I recently attended a webinar where the scariest thing was what was not said. The webinar was discussing the Imaging Channel; it included a recap of a survey given to dealer owners. The dealers answered the survey in a most disturbing way which no one is questioning, so I will.
The survey determined that only 4% of dealers were concerned about A4 equipment which could easily replace the oversold A3's in 80-85% of the Imaging Channel's Customers. It appears the Imaging Channel is conceding this massive A4 opportunity to another channel.
The next disturbing statistic was that over 90% of surveyed dealers aren't concerned about any challenges coming from outside the channel.
So, here's how industry disasters happen. When an industry is not concerned with providing its customers with what they need and doesn't see anyone coming to challenge them, this stubbornness is the invitation the challenger was waiting on. Innovators attack as a legacy product-centric industry focuses on its products. The innovator's weapon is selling based on customer needs. Innovators build platforms and processes to sell customers what they need. Innovators look for what the old-way is missing or refuses to admit, and they seize the opportunity.
The industry must take bold action to change the way it markets to end-users. The data on print volumes along with the collapse of the two largest acquisition strategies (Ricoh, and Xerox Global) should in-fact wake up the entire channel that diversification in your acquisition strategy is a must. Dealers have to stop buying declining revenue and calling it growth.
The cross-channel acquisition between DEX and Staples will definitely play by new rules and should open new thoughts to acquisition strategies.
Change starts by listening to the DATA.
The data on overselling A3 is readily available, the data on overstaffed service departments, the data on massive amounts of obsolete parts, the data on the growth of A4 and ironically. The A4 growth is coming as the dealers and most manufacturers impede it.
If dealers used the data available and managed from it instead of trying to fit old processes into manipulated data, they would reinvent what they then can benchmark. Every dealer should question the experts who are telling them that anything resembling the way it used to be is OK. Obviously, it's Far from OK. Just ask Xerox/Global, and Ricoh.
BEI Services has the data to help dealers manage to the realities of the market. All print service organizations should understand what the equipment in the field is telling them over what the cheerleaders for the status quo are telling them. It seems many in the channel are telling people what they want to hear over what they need to hear.
Those in the Imaging Channel who understand the problems it faces must stop sitting in silence and start building customer-centric business models based on market realities. There is much to do and many changes to come. Procrastination is not an option anymore.
It's time for the industry to stop patting each other on the back regarding yesterday and instead kick each other in the ass and create tomorrow, it's time go to where the market is going and get there before the innovators do. The industry's re-invention starts when more get involved and are willing to challenge the way it was and create the way it should be.
The customer-centric innovator will take many great relationships as they deliver a better experience. The question is; can the current Imaging Channels' actors be the innovator?
My friends those two statistics from that survey are indeed a mammoth threat to the Imaging Channel.
1) The channel is not concerned about the A4 movement and the tremendous shifts it will cause to the print services deliverable.
2) The Channel does not see any competitive threats from cross-channel players
The first step to eliminate these two threats is to accept the realities they are threats.
I look forward to sharing more on this in my session at ITEX.
“Status Quo is the killer of all that will be invented. Don’t get stuck in Status Quo.”
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"Those passionate about approaching things differently, based on a changing customer, can create opportunities once unimaginable."
"Passionate pursuits towards improvements will challenge conformity before conformity joins in the pursuit."