Well, The Imaging Channel is used to the Whitewashing in explaining how great things are even when common sense disagrees. The channel's ability to whitewash is unprecedented. However, unfortunately, now it's affecting the channel's aptitude to reacting to severe threats and holding back its innovation. Some unfortunately even believe that everything is all right, as the whitewash paints over the market's realities.
So, I thought it would be valuable to highlight some severe current threats in the way they would be presented to make us feel good, instead of making us react toward improvement. This example is satirical in nature, but, I hope it hits home to some, and motivates the channel to realize how dangerous to innovation whitewashing really is.
Here are five threats whitewashed to hide realities
The Threat- Declining Print Volumes and Revenues
The Whitewash; Let's all agree that declining revenues and declining print volumes are no concern. Millennials love to write on paper, and baby boomers love taking notes on paper. The paperless society is decades away. Oh, and if we get blindsided the channel has great smart people who can reduce profits and lay off workers like any other disrupted industry.
The Threat-Lack of Significant Diversification
The Whitewash; The channel has diversified by at least 5%, and hardly anyone has over 20% of its revenues coming from non-print-related deliverables. This lack of diversification proves the channel is still excited about the future of print and its services business. After-all nearly ever manufacture is doubling down on Production Print in its efforts to save the industry, Big machines mean Big Opportunities????????
The Threat- Staples DEX Imaging merger, the ignored change in infrastructure.
The Whitewash; Staples and DEX Imaging coming together is absolutely nothing to worry about. The channel can continue to postpone e-commerce capabilities even longer. The channel can allow its customers to have their bad on-line experience from DEX/Staples who more than likely will deliver equipment in an e-commerce system before anyone else. By allowing DEX/Staples to fail first in e-commerce the rest of the channel can avoid unhappy customers. More importantly, Everyone knows that No One will ever buy an A3 Copier/MFP from a Staples store or, on-line. Not to mention selling copiers and printers in retail locations didn't work in the 1990's.
The Threat-Overselling A3, Being Product-Centric
The Whitewash; Overselling A3 to over 80% of the market is fantastic for the dealer's manufacturers, salespeople, top-line revenues, and outdated leasing strategies. After all, why should the channel sell based on Customer – Centricity's? All of its processes are built to deliver A3. Currently, 80% of the customers don't know they are being oversold, and currently dealers are making more money by being product-centric. Selling A4 because 80% of the customers would benefit must come second to the benefits A3 offers the industry.
The Threat-Private Equity Failures Dismissed
The Whitewash; Private Equity roll-ups and growth through acquisitions is proof the industry is stable. When Private Equity fails and forced to sell its assets if another Private Equity buys those assets it proves the market is stable, it has nothing to do with a declining deliverable; Managed Print Services is growing like crazy. After-all Everyone is signing MPS contracts, and soon the print world's entire customer base will have an MPS contract. Even though these contracts will continuously decline in value, we must remember Millennials like to write on paper, and there is always another Private Equity firm ready to buy into the unbelievable growth of MPS, and of course Production Print.
It is Time to End The Madness!!!!!!
OK, I realize some are swearing, and others are saying, Ray, has described five excellent examples of things the channel continues whitewashing. Threats the channel must address.
My friends, the Imaging Channel, must start having serious conversations regarding its reinvention. The Channels leaders must call out the whitewashing and be willing to discuss the market realities. It seems the Imaging Channel has been too fearful of addressing past threats, and now the channel must face those threats head-on.
As an example: look at the recent outcome regarding LMI. Back in August of 2018, why were the tough questions not asked? The realities to the LMI situation would have challenged a first-year business major to question the sanity of anyone investing in that situation. Even today, there are others on the verge of collapse, and those realities are being whitewashed or worse ignored.
This inability to ask hard questions, and have conversations involving constructive criticism is crippling the channel's future. The threats of lawsuits or the threats of cancelling sponsorships are killing needed conversations. Being obsessed in remaining comfortable usually eliminates any uncomfortable accountability.
The channel needs to explore more customer-centric deliverables, and without challenging things you know should be challenged, you will be a culprit in helping outside disruptors take away the once-great relationships of The Imaging Channel.
Those five examples are and should be treated as severe threats to the current circumstances to the channel. The channel's leaders and dealer owners must challenge and debate all that is threatening. It's only through conversations and collaborations, which sometimes are uncomfortable that threats are responded to and even neutralized. Ignoring warnings usually ends as we all just witnessed, and unfortunately will soon see again.
"Without the ability to understand how we can be defeated, we are at the mercy of those who plan and execute our defeat."
I am eager to help my friends look in new places, and explore what could be, based on what should be. Nothing new will ever come when everything old continues fighting for what was, more than they fight for what should be.
"Status Quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
Join me at my upcoming speaking engagements.
RemaxWorld Summit 2019 in Zhuhai China https://www.rtmworld.com/events/remaxworld-summit-2019/
BTA West I will be speaking on the A4 revolution and its impacts on the channel https://www.bta.org/page/West19
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