Light Production Print and the Service Department

Light production print can be a stepping stone to new customers and it offers the opportunity to grow your business. When managed properly, it can position a dealership for growth and continued success. When managed poorly, it can spell problems that may haunt the dealership for years.

This is not an arena you want to dip your toe in and see how it goes. To do it effectively, a significant investment in parts and training is required. If you only have a couple of devices in the field, your ability to properly support the equipment will be nonexistent.

The Market Assessment

The first phase of making the light production print decision needs to be a market assessment to see how many potential units you can reasonably expect to place. If that number is less than 10, this is probably not a market you want to tackle. Additionally, these need to be in a geographic area that one team can support.

If your territory covers a wide area and you expect to have equipment scattered throughout the...

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Taking Time to Prepare Can Make Foray into Solutions Less Stressful for Dealers

I remember talking to a dealer principal several years back and asked him for his e-mail address. He responded that he didn’t like computers, and told me to just send it to one of his admins.

I knew his business was in serious jeopardy, and in fact, it failed a few years later.

The point of that story is to emphasize that we are in an ever-changing business environment. And in many cases today, dealers and service departments are reluctant to get into the solutions business. Some have tried dipping their toes in and gotten burned; others just want to be old-school dealerships. But we must remember that we can’t afford to get trapped in the current way we do business, or we will soon be out of business.

The Reality

Office equipment today is designed to be part of a network’s infrastructure. Devices are no longer output-only or scan/fax/print devices, but now can—and often do—serve as portals for access to applications. If your company is not currently...

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Get Ready to Face the Future: BTA National Meeting Highlights Major Issues Facing Service

At the BTA National Meeting in March of this year, there were two topics I thought were hugely important for the service department. Let’s dive in and see why they matter so much and what effects they could have on service.

Strategic Shock, Surviving the Inevitable Crisis

The event’s keynote address was given by Ret. 1st Sgt. Matt Eversmann. His name may be familiar since he was one of the key characters in the book (and subsequent movie) “Black Hawk Down.”

He began by relating how he wound up in the Army Rangers and what he learned in his early days. One thing that stuck with me was his statement that the Rangers did the same things the rest of the army did—they marched, shot and learned to fight. He said the difference was they did the basics at a Ph.D. level.

This concept is important in the service department because the marketplace is more demanding and the competitive forces are increasing. Most of what you do, every other service department also...

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The Service Department: Charting the Current Challenges and Preparing for the Future

I want you to think back in time, let’s say 35 years or so. You’re working for a typewriter company. The future looks rosy—typewriters are everywhere, and every company has a number of them, so the demand for your service is steady. The future seems bright.

An announcement is made by a company that makes inkjet printers that are not office devices at all—they’re introducing a new product: the HP LaserJet. Your reaction might be “so what?” Just another fad and people will always need a good typewriter.

You could have moved your business in that direction, or maybe you had the opportunity to go into the copier business and thought “who cares?” Just another fad, they’re too hard to service and people will always need their typewriters.

Then one day you look around, and the typewriter business is dead, nobody needs one, and nobody wants to buy a good one. The service business is non-existent.

The Current Environment

The current...

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Interesting times ahead- How Will New Inkjet Devices Impact the Service Department

This article originally appeared in ENX Magazine

An old curse says, “May you live in interesting times.” The idea being that boring times were times of security and peace and interesting times more associated with trouble and danger. In our industry, I am concerned that interesting times lie in our near future.

Portents of the Coming Change

I have had the opportunity to visit both GraphExpo and the BTA meeting in Asheville recently, and I walked away amazed at the things I saw and heard. At GraphExpo, it seemed that several of the manufacturers devoted more booth space to devices outside of the traditional production print environment. There was also a significant shift toward inkjet devices both in the high-end industrial printing environment as well as toward specialty devices like wide format.

At the BTA meeting, one recurrent topic was Managed Network Services (MNS). Both during the dealer roundtable discussion and during presentations this subject was addressed as...

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