Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sharp gave out more details on its recent dealer meeting in Washington DC

- Total US revenue was down 3%
- Has self-financed leases on a few major account deals, but has no plans to open up
its own leasing company
- Has a total of 440 dealers in the U.S.
- Is adding 20-40 new dealers per year, but also losing about half that many per year
- Has 10 factory direct branch operations from 13 acquisitions
- Has temporarily halted acquisitions, until economy improves, but still hopes to have 25 locations total in next few years
- Goal is for branches to account for 45% of sales in U.S.
- 4 of its 10 largest dealers are Global dealers (owned by Xerox)
- While it launched the Frontier series of A4 MFPs last year, it only has sold a total of 7000 units
- Healthcare vertical market is where most A4s are sold, accounting for 14% of units sold
- Only 310 of its 440 dealers are selling the Frontier A4 models
- In 2005, the total number of 31ppm+ A3 units was 479,431, and in 2008 was 563,309
- In 2005, the total number of 31ppm+ A4 units was 21,779, and in 2008 was 116,536
- Now has 135 technology partners for its OSA embedded solutions offering
- Now offering Front Panel, or ability for end user to customize the copier LCD display
- My Sharp Digital Signage, allows end users to run an announcement on the LCD display
- Future models will come standard with OSA, rather than current option for $349

Canon stated that since Ricoh bought IKON, it has signed up only 23 new dealers in the U.S.

Lexmark announced a new program for copier dealers

- Has created a line of 15 models that will not be sold on-line or through retailers
- These “XS” models will only be available through copier dealers
- 5 are A4 b/w MFPs, 3 are A3 b/w MFPs, 2 are A4 color MFPs, 2 are A3 color MFPs, 2 are A4 b/w printer, and 1 is A4 color printer.
- Speeds range from 35 to 55ppm
- All have a published MSRP, but not a published street price
- All have large touch screen LCD display
- Offer eTask software for embedded application ability
- Have high yield cartridges so they are ideal for managed print services contracts
- Lexmark claims it has signed up 150 dealers in the U.S. so far, and hopes to have
300 total in next few years
- Typical opening order is $12K to $30K to become authorized
- Product is actually ordered from Tech Data or Synnex, instead of directly from Lexmark
- Will have it first dealer meeting in Kentucky

More details on the new alliance between Canon and Hewlett Packard

- HP will begin advertising Canon copiers on its website on 11/1/09
- HP will resell imageRUNNER, imageRUNNER ADVANCE, and imageRUNNER ADVANCE PRO series
- Speed range from 23ppm to 105ppm devices
- According to Larry Trevarthen, HP’s Worldwide Director of Market Development, HP also has access to the imagePRESS production print products
- All the devices will initially carry the Canon name
- The products will be identical to what Canon dealers sell, including supplies
- Service will be provided by a Canon factory direct branch primarily. Only if there is no Canon branch in the area, will the service contract be offered to a Canon dealer.
- Canon currently has 60 factory branch locations, but will expand to 90 locations within 2 years
- HP will support Canon copiers with its Web JetAdmin utility
- HP will also modify its Universal Print Driver to support Canon copiers
- Starting in early 2010, HP will begin to develop its own print controllers for the Canon copiers

Hewlett Packard launches three new laser MFDs available exclusively for its PartnerONE dealers

- LaserJet M9059 is a 50ppm, b/w A3 unit, based on existing M9050.
- LaserJet M4349x is a 45ppm, b/w A4 unit, based on existing M4345
- Color LaserJet CM6049f is a 40ppm, color A3 unit, based on existing CM6040f
- All are actually made by Canon

The only difference of the new models, versus the units that they are based on, is that they have toner cartridges that are keyed, so end users have to buy the toners from the HP PartnerONE dealer, and not on-line, or in a superstore.

This appears to be an effort by HP to provide their channel with products that can be used in an MPS engagement. I have not seen pricing for the cartridges, and probably would not be able to disclose the pricing if I did see it, but unless HP is deploying pricing similar to their supplies meter program they probably will not get much traction with these products. Keyed products create logistic issues in mixed fleets--those with the keyed models as well as the orginal modles--and if the units have a short shelf life due to lack of acceptance the vendor and customer have a small group of "orphaned" devices with a special cartridge. Furthermore, the ability to move to compatible cartridges is probably lost.....another fact that probably drove HP to this strategy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The importance of business planning

At several recent workshops, I asked the workshop participants how many of their companies prepared an annual business plan. I was surprised that in both workshops, only 20% of the companies represented actually prepared a business plan. It was interesting to note that at a follow-up question where I asked how each company was coping with the economy, they all admitted to their business being tougher than ever but the ones who earlier acknowledged that they prepare a business plan also indicated that they were doing reasonably well in a tough economy. They had a formal business plan, worked it continuously and adjusted areas as the year progressed.

That is not surprising. When a company properly prepares and executes on their business plan, the results that they achieve typically far exceed the results of companies that do not have a plan. In addition, their plan provides a basis for a scorecard of performance throughout the year. Without a plan, a company doesn’t know if they are leaving money on the table because they have no idea what they should be able to achieve.

Many companies don’t know where to begin in preparing a business plan. This is where an investment in attending a Business Planning Workshop would be a great benefit. The workshop is tailored for the Office Products industry and takes you through every detail of what a plan should entail and how to work through every detail. You will come out of there fully prepared to work with your team to construct and execute on a plan for your company