Saturday, May 22, 2010

Commercial Lending Still on the Decline ???

In the “Deals and Dealmakers” section of the Wall Street Journal on May 21, 2010, Michael R. Crittenden (I think he is a WSJ staff writer) authored an article titled, “Problem Banks up to 775”.

Within that article, he states that, as of the end of Q1 2010, 775 banks in the U.S., or roughly 10% of the U.S. industry, are “problem” institutions …. “as bad loans in the commercial real estate market weighed on bank balance sheets.” (At the end of 2009, 702 banks were listed as problem institutions, and, at the end of 2009, 252 banks were listed as problem institutions.)

FDIC Chairperson, Sheila Blair, was quoted in the article, saying “the banking system still has many problems to work through, and we cannot ignore the possibility of more financial market volatility.”

Further on in the article it says, “banks, squeezed by problem loans and continuing economic struggles, responded by reducing their lending. The industry’s total loan balances grew by 3% in the quarter (Q1 2010), but the increase was due to accounting changes that required banks to bring securitized assets back onto their balance sheets. Without those accounting changes, lending would have declined for the seventh straight quarter.”

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My comments about this ….

This situation, banks restricting commercial lending, has to be fixed (i.e., improve) before there can be any “robust” recovery in the A/E/C industry and that, of course, applies to the recovery of the A/E/C reprographics industry as well. I’ve mentioned this same issue in previous posts on my blog, as well as ….companies in the reprographics industry know (or should know) that real estate developers commit to projects when they (the real estate developers) have access to “other peoples’ money” (commercial real estate loans, primarily from banks and insurance companies) to finance their projects, and, when commercial real estate loans are difficult (or impossible) to get, they will not commit to projects. I would think that this is one of the reasons why the AIA ABI Index has shown declining demand for many, many months in a row.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thoughts and opinions about the IRGA (International Reprographics Association) Convention, May 2010 - 'wrap-up'

Well, the annual IRGA Convention ended late this afternoon, and although the number of attendees was still down from two, three, four, etc years ago, attendance at this year's convention appeared to be about the same as last year. Next year's IRGA convention will be held in Las Vegas. Hopefully, the recession the reprographics industry has been enduring will be over by then and that plus the location of Las Vegas will attract a higher number of attendees.

About this 'wrap-up' I'm about to type; I am not a good note taker (when I take notes during an event, I lose track of what I'm listening to, so I prefer to do my write-ups from 'memory recall' rather than from written notes.) So, pardon me if my write-up misses some of the stuff that happened at the convention. (Those of you who wish to do so can submit your own 'wrap-up' by posting "comments" to this post.)

First, I'd first like to mention Mike Cully. Mike Cully is the outgoing IRGA President. Mike is an outstanding guy, and I'm sure that everyone appreciates the personal time Mike has devoted to the IRGA. I absolutely love Mike's sense of humor, and I am positive that Kevin Cully, his brother and partner in Air Graphics, has had an influence on Mike's sense of humor. (Kevin is a great guy, just like Mike.)

Second, I'd like to mention Gary Wilbur (of RS Knapp / Napco), who will be the IRGA President after Mike Cully leaves office. Like Mike, Gary has devoted a ton of time and energy to the IRGA, and I wish him success as the next President of the IRGA. If you are an IRGA member, support Gary's efforts, and one of the best ways of supporting Gary (and the IRGA Board) would be to encourage your local competitors to join the IRGA this year.

Third, Steve Bova and his SmithBucklin Group team members did another outstanding job organizing this year's convention.

Fourth, I am compelled to mention that this years Convention Education Program Chair, Casey Simpson (who is a member of ARC's Global Solutions team), did a truly outstanding job. The educational breakout sessions were excellent - thought provoking - actionable - etc. The Open Space Technology session held this afternoon was Tanner Bechtel's idea, and my own personal opinion of this method of collaboration and networking .... it was excellent. (Tanner is also a member of ARC's Global Solutions team.)

Now, on to the convention "wrap-up" .....

Last year, I said that K.P. Reddy's presentation (about BIM) was 'worth the price of admission.' (KP Reddy is President of RCMS Group and he is an expert in BIM technology. Last year, RCMS Group was a private company; but at the end of September last year, RCMS Group became an ARC-owned enterprise. KP is now part of ARC's management team.) My "nod" for this year's 'worth the price of admission' presentation goes to Henry Givray, Chairman and CEO of SmithBucklin Group. The subject of his presentation was "The Passion of Leadership". Only one word can truly express my opinion of Henry's presentation - AWESOME! There are many of us who think we know all there is to know about "leadership", so "why bother to hear another presentation about that subject?" After all, many of you own businesses and "what can anyone tell us that we don't already know?" During Henry's presentation, he points out the differences between "management" and "leadership" and points out that the two don't necessarily go hand in hand. (One of my ex-partners, Martha Korman, has, for many years, said that "managers transact, but leaders transform.") For those of you who "think you are leaders", I invite you and suggest to you that you dwell hard on the presentation that Henry gave today, for there are many of us who think we are leaders even though we've not yet gone beyond being managers. In Europe, I have the privilege of working with a young man who is a natural born "leader", not to mention an exceptional "manager." In spite of his abilities, he would have paid very close attention to Henry's insightful presentation this afternoon. Actually, he would have been 'riveted' to his chair, like I was. (For those of you who attended Henry's presentation but were dawdling with your iPhones, iPads, Blackberries and other gadgets while Henry was giving his presentation, you missed one of the best presentations about leadership and management that I've ever heard .... and at 63 years old, and considering that I've read a lot of books on that subject and attended lots of events where that subject was discussed ..... I think that's saying something. Henry's presentation was not just excellent, it was extremely well organized and given with, yes, PASSION. Thank you, Henry.

Most of this year's educational breakout sessions were very informative and thought provoking. But, I'd like to make special mention that it was nice to see Jim Ryerson (of Sales Octane) back for a second time. If you want to stoke the fires of your sales managers and sales team members, Jim lights fires as well as anyone I've ever met. His presentations are not just chock full of actionable information, but fun to listen to.

During my explorations in and around the trade show, I discovered a company called "ReproConnect". They were demonstrating and will soon be releasing on the market a software program called "ROCR" (pronounced "rocker"). Well, all I can say is 'rock and roll', the guys/gals on this team have come up with an automated way to rename and index files after documents have been scanned. Sounds like an excellent software product to me; one that will save time and allow reprographers to give better, more accurate, faster service to their customers.

About HP, I am a huge fan of HP's "latex" printing technology. If you did not take the time to check that out, you must do so.

The opportunity to "network" at the IRGA is simply outstanding. And, it is one of the reasons why I said, in a post I did last year or the year before, that those of you who do not attend the IRGA convention are idiots. The opportunity to learn from others in the industry (and to share successes and failures and wins and losses) and to discuss and debate industry and business issues is ALWAYS worth the price of admission to an IRGA convention.

Based on conversations I had at the IRGA convention with vendors who sell to the reprographics industry and with reprographers from all across the U.S., it appears that reprographers in the U.S. have finally hit bottom and that an upturn is going to be happening in the not too distant future. Therefore, I'm sticking to a prediction I made in a post I did not too long ago - that by Q3 2010, most reprographers will finally see a year-over-year improvement in their numbers.

And, I say that in spite of one of the more interesting presentations given at this year's convention. The presentation I'm now mentioning was this one: "Paperless and Virtual – Future of the AEC Industry and Reprographics" - presented by Bob Middlebrooks, Industry Programs Manager, Autodesk. Prior to joining Autodesk, Bob was a practicing Architect, so he is very familiar with the reprographics industry .... what reprographers do, where reprographers fit in the food chain, and the challenges that reprographers face. During his presentation, he suggested several ideas for diversification; basically, services reprographers might want to consider offering in the future to help replace revenues from declining prints-on-paper volumes. If you did not attend Bob's presentation, then you might want to buy the tape recordings of the IRGA convention, but I'm going to warn you; if I were to "sum up" in just a few words what Bob's suggestions amounted to (and using the phrase "few words" and "Joel attempting to doing that" is an oxymoron at best), if you follow Bob's suggestions you will be in a different business than reprographers have traditionally been in. Kind of like suggesting that, since reprographers have 'relationships' with A/E firms and GC's, we can rent them cars or sell them furniture. At the end of Bob's presentation, he called for questions from the audience. At first, there was a "stunned silence." Bob said things that reprographers just don't want to hear. I totally agree with Bob that changes are already underway (in the A/E/C industry) that will lead to declining prints-on-paper volumes over the years to come. But, I don't agree with several of the suggestions Bob made to reprographers, about new services they might consider adding. But, 'what do I know', anyway?

Okay, that's it for my post-convention write-up.

Except to say, that those of you who've been reading my blog know that I attended the GGN conference in Rome last month. That conference was attended by European reprographers. To the European reprographers who read my blog, consider attending the IRGA convention next year in Las Vegas. For those who attend, I'll buy the "first round." Although I found the GGN conference to be well run and informative, there is, in my opinion, nothing that matches the networking opportunity offered by an IRGA convention. I encourage my European reprographer friends to also consider joining the IRGA as members.

One final "special" mention about a gentlemen most reprographers know, John Cronin, CEO of PLP. In all my years in the industry, I've never met an industry vendor who was as "participative" as John is. In many (I think I should say, "most") of the customer proposals I developed over the many years I was actively involved in the reprographics business in the U.S., I said, "we are very aware that our success depends on your success; we will do everything in our power to help you make your business more successful." John Cronin exemplifies that phrase. John is always asking questions. John knows that asking customers questions is paramount to his company's success. John is always full of thought provoking ideas and suggestions. If you've never done business with John, you are missing out on a valuable experience. Although many will consider my comments about John to be sort of an advertorial for PLP, they are not meant to be, or intended to be, that. I've made these comments about John because he is that good to work with, and because I think his contributions to the industry have been significant.

Next year in Vegas ..... certainly hoping that the industry will see a very nice rebound by then!

Your opinions and thoughts are invited !!!

Although the primary purpose of Reprographics 101 (i.e., this blog-site) is to express my opinions and thoughts about what's going on in the reprographics industry (and in the A/E/C industry that reprographers primarily serve), I do invite other reprographers (and reprographics industry vendors) to submit articles that they feel are relevant to the subject matter this blog attempts to address.

So, if you would like to share your opinions and thoughts, please submit them to me. In my next post, I'm going to give you my "wrap up" of the IRGA convention that ended late this afternoon. For those of you who also attended the IRGA convention and would like to share your thoughts about the convention, please post them as comments to my article.

Add RIM (Blackberry) to the Fedex Office, Canon, HP deal (???)

The article, below, is a follow-on to the post I did earlier this morning about the Fedex Office / Canon / HP deal. The article i'm reprinting below comes from and was written by Isaac Kendall.

RIM, FedEx Office, Hilton Worldwide Join HP to Make Printing On-the-Go Reality for Enterprise Blackberry Users
By Isaac Kendall | 26 Apr 2010 01:17 |

Thankfully we don't travel with steamer trunks anymore. But for business travel we still hump around the country with a travel suitcase AND the coveted laptop bag. With products like the Blackberry Presenter we dare to dream that we can travel without the laptop.

It's great that the laptop isn't needed to do PowerPoint presentations but there are times when printing documents on the go still require a laptop. Well now RIM, FedEx, and Hilton have joined forces with HP to enable the Enterprise Blackberry user more laptop independent. Hit the jump for the full release.

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 21, 2010 - HP today announced a new services delivery platform - the HP MPS Smart Decision Suite - that enables customers to better analyse, report and predict the use of their imaging and printing devices through an HP Managed Print Services (MPS) engagement.

In addition, HP introduced HP ePrint Enterprise mobile printing solution, based on HP CloudPrint technology and available on the BlackBerry®smartphone.(1) This announcement is the result of HP and Research In Motion's (RIM) strategic alliance announced last year and is the first use case of HP's ePrint strategy. HP ePrint also will be available at public print locations through FedEx Office and Hilton Worldwide, providing mobile enterprise workers a secure remote printing experience.(2)

Customers who have recently selected HP MPS include ISS Facility Services, America First Credit Union and Rosemount Inc.

"Our enterprise customers need us to help them bring order to the chaos of their technology fleet," said Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice president, Managed Enterprise Solutions, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. "Today, we can show them proven return on investment with the right mix of software tools, workflow solutions and mobile workflow innovations - bringing it all together through a scalable Managed Print Services engagement."

Manage environment to increase visibility and efficiency

For an enhanced management experience, the HP MPS Smart Decision Suite integrates front-end capabilities with back-end services infrastructure. By enhancing IT visibility and providing greater access into printing fleets, the suite enables global standard delivery processes and capabilities. This provides customers with a strategic view of device and solution availability, an optimally deployed fleet, real-time access to information and, as a result, improved efficiency and cost savings.

To help customers better manage telecommuting workforces, HP has extended the HP Web Jetadmin offering to allow IT departments to configure both networked and USB-connected devices and write rules-based printing, including items such as automatic duplexing and color access control.

Improve workflow to strengthen productivity and reduce costs

Created in collaboration with RIM, HP ePrint Enterprise enables employees to print from their BlackBerry smartphones to printers on their trusted network and to printers at HP ePrint-supported locations and FedEx Office.

Many HP ePrint locations are powered by the PrinterOn® network of public printers, called PrintSpots®. PrinterOn is HP's print network partner for relevant print locations, including Hilton Worldwide.

• More than 1,300 hotels in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands have PrintSpots in the PrinterOn network, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels and Homewood Suites by Hilton. Hilton has announced today its intention to enable the HP ePrint technology in June 2010.
• Additionally, FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko's) is implementing the solution across its network of more than 1,800 locations, giving users access to ePrint through the world's largest retail printing network. The deployment for FedEx Office is scheduled for later this year.

HP Enterprise Production Print Solutions consists of a suite of options that provide companies with onsite, offsite and near-site production print capabilities.

• HP Onsite Copy/Print and Mailroom Services enable comprehensive day-to-day operations management.
• HP Enterprise Services Document Processing Services specialize in digitizing, storing, archiving and retrieving documents - and include high-volume print and mail services.
• HP Virtual Print Center, a turnkey HP portal available with MPS contracts, enables users to efficiently produce, manage and distribute printed materials on demand.

HP also introduced solutions from HP Exstream, a fully integrated software platform for creating, managing and delivering customized customer communications in high-volume, on-demand and interactive environments.

• HP Exstream Application Manager shares data across applications, streamlines content integration and centralizes content compliance.
• HP Exstream Command Center streamlines production processes through automated job scheduling and helps maximize return on investment by efficiently managing throughput across production engines.

Optimize infrastructure to save costs

Last week, FedEx Office announced it will use Canon and HP as sole-source providers in their respective printing categories and will deploy more than 12,000 new Canon and HP printing devices across more than 1,800 locations in the United States and Canada.

HP's alliance with Canon is yielding global results. Recent work together includes offering the latest devices from Canon's imageRUNNER ADVANCE lineup as part of an HP MPS engagement.

HP has expanded the HP Printing Payback Guarantee, an industry-first program designed to provide companies risk-free entry into HP MPS engagements, to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Scalable and flexible HP Managed Print Services

HP continues to offer broad, flexible procurement options with HP MPS, based on agreed upon print policies with enterprise customers. Billing options include Level Pay, Base + Click, Cost Per Page and cost per page with no minimums.

Flexible financing solutions and sale-leaseback services also are offered from HP Financial Services, the company's leasing and life cycle asset management services subsidiary.

Enabling the channel

HP will offer HP Access Control Printing Solutions through the channel as part of its strategy to enable reseller partners to be more competitive. Today's offerings are an extension of the imaging and printing channel enhancements the company announced in September 2009.

HP Access Control Printing Solutions help mitigate security and compliance risks by helping to control and protect access to imaging and printing devices and documents and to facilitate tracking and monitoring the usage of documents. The solutions available to customers through reseller partners include: HP Access Control Intelligent Print Manager, HP Access Control Job Accounting and HP Access Control Secure Print Express.

Detailed information on these new solutions and services is available on the What's New page. A virtual tradeshow and webcast are available at HP Enterprise website

FedEx Office, Canon U.S.A. and HP Collaborate to Redefine Retail Printing -New relationship will transform the world’s largest retail printing network

I am currently at the IRGA (International ReproGraphics Association) Convention in Palm Springs, CA. The "deal announcement" that Fedex Office, Canon and HP jointly made last month has provoked (and, current tense, is provoking) considerable discussion in the reprographer community. In the springtime of 1986, I sent a long-winded letter to Fred Smith, CEO of Fedex, suggesting to him that there were synergies between Fedex's business and the "copy center" business, and, in that letter, I offered to open small copy centers inside Fedex retail-ship offices, at my company's (capital) expense and share profits with Fedex. About two weeks after I sent that letter to Mr. Smith, I got a reply letter from someone on Fedex's "business development" team, and in that letter, they a) thanked me for my interest in Fedex and b) said they find no synergies between our two businesses (overnight delivery of packages and copy center services.) So, that was that. Until Fedex purchased Kinko's, many years later, for around $2.3 billion. Right after I heard about that deal, I sent another letter to Mr. Smith, simply to congratulate him on Fedex's acquisition of Kinko's... and, of course, to remind him of my "suggestion" from 1986, which, as it turned out, could have saved $2.3 billion for Fedex (Fedex would not have had to purchase Kinko's; Fedex would have been in the copy center business for many years by then had Mr. Smith and his business development committee taken my suggestion seriously. But, in order to do that, they would have had to agree that there are "syngergies" between the document distribution business and the copy center business. Smile.)

A couple of comments I'd like to make about the new Fedex Office / Canon / HP deal - In my opinion, this deal will, over time, likely have an impact (an adverse impact) on companies (competitors of Fedex Office) who primarily offer "small-format" document management, copying, printing and distribution services. However, I do not believe that reprographers (reprographers are companies who "primarily" offer "large-format" document management, copying, printing and distribution services) will feel much of an impact, if any, because of the FO/C/HP deal. And, I say that because Kinko's was never a real player in the A/E/C reprographics marketplace, and I have seen nothing, at all, that would indicate that Fedex Office has done anything to push into the A/E/C community's business. If I'm a project manager at an A/E firm and I have an important plan/spec distribution to make to multiple project participants, am I going to send my "print job" to a reprographer who has been serving the A/E/C community for years and years and who knows my issues, my concerns, my workflow process and my files .... or am I going to call someone at Fedex?

Below, you will find the "complete" press release that was issued in April 2010.

FedEx Office, Canon U.S.A. and HP Collaborate to Redefine Retail Printing

New relationship will transform the world’s largest retail printing network

DALLAS – April 13, 2010

FedEx Office, an operating company of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), has formed an alliance with Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ) and HP (NYSE: HPQ) to create an unmatched network of printing and imaging capabilities, giving customers access to leading-edge technologies and a state-of-the-art machine fleet. These new solutions enable FedEx Office to offer individuals and business customers a better, faster, more flexible and environmentally smarter way of creating, customizing, printing and distributing their materials – transforming the retail printing experience.

Beginning next month, FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s) will utilize Canon and HP as sole-source providers in their respective printing categories, and will deploy more than 12,000 new Canon and HP printing devices across more than 1,800 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The majority of the next-generation document imaging equipment will be installed over the next 12 months, laying the foundation for a range of new products and services that will help harness the explosion of printable content now accessible to consumers.

“Customers’ expectations of printing have changed dramatically, and we are transforming our business to stay ahead of those trends and improve on our leadership position,” said Brian Philips, President and CEO of FedEx Office. “In Canon and HP, we are choosing two companies that understand our business and whose incomparable reputations, brands and histories of innovation align with our vision to bring customer ideas to life through the world’s best print-on-demand network.”

“Canon U.S.A., is pleased to join in this alliance with FedEx Office and HP to bring our advanced document imaging solutions to retail print consumers and redefine how people access, share and manage information – digitally and on paper,” said Joe Adachi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canon U.S.A. “This relationship builds upon the mutual technical understanding that continues to develop among our companies. Together we can provide an extraordinary customer experience to millions of FedEx Office customers.”

“The HP and Canon alliance is delivering the most robust offering of products and solutions to FedEx Office, allowing the company to transform their stores into more expansive publishing centers and making it easier for customers to print what they want, when they want and how they want,” said Lynn Pendergrass, Senior Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group – Americas, HP. “FedEx Office’s selection of HP and Canon clearly recognizes that our joint offering delivers superior reliability, performance and quality for FedEx Office employees and customers.”

The new network will provide benefits such as:

Leading technology – The new devices that will be deployed include Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE multifunction products (MFP) and imagePRESS digital press systems, representing Canon’s two largest investments in imaging device development over the past 10 years. In addition, HP is delivering market-changing innovations in the form of online and cloud printing applications, which will give FedEx Office a competitive advantage and pave the way for stronger revenue streams and next-generation technology solutions.
Consistency – The devices will be the same across most locations, creating a uniform customer experience with extraordinary printing quality and reliable equipment operation. Specifically, advanced software tools from Canon will enable FedEx Office employees to monitor the installed device fleet to ensure optimum working status and reduce potential down-time delays.
Capacity – The enhancements will provide greater capacity and improved speed across the network, giving customers better turnaround times and 24-7 access.
Efficiency – The equipment, spanning an array of functionality (color, large format, multi-function) is fast and energy-efficient, saving valuable time and resources. Designated ENERGY STAR® models offer a range of energy-conscious features to minimize environmental impacts while delivering extraordinary reliability.
Usability – The devices in the self-serve area of FedEx Office locations will have more user-friendly interfaces, and offer a consistent user experience regardless of store location. Furnished with award-winning Canon MFPs and HP Designjet large format printers, FedEx Office customers will have access to some of the highest-quality, most environmentally-friendly and intelligent devices available.
Flexibility – FedEx Office will begin implementing creative HP publishing solutions such as Snapfish by HP to offer a superior printing and publishing resource that will broaden its reach to consumers.
In addition, the equipment will empower customers to capitalize on the significant advancements in print technology that allow for remote printing from wherever customers are located, whenever they want to print, using USB drives or smartphones. Advanced technology also paves the way for “cloud printing,” which allows customers to store documents in a virtual space that is accessible from anywhere that a network connection can be established.

Through HP, FedEx Office customers will now be afforded the tools and solutions to help them work more effectively, efficiently and intelligently. HP’s cloud printing applications enable FedEx Office to serve a unique customer need and pave the way for future innovations and applications that will deliver an even more robust customer experience.

In providing its award-winning imageRUNNER ADVANCE MFP and imagePRESS digital press systems, Canon U.S.A. will also bring to the alliance a variety of advanced document imaging solutions, including its imageWARE Enterprise Management Console, which simplifies the management of installed devices, allowing FedEx Office to conduct remote monitoring and configuration of the equipment. Additionally, all Canon devices will be equipped with Canon’s imageWARE Remote service diagnostic software. Through imageWARE Remote, Canon will be able to automate the capture of meter and operational data for the devices. It also will diagnose device error conditions, and remotely update device firmware. Using imageWARE Remote, Canon will provide the highest levels of proactive nationwide service and support to FedEx Office and its customers through its extensive network of authorized service providers, including Canon Business Solutions.

The alliance represents an important step in the evolution of FedEx Office from a corner copy shop to the world’s largest integrated printing network where work is transformed from digital files to Canon and HP quality printed images either in-store or via online tools such as FedEx OfficeSM Print Online. To further strengthen its network, FedEx Office also has recently implemented a new pick-up and delivery service for printing orders, building on the reliability of service for which FedEx is known. In addition, the company is continuing to invest in its infrastructure that connects its centers and closed door production facilities, allowing the company to move work seamlessly around its network.

The agreement also strengthens existing relationships among the three companies. In September 2009, HP and Canon announced an alliance to jointly market and distribute a new range of multifunction office systems.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked fourth overall in the U.S. in 2009(1), with global revenues of US $35 billion, is listed as number four in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2009 list, and is on the 2009 BusinessWeek list of “100 Best Global Brands.” Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. At Canon, we care because caring is essential to living together in harmony. Founded upon a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – “all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future” – Canon U.S.A. supports a number of social, youth, educational and other programs, including environmental and recycling initiatives. Additional information about these programs can be found at To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at

About FedEx Office

FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s) provides access points to printing and shipping expertise with reliable service when and where you need it. The Dallas-based company has a global network of more than 1,900 digitally-connected locations. FedEx Office services include copying and digital printing, professional finishing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, Internet access, computer rental, FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping, and more. In addition, the company offers FedEx OfficeSM Print Online, an online printing solution for business and personal printing, at home, at the office or on the go. Products, services and hours vary by location. For more information, please visit

(1) Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP and its consolidated subsidiaries could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations; any statements concerning expected development, performance or market share relating to products and services; any statements regarding anticipated operational and financial results; any statements of expectation or belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include macroeconomic and geopolitical trends and events; the execution and performance of contracts by HP and its customers, suppliers and partners; the achievement of expected operational and financial results; and other risks that are described in HP’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2010 and HP’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to HP’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2009. HP assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

© 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reprographics 101 - Blog-site Statistics through May 18, 2010

Reprographics 101 – Blog “Statistics”

For those of you who might be interested, since I began this blog-site in early 2008.......

1) my blog has been visited by people from 38 different countries (I’m sure that some have visited my blog purely by accident).

2) my blog has been visited by people from 45 different states in the U.S.

3) visitors from California lead the pack, followed by visitors from Illinois and visitors from Florida, New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, Texas, Maryland and Michigan. (That rounds out the top 10 states.)

4) based on the number of visitors from California and Illinois, I think certain industry players must like to keep track of what I’m doing / saying? SMILE.

5) I’ve had 1,140 “absolute unique visitors”, according to Google Analytics (but, I am probably 20 of those “unique” visitors, since I know I’ve accessed by blog from at least 20 different locations.) For some reason, Google Analytics was turned off for about 5 months late last year, and, so, the statistics do not include visit-activity during the time that tracking was turned off.

Service Points issues Press Release about the recent GlobalGrafixNet conference in Rome

I did an earlier post about the GlobalGrafixNet (GGN) conference, right after I attended the conference last month (in April) in Rome.

I just noticed that Service Point issued a press release, this morning, as sort of a recap of the GGN conference. You can access the English-language version of that press release by copying this internet-address into your browser window:

Simply as a reminder, Service Point owns GGN. ARC owns the PEiR Group.

AIA ABI Index for April 2010

This morning, I found a press release about the April 2010 AIA ABI Index. I found this on I don't think that it has yet been published on the AIA's own site. You will read in the press release that the AIA ABI Index climbed to 48.6 in April 2010. While it is good news that the index is climbing, any reading below 50, so we are told by the AIA chief economist, still points to "declining" demand. Last month, I made a prediction that the AIA ABI Index would hit 50 or above in May. I'm holding to that prediction. Here's the April 2010 Press Release I found on Reuters:

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U.S. Architecture Billings Index (ABI Index) up in April--AIA
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; editing by Andre Grenon)

* April 2010 architecture billings index up 2.4 pts
* New project inquiries edge up
* Construction nearing 'recovery phase'

NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters)
- A leading indicator of U.S. nonresidential construction spending rose for the third consecutive month in April, approaching a level that indicates expansion in the sector as the economy recovers, according to an architects' trade group.

The Architecture Billings Index was up 2.4 points to 48.5 last month, its highest since January 2008, according to the American Institute of Architects. A measure of inquiries for new projects rose 1 point to 59.6, after a 6 point increase in March.

Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below 50 to declining demand.

"The design and construction industry may be nearing an actual recovery phase," AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement.

Of four U.S. geographic regions, only the Northeast was above 50 in April, while all four construction sectors remained below that mark. Categories include institutional architecture, commercial and industrial space and the mixed-practice category, which often combines retail with other uses.

The AIA's billings index, begun in 1995, is a measure of construction spending nine to 12 months in the future. It is often cited by companies that sell to the construction sector as a gauge of that market.

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Joel’s further comments:

The Press Release I read on Reuters also gives a list of public companies that “generate revenue from construction”. You might find that list interesting. The list did not include ARC (NYSE: ARP).

The full press release can be found at this Internet address:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Service Point reports Q1 2010 Results

Yesterday, Service Point, the world’s second largest document management and reprographics service company, reported results for Q1 2010.

Here’s just a portion of that Press Release:

14 May 2010.- Service Point posted a healthy first-quarter earnings performance, fully in line with our internal expectations for sustained improvement that gathers momentum as 2010 unfolds. In the first quarter of 2010, Service Point Solutions (stock exchange ticker: SPS.MC) posted year-on-year growth in net profit of 22.9% to €0.97 million.

Service Point’s first-quarter revenue amounted to €52.2 million, a drop of 10.9% year-on-year, due mainly to the adverse impact of harsh weather conditions in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US in January and February. However, the recent trends in the customer portfolio and business volumes leave us confident that full-year revenue will be higher than in 2009, in line with our internal forecasts.

This year Service Point Solutions will renew its M&A growth strategy. The company continues to actively look at, and in some instances negotiate, select opportunities to consolidate its leadership of the European document management market.

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You can read the full Press Release by copying this internet address into your browser window:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

National Reprographics (NRI) acquires AEC Technology Consultants !!!

Well, I hesitate to call this "breaking news" because this news was published in the on-line publication, NYinc, last week. Today, one of my industry colleagues brought this deal to my attention, so I thought it would be appropriate to bring this deal to the attention of my blog-site visitors.

About New York Inc (NYinc), the company that published this news and where I got the article from......
NYinc is dedicated to the New York market focusing on commercial and residential real estate, law, finance, and economic development news. provides C-level and senior executives with the highest quality and most pertinent business information.

Here's the article about the deal:

National Reprographics, Inc. Acquires AEC Technology Consultants
Posted By Susan Piperato, 05/06/10
Filed under: Announcements
NEW YORK, NY—National Reprographics Inc. (NRI) has agreed to acquire AEC Technology Consultants, LLC, an Atlanta-based technology consulting firm. This acquisition further solidifies NRI’s position as one of the most rapidly evolving data management technology solution providers in the United States.

AEC Technology Consultants specializes in development support of new software and hardware applications that are ideally suited for the construction industry; creating industry alliances that have tremendous benefits across product brands; developing value propositions for various market segments; and assisting in implementing best practices for business development opportunities within each group. Its clients realize successful application development because of its commitment to high standards and tremendous depth of knowledge and reach throughout the AEC industry.

AEC Technology Consultants has had firsthand experience working in product and business development with many of the industry’s leading brands - Hewlett Packard, Autodesk, McGraw-Hill Construction, ReproMAX, Reed Construction Data, Arcom's MASTERSPEC®, Adenium Systems, BXNet and the American Institute of Architects, to name just a few.

As part of this acquisition NRI welcomes Ron Perkins, the Principal of AEC Technology Consultants, as Director of Business Development, based in Atlanta. Ron’s extensive experience and network in the AEC industry will undoubtedly play a critical part to NRI’s future growth.

“The acquisition of AEC Technology Consultants broadens and strengthens NRI’s position as a progressive technology solutions provider to the world of architecture, engineering and construction,” said Doug Magid, President of National Reprographics Inc. “The combination of NRI’s PDM software and hardware offerings, along with AEC’s deep relationships and technology expertise, enable us to realize great synergies together. Ron Perkins’ tremendous depth of experience in this sphere should be a great asset to our clients and partners.”

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Joel's comment: while the article does not state or even mention this, it 'sounds to me like' NRI is or may be entering the reprographics market in Atlanta. NRI currently conducts reprographics operations in NY, NJ, MA, PA, Washington, DC and San Francisco. NRI is one of the largest reprographics operations in the reprographics industry. Doug Magid, CEO of NRI, is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance (Univ of Penn) and a very, very sharp cookie. Doug benefitted from having his dad, Sol Magid, as his primary mentor. Congratulations to NRI on its newly announced deal with AEC Technology Consultants.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comment on ARC's Q1 2010 Results (NYSE: ARP)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a stab (SWAG method) at estimating ARC's Q1 2010 results.

Well, I did not go to Wharton, Stanford, Harvard or Columbia, so, admittedly, I'm a bit challenged when it comes to predicting the financial results of public companies.

It's now "after" ARC reported its Q1 2010 results.
ARC reported sales of around $112 million for Q1 and EPS of $.02
ARC's sales results impressed me. Considering the horrible weather the east coast had in Q1, I thought for sure that ARC's sales would come in under analyst estimates. Also, based on the sales ARC reported, it does appear that ARC's sales have bottomed out. That should be good news for all U.S. reprographers. One last comment about this. I have no clue how the financial analysts who follow ARC manage to come up with estimates, well in advance, that come very close to ARC's eventual actual performance, especially considering the horrible reprographics industry conditions caused by the recession (which, I'm told, is over and done with.)

ABC Imaging Announces Renewal of Major FM (OnSite) Deal with HNTB

For those of you who like to follow what the larger players (in the reprographics industry are doing), here's a press release ABC issued last week:

Washington, DC—May 6, 2010—ABC Imaging announced today that HNTB has extended its contract with ABC Imaging to provide comprehensive printing services enterprise-wide for another three years.

ABC Imaging has provided HNTB on-site and off-site printing since 2004. ABC Imaging's on-site printing services, known as facilities management (FM) programs, provide HNTB and other clients the means to track print jobs and assign them to accounts. ABC Imaging operates or oversees printing at more than 100 HNTB locations in North America.

"A combination of factors contributed to our receiving the extension," said Timothy Sachs, Senior Vice President—Business Development at ABC Imaging. "Among other factors, we found ways to save HNTB money through the life of the contract. We will also continue to develop our software applications to meet their needs."

HNTB is one of the largest engineering and architecture firms in the U.S. and ranks as one of the AE industry's top firms in many categories. The company specializes in infrastructure projects ranging from bridges to stadiums.

The 100 HNTB locations where ABC Imaging provides printing services vary significantly. These locations include multi-floor offices requiring more than 50 printers and plotters and short-term project offices that require just a single machine.

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For those of you who are not familiar with Tim Sachs of ABC Imaging, prior to joining ABC Imaging, Tim was the "graphics manager" of Development Design Group (DDG) in Baltimore, MD. In other words, Tim was employed by an Architecture firm before he joined the ABC Imaging team. One of the first FM deals Tim helped ABC bag, was a significantly large FM deal with AI Architecture in Washington, DC, a deal that ABC Imaging took away from Reprographics Technologies.