ground war gets nasty

As in days, the land grab keeps playing out in the MFP (also called MFD multi function devices) wars. For the ground troops it's about sales of boxes. But the margins on boxes gets lower and lower. The toner market is getting competitive. The larger view is that it's about the customer relationships that are the stuff of the network.

HP gets it with their recent move with MarketSplash and print outlets. Staples runs mostly on Xerox boxes. Changing that fact is a nice to have, but not the point. Ricoh has introduced production equipment and joined IBM to create Infoprint. HP purchased Indigo and got a strong footing in the commercial print space. Kodak tried what HP is now doing, but couldn't get it right, while retaining their dominant position on commercial print workflow. Xerox has moved both up stream with their production equipment and down stream with the purchase of Global Services.

But sooner rather than later, this will sort itself out.
When it does each workgroup MFP will be the node of a Print Output Network that will enable distribute and print it, anywhere. The more robust nodes will be Staples and other big boxes, Fedex and other chains of "copy shops," Consolidated and other multi location commercial printers and the many family owned print for pay shops.

The foot soldiers are the copier salespeople, the print sales people and the print brokers, many of whom are now organized in the Print Service Delivery Association.

Although there is still no evidence that I've seen, my bet is that sooner or later, newspaper ad sales people will come online. Once they are in play the network will be able to create and deliver complete marketing programs for SMB. Newspaper, radio, print collateral and signage from one human contact point.

Imagine Staples, Costco or Walmart selling local newspaper and or radio/TV ads and multi channel marketing programs to their small business customers.

from MFPs.MFDs, Printers & Copiers
So the Manufacturers (Ricoh, KM, Xerox) have gobbled up the last of the national dealers (Ikon, Danka, Global). But will they be able to do what the large national dealerships couldn’t? Are not the direct sales & service arms of the Manufacturers the same as the national dealers were?
And this on another day...
@ MFPs, MFDs, Printers & Copierss:
"and then I got to talking to a friend who use to run the printer program for Ricoh in the Northeast. He reminded me that Comdoc was one of Ricoh’s biggest customers. How big? Enough so that if they stop selling Ricoh products, Ricoh will feel it. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for Ricoh. I have heard from those within Ricoh that sales for the last few months have not been good. We know that Ikon can no longer sell Canon, and (from what I am hearing) soon they won’t have the ability to sell their relabeled version of the Konica Minolta product
. . . . I lived through the Ricoh \ Lanier merger and the last time their was a merger like that was when the Titanic merged with the Iceberg!
. . .
So things are starting to look pretty gloomy for Ricoh, they make this huge purchase of ikon, financing a large debt on top of what they overpayed for ikon, Canon drops them (ikon) as a Dealer, Comdoc (one of their largest customers) gets bought by Xerox \ Global, and it looks like Konica Minolta is going to drop them (ikon) soon. WOW!
. . .
Being the low cost provider without a reasonable return can be sustained by growth for only so long. Lochridge’s comment of, “Nothing is going to change”, is a joke. Xerox (Global) spending upwards of $80 million so Comdoc can continue to sell Ricoh doesn’t fly and Ricoh won’t sit still while Xerox upgrades their base either. Further, Ricoh isn’t listed as a Business Partner or Vendor on Global’s web site.” Posted by Gunnerdog on 02/02/09 at 9:32AM

much more at

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