*NEWS*COMPETITION FOR THE OEM…….
*NEWS*COMPETITION FOR THE OEM…….
2005-11-29 at 11:25:00 am #13281
Business Supply Franchises Provide Strong Competition For Big Name Non-Franchise Competitors
supplies are like the air we breathe: they’re all around, necessary for
life, and noticed only when missing. Where would we be without our
business cards, business forms, stationery, logo-ized pens, printer and
toner cartridges-not to mention all the computing and communication
gear and gizmos-that keep the wheels of commerce turning? And don’t
forget the signage on everything from delivery trucks to the booths of
Businesses have an endless appetite for these items,
which means an endless need for people to supply them, and opportunity
to match. Competing with the supersized office supply stores-Staples,
Office Depot, and OfficeMax, with 2004 sales of $14.4 billion, $13.6
billion, and $8.9 billion, respectively-may seem hopeless, but there is
good news: the size of the market leaves a lot of room for competitors
who can provide better customer satisfaction, lower prices, and offer
specialized, niche services or products-which is where franchises excel.
the rapidly expanding world of sign printing, several familiar names
spring to mind: FastSigns, Signs Now, Sign-A-Rama, Sign Biz, and Signs
by Tomorrow, for example. Computer technology and advances in plastics
and polymers will help this $8 billion industry find new and innovative
ways to deliver its product. A new twist on this industry comes from
franchise startup Have Signs Will Travel, a full-service sign store on
wheels. Time will tell how this home-based, mobile service fares
against its more established storefront competitors.
business-to-business (B2B) side, when it comes to business forms and
promotional items Proforma is the gold standard, winning awards from
advertising, promotional, print, and entrepreneurial organizations.
Founded in 1978, Proforma began franchising in 1986, and today has
expanded to 600 offices, $250 million in sales, and a broad base of
services in commercial printing, promotional products, business forms,
and e-commerce solutions.
Printer and toner cartridges, a
“lifeblood” for most businesses, are proving fertile ground for
franchisors who can offer lower-cost, quality replacements and
refilling services. In December 2002, a CBS Marketwatch report claimed
that-for the first time-retail sales of ink cartridges in the U.S.
surpassed desktop PCs as the leading technology retail generator (and
that did not include those sold through other channels such as
e-commerce, mail order, and contract stationers). Since then, the boom
in digital cameras and home printing technology has only increased the
use of ink.
Island Ink-Jet Systems, with more than 200 sites in the
U.S., may one day take a page from McDonald’s, with “more than 100
million cartridges filled.” And the business is ecologically correct:
the company claims to have saved 1,636,806 cartridges from landfills in
2004 alone. Other franchised companies in this segment include
Cartridge World, with more than 1,000 locations in 20 countries. The
company enjoyed a previous life in Australia, where it was founded,
before setting up camp near San Francisco, selling master franchises.
And Oregon-based Rapid Refill Ink International began franchising in
So next time you’re photocopying at the office, printing at
home, or attending a conference visiting booths with eye-catching
graphics as you scoop up pens and other promotional trinkets for the