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2012 will see more consolidation of the “copier” Industry

December 27, 2011

While the purchase of Oce by Canon, and Ikon by Ricoh are old news, both of these organizations have continued to be players in the industry. But it looks like that will change in 2012. The word on the street is the Ikon name will cease to exist in April 2012, and Canons recent move to “delist Oce” forebodes the same for the Oce name http://www.canon.com/news/2011/dec22e.html

While the number of choices for companies narrow even further in 2012, the basic choice remains the same when it comes to who will you buy an MFD from? And even more important who will service and support that MFD after the sale? The second question is best answered BEFORE the first question!  Because a cheap initial price will soon be forgotten in the face of poor service and support. It is quality service and support AFTER THE SALE that brings the real value to the deal. Is a few dollars less a month worth the head aches and complaints from your staff & coworkers for the next 3 to 5 years. I know that Purchasing Agents like to boil it down to a like for like comparison and then negotiate the cheapest price possible. And in some cases you may even be comparing the same manufacturer’s MFDs from two different vendors. What will you use to differentiate one Dealer from another? Here are a couple of things to consider:

1) How long has this Dealer been servicing the equipment they sell?

2) What is the average experience of their technicians on the equipment you are buying?

3) How long have they been selling and servicing in your area?

4) What kind of reputation do they have for Service & Support after the sale?
Anyone can provide  3 references, so talk to other companies in your area,
or check the BBB to  see what their rating is.

5) Do they have local System Engineers on staff? How many? Or does the same copier tech who
changes the heat roller do the systems work? Are you comfortable with that?

When you go out to buy a car, do you look for the cheapest car you can find? And then take it to the cheapest repair shop to maintain it? Generally not, especially if you are spending your own hard earned money, you want VALUE for your dollar! Why then does “common sense” go out the window when we are buying something for our company? When we buy a Car, or a TV, or a Suit we don’t look for the cheapest, we look for the best value, and I will pay a little more for it because it will last, and when I find a vendor,merchant, or car mechanic that gives me good service after the sale, I go back there again and again. And I tell other people to go there as well, because they gave me a good value, and good service after the sale.

So what are your 3 main choices in 2012 when it comes to buying an MFD (Copier)?

  1. The Direct Sales Arm of the Manufacturer, the  _BS Branch (CBS, RBS, TABS, KMBS)
  2. The Large Regional Dealers
  3. The Mom & Pop Dealer – small, local, shop with a couple of techs.

If you are a very small office with one small piece of equipment you might consider the small Mom & Pop dealer. You needs will not likely tax their limited resources. But If you have multiple MFDs or multiple offices you are really down to two choices, the _BS Branch or a Large Regional Dealer. The Branch will say “We are the Manufacturer, why would you want to deal with anyone else”. CBS, RBS, TABS, and KMBS have never manufactured anything. They are just another sales channel and are treated no different than any other Sales Channel by the actual manufacturer (Canon, Ricoh, Toshiba, Konica Minolta). But even if the _BS Branch was “The Manufacturer”, what does that mean to you? You still need to answer the question How good is their service & support (after the sale) going to be? Past performance is the best indicator of future results. If you have a large regional dealership that has been in business for 30 to 40 years they have survived and thrived on good service & support. So do your due diligence and look for the best value in 2012. Because the sweet taste of the cheapest price will soon sour when poor service and support cause you head aches not just in 2012 but 2013, 2014, 2015, and beyond. I like to tell potential customers up front that we won’t be the “cheapest” company that they look at, and if that is what they want, “the cheapest”, they shouldn’t be looking at us. We will be competitive, and we will provide the best value for their dollars. But good service & support cost a little more. So you decide in 2012 what you want “The Cheapest Initial price” or “The Best Value for your money”. I already know what I will pick!

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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One comment

  1. COPIERS, ARE INDEED AN AREA THAT MOST SOCIETY DOESN’T THINK ABOUT OR LIKE…BUT BUT BUT…@ SOME STAGE LIKE A TYRE JACK OR A VACUUM CLEANER, MOST PEOPLE WILL NEED THEM…LIKE IT OR NOT, LIKE THE ABOVE EXAMPLES THEY ARE A STAPLE…
    ONLY WORSE, THEY ARE “HIGH MAINTENANCE SENSITIVE LITTLE BEASTIES”…THE CAR ANALOGY IS SO LOGICAL…THERE ARE HEAPS OF “COWBOYS” IN THIS INDUSTRY, THAT PLAY ON THIS LACK OF KNOWLEDGE…
    I HAVE SEEN REPREHENSIBLE PRACTICES… FOR EXAMPLE…A PIECE OF COPPER MESH, SUBSTITUTED FOR A THERMOFUSE FOR A HALOGEN EXPOSURE LAMP ON A SMALL MITA COPIER…THE M/C MIGHT WORK, BUT IF THERE IS A FAULT THE RESULT COULD BE CATASTROPHIC… FIRE (MULTIPLE DEATHS, INJURIES),UNEMPLOYMENT,LAW SUITS,COLLATERAL DAMAGE, PREVENTABLE INSURANCE CLAIM…I’M SURE THIS LIST IS NOT COMPLETE, BUT YOU GET THE PICTURE…



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