Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Color Cube: Now it's about execution, execution, execution.

As far as I can tell, the big story about the Color Cube is that Xerox has moved into inkjet printing big time. This was a courageous move given how much of their business depends on toner. They call it "solid toner." But it's inkjet, without the expense or mess of liquid. Very nice. Once it is mashed up into a MFP, this could be their next Docutech.

But, the question for my IRA is how fast it will be delivered to customers. It took a couple of years for the competition to invent their Docutech copy cats. But that was then, this is now. I would bet that there are scientists and engineers at Ricoh, Canon, Samsung, MK right now figuring out their response. It will be much sooner, rather than much later.

When Ricoh bought Ikon within six months they replaced most of the Canon boxes with Ricoh boxes. Clearly they are masters at execution.

In a comment to yesterday's post, anon said
I only wish, as a Xerox Sales Agent, that I could start marketing the ColorCube 9200 Series today, but I am on the 4th launch wave to be able to offering this to my marketing area.
"Fourth waves" make my IRA very nervous.

Click on the picture to see what I\
I would put a lot less money into marketing/advertising and a lot more money into execution and some money into PR.


  1. I am the Xerox Sales Agent being quoted, and I could only hope that the date gets moved up somehow. Part of the issues is priorities, technician training and my small marketing area.

    Just saw a video this morning showing a demo this unit on the Xerox ColorCube Series and it is very exciting. I know this will be it very heavily promoted in the media. The whole logic behind this design of the ColorCube is smart. Green design – waste materials, packaging, and transportation costs of supplies, waste landfills, etc.). Then there is the cost per impression - less then a penny (even with a small amount of color), then every day color to less then three pennies, and then expressive color with even full-page color for less then nine pennies (even up to 11 x 17 for a single click). Then you have productivity, reliability, ease of use, and really so much more.

    Don't forget the Xerox Total Satisfaction Guarantee!

    Yes, this will be a game changer and thank goodness for patents and continued innovation.

    You think I just got out of a sales meeting or something like that.

  2. Sounds great.

    I just got an email that said that orders can be taken today and boxes can ship in 14 to 15 days. That was from someone at Xerox PR.

    My take is less advertising, less training more selling now. The training should be able to happen on line. If it needs a lot of training, than it is too complicated for the user.

    My bet is the engineers got it right, and someone in corporate thinks they have to "educate" the channel.

    As for the patents, my bet is that it gives you about a 6 month window. At the end of the day it's an inkjet MFP with a very low carbon footprint. I can't believe that HP or Epson or Ricoh can't figure out a way to put inkjet in an MFP witha low carbon footprint. Once they do then it's a low margin, to the quick go the spoils business.

    Good luck out there! I have a feeling it's been pretty nasty for a pretty long time.

  3. Bruce,

    As far as I can tell, Color Cube v Color Qube is the first example of bad execution. Thanks for the link.

    If Xerox can't decide on the name, how exactly are they going to focus on execution?

    Its' going to be fascinating how this plays out. My bet is if they blow this one, some global money is going to be prowling around, fire the Board of Directors and make lots and lots of money by doing less and focusing on getting one thing very right.

  4. As I pondered the introduction of this printer. I was wondering how Xerox was going to hit their lofty goal by making color prints the same price of black & white. Sure enough, Xerox comes up with some funny Math.

    4 black ink sticks for $570
    12 color ink sticks for $528

    My first impression of the supplies for the Xerox ColorQube, was Holy %#&@, 4 Black ink sticks for $570.00. Xerox gave away black ink sticks for free with the older Phaser Models! Now they are more precious and more expensive than the color inksticks.

  5. Having seen the product I am sure that this device will interest many, however as with most things the proof of the pudding is in the eating! The output from the unit is depressing. The quality of the output is lower than recoh, the ink cand be scratched off the page with very little effort, and you can't write on it! even permanent markers wipe off heavily printed areas. As sain a fantastic looking unit with a great design/technology edge, but really c'mon ink needs to stay on the page!!!

  6. Thanks for the data point. my question is will the pricing model be enough to overcome any ink problem? It could be beta max versus VHS. If the pricing model is right, good enough might be good enough. On the other hand, if Ricoh, Canon et al can duplicate the pricing model, will the color cube win?

    My bet is that sooner or later, probably sooner, the globals will compete on the pricing model. That's why I think it's all about execution.

  7. They are not competing on price either at present the price point is twice that of Canon and Ricoh!

  8. That's a problem for X. I assume the sell has to be the Lifetime running cost. While that is the sensible way to to think about it, it's going to be very hard to get too busy being busy people on the ground to have anything more than a "how much is this going to cost me now" bubble in their head.

    I'm waiting for the next earnings call to see if any of the "analysts" can get hard information about firm orders or installs. If the numbers are good, X might have a winner. If not, then not so much. It could be a Betamax v VHS situation.

  9. Just did the big demo event with local X sales..
    Output looked very nice and varialbe colour was of intrest.
    Pricing has it benefits
    Overall Higher leasing rates
    Lower Maint costs..
    This may balance out to an even/slightly lesser cost to us.
    I am concerned with the ink issues. simple markups and degridation of the output was VERY disappointing.. and more than likely will deter us form moving forward with Xerox this round,, Maybe when everyone else jumps on board and they nail down the problems...Who know. I could save the company lots of money by teaching everyone to do mass printing with Crayola.

  10. Ouch! for X. Just curious..

    A question: How much lower would have to be the leasing costs to make the reproduction problem you describe be "good enough?"

  11. I am waiting for the release of all the competitor's solid ink printers. There has not been too much positive talk around the new Xerox printers, and I do not see Xerox moving very quickly to fix the "kinks". Soon the competition will release their own version that does not have the same problems that Xerox is having. Also, it may be me, but I do not see very much promotion to the public, only to offices.

  12. Thanks for your comments.

    You might want to comment at the top post. If Xerox doesn't get this right, it would be a shame.

  13. I'm a sales agent for Ricoh, and have come up against the Color Cube/Qube a number of times to date. It's great technology in theory, but the unknown costs for the end consumer is questionable, energy costs to maintain the correct operating temperature, and the fact that you can't write over the toner are serious draw-backs. The environmental marketing aspect of this technology isn't realistic. Sure Ricoh uses bottles containing toner, but our toner recycling program counters the use of resources. Just my .02 cents.

  14. 'Have had one at my office for a month and HATE it. Horrible piece of junk. The first few weeks were okay but then it was all downhill. Although the crayon itself is a mess, the drivers are even more faulty and even the tech was bemoaning the issues. The thing stops to cool down every 200 pages or so. It took twice as long to run a meeting's booklets than our old 5-year-old machine. If you have a choice, do NOT buy one of these machines.

  15. We just bought KonicaMinolta bizhubC652 and it is wonderful. (Actually, bought a year ago.) The driver issues are non-existent, the copy function is smooth as silk and the fax, scan and save programs are all masterful. The price is about a third of the Qube and we have never had a problem running 500 2-sided pages in 15 or 20 minutes. It never seems to overheat and the color/clarity is striking.