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    « November 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

    December 31, 2007

    Are You Nickel and Diming?

    Everyone is focusing on covering the cost of additional work required to meet customers demands in the digital world (i.e. charging for digital services), not to mention dealing with price erosion on core printing services.  Isn't it frustrating when a customer accuses you of "nickel and diming" them?  You are trying to run a profitable business.  Seth Godin has an interesting blog post on this subject.  I believe the market needs to move to true "a la carte" pricing that allows customers to choose which services they require or have service level agreements with customers where they get certain services included in a subscription fee.  The challenge is conditioning your customers to move to that business model.  It is also important that it fits into the way they charge their customers (i.e. charging the owners)

    December 17, 2007


    This video was shown at my son's high school to demonstrate to the student body that everyone has unique talent and that anything is possible.  Here are a few video's that will blow you away.

    1st Audition - A Big Surprise

    Semi-Final Performance

    Final and Winning Performance

    December 13, 2007

    One of Those Bad Days...

    Sometimes when a day gets off to a bad start it is only the beginning. Apologies in advance for the language and infamous get the point.

    Renaming Your Company

    A lot of reprographic companies are changing their names to remove "blueprint" or "reprographics".  Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Computer marketing guru, references a very insightful article on company renaming.  The article breaks down the reasons to rename your company into the following categories:

    1. Dog Eat Dog
    2. Too Big or Too Little
    3. Build on the Brand (Building on a Strong Brand)
    4. Quick Makeover
    5. U-Turn
    6. User-Friendly Naming
    7. Buying Into the Club
    8. Rebuild, Restructure and Rename
    9. Spinning Off Into The Unknown

    If you are thinking of renaming your company it is worth reading.

    December 12, 2007

    Bubble 2.0

    For anyone wondering how YouTube can be sold for 1.6 Billion and Facebook is almost worth as much as Ford Motor company (...wait this sounds familiar), here is a funny video.

    December 11, 2007

    IT Stockholm Syndrome

    I wrote a previous post about Commercial Stockholm Syndrome where companies who are captured and treated bad by a vendor start to develop a loyalty to that vendor.  [Here is a link to an actual description of Stockholm Syndrome].

    Over the last few years I have seen many cases of a similar phenomenon.  Business owners who believe that their IT staff is very good even though the IT problems that they are facing are often debilitating.  I had one reprographer tell me that his e-mail had been down for 3 days and he would occasionally receive e-mail that was addressed to other people in the company.  He then said, "but my It guys is working on it.  He's pretty good. [pause]  Well at least I think he is good."

    I once had a boss who told me that when you are not educated on something and you hear someone else talking about it you assume they are really competent.  It is your lack of knowledge on the subject not their actual competence that creates the perception.

    There are a lot of companies who have "homegrown" IT staff that face a multitude of IT problems that could be easily solved by a more competent IT employee.  This doesn't necessarily mean that the IT staff doesn't have the potential it may mean they have not received the appropriate training.  Competency can be hired or developed. 

    Another thing to look at is certifications from an external source.  One example is a MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer).

    December 10, 2007

    600 DPI Production Printing

    The impact this can have on the industry is to make 400 DPI devices obsolete for many uses.  As architects embed more photographs, and create more detailed drawings the demand for high resolution printing increases.  There is another interesting phenomenon here.  Architects and engineers have been placing low volume 600 DPI devices in their locations and are becoming accustomed to the quality they get from these devices.  It will be hard for them to accept a lower quality print for production distribution.  We have seen this phenomenon in the past with the Oce 9800.

    If you had multiple black and white TV's in your house and you bought one color TV, how long was it before the other black and white TV's were replaced. 

    One reprographer told me I do not want to put a 600 DPI device in my production operation because my customers will like the quality so much I will have to replace all of my equipment with 600 DPI devices.  This will work if (1) your competition does not adopt 600 DPI, and (2) your customers do not have 600 DPI devices in their offices.  I believe both of these are unlikely.  This doesn't necessarily mean you must get rid of your 400 DPI devices.  As we all know, the contractors do not care if it is 600 DPI or 400 DPI, but this would mean you need a workflow to separate contractors work from architects. 

    December 09, 2007

    Getting Honest Customer Feedback

    After struggling to find a special screw for 45 minutes at Home Depot and getting very little help from their "knowledgable staff" I saw this upon exiting the store. Hey for a chance to win $5,000 I will have to rethink my experience. Is the management trying to measure the customer experience?

    December 05, 2007

    Production Engineering Color

    KIP caught the markets attention two years ago when they showed the Color 80 at the IRgA show in Orlando.  Many are wondering what happened to it.  The word is that it is around the corner.  You can  be rest assured that other wide format vendors are not sitting idle.

    I have heard some reprographers predict engineering grade color at the price of black and white.  For the sake of the industry I hope that this includes bringing up the price of black and white.  The pricing for black and white and color doesn't have to be the same for the market to turn change.  If it is within a reasonable range I believe you will see major changes occurring.  The adoption of BIM (Building Information Modeling) will  also drive the demand and applications for color.  In a previous life I sold to the discrete manufacturing market (manufacturers of cars, planes, construction equipment, etc.).  When 3D CAD became mainstream the demand for color printing increased substantially.  2D CAD produces linework where 3D CAD produces models as color renderings.  The default output is color!

    As the price of color comes down I believe you will see the following:

    1. Architects and engineers using color to better communicate design intent or to highlight changes
    2. Government agencies, owners and developers start to require color for certain applications in certain projects

    This will kick start the demand for engineering grade color and I believe other applications will emerge.  The opportunity for reprographers is to ride the color wave, but to also become experts in these color applications.

    Two Trends That Will Affect Your Business

    There are two significant developments to watch in the AEC reprographics world.  The first is affordable engineering grade color and the second is 600 DPI production printers.  KIP has captured the curiosity of the market by announcing the coming of the KIP Color 80 and the KIP 9000.  Neither of these devices are being shipped today and I am certain that their competition isn't sitting idle.  I will expand more on the ramifications of these devices in subsequent posts.