Print Services, a Race to the Bottom or a Race for Winning

 

I  recently attended the Lexmark Roadshow held in Vegas. The theme was winning, and the after-hours fun was driving exotic sports cars at Speed Vegas. Lexmark can win the A4 race and here’s why. Lexmark isn’t listening to the noise of keeping things as they were or temporarily are. Lexmark has always lived in and is doubling down on A4. A4 is the future and those who dismiss this will be left in the past.

It seems amazing the speed of these small footprint output devices. All of which have duty cycles enabling them to replace Tens of millions of A3 devices. While the rest of the manufacturers are racing towards approvals from outdated dealer programs, or have pulled into the pit stops investing in production print equipment the lowest percentage of placements in the market. Production prints deliverable once controlled by one vendor now every vendor is toting their new light production printer thinking it’s as exciting as the Lamborghinis racing around the track in Vegas and as they fight to survive this small market share, they will destroy all possibilities to monetize it profitably. These manufacturers should be creating better A4 products with as few replaceable parts as possible.

The cost for a dealer to move into production print is enormous. The better investment is reinventing your sales and service platform to differentiate yourself. Learn how to deliver cheaper faster and focus on the space the majority of the customers you seek live segments one through four. 

The future will be unimaginable to those who still live in the eighties. The end-users who support the industry are more and more evaluating service as not how good you are when you show up. They evaluate service by how little you need to show up. 

The next decade will completely change print’s deliverable. Everything which is thought unchangeable will indeed change and those in the industry who understand the importance of continuously modifying will prevail. The future will challenge today's leasing strategies, today's billing strategies, today’s sales strategies, and most importantly today’s management strategies.

The new competitors will come from places once thought impossible. The industry must explore and welcome the introduction of ways to monetize print’s decline. Chasing clicks is not the industry’s future. Without the ability to reinvent themselves the industry’s collaborators get circumvented by the new innovator. 

So, my advice to those selling A4 stop competing against other A4’s go after A3 in all segments one through four. The volumes are low, and the end-users acceptance to replace A3 with A4 is growing quickly. The growth of the pull-economy will increase the acceptance of lighter out of the box set up, and service free equipment. All dealers must prepare and continuously modify to maintain profitability.

R.J. Stasieczko

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