Friday, October 9, 2009

Romano: "I don't fault Xerox." But what's up with XRX and PIA?

To be clear, Frank says:
I do not fault Xerox. I fault PIA for not meeting its responsibility for fairness, neutrality, and openness.
The straight talk from Frank Romano continued today at What they The article is behind the subscriber wall, but Cary Sherburne has good post at PrintCEO continuing a useful conversation.

Since I tend to look out for brand risk for the companies in which I invest, there was a part that particularly got my attention,

The snippet.
The State of U.S. Printing Associations -- Part Deux - Printing Industy Analysis fromWhatTheyThink:

"Some of the deals that PIA has made are interesting. Xerox has an exclusive arrangement where PIA members receive a discount. This is wonderful. What is not commonly known is that a percentage of the sale is rebated to PIA and to the local affiliate. The benefit to PIA and its affiliates is said to be in the millions of dollars. This has not been confirmed but several people have mentioned it. Other digital printing suppliers are locked out.

By the way, I do not think that any printing equipment has ever been sold at list price. I bet that Gutenberg got a trade-in credit on a wine press.

PIA just announced an audit program for digital printing. Is this program neutral? When one has an exclusive arrangement with one supplier, the question must be asked. PIA sent out a letter criticizing HP for its managed print services; yet, no letter was sent when it was announced that Xerox seemed to be doing something similar at Procter & Gamble."
But that's all business. What really has me concerned are the emails that Frank received. I keep looking for canaries in mine shafts. The following doesn't smell right to me.

I received lots of e-mail about all this: “I was at an Ohio (PIANKO) conference and the president of PIA made a presentation. He said he had just returned from a meeting in DC where Senator Hillary Clinton was present. He said the “stench” was still on him. This is the head of the association in charge of government affairs for our industry. How can we get the printing industry agenda in front of lawmakers if we are not neutral?” I personally recall that event and heard the audible gasp from the audience when the statement was made.

Another printer wrote “My health care costs are going through the roof. I can see the day when I spend more for health care than for paper. The PIA seems to have a Republican agenda rather than a printing industry agenda. Get our costs down!”

Or, “[The PIA president] made a video a few years ago that was offensive on almost every level. He mentioned how someone praised his “ass.” It may still be on YouTube.

Or, “... administrative costs are so high. I guess we are paying for all those dinners and all that booze.”

Or, “I was about to take a job at PIA and the president said that a prerequisite was personal loyalty to him . . . not the board and not the association.”

Or, “The president dropped the TIAA/CREF pension plan and selected Principal. There was no good reason.”

Or, “PIA may have lost some of its Government security work because its research head and the president are not American citizens.”

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