Meeting Standards Means Staying Relevant
Nothing focuses the mind more than a virus attempting to whip your business off the map.
The print equipment and services industry has had its share of warning signs regarding its end-users’ transition to a more digitized world. Unfortunately, the industry’s procrastination to deal with these realities put them in a terrible place. Now all those who procrastinated their digitization are being forced to adapt quickly for survival.
This pandemic has moved the digitalization of the office ahead by at least five years. So, the question is—will the industry meet the new standards for relevance?
First, we must explore what the new relevance will be. Over the last half-decade, the document imaging industry has participated in some extremally illogical thinking. The manufacturers and those who sell and service their equipment have attempted to defy the decline by buying each other up and adding more declining revenue to their top lines. While at the same time not adjusting to the needed cost controls to improve bottom lines.
Buying a competitor’s businesses in a declining marketplace without diversification is extremely dangerous. If their bet was reselling before the collapse of an industry, they lost the bet.
Will this pandemic prove to be the needle that burst the hyper bubble of the industry’s roll-up obsession? I would conclude it will alter the stakes and the stakeholders in ways unimaginable to most. I have been a voice asking questions to the industry for over a half-decade. Sometimes these discussions brought forth arguments. Unfortunately, not enough arguments and not enough asking questions.
What are the new standards for accountability in an industry which will face
its toughest time in history? “The document imaging channel” or what I believe we should call the “print equipment and services industry” has lost focus on what their core deliverable was.
For the last decade, the industry oversold equipment as the end-users needs of dependency on the machine continue to reduce. They attempted to diversify into services outside print and never really gained momentum doing that. Many believed changing the name of the industry would change the game of the industry; they were wrong.
We still see the industry’s manufacturers and dealers obsessed with A3 MFP equipment. All the processes and manufacturing benefit from their overselling of A3. The manufacturers have been attempting to recreate the relationships their end-users used to have with equipment ten years ago with silly apps and gimmicks, which are not at all accomplishing the
goal of increasing volumes or bringing the printer/copier equipment a new relevance. Many manufacturers can not admit to or respond to market realities.
I, as most in the industry, must be amazed as we continue listening to the new-leadership at HP talking about their aspirations in selling the oversize mostly unneeded A3 copiers/printers. HP’s thinking is that they will disrupt the A3 marketplace at a time when end-users are making a shift to A4. Examples like this are the greatest threat to many manufacturers in the industry. Too many are hoping that things remain as they once were. HP is over a decade late to the A3 party.
The standards of relevance are not anywhere in-line between end-users, the manufacturers, or the dealer channels who sell and service the end-users. The more significant distribution model is what Tech Data, CDW, and yes, Amazon and Alibaba are doing well: delivering to the market based on market buyers’ realities.
“The industry’s leaders must create visions of the future through what they see in front of them over creating visions from memories.”
We all know well the commoditization of print equipment. Unfortunately, it has been ignored by manufacturers in their direct operations and nearly all the dealers who deliver and service end-users.
Change has happened, and this change will rush through the industry. The change is the new awareness end users have faced through this global pandemic. End-users now have confirmed that print equipment
or MFP equipment is not critical to a majority of business processes, and the processes that were dependent on print were quickly replaced with 100 percent digital applications. ■
I will remind you, as I always do as I wind up, that status quo is the killer of all that will be invented. Don’t get stuck in the status quo.
Have you found this article, “Meeting Standards Means Staying Relevant” helpful?
Ray Stasieczko is a forward-thinking and often controversial writer and speaker. You may not want to agree with everything he says, but you are compelled to read and listen. To do otherwise could spell doom.
He has called the imaging channel home for nearly 30 years and served in various roles and has contributed nearly 100 articles to the industry’s publications. Ray has also spoken at the RT Media Summits in Cairo, South America and China. You can contact him and watch him on LinkedIn.
Read Ray’s other blogs:
- Meeting Standards Means Staying Relevant
- Thankfully My Doctor Wrote a Prescription Not My Obituary
- Business Opportunities Offered by this Pandemic
- That’s a Lot of Toner For a Market in Decline
- The Toner Wars Between Cartridge Suppliers
- When Will HP Write the Check to Xerox?
- The Imaging Channel is Not Alone in Needing Diversification
- Making Your Printer Consumables Business Profitable
- Are Acquisitions the Feel-good Drug in a Declining Market?
- Recognizing Disruption as a Creator and not a Competitor
- Managed Print Services is Not the Door to Managed IT Services