Archive for March, 2010

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Will Ricoh & / or Ikon be at the “On Demand” show in Philly this year?

March 31, 2010

When I went to Philly last year (2009) for the On Demand show I ran into a couple of folks from Ricoh, but not very many. When I asked one of the Ricoh folks where are all the rest of you? He said that Ricoh was afraid that their best & brightest would use the show as an opportunity to hand out resumes, so they did NOT allow most of them to attend. (smart move)

If that was true in 2009 how much more so will that be true for BOTH Ricoh and IKON at the On Demand / AIIM show in 2010! So what is the over and under at how many folks Ricoh & Ikon will have at the show this year? 12? 25? 40? (Post your guess)

If you work for Ricoh or Ikon and you are going to Philly this year (2010) feel free to say so here! You can remain anonymous. Oh one more thing….polish up that resume, and bring lots of copies!!!

The On Demand \ AIIM show is one of my favorite shows of the year. It is worth my time to see all the new technology & strategies from both my Vendors and Competitors. Besides that it is like old home week! You get to see just about anyone that you have ever worked with in this Industry. They are just wearing a different logo, or name tag or standing in a different booth. We are a small industry!

Maybe I’ll see you there!
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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Is Your Universal Print driver REALLY UNIVERSAL???

March 8, 2010

Follow me printing,  follow you printing, secure printing,  or rules based routing…. for these to work correctly we need to have EITHER all the same type of Printers OR a Universal Print Driver. Since I don’t know any company that has all the same model(s) of Printers or MFDs, lets look at the Universal Print Driver option.

What is a “Universal Print Driver”? For starters there are two flavors; Postscript or PCL. I will spare you all the gory details but let’s just say that these are two different printer languages. But once we have a PCL Universal Driver or a PS Universal driver what do you actually have? That depends on who you ask.

You may only be able to determine the capabilities of your vendors “Universal Print Driver” by asking a series of pointed questions. Why, you ask is this necessary? Because different vendors use the same term BUT mean different things by it. If we are going to have an intelligent conversation, it is incumbent upon us to first define our terms.

What the Vendors want you to think of when you hear the term “Universal Print Driver” is a single print driver that will print to any printer, right? Not so fast. The Sales guy will tell you that “YES we have a UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER”, and “A UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER CAN PRINT TO DIFFERENT MANUFACTURER’S PRINTERS”. So you say that is great we can load one driver on our end users PCs and they can print to various printers correctly (Oh no, you added the word “correctly”, Huston we have a problem).

This is where we separate the men from the boys when it comes to “Universal Print Drivers”. Once you purchase a solution that says it will provide a Universal Print Driver and you begin to impliment said solution you meet the system integrator (the technical guy) and you ask him the following questions, you may find out that the “Universal Print Driver” that his company sold you is not so Universal. What? Really? How come the Sales Person didn’t tell me this? (owwww…..That is the sound of me biting my tongue).

I am a fan of people making a fully informed decision. I am not a fan of misleading terms. So Let’s define a REAL UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER as one that (once the language is picked PCL or PS) it can print to any printer that supports that language (PCL or PS). Then it begs the question, does the “Universal Print Driver” that your vendor is pushing meet this standard? Here is a hint, don’t ask your sales person, ask their Systems Engineer, and make them look you in the eye when they answer.

Q1. Is it possible with your vendors Universal Print Driver to print to ANY make or model printer on your companies network and have it print correctly?

If they answer Yes to the above question please follow up with Q2 to see if they are lying.

Q2. How do you ensure that the user will get the output that they are expecting if there job is routed to a different Make or Model Printer than they originally chose?

What normally happens at this point is you find out the limitation of your vendors (not so) Universal Print driver. One vendor’s technical documentation states “If you want a print job generated for one printer to output successfully on another printer YOU must ensure that the other printer can understand all of the print commands included in the data stream from the driver.” A different vendor states that “the system does NOT check that the spool queues you select have compatible drivers, you must ensure this yourself”

What they are actually saying is that their Universal Print Driver is very limited. And unless YOU make sure that all of the printers that your end users want to print to are all compatible that their follow me \ you print solution is NOT going to work well.

So you ask…What is the alternative? Don’t all these follow me, follow you, secure printing solution all have this limitation? NO! The Canon UniFLOW solution has a TRUE, REAL UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER. Please ask Q1. The Answer is Yes! Now ask Q2. to see if we are lying. The answer is the Canon UniFLOW solution does NOT apply specific printer commands UNTIL the job is called for from the specific printer the end user wants to release the job at. So YOU do NOT have to ensure that each printer understands the print commands of another printer. The Canon UniFLOW Universal Print Driver is truly a  UNIQUE UNIVERSAL PRINT DRIVER! Because the printer commands are not applied until the job is released you can change the properties when you release it (B&W to COLOR, Simplex to Duplex, etc.)

Don’t let your sales person say oh yeah, universal print driver, yep! We have that too! Press them to define their terms so that you will know just how Universal (or not) their Universal Print Driver really is.

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchug@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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Canon says that there is “no difference” between CBS and the Independent Canon Dealers!

March 3, 2010

I read a letter today that Canon has sent out that states that there is no difference between CBS (Which is owned by Canon) and the Independent Canon Dealerships. Canon treats both the same, they get the same pricing, and the same training, the same support from Canon.

The reason that it was necessary for Canon to send out this letter was that CBS was (IMO) misrepresenting themselves to some customers as if they were Canon. We did the same thing when we were at RBS. We would also say why would you want to deal with a dealer when “we” are the Manufacturer…..WRONG! So whether it is CBS, RBS, KMBS, TABS, or any other _BS organization they are NOT THE MANUFACTURER, they are a sales channel, just like the Independent Dealer is a Sales Channel.

Where the Independent Dealerships shine is in our flexibility and responsiveness to our customers. We do not answer to share holders we answer to our customers. And let’s be honest you can not be an independent dealer and have survived and thrived for the last 20-30 years without doing a lot of things right. In some cases “The Branch” (read _BS) are the new kids on the block. They have have only recently hung their shingle in our market place. They are like the classic Hollywood western town, all front and no real structure behind it. Ask their Sales Rep where their Warehouse is? where is their Dispatch located? how long have they been with _BS?

Then ask them if you (as their customer) were REALLY IN A BIND and needed them to get you ________ (fill in the blank with an MFD, a Toner Cartridge, a Service tech to show up in a hurry, etc.) could they do it???? Do they have the Juice? Because as a customer you want to know that your Account Manager \ Sales Person has juice! That s/he can get things done in their organization for you! In most _BS organization the sales person isn’t even allowed to speak directly to people in other departments. They need to go through their Sales Manager who has to talk to the manager in the other department who then has to talk to the person in that department who can actually help you. You could grow old waiting for this to get done, if they can get it done at all. Because our Independent Sales People have juice! They can talk to the Service Manager, or our Back Room Manager, or they can and will drop off a Toner cartridge to you so that you don’t have an emergency. You (Our Customer) are our priority!

So the next time some ex-ikon rep shows up and says I am with _BS and “we are the manufacturer”, you’ll know that they have truly earned the “BS” in their name.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ