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 user 2010-12-27 at 9:22:33 am Views: 45
  • #24116

    The copier market is dead; they just don’t know it
    I took a briefing recently with OKI Data, a well known printer manufacturer, and they have started offering three new machines aimed at the mid market that in my mind put a big bull’s eye on the copier vendors.

    The MB700 Series are the first products ever made by OKI Data for the mid-tier business market.The copier vendors such as Toshiba, Canon, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Sharp and the largely forgettable HP Edgeline series have been banging their heads on the wall continuing to sell direct to customers with long-term stranglehold contracts. The reason why these vendors continue to do business is because customers have made printing and copying an extremely low priority in business. So the approach these vendors take is just to call up customers and ask them to renew the already horrible contract they signed five years ago.

    I firmly believe this market is eroding, and it’s because of managed print services. Right now you have a handful of resellers such as Laser Networks, Printers Plus, A+M and Ontario Printing that really know how to sell, service and operate managed print services.

    These pioneers in the channel understood a long time ago that if customers put next to no effort or thought in their printing purchasing then why should they overpay for machines that are already long in the tooth?

    For example, the OKI mid market MFP can do up to 275,000 pages per month, which is way more than enough for any mid market business which, in Canada, means 100 to 500 employees. With managed print services, the best part is that is you just pay for output.

    These OKI machines start at $2,500 and I asked OKI Canada GM Mario Pallotta if they were priced competitively with copiers; he said they were. But these machines are not intended to be sold outright. Through managed print services resellers usually offer the best MFPs on the market to their customers and all they pay is for output.

    In the U.S., several large resellers with good managed services practices have been gobbling up managed print services resellers to enhance customer offerings. I believe that Canada is at least 18 months behind the U.S. in this trend. Make no mistake, this trend is coming and it’s going to hit the copier dealers hard.

    You have to look at it from a customer’s point of you: why would they pay more if they don’t have to. And the MFPs such as the MB700 can perform just as well, if not better, than the copiers. They come in desktop or floor models, something copiers don’t. They have a 9-inch colour touch screen display, duplex printing, internal Ethernet card, wireless connectivity, colour scanning, ID card copy functionality, users can save and print on USB sticks, and the toner yields can go up to 36,000 pages and it comes. Copier features such as stapling are also on these new machines.

    One quick hit before I go. If you thought it was tough getting qualified IT sales and technical consultants now; well it’s going to get harder in 2011, according to Robert Half. Robert Half has a new survey that found CIOs will be hiring IT staff in the first three months of the year. From last year it will be up by 12 per cent.