Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seasons Greetings to all ... and predictions for 2015

Seasons Greetings to all.

May the year 2015 bring good health, great happiness, and, for my friends in and around the reprographics industry, great prosperity.

My predictions for 2015 (not really!):

The Dow Jones Index will either rise to above 21,000 .... or fall to below 14,000.  (Or, it may do both!  What do economists know that I don't know?, and WTF do I care, anyway?)

Sarah Palin will announce her run for President of the U.S. ...and announce that Michele Bachmann will be her running mate.  We definitely need this to happen!  There's been too little humor the past year!

Canon/OCE will announce that it has developed its own page-wide wide-format print technology (non-Memjet) that will print b/w and color twice as fast as HP's PageWide wide-format printers will print and do so at half the cost of HP's PageWide wide-format printers ... but that its new printers won't be ready for release until the latter part of 2016.

The IRgA will issue a directive to its members that no member company may any longer use the word "blueprint" or the words "blue print" in their company names.

John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" show on HBO will become the most widely respected investigative news show on cable.  (As it so deserves!)

Amazon.com will announce its new service - "Amazon.Amazon.Amazon.FKGeverything", where you can buy any GD thing you want and get immediate, free delivery via drone, provided that the delivery address is not near an airport.

Reprographers who still offer free delivery will wake up and realize that nothing in life is free (with, perhaps, the exception of air) ... and begin charging for delivery.

Apple will announce iHome.  All ya gotta do when you walk in the house is say stuff like:  a) I want dinner, b) I want the house to be cleaned, c) I want my bills paid, d) I want the lawn cut (or watered), e) I want to watch TV, f) etc., g) etc.  Couch potatoes celebrate; with Apple iHome, you won't have to do anything yourself, at all.  Apple will guarantee that iHome will actually listen to you and react to your commands (something your spouse or significant other will never do.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Germany-based go4copy.net - a reprographics "cooperative" (comments updated)

(Note:  updated comments appear at the end of the post)

Yesterday, Ed Avis, Managing Director of the IRgA, put up a post on IRgA.com announcing that a Germany-based “cooperative” has become a member of the IRgA.

At the beginning of that post, here’s what Ed says:

The German, Swiss, and Austrian reprographics cooperative go4copy.net has joined IRgA. The cooperative, which was formed by the German reprographics association Motio, is comprised of 65 members. 

Here’s a link to the complete post:


Being curious about a “cooperative” of reprographers – i.e., what that’s all about - I visited go4copy’s web-site, using Google Translate to translate German to English.  Below, you will find some of the information I found on go4copy’s web-site.

But, first, a couple of comments:

Apparently, this – go4copy.net - is actually a real-live cooperative, rather than just an association.  In the sense that even though there are 65 member companies in the cooperative, all independently owned, the member companies, apparently, do not compete with each other, rather, they join together to serve customers whose businesses operate in and around Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Apparently, for larger customers who may need the services of go4copy members in different parts of the region, go4copy will put together a “framework” agreement, and, under this sort of agreement, prices for services - ordered by any customer with a framework agreement – from any go4copy member company – will be the same.  That’s an interesting level of cooperation, for sure.  Perhaps ReproMAX and RSA Corp offer a similar arrangement to larger customers in the U.S. who operate in multiple markets?  I’ve never heard of that happening, but, then again, how would I know for sure.

Here’s some of the  info on go4copynet’s web-site that I translated:

The company go4copy.net eG

go4copy.net stands for professional services such as digital printing, copying, plotting, finishing (laminating / laminating) and more. Our operations are professionals in dealing with digital information.

Acquisition and transmission of data, scanning, document management and archiving, as well as project-based document management, can we manage everything for you - with high quality, with dedicated staff and a contact person.

Our company blanket coverage for you at over 70 operating locations in Germany and Austria.

With the "Federation of European Reprographic Associations" (Eu-re) merged business colleagues in Europe, we work just as intense as the "International Reprographic Association" (IRGA), whose members execute your orders in North and South America professionally.

Framework agreements with go4copy.net eG

Our framework contracts offer coverage a binding description of services and uniform prices and a web-based 24-hour order system.

Our strength: 70 million euro annual sales

The combined in go4copy.net service companies have a combined annual turnover of 70 million euros - a sound and economically strong group!

Over 800 professionals in 70 locations

go4copy.net farms are run by owners. They guarantee, commitment, punctuality and flexibility. In go4copy.net establishments operate over 800 trained professionals. Our members are training companies and have hundreds of young people as "media designer, specializing in media technology" enables a future-proof training.

Certified Quality Management »REQM"

All go4copy.net-businesses operate under the strict quality standard "REQM" of the trade association copy & Media Technology eV Compliance with this standard is monitored by the go4copy.net eG.

Credentials

Nationwide framework contracts
  Siemens AG
  German Railroad, Inc.
  Ed. Züblin AG / Strabag
  Allianz AG Germany
  Kaufland goods Handel GmbH & Co. KG
  Max Bögl Bauservice GmbH & Co. KG
  d & b-Bau GmbH

Selected Projects
  Cologne Arena (Esch group)
  Rhein Energie Stadion (Cologne)
  Exhibition Halls Cologne-Deutz (Esch group)
  ICE line from Cologne to Frankfurt (German Railways)
  Cologne-Bonn Airport Terminal 2 (Cologne-Bonn airport)
  Media Park Cologne
  Nuremberg Messe
  Franken Stadium Nuremberg (proper operation Frankenstadium)
  Maglev Munich (German Railways)
  Dusseldorf Airport (airport company)
  MSV Duisburg Arena (MSV Duisburg)
  Stuttgart 21 (German Railways)
  New Stuttgart Trade Fair (Projektges. "New Mass")
  Sparkassen AG v -. New headquarters
  IKEA furniture store Kamen (IKEA)
  Clinics Gelsenkirchen
  Air Freight Leipzig-Halle (Leipzig-Halle Airport)
  New university campus Leipzig (State Sächs. Immobilen- and Construction Management)
  State Central Bank BaWü
  Munich Airport Terminal 2

go4copy.net eG
Fürstenbergerstraße 151
60322 Frankfurt
Tel .: 069-95 96 36 40
Fax: 069-95 96 36 11

go4copy.net

Follow-up comments, based on input from someone – in Europe - who knows a lot more about go4copy.net than I do:

Apparently, go4copy.net’s members do, regularly, compete with each other for business.


While go4copy.net may, in fact, have “framework” (pricing) agreements with major customers, those customers are also doing business with non-go4copy reprographers, and it may well be that the other reprographers are actually doing more business with those major customers than go4copy members are doing with those major customers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

HP PageWide Wide-Format Printers - HP's latest teaser e-mail ...

HP’s latest teaser-e-mail about HP PageWide Wide-Format is titled, “Don’t Open Until 2015!”

And, when you open that e-mail, HP goes on to say:

Aha! We knew you would!

But since you did, being curious pays off! I wanted to make sure you know the new PageWide Technology set to transform the large-format printing market. To keep up with the latest news, use the "Register now" button at the bottom to sign up for the HP PageWide Technology eNewsletter.

Anthony McReynolds | Presales Business Consultant Large Format Printing Solutions | HP Graphics Solutions Business | Anthony.McReynolds@hp.com

Blog Publisher’s comment:


HP’s teaser e-mail invites you to sign up for the HP PW Technology eNewsletter and provides a couple of videos for you to watch.  The first time I saw an HP PageWide printer, which was at the HP launch event in San Diego the beginning of June, the model shown had three drawers, so I think that meant a 6-roll model.  One of the pictures shared when you click on one of the links in the newest teaser e-mail shows both a three drawer model and a two drawer (4-roll?) model, so it looks like, later in 2015, HP will be offering at least two different versions of its PageWide Wide-Format printers.  The only thing I did not like about the video shown in the latest teaser e-mail was that prints exiting the machine are, apparently, headed for the floor!  Where’s the stacker tray, HP?!

For those of you who follow the “imaging” industry …. (Cintas, Access, Berkshire Partners and Charrette mentioned)

For those of you who follow the “imaging” industry ….

Early in 2014, Cintas, a publicly traded company mostly involved in the uniform rental business, announced its intention to sell off its businesses providing document management, records management, document shredding, scanning and imaging services.  Subsequently, it sold its shredding business to Shred-it, a major player in the shredding industry. (Cintas retained a 42% interest in the shredding business it sold to Shred-it)

In November 2014, Cintas announced that it sold its document management, scanning and imaging services business to a company known as Access.  Here’s the announcement Access posted on its web-site about that deal:


In October 2014, Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity group, whose name should be at least somewhat familiar to reprographers, acquired a majority interest in Access.  Here’s the announcement Access posted on its web-site about Berkshire’s “investment”:


Familiar, I say, because Berkshire Partners, on July 31, 1987, purchased Charrette Corp (from its founders, Lionel Spiro and Blair Brown.)  Berkshire later split Charrette into two companies and sold off Charrette ProGraphics (the reprographics business) to Gruppo Picking Pack (later renamed to Service Point) and sold off Charrette, Inc. (by then, a supplies company) to Pittman.  Just for reference, this was the announcement Berkshire Partners put up on its web-site back in 1987. (just the beginning of the announcement):

Berkshire Has Designs for Charrette Corp.
August 18, 1987 — Berkshire Partners on July 31 acquired Charrette Corp., a supplier of graphic imaging equipment, supplies and design services, in a management buyout for an undisclosed price, said Bradley Bloom, a managing director at the Boston firm.


Berkshire Partners made a ton of money on its investment in Charrette.  Evidently, even years later, Berkshire Partners feels that there is still money to be made investing in “imaging” businesses.  Don’t confuse Berkshire Partners with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway.  They are not the same company.  But, Berkshire-Hathaway did previously own a very large interest in Iron Mountain, but liquidated that interest in 2010.  Iron Mountain does not just store boxes.