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CBS is NOT Canon!

May 16, 2010

No more than RBS is Ricoh or KMBS is Konica Minolta. But that is what the _BS Branches would like you to think. When I worked for Ricoh Business Systems (RBS) the Sales Reps would often say “We are the Manufacturer” (meaning Ricoh) which was a bold faced lie. In fact when anyone from Ricoh corporate would be in a meeting with RBS they would make sure that the customer would know that they were not RBS, they were Ricoh (corporate). Because there is a difference.

Canon apparently feels the same way. I have heard that in a recent letter to certain large Canon customers they have stated that there is no difference between CBS and the Independent Canon Dealers. But in the same letter Canon does state that their is a difference between buying direct from Canon vs CBS. When a customer buys direct from Canon they are referred to as a Canon National Account. And they have a Canon National Account Rep who works directly for Canon, not CBS. So if you don’t have a Canon National Account Rep then you are NOT dealing directly with Canon, no matter what your CBS sales rep says.

I was in Boston today, Yes on a Saturday (partially doing work, and partially sight seeing with my Fiancee”) and I purposely walked by the CBS office. I was curious about how they handled their signage. Because I have been hearing that Canon is very particular about how Authorized dealers use the Canon name on their signage. So when I walked by the CBS (Canon Business Solutions) office guess what I saw for signage????

Canon     Canon    Canon    Canon    Canon   Canon

I was confused to say the least. I could not see any indication from the street that this was the Canon Business Solutions office. It seems to be representing itself as if they were “CANON“! The signage screams it. I am sure that this is what CBS wants to communicate, but is it what Canon wants to communicate? I am not sure, I seem to be hearing mixed messages from Canon.

So what I would suggest to Canon is clean up your own house first. If you REALLY mean that there is no difference between CBS and the Independent Canon Dealers than start by insisting that CBS accurately represent themselves as a Canon Business Solutions Sales, and not Canon, “the manufacturer! And a real good place to start is with the CBS signage. Instead of having just “Canon” across all of the external window signs. It should read:

Canon Business Solutions

Canon Business Solutions

Canon Business Solutions

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

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14 comments

  1. Hello Vince,
    Who would service a machine sold by Canon National Accounts? I think probably CBS and not an Independent dealer. That’s why they say they are Canon and I agree with you. CBS is not Canon direct.
    Fred


    • Fred,

      Actually Canon National Accounts send many of their customers to the Large Independent dealers for Service.
      Of course they also use CBS for service, but definitely not exclusively. In many places CBS is a start up with little established infrastructure.
      No local warehouse, no local dispatch, minimal local inventories, and a smaller group of service techs than the Independent dealer in the same area.

      I have been told that in at least one of the CBS branches that they have no real SEs (Systems Engineers) only Service technicians. While the large Regional Independent Canon Dealer have a large, local, and well established infrastructure. The National Account reps are like any Sales person they just want to keep their biggest and best customers satisfied. Where CBS is well established I am sure they use them, but Canon Inc does NOT make them use CBS exclusively.


  2. Canon (corporate) absolutely allows CBS to promote themselves as ‘Canon.’ If you think that Canon HQ makes any attempt to force CBS to focus on the fact that they are Canon Business Solutions, you are mistaken.


    • So who actually owns Canon Business Solutions?

      That’s a pretty big piece of the argument in my mind.

      Ownership is 9/10’s of the law…

      jl


  3. Joel,

    Canon Business Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon. Just like Ricoh owns RBS, and Konica Minolta owns KMBS, etc. etc.

    But the _BS branch is NOT the Manufacturer, even though they like to imply that they are. When I was at a particular _BS branch for a couple of years we commonly said that it was apparent that the Manufacturer treated their dealers better than _BS.


  4. I think the idea behind the _BS is quite simple. They sell and support their brand and always will. Companies both large and small are bought out frequently, so market share is at stake. There are many advantages of going with a _BS over a dealer and some could argue the other way. However, if I was going to sign a 5 yr lease I’d go with the manufacturer because at least I know they’ll be there in 5 years.


  5. Mike,

    Ricoh swallowed up Savin & Lanier, Canon is buying Oce, Konica “merged” with Minolta (notice whose name is first). Kyrocera took over Mita. Each of these had some form of direct sales force (whether a _BS or a National Account Team). Just because they have a Manufacturer behind them does not mean they can’t be bought up.

    I would also note that Ricoh recently closed an RBS branch in favor of the nearest Ikon office. It seems to me that Ricoh bought Ikon but it will be the Ikon people that will end up running RBS.


    • Ricoh swallowed up Savin & Lanier, but they were all selling the same equipment. Seems like the same idea as GM getting a little too big for their own good. I just don’t think you’ll see Ricoh, Canon, Konica Minolta, or Xerox going anywhere or their direct sales divisions.

      Lastly, there are differences between every business. There are resources that the _BS divisions have that independent dealers don’t and vice versa. In the end everyone is trying to keep their customers happy and promote their product.


  6. great post.
    i like your blob


  7. This isn’t really all that complicated. CBS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon USA who in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon inc. So it’s easy to say CBS is not Canon but when you think about it they really are– when a CBS rep goes into an account and states that they’re a Canon Company they are absolutely telling the truth. This in no way changes how Canon works with their independent dealers where its a completely level playing field– all indy dealers purchase products at the same dealer price and have access to the same dealer promotions. Beyond that they have the same access to technical support.

    That they’re not the “manufacturer” is a moot point. Canon USA is not the manufacturer either since they’re also a subsidiary of Canon Inc who is technically the manufacturer.


    • Abe,

      Where it does matter is when CBS tries to overstate who they are. As if they have some special relationship with Canon Inc (The Manufacturer) that they try to imply that the Independent Dealers don’t have. It has reached the point where Canon top brass had to send out letters to specific large customers that “There is no difference between Authorized Canon Dealers & CBS” to set the record straight.

      But Canon also talks out of both sides of their mouth because they will tell an Authorized Dealer that their “Canon” sign is too big, but not tell CBS in the same area that they should not just have Canon Canon Canon Canon Canon Canon on their signage with no indication that they are actually Canon Business Solutions and not Canon Inc or Canon USA. So I can see where there is confusion.


      • THIS IS VERY CONFUSING…EVEN FOR A COPIER PUNDIT, LIKE MYSELF!

        HOW CAN CUSTOMERS, THEREFORE GET A HANDLE ON THIS?!?

        TOO MUCH DOUBLE DUTCH!


      • THIS IS VERY CONFUSING…EVEN FOR A COPIER PUNDIT, LIKE MYSELF!

        HOW CAN CUSTOMERS, THEREFORE GET A HANDLE ON THIS?!?

        TOO MUCH DOUBLE DUTCH!


  8. THIS HAS MADE UP MY MIND…

    GIVEN THE SHIFTING SANDS OF COPIER MANUFACTURERS…THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE…AND THE FACT I LOVE TO WORK/PLAY/ANALYZE THEM ALL! GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY…I HAVE COME TO THIS CONCLUSION…

    IT IS INDEED…

    “THE AGE OF THE (TONER-HEAD DRIVEN) INDEPENDENT!”



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