Archive for September, 2015


Is Canon Solutions America (CSA) hurting Canon’s Reputation?

September 8, 2015

Twice in the last two weeks I received information that makes me think this is true. The first one was a call from a Facility Management (FM) company that had CSA as their servicing dealer for their Canon equipment, but they called NECS to see if we could provide Professional Services on a technical solution that CSA seemed unable to get working. We have worked with this particular FM on a number of other deals, but we always had at least the service, and typically the equipment sales. For this particular customer the FM wanted to pay NECS to fix what CSA could not get working. I had to turn them down. I did tell them if they wanted to turn the service over to us I would be able to help them, but a few hours or even days of professional services fees was not worth it if we had to help make CSA look good. They are, after all our direct competitors when it comes to selling Canon equipment. NECS also sells Samsung and Konica Minolta MFDs.

The second call I received that leads me to believe that CSA is hurting Canon’s reputation was from a Sales Person. He called a potential customer (a High School) that we had submitted a proposal in response to their RFP. The customer said they let CSA place a Canon but it could not do several of the things that their RFP required. My sales person let them know that the problem wasn’t the Canon but the company (CSA) that was supporting it, or rather their lack of support. Both my sales guy and I know that we could have made the Canons work just fine in their environment. But I’m sure that CSA (formally Canon Business Solutions or CBS) pulled their classic “We’re the Manufacturer. Why would you buy from a Dealer when you could buy directly from the manufacturer. A number of years ago we lost a Canon deal to CBS (now CSA). They used the same pitch, and the customer (a large Financial House) bought it. Words are just words until they are backed up with good service and support. CBS \ CSA’s service and support was so poor that this customer would not even let them bid when the first three year lease was up. When we came back in to meet with their team we told them that NECS would not be the cheapest option that they would get. But, I added, “You’ve seen what the cheapest looks like, and I don’t think you want that again”, to which the whole table nodded in agreement! The sweet taste of a cheap price is quickly forgotten in the face of poor service. We not only won the business but we have been able to keep it by keeping them happy. They loved the Canon product they just hated the poor support that CBS \ CSA provided. CSA is no more Canon then CBS was. Canon is a manufacturer, and they do a good job building Canon MFDs. But who buys a car from GM or FORD directly? No one, you buy a car from a local dealer, who can service and support you after the sale, That is where CSA falls short. For the most part they remind me of a Hollywood western town. From the front it looks like a real town, but there is nothing standing behind it! No local dispatch or warehouses, and there top service and support comes from New Jersey or somewhere else in the Country.

Unless the business card says “Canon” and that’s it, not “Canon Solutions America” you are just dealing with “the branch”, a sales organization, treated by Canon no differently that an Independent Canon Dealer. The difference is the Independent Dealer has significantly more infrastructure to back it up. A number of years back Canon lost a large amount of it’s distribution when Ikon, Danka, and Global were purchased by other manufacturers. They opened up direct sales branches in most major markets as a defensive move. While I understand why they did it, I think that they may live to regret it. Because while the Canon product is great, Canon Solutions America is making customers and potential customer think that they are not.

That’s my $0.02

Vince McHugh