Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Greetings .....

To all of those who visit Reprographics 101......

Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!

Looking forward to evidence of the beginning of a "real" recovery in the A/E/C Industry and in the Reprographics Industry.....

Sincerely yours,

Joel Salus
"Reprographics 101"

p.s. If you want to write an article for Reprographics 101, please contact me by e-mail. Guest authors are invited. For those of you who have taken the time to alert me to items of interest about the reprographics business, industry, etc., thank you for taking the time to do that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Document Management for A/E/C projects and an iPAD application to access the documents - VELA SYSTEMS

After doing a post about “” (the most recent previous post on my blog), I found and visited the web-site of “”. You might find it interesting to read the bio's of the members of Vela System's "management team".

Vela Systems says this on one of the pages on its web-site:

As mobile technology growth surges daily and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions become the hot button at every company, Vela Systems has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction-Owner (AECO) industry.

Pioneering the use of unique, mobile tablet-based software applications, Vela Systems dramatically accelerates job completion on construction and capital projects while improving quality, oversight, and delivering savings to the bottom line. Vela Systems replaces the clipboard, pen & paper and "tube of drawings" normally used by field personnel with our easy-to-use software and Tablet PCs.

Among other products Vela Systems promotes on its web-site, I found these that appears to be specifically related to A/E/C project document management and the ability to access documents using an iPAD:


The Vela Systems Library module automatically delivers project documents to all company and team members, guaranteeing the right information is delivered to the right people. Field superintendents, project managers, safety managers, subcontractors, and their teams get access to the most up-to-date documents, plans and specifications in Vela Field Manager and Vela Mobile. Distributing documents is easy: just put the latest project documents into the library and they will be immediately available to everyone on the team.

Library Benefits
  • Save time by reducing trips back to the job trailer to get correct or updated information.
  • Make better decisions in the field by accessing the latest plans and specifications.
  • Reduce project and company risk - all team members and employees automatically have the "latest version" of project and company documents.
Library Capabilities
  • Store and distribute drawings, plans, images, reference materials, specifications and company policies.
  • Instantly share document changes among field and office personnel.
  • Easily navigate and view files through a simple folder navigation structure.

A web-based platform for all Vela Systems® field and management users. Contractors, trades, owners, architects and engineers access all documents, field activities and reports in one easy-to-use website.
  • Accessible via the Internet on any device
  • Industry-leading ease-of-use
  • Powerful features for self-service of users, projects, company templates and more
A suite of mobile applications that bring Vela everywhere on the jobsite. Vela mobile works with or without Internet access. Designed for Apple® iPad™ or any email-capable phone.
  • Documents, checklists, worklists and more for the iPad
  • Use in the field with or without Internet or cell phone connectivity
  • Any email-compatible phone (Blackberry®) can log issues
And, I found an article at, posted on December 1, 2010, which mentioned Suffolk Construction’s use of Vela Systems and tablet PC’s….. (the following is just a portion of that article).....

"Suffolk approached the 1 million-sq-ft project, started in September 2007, as a collection of individual jobs, with hybrid teams responsible for specific buildings and project managers acting as advocates for assigned trades throughout the campus. The company required subcontractors to staff the buildings with separate crews to avoid conflicts. Suffolk estimates it saved eight to 10 hours per week using Vela Systems and tablet PCs to carry plans, specifications and other documentation into the field."

Related to previous post about "Paperless Construction" -

This morning, the former CTO of my ex-company, suggested that I visit the site of a blogger who authored an article, last year, titled "the end of blueprints". I did visit that blog and read the article. But, I did not find the article compelling, so I'm not going to suggest that you visit that blog and read that article. (The guy who wrote that article lacks an understanding of volumes printed by reprographers and an understanding of reprographics math.)

But, while visiting that blog-site, I read another article, one that led me to a company called "" has developed:

a) an e-planroom product
b) an app for the iPAD

Basically, subscribe to their SaaS service, load project documents to the cloud and then access those documents using an iPAD.

Here's what build-it-live says on their home page:

$35 per month per project, includes unlimited users at no additional cost.

Pay as you go, no long term contract. Click on the "Buy BuilditLive" button to get started.

Timely access to current construction documents, like drawings and schedules, is critical to a project's success. While sending an email is easy, the management of hundreds of documents received via email across multiple projects using MS Outlook and Windows Explorer is a huge headache and very inefficient.

Build It Live is an online (SaaS) construction project management software system that provides straightforward and efficient tools for project communication, from pre-design to completion. Communication and collaboration between architects, contractors, employees and clients is made simpler. New project information, such as updated drawings and changes to the schedule, is immediately visible to all participants. Questions that someone has about a project can be posted and responded to online in real time.

Build It Live centralizes all your construction documents easily and intuitively -- and there is no software to install! If you have internet access, you can find your drawings and documents 24/7. Everyone participating on the project simply logs into Build It Live to obtain all the construction management information they need to do the job right.

Spend less time managing each and every construction document and make life easier. Save time. Save money. Reduce mistakes in the field. With Build It Live’s construction project management (Saas) software solution you’ll deliver on-time projects at lower cost - making owners very happy and helping you win more work.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Florida Reprographics (Tampa, FL) files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Part 2)

On December 22nd, I did a "first post" about Florida Reprographics filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, so this post, today, is simply a follow-up post.

Years ago, when there was a legal controversy surrounding the demise (Chapter 7 Bankruptcy) of the Louis Frey Company, a long-time, large reprographer based in NYC, and one of the pioneers in the FM (OnSite) business, I got a subscription to "Pacer", the government-run web-site that contains information about all U.S. bankruptcies. Bankruptcy information (filings and proceedings) are a matter of "public record." If you want your own account with Pacer, go to and sign up. I've just reactivated my Pacer account, so that I could do some research on the Florida Reprographics bankruptcy case. And, last night, I went through (and PDF'd and saved on my laptop) a whole host of the documents that have been filed in conjunction with the FR BK case.

First, a bit of background information..... for those of you who enjoy history.....

Florida Reprographics was founded sometime around 1984/5, after the owner, Chris Charles, relocated to sunny Tampa from New York City. When he was in NYC, Chris was with National Reprographics (NRI), and he was the VP of Sales (or the "Sales Manager"), for several years, at NRI under Sol Magid, the then President of NRI. In other words, prior to opening FR in Tampa, Chris had already had a lot of experience in the reprographics business, at least on the "sales side" of the business. When FR was first founded, Chris had partners, Martha and Nick Korman [who had relocated to Tampa from New Jersey, both having worked at Trukmann's, Nick's family's reprographics business (and still owned by Paul Korman, Nick's brother.)] However, soon after FR came into being, Nick and Martha pulled out, returned to New Jersey (or NYC) and, later on, in 1986, returned to Tampa and, literally on a shoe-string, founded (with Greg Williams as their partner) Bay Reprographics (which later, through a name change, became National Graphic Imaging (NGI.) So, by 1986, when Bay (NGI) was founded, FR was already about 1 or 2 years old. And, of course, the companies, FR and Bay (NGI), became "heated" competitors. Around that same time, Jack Dunn founded TRS (Tampa Reprographics Services. Jack also owned Dunn Blueprint (Detroit area.) Tampa has better weather than Detroit, I guess. Together with The Huey Company of Chicago, Dunn joint-ventured Orlando Reprographics, but, not long after that, Jack (Dunn) pulled out of the Orlando Reprographics deal (left it to Huey) and that's when Jack decided to found TRS in Tampa. So, by 1986, there were at least 3 Tampa-based reprographers, founded by "northern folks", operating in the Tampa Bay market.

Well, over the many years that followed, the Tampa Bay Area real estate development market "took off", and, for years, there was plenty of business for everyone .... until the proverbial "rock hit a hard place" and the market for reprographics began to trend down during 2007. I joined NGI when NGI's sales were around $5.2 million (1997 Sales, adjusted for inter-company sales) and "retired" from NGI in December 2007, when NGI was sold to ARC. One of the reports issued when ARC purchased NGI indicated that NGI's sales were around $23 million. I'm only mentioning that to give my readers a bit more perspective. Of course, it is not fair to compare NGI's Sales to Florida Reprographics' Sales, because, by 2007, NGI was operating in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala and Atlanta and, by comparison, FR only had operations in Tampa (well, maybe it was around that time that FR opened a location down near Sarasota?) Anyway, I've said all this simply to make this point: "sounds like" Chris Charles would have been better off if Martha and Nick Korman had remained his partners in FR. NGI grew MUCH larger than FR and NGI was sold for a lot of money. FR remained a "small company" (still certified by City of Tampa Gov as a "small business" enterprise as late as 2010-11) and is now in Chapter 11. Oh well, "they say that" ..... "success in business is a matter of making more right decisions than wrong decisions." Note that a few years ago, we (NGI) did have informal discussions with Chris about buying FR, but nothing came of that.

Second, okay, now to the point of todays post; to share with my blog-readers some of the information that's contained in the documents already filed in FR's Chapter 11 BK case .....

(1) Sales Revenues:

One of the questions asked on one of the BK forms pertains to recent years’ sales revenues. Actually, the form refers to it as “gross income”. But, I think that means that the BK court wants to know “gross sales” or maybe it’s “gross receipts” (the latter would be the case with a “cash-basis” business); here’s the response to that question:

  • 2010 YTD - $490,000 (apparently, this is YTD through Nov 30, 2010)
  • 2009 - $843,784
  • 2008 - 1,388,967
  • There was no requirement to reveal 2007 Sales, but, since NGI had a healthy year in 2007, I’m going to guess that FR did as well and that FR’s Sales for 2007 were around $2,000,000, if not somewhat greater than that. If I’m fairly accurate with that guess, then that would mean that FR’s sales have fallen by approximately 74% since “peak” times. As I’ve said in other blog posts, this kind of fall-off in Sales is evidence that Florida’s reprographers have been dealing with a depression, not a recession. The only other comment I can make about FR’s sales decline, WOW, OMG!

(2) Location:

Evidently, FR relocated its business to a new location (under a 5-year lease) the day the BK filing took place. New location (4614 Eagle Falls Place) appears to be in southeastern Tampa, not exactly a “quick” commute to downtown Tampa and well away from the WestShore business district (where NGI’s main branch is located.) FR had been located, for many, many years, at 655 N. Franklin Street in the “heart” of downtown Tampa.

At one point, FR opened a branch location in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota. I don’t know if that FR location is still open. That location is not mentioned in the BK filings. It may be a separate corporation not subject to FR’s recent BK filing. Or, that location may have been closed previously.

(3) Unsecured Creditors:

One of the things that you have to do when you go Chapter 11 BK is file a list of your top 20 unsecured creditors. I looked at that list, but decided not to publish the list that was initially filed on Nov 30th, because a subsequent filing added to that initial list, and that subsequent filing (on Dec 14th) contained a few creditors that the initial filing did not include. The most remarkable difference between the first list and the second list. On the second list (Dec 14th), Chris Charles is listed as an unsecured creditor in the amount of $600,000! That debt did not appear on the original list. Here’s the complete list of unsecured creditors, per the Dec 14th filing:

  • Christopher Charles (who is the 100% shareholder of FR) $600,000
  • OCE USA $46,491
  • TWC Fifty-Eight Inc. $41,601
  • Wells Fargo $30,560
  • US Bank, NA $24,000
  • BB&T Financial $16,699
  • Xerox Capital Services $12,755
  • A1 Contract Staffing $11,496
  • Inquest Technologies $7,770
  • Staples Credit Plan $6,918
  • Derrick Guenther $6,491
  • Precision Paper $5,108
  • Accurate Laminating $3,215
  • Zeno Office Solutions $2,977
  • General Binding Corp $2,804
  • KIP America $2,410
  • Citrus Computer $2,078
  • Mall Office Products $1,800
  • American Express $1,753
  • ABC Imaging $1,728
  • BP Oil $1,706
  • NuKote $1,573
  • Pitney Bowes $1,120
  • Steven Enterprises $1,050
  • Technical Image Products $1,017
  • Thoroughbred Software $981
  • CitCards $898
  • Idearc Media (a) $781
  • Lightyear Network Solutions $779
  • Idearc Media (b) $720
  • Stephen Fossler $615
  • Sign-It-Quick $483
  • Konica Minolta $460
  • Uline Supply $113
  • Communication Technologies $110
  • UPS $63
  • Fedex $16
  • Approximate total of unsecured creditor debt $841,139
Apparently, one creditor, ABC Imaging, has a “set-off” against the debt that it is owed by FR. I think that means that ABC Imaging must owe at least that amount to FR for work FR did for ABC Imaging.

(4) Secured Creditors:

One secured creditor is GMAC/Ally Financial, and it says that the gross amount of this debt is $4,600. It also says that there is collateral assigned to this debt and that the value of the collateral (I think a 2007 GMC Sierra) is $2,000. [If I interpreted this information accurately, then I’d like to buy a 2007 GMC Sierra for $2,000, if it’s undamaged!]

The major (and apparently the only other “secured”) creditor is PNC Bank (Philadelphia), and I think this was an SBA Loan, since the SBA is mentioned in conjunction with this loan. About PNC Bank loan to FR, it says this:

Total Amount Owed $540,000

Less: Estimated Value of Collateral $(212,282)
Estimated Unsecured Portion $327,718

PNC Bank filed UCC-1, Blanket Lien on A/R, BBT checking account, chairs, furnishings, lateral files. Comment: apparently, the collateral pledged against this loan did not include any “equipment” assets, and I kind of wonder “what was the bank thinking?”

On one of the schedules, Chris Charles is listed as a "co-debtor" on the loan from PNC Bank. I think that means (but, certainly, I am not 100% sure) that he must have personally guaranteed that loan.

To the extent that the liquidated value of the collateral (estimated to be $212,282) does not satisfy the total ($540,000) loan amount, the remaining debt becomes part of the “unsecured” debt (at least that’s my understanding of how that works.)

(5) Priority Claims (debts):
  • Florida Dept of Revenue – Sales Taxes $3,000
  • Hillsborough County Tax Collector – Personal Property Taxes $6,100
(6) Pending Lawsuits:

The BK filings reveal two pending lawsuits:
  • OCE North America vs. Florida Reprographics; Re: Breach of Contract
  • TWC Fifty-Eight vs. Florida Reprographics; Re: Breach of Contract (landlord of location vacated on or before November 30th, 2010)
(7) Equity Ownership of FR:

The BK filings indicate that “Chris Charles” is the 100% shareholder of FR, and that he has been the 100% shareholder for at least one year before the BK filing date.

(8) “Insider Compensation” Disclosure:

One of the questions (or, call it “disclosures”) that FR had to respond to in the BK paperwork was this:

“Withdrawals from a partnership or distribution by a corporation: If the debtor is a partnership or corporation, list all withdrawals or distributions credited or given to an insider, including compensation in any form, bonuses, loans, stock redemptions, options exercised and any other perquisite during one year immediately preceding the commencement of this case.”

This was the response to the above disclosure requirement:

  • Nancy Turon; ex-wife of Chris Charles and employee of the debtor (FR); purpose: compensation $12,500
  • Jennifer Charles; relation, daughter of Chris Charles and employee of the debtor (FR); purpose: compensation $14,625
  • Chris Charles, relation: President/Owner; purpose: compensation $100,000
  • Chris Charles, relation: President/Owner: purpose: repayment of shareholder loan $19,629
(9) Assets of Florida Reprographics:

As per one of the schedules filed on December 14th, were….

From Schedule B - Personal Property (Assets)
  • Petty Cash Fund $275
  • BB&T Checking Account $635

  • Accounts Receivable $123,229

  • 2007 Mercedes SL550, leased from US Bank $35,000
  • 2007 GMC Sierra $2,000
  • a) Chairs, furnishings, lateral files, storage cabinets, desks, tables, etc. $15,000
  • b) Computers and plotter system equipment $63,143
  • c) Drymount, binding machine, standard cutter, four punch system, OCE TCS 400 color 2-roll plotter with scanner, canon digtial imagepress, Rioch color printer/copier, Canon b/w printing press, Canon b&w production printer, KIP large--format printer $175,000
  • Paper, toner, supplies $10,000

  • Total Estimated Value of Assets, per schedule filed $424,282
I found the “groupings” of the equipment assets to be interesting and found myself wondering why each piece of equipment is not listed and valued separately.

(10) Interim Use of Cash Collateral:

On December 21, 2010, the Court approved a motion to let FR use the “cash collateral” for conducting its business operations, but, apparently, there will be another hearing on this matter on Jan 5, 2011. I think this means that FR is allowed to use its A/R collections to fund business operations, in spite of the fact that PNC has secured interest in the cash collected from A/R.

(11) Interim Order Granting Motion for Authority to Pay Affiliate Officer Salary:

On December 1st, FR filed a “Motion” regarding on-going compensation for Chris Charles, President of the Debtor (FR):

Case8:10-bk-28642-MGW Doc6 Filed12/01/10 Page1of6 In re: FLORIDA REPROGRAPHICS, INC.,
Debtor. Case No.: 8:10-bk-28642-MGW Chapter 11
(Expedited Relief Requested)

FLORIDA REPROGRAPHICS, INC. (the “Debtor”), by and through the undersigned counsel, pursuant to Administrative Order TPA-2005-2, hereby files this Motion for Authority to Pay Affiliate Officer Salary (the “Motion”) and, in support thereof, respectfully state as follows:

  • 1. The Debtor filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11, title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”) on November 29, 2010 (the “Petition Date”).
  • 2. Since the Petition Date, the Debtor has continued to operate its business as debtor in possession pursuant to §§1007 and 1008 of the Bankruptcy Code. No unsecured creditors committees have been appointed in these cases.
  • 3. The Debtor operates a document reproduction and management company with a specific emphasis on the reproduction of blueprints and construction documents located at 633 N. Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida 33602.
  • 4. The Debtor is owned by Christopher W. Charles (“Mr. Charles”) who qualifies as an “affiliate” under §101(2) of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • 5. Mr. Charles has successfully managed the debtor’s business for over twenty-five years. Mr. Charles has been intimately involved in every major decision regarding the Debtor’s business operations.
Relief Requested:
  • 6. The Debtor requests authority to pay a postpetition biweekly salary of $4,000.00 to Mr. Charles as well as reimbursement of reasonable business expenses to Mr. Charles.
  • 7. Mr. Charles will continue to serve as the President of the Debtor postpetition and, in this role, he will be responsible for providing the following services:
  • a. serving as the Debtor’s chief executive officer with responsibility for all day- to-day activities and employee personnel and for implementing strategies designed to maximize the short and long-term profitability of the Debtor;
  • b. leading and directing the Debtor’s managers, employees and agents;
  • c. working with the Debtor’s counsel in the administration of the Debtor’s businesses under the protection of Chapter 11;
  • d. representing the Debtor in the Bankruptcy Court and in meetings with any committees, the United States Trustee, local government and regulatory authorities, the media, and thegeneral public;
  • e. representing the Debtor in their negotiations with vendors, suppliers, landlords and other general creditors; and
  • f. working with counsel, any creditors’ committees, and other creditors in formulating and confirming the Debtor’s plan of reorganization.
  • 8. Although Chapter 11 provides a debtor with certain benefits in its attempt to reorganize its financial affairs, there are also burdens and obstacles inherent in any Chapter 11 case that must be addressed by management. As a result of a Chapter 11 case, a debtor’s management is faced with new obstacles in conducting its business affairs and substantial additional reporting and paperwork requirements. Mr. Charles will be required to assume additional duties, some of which did not exist prior to the Petition Date and others of which are greatly expanded subsequent to the Petition Date. Specifically, Mr. Charles will have to spend significant time and effort to ensure that the Debtor’s business remain viable during the pendency of these Chapter 11 cases.
  • 9. During the one year prior to the Petition Date, Mr. Charles received the same compensation requested herein from the Debtor.
  • 10. The Debtor believes that payment of reasonable postpetition compensation to Mr. Charles is necessary to allow the Debtor’s businesses to operate postpetition. Mr. Charles will not be providing any services to any third-parties postpetition and, other than the compensation proposed herein, Mr. Charles will not be receiving any postpetition compensation from third-parties.
  • 11. All applicable payroll taxes related to Mr. Charles’s compensation will be paid concurrently with the payment of such compensation.
  • 12. In accordance with Administrative Order TPA-2005-2, the Debtor requests that an expedited hearing be set on the Motion within three (3) business days.
WHEREFORE, the Debtor requests that this Court enter an order (a) granting the Motion, (b) authorizing the Debtor to pay reasonable postpetition compensation to Mr. Charles and (c) grant such other and further relief as is just and appropriate. Dated: Tampa, Florida December 1, 2010

Responding to the above “Motion”, this was the subsequent decision issued by the Court:

On December 21st, the US Bankruptcy Judge “GRANTED” a Motion (filed by FR) to pay Chris Charles (as President of the Debtor) an “interim salary” of $4,000 on a bi-weekly basis. The court will hold a “continued preliminary hearing” on the “Motion” on January 5th at 11:00 a.m. The “granted” motion contains this provision: “no compensation shall be paid to the officers or insiders unless, at the time of such payment, the Debtor (FR) is current with and has made payment of all operating expenses, including any adequate protection payments to be paid to PNC Bank. The “granted motion” contains a further provision: “in the event the compensation authorized to be paid herein (that refers to the $4,000 bi-weekly amount) is not paid because the Debtor (FR) is not current with its operating expenses, any unpaid compensation shall not accrue as a cost of administration herein.”

(12) Notice of (and date set for) Creditor’s Meeting:


The paperwork filed in the FR BK case reveals this information:

“Notice of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines A chapter 11 bankruptcy case concerning the debtor Corporation listed below was filed on November 30, 2010.”

“You may be a creditor of the debtor. This notice lists important deadlines. You may want to consult an attorney to protect your rights. All documents filed in the case may be inspected at the bankruptcy clerk's office at the address listed below. NOTE: The staff of the bankruptcy clerk's office cannot give legal advice.”

Meeting of Creditors -
Debtor(s) must present Photo ID and acceptable proof of Social Security Number at § 341 meeting. You are reminded that Local Rule 5073−1 restricts the entry of cellular telephones into the Courthouse.
Date: January 7, 2011
Time: 01:30 PM
Location: Room 100−B, 501 East Polk St., (Timberlake Annex), Tampa, FL 33602

Deadlines to File a Proof of Claim -
Proof of claim must be received by the bankruptcy clerk's office by the following deadline:
For all creditors (except a governmental unit): February 14, 2011
For a governmental unit: 180 days from the date of filing

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Joel’s additional comments:

(1) It will be interesting to see if any of the creditors, secured or unsecured, protest the inclusion of the $600,000 “shareholder debt” as an unsecured debt of FR. One of my BK-knowledgeable friends said that debt could be “construed” as equity in FR, rather than debt.

(2) It is sad that Chris Charles had to take his company, Florida Reprographics, into bankruptcy, after a 26 (or so) year run. Like I said in my first post about FR’s bankruptcy, I guess it is simply “a sign of the times.”

Gill Reprographics Inc (GRI) - a U.S. Reprographics Industry "mover and shaker" with 15 locations

Well, “when you think you know quite a lot”, think twice about that.

In previous blog-posts about “movers and shakers” in the U.S. reprographics industry, I’ve mentioned American Reprographics (ARC), Thomas Reprographics, ABC Imaging, Lynn Imaging, C2 Reprographics, Service Point, National Reprographics (NRI) and several others, but, somehow, the growth of Gill Reprographics (GRI) managed to slip under my radar screen. (Note: I’ve previously pointed out that I don’t have a working crystal ball, and, now, I’m going to admit to you that my “radar screen” has, apparently, not been working well.)

While surfing the net for information about reprographers this morning, I visited the web-site of Gill Reprographics. Until I visited GRI’s web-site this morning, I HAD NO IDEA THAT GRI had expanded to 15 location

Evidently, Gary Gill’s sons, Mark and Steve, are extremely aggressive “2nd generation” business operators. Starting out in Oklahoma (of all places), GRI now operates 15 locations, and, if GRI manages, at some point, to add a location in Boston, NYC, or Washington, DC (or maybe Miami), we can then begin referring to GRI as a mini-nationwide enterprise.

I first met Gary Gill (a super-nice guy) founder of GRI, when he was working for Ridgway’s, and it was Tog Rogers (then owner of Ridgway’s; Ridgway’s is now an ARC-owned company) who introduced me to Gary. By the time I had first met him (which, I think, was around 1986), Gary had worked at Ridgway’s for a number of years, and, since he was then in a senior management role with Ridgway’s, he, of course, knew all of the players at Ridgway’s many branches, many of which were in Texas and in other Southwestern markets. Sometime after I first met Gary, I bumped into him at an IRGA Convention, and he told me that he had left Ridgway’s and had gone into the reprographics business, on his own, in Oklahoma. Well, it looks like Gary’s son’s have taken that business to a “whole nother level.” Given the number of branches GRI now operates in Texas, could it be that former Ridgway’s team members (or even owners) have contributed to the expansion of GRI?

Here’s the “About Us” on GRI’s web-site:

“Welcome to Gill Reprographics, Inc.”

“Founded in 1987 in Oklahoma City, OK, by Gary Gill, a 30+ year veteran of the reprographics industry, Gill Reprographics (GRI) has grown nationally and is now under the guidance of the second generation of Gills: Mark and Steve. With 15 locations across the country, GRI is looking to expand even further in the near future.”

And, here’s the listing of GRI’s locations:


GRI - Tempe, AZ

621 S. 48th Street
Suite 108
Tempe, AZ 85281
 Phone: (480) 829-9800
Fax: (480) 829-9100
Branch Manager: Brian Lee


GRI - Irvine, CA

17835 Sky Park Circle
Suite O
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: (949) 251-9488
Fax: (949) 251-9486
Branch Manager: Ron Hill

GRI - San Francisco, CA

603 Commercial Street
Ground Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
 Phone: (415) 956-8080
Fax: (415) 956-8070
Branch Manager: Clint Walston


GRI - Chicago, IL

17W715 Butterfield Road
Suite B
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
 Phone: (630) 652-0800
Fax: (630) 652-0801
Branch Manager: Terry Benson


GRI - Oklahoma City, OK

7001 N. Santa Fe Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
 Phone: (405) 947-6891
Fax: (405) 947-6892
Branch Manager: Kevin McFarlin

GRI - Tulsa, OK

5333-F South Mingo Road
Tulsa, OK 74146
 Phone: (918) 384-0290
Fax: (918) 384-0292
Branch Manager: Paul Mullenix

GRI - Tulsa - Downtown

317 S. Main Street
Suite 120
Tulsa, OK 74103
 Phone: (918) 599-9499
Fax: (918) 599-9494
Branch Manager: Paul Mullenix


GRI - Atlanta, GA

5825 Glenridge Drive
Building 1, Suite 106
Atlanta, GA 30328
 Phone: (404) 252.7775
Fax: (404) 252.7780
Branch Manager: Tim Neuman


GRI - Minneapolis, MN

701 Decatur Avenue North
Golden Valley, MN 55427
 Phone: (763) 544.1818
Fax: (763) 544.0465
Branch Manager: Mike Wiseman


GRI - Addison, TX

15058 Belt Way Drive
Suite 110
Addison, TX 75001
Phone: (214) 217-4800
Fax: (214) 217-4804
Branch Manager: Wade Johnson

GRI - Austin, TX

301 Congress Ave
Suite 130
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 478-8000
Fax: (512) 478-2190
Branch Manager: Joe Padilla

GRI - Dallas - Empire Central

1451 Empire Central
Suite 600
Dallas, TX 75247
Phone: (214) 267-0243
Fax: (214) 267-0235
Branch Manager: Wade Johnson

GRI - Dallas - 75 at SMU

6060 North Central Expressway
Suite 123
Dallas, TX 75206
 Phone: (214) 302-5821
Fax: (214) 302-5825
Branch Manager: Wade Johnson

GRI - Fort Worth, TX

126 South Main Street
Suite 120
Fort Worth, TX 76104
 Phone: (817) 529-3900
Fax: (817) 529-3901
Branch Manager: Wade Johnson

GRI - Houston, TX

11201 Richmond Avenue
Suite A104
Houston, TX 77082
 Phone: (281) 558-7070
Fax: (281) 558-7075
Branch Manager: Tommy Padilla

GRI - San Antonio, TX

1227 Safari
San Antonio, TX 78216
 Phone: (210) 404-1611
Fax: (210) 404-1633
Branch Manager

Sunday, December 26, 2010

OCE Expands Managed Print Services Offerings

"Managed Print Services", offered by OCE, Pitney Bowes, Xerox, Ricoh, Canon, and, for sure, HP, compete with "reprographers" for business.......

This is the text of a Press Release recently issued by OCE.....

Managed Print Services

Tuesday, 21 December 2010 17:08
Businesses of all sizes can now take advantage of the Océ MPS program

TRUMBULL, CONN. December 21, 2010 – Océ, an international leader in digital document management, today announced the expansion of their Managed Print Services (MPS) program to include the new MPS Express for small office environments, and MPS Enterprise for mid- to large-sized office environments. The Océ MPS program is designed to help corporate office environments manage their printing network, quickly and easily without the added pressure of having to invest in new printing hardware. Océ MPS offers clients of all sizes the ability to get started with MPS fast, while still realizing their specific goals and objectives for cost containment, supplies inventory reduction and overall document lifecycle management efficiencies. This is achieved through leveraging the assets they currently have, reducing on-site supplies inventory and managing their devices proactively for service and support.

"A one-size-fits-all approach will not accommodate the needs of our diverse client base. MPS Express and MPS Enterprise were designed to provide a flexible MPS offering that can meet the requirements of any sized business," said John Reilly, President, Océ North America, Document Printing Systems. "Our approach is to extend our clients' print output resources and asset base, regardless of what vendors they currently have installed."

Through the Océ MPS program, Océ seeks to optimize clients' print environments by first taking inventory of their output assets and then leveraging their current print infrastructure and extending those resources. This offers clients far more value than recommending immediate hardware replacement. The Océ MPS program is uniquely hardware indifferent, as it does not require a hardware purchase and features a short-term, services- based contract. Océ actively engages clients that have a mixed-manufacturer, legacy output fleet, including both laser and non-laser devices.

MPS Express is a simple print management program designed to allow smaller office environments to get started with MPS immediately. Upon completing a quick and simple assessment, an Océ sales representative utilizes the MPS Express web-based tool to instantly generate a program proposal, which includes pricing based on the client's unique printing data and contract documents. There is no need for a lengthy assessment phase or installation of software to generate the proposal. Océ can begin monitoring and managing the client from day one.

MPS Enterprise is a more consultative engagement process designed for larger office environments. An Océ MPS analyst will collaborate with the client to work through their unique objectives, corresponding printing patterns and long-term goals in order to develop a customized program.

The Océ MPS program currently monitors and manages many devices within North America across various market segments, including legal, financial and health care.

To learn more about the latest enhancements to the Océ MPS program, visit or contact Robert Russell at (585) 533-3060 or

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Downtown Miami, FL Office Market estimated to be 25% Vacant !!!

Drawing from an article on December 21, 2010 in the Miami Herald by reporter Douglas Hanks….

Miami, FL Office Space Reportedly 25% Vacant!

600,000 sq ft, 47 story, I.M. Pei-designed “Miami Tower” recently sold for $106 million to Chicago investors.

That works out to a price of around $175.00 per sq ft. By comparison, In 2008, a Japanese company, Sumitomo, paid around $332.00 per sq ft for a similar high-profile, downtown Miami office building.

Here, I'm quoting directly from the article:

A recent report by CB Richard Ellis estimated downtown Miami's office buildings are about 75 percent full. That's compared to about 95 percent full when the real estate crash gained speed in 2008.

"Downtown Miami is experiencing the highest vacancy rate seen in years," the report said. Landlords "will need to offer aggressive terms to retain tenants and attract new tenants."

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Not directly related to the above ..... Google "the St Pete Times and Taj Mahal Courthouse" to read about the brand new Courthouse that just opened in Florida. Due to "arrogance of power and abuse of power", our Florida legislators and certain judges involved in the 1st District Court of Appeals managed to keep this project and the cost of the project under wraps until a reporter from the St Pete Times did an exhaustive investigation about the events that led to this incredibly wasteful, totally exorbitant, project in the midst of a deep recession.

This week, the Florida 1st District Court of Appeals moved into its brand-new “Taj Mahal”, 110,000 sq ft Court Facility. At a reported cost of around $50,000,000! That works out to a cost of $454.00 per sq ft. Even though Florida is buried in a deep recession, certainly our judges must be entitled to their new fancy digs!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Paperless" Construction Projects ???

This blog is devoted to articles and information about the Reprographics Industry. Although Reprographers do generate revenues from providing "digital" services, such as document management services (including PlanRooms), Reprographers generate most of their revenues from "printing" documents. Without revenues from "printing" documents, what would Reprographers do, and what would that mean for the future of the Reprographics Industry? I don't know anyone with a working crystal ball. But, I do know, based on observations the past three years, that changes in the A/E/C industry, changes that negatively affect the future of "printing on paper", are coming along and are highly likely to increase as time goes on. I don't think that anyone expects any drastic changes in the very near term, but, how about next year, the year after, or three or four years from now? Yes, there will be a recovery in the A/E/C Industry, but that does not necessarily mean or guarantee that the volume of "printing" will recover proportionately.

What got me started on this post, was a visit to the site of a software company known as "" I had visited Bluebeam's site before, but not recently. If you are in the reprographics business, you MUST visit Bluebeam; there is a lot of information about how A/E/C customers use and benefit from using Bluebeam's PDF product. If you are not aware of what A/E/C customers are using and saying, then how in the world will you really know what's going on?

First of all, Bluebeam is located at

There is a very interesting, very thought-provoking article, posted on Bluebeam's site, titled,
Paperless Construction Projects:
Implementing New Technologies to Digitize Project Communication

A White Paper by Architect Erica Lee RA, LEED AP

You can access that article at this Internet address:

There are a number of "case studies" on Bluebeam's web-site. You can access those case studies at this Internet address:

Disclosure: I don't own any stock in Bluebeam, ..... but I sure wish I did!

AIA ABI Index for November 2010 - above 50, again, for the 2nd time in three months

AIA ABI Index for November 2010 is above 50, again.

That makes it two months out of three - (September AIA ABI Index was above 50 - October AIA ABI Index was below 50 - November AIA ABI Index is above 50.)

The post on the AIA's web-site is located at this Internet address:
...and I recommend that you go to that site, because they've included some nice and interesting graphs/charts!

Here's the Press Release that's on the AIA's web-site.

Title of the Press Release: Business upturn becoming more widespread, but firms cautious about potential 2011 improvement
By Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA
AIA Chief Economist

Revenue at U.S. architecture firms increased in November, only the second monthly increase in billings since early 2008. At 52.0, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded a three point gain from the previous month, and reached its strongest level since December 2007. With ABI scores above the 50 level in two of the past three months, the prospects of a sustainable recovery in design activity are enhanced.

Regional revenue trends also are very encouraging. Firms in the Northeast, Midwest, and South all reported billings increases in November. The billings index for firms in the West increased 2.5 points in November, but since the index for this region remains below 50, it still reflected a modest decline from October levels.

Trends in billings by construction sector were more mixed. On the positive side, residential architecture firms report a solid increase in billings, with the index for that sector increasing to 54.3, its highest reading since mid-2007. On the negative side, the billings index for commercial/industrial firms dipped below 50 for the first time since last April. The billings index for institutional firms held steady, and has been slowly trending up for most of the year.

The AIA has recently begun collecting information on trends in newly signed design contracts, anticipating that this will serve as a leading indicator for future design billings. In November, fewer firms reported an increase in newly signed design contracts than reported an increase in billings, so workloads at architecture firms are not likely to begin to accelerate in the months ahead.

Still, slow going

While the national economic recovery continues, the pace of growth remains disappointing. The gross domestic product grew 2.5 percent in the third quarter when seasonally adjusted and annualized, which is somewhat below the pace of the first half of the year. Recent employment reports point to subpar growth continuing in the fourth quarter. Payrolls increased an average of 105,000 nationally through October and November, only slightly better than the 82,000 average monthly increases through the first three quarters of the year. Consumer sentiment numbers have been largely flat this year, and as a result, there have been only modest gains in consumer spending. Retail sales have increased at about a 6 percent pace through the first ten months of the year. However, these gains may be somewhat better than they appear to be, since inflation is running at only about 1.5 percent compared to year-ago levels, and is less than 1 percent when more volatile food and energy components are taken out.
The recent report on regional economic conditions (released December 1) by the Federal Reserve Board paints a generally negative, although mixed, picture of the commercial real estate markets. According to this report, the New York, Atlanta, and Kansas City districts noted some weakening in nonresidential activity, while the Boston and Dallas districts indicated some modest improvement. Boston, Richmond, Kansas City, and Dallas expressed optimism about the near-term outlook.

An uncertain year ahead

Given the uncertainty in the economy and the slow recovery in design activity, architecture firms are reasonably pessimistic about the outlook for 2011. Overall revenue growth is projected to average in the 2 to 3 percent range, but almost one in three firms expect revenue for 2011 to be below 2010 levels. Over half of these firms expect the falloff to be 10 percent or more. Still, well over four in 10 firms expect to see growth this coming year, with the remaining quarter anticipating that 2011 will be comparable to 2010.

Both residential and commercial/industrial firms are more optimistic about business conditions over the coming year. Half of the firms in each group are expecting revenue increases in 2011, while only one quarter are expecting declines. In contrast, almost half of institutional firms are expecting revenue declines over the coming year, with only 38 percent expecting growth. Regionally, firms in the Northeast and Midwest are expecting more favorable conditions in the future, with half of the firms in each of these regions expecting growth. Almost half of firms in the West anticipate revenue declines in 2011.

This month, Work-on-the-Boards participants are saying:

•“Healthcare continues to be strong in California, and education is seeing more opportunities for proposals.”—220-person firm in the West, institutional specialization.

• “Residential work continues to be additions and alterations. Small commercial tenant fit-ups are increasing.”—2-person firm in the Northeast, residential specialization.

• “Getting projects started has been very slow. We have seen interest from the corporate sector, which has been quiet in the past months.”—17-person firm in the Midwest, institutional specialization.

• “With numerous firms chasing every project, margins for those you win will remain thin.”—8-person firm in the South, commercial/industrial specialization.

"Transitioning" Management

One of the funniest comments I’ve ever heard anyone make about a transition in management!

Okay, let me admit that what’s funny to me is not funny to most, but I think that’s simply because I have a very weird sense of humor. (Remember, my ATF comedian is Lewis Black; that should tell you something about my sense of humor.)

Well, I want to share this one with you, but I first have to put it in perspective, meaning, give you some details.

Background …..

A few years ago, a company, with sales of around $23 million, was acquired by another company. Prior to its sale, this company had been one of the fastest growing, more profitable companies in its industry. Prior to its sale, this company had a very deep, very experienced management team. Even after its sale, virtually all of those management team members stayed on to operate the company for the acquirer.

But, as time went on, senior management of the acquirer decided to replace the acquired company’s soon-to-be-retiring President with another person, an outsider from one of the acquirer’s other business units, an outsider who had experience running a much smaller operation, a $3 - 4 million a year operation. Evidently, it was felt by the acquirer’s senior management that not a single one of the acquired company’s senior management team members was capable of stepping in to replace the departing President.

Business got worse and worse, as did morale. In time, all of the acquired company’s former management team members had left the business; either because they were let go or because they decided they did not want to be there any longer. Business and, especially, morale continued to get worse.

And, here’s the punch line …..

Even before he left the company, one of the acquired company’s senior officers, when talking to the acquired company’s former President (who had already departed the scene), remarked about the President’s replacement (who had been brought in from the outside), “the guy who replaced you was, we’ve heard, successful at running a 3 – 4 million a year operation. Perhaps when he gets our business down to that level, he will do well with our company!!!”

When I read that last sentence, I laughed out loud. I thought that comment was priceless.

ABC Imaging to establish operations in Shanghai ???

I heard from a friend this morning that ABC Imaging is planning to commence operations in Shanghai in the near future.

I don't know any more about that at this time, other that to say that, when I visited ABC Imaging's web-site this morning, I did not see Shanghai listed on ABC Imaging's "locations" map. I did see "Frankfurt, Germany" on ABC Imaging's locations-map, but I think that refers to ABC's "FM partnership" with Raak, a German reprographics enterprise.

Anyway, in spite of the "Great Recession", ABC Imaging continues to be very aggressive with expansion, not just in the U.S., but internationally as well. Far cry from ABC's initial founding in Washington, DC, when the first ABC location (around 1982) had five or six employees operating on the 2nd floor of a small building on 10th Street, NW. (Or maybe it was 11th Street?)

Florida Reprographics (Tampa, FL) files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

I guess this is just a "sign of the times."

Surfing the Internet, yesterday evening, for information and news related to the Reprographics Industry, I accidentally came across this:

Recent Chapter 11 Filings - Florida

Debtor: Florida Reprographics, Inc.

Bankruptcy Court District: Middle (Florida)
Filing Date: 11/30/10
Case Number: 10-28642
Attorney: Adam L Alpert (I'm pretty sure that he is with the Bush Ross law firm in Tampa)

I've just applied to reactivate my account with Pacer, the Government operated court-reporting system that one can use to access filings at all bankruptcy courts, but I'm not yet able to get on line because I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for Pacer to e-mail me my password to enter the system.

After I've read through the filings, it's highly likely that I will do a detailed post about the FR's BK.

The interesting thing about Chapter 11 is that the BK company does not have to pay its unsecured creditors a dime for anything purchased prior to the BK filing and the BK company has the opportunity, through "reorganization" to disavow (cancel) rental agreements, leasing obligations (for both real estate and equipment) and employment agreements. The BK Chapter 11 laws are "all about" giving the company a chance at a "fresh start." I'm not saying that creditors won't eventually get all or some of what they are owed. There have been many BK's where creditors eventually got everything they were owed, and, of course, many other BK's where creditors ended up getting a percentage, and sometimes a very, very small percentage, of what they were owed. So, a Chapter 11 BK gives the owner "breathing room" and a "fresh start." I've followed several BK's before, and, based on what I've observed over the years, most "customers" could care less. Some say there's a "stigma" attached to filing for BK. Maybe there is, but I've not seen customers switch vendors simply because their vendor filed for BK.

I wonder what the BK Court would say if a competitor of FR submitted an offer that would pay creditors 100% of what creditors are owed in return for ownership of the company?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lynn Imaging - Kentucky & Ohio - Recent developments announced by Lynn Imaging

One of the most respected reprographics companies in the reprographics industry is a company known as Lynn Imaging. Lynn is led by JL Lynn and Mike Carter and Lynn also has my favorite CFO guy, Glenn Norvell. I’m really glad that I never had to compete with Lynn.

Interesting, but although Lynn Imaging is a ReproMAX member, Lynn developed and uses its own “Planroom” service product, known as “eDistribution”. That same “Planroom” service product is also used by Duncan Parnell, another large and very-well-respected reprographer that conducts operations in the Southeastern U.S.

Here are some fairly recent announcements (news) found on the web-site of Lynn Imaging, the largest reprographics enterprise in Kentucky (and they also have locations in Ohio):

1) Introducing LynnPrint – a mark up software and easy to print to PDF solution
Posted on November 02, 2010

Lynn Imaging is excited to release LynnPrint to the Kentucky and Ohio markets. Our clients are eligible to subscribe to this software if they purchase, or currently own a wide format printer from Lynn Imaging, or a Pay for Output plan. This software is simple to use with little or no training required. Use LynnPrint to mark up your PDF plan files, make your estimates and then send to the printer with ease. LynnPrint is available for only $9.99 per month. Contact a Lynn Imaging Customer Service Representative for more details.

2) University of Cincinnati Planroom and Printing Awarded to Lynn Imaging
Posted on September 17, 2010

Lynn Imaging is proud to announce that we are the official provider for planroom, printing and digital distribution services for the University of Cincinnati. All construction bid opportunities for the University of Cincinnati will be posted at We are excited about this partnership with UC, and look forward to providing excellent customer service to the area. Lynn Imaging has two locations in Ohio; 5323 Mulhauser Road in West Chester, and our newest location is at 151 West Fourth Street in Downtown Cincinnati.

Here’s the “about us” information posted on Lynn Imaging’s web-site:

Lynn Imaging is a premier reprographics and color graphics company with five locations primarily serving Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. In 2009, Lynn Imaging teamed with Eastern Engineering, a firm based out of Indianapolis, Indiana to service the Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky regions. This strategic partnership expands Lynn Imaging’s ability to serve regional construction needs in Indiana and Ohio.

Lynn Imaging’s color graphics division, Monster Color is housed in 10,000 SF with the latest in printing equipment capable of producing high-quality advertising signage for marketing and advertising professionals with quick turnaround times.

The corporate office is located in Downtown Lexington, Kentucky. This office is home to Lynn’s e-Distribution department and the core business unit, high volume digital printers and bindery equipment for the small and large color and black and white reproductions. It also contains a wide format equipment showroom, featuring brands such as HP, CANON, OCE and KIP. All of Lynn Imaging’s locations are digitally connected, giving the ability to serve construction and advertising needs in a timely manner.

Most notably, Lynn Imaging maintains the value system that was built on in 1946. Lynn Imaging employees are loyal to their customers, and work to provide superior customer service. Each member of the sales team, executive committee, and managers working at Lynn Imaging average over twenty years of experience with the company. This unique team carries knowledge of the industry, and insight into customer needs which translates to peace of mind for their clients.

Lynn Imaging's mission is “to bring the values of our family and home to work, in order to better service our customers. We observe the rule of proprietorship and treat each customer, supplier and employee in the way we prefer to be treated. And because our customers are loyal, they deserve our highest standards.”

Lynn Imaging Locations:

151 West Fourth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202 

- 1122 US 127 South
Frankfort, KY 40601

- 328 Old Vine Street
Lexington, KY 40507

Monster Color
- 432 Old Vine Street
Lexington, KY 40507

- 11460 Bluegrass Parkway
Louisville, KY 40299

West Chester
- 5323 Muhlhauser Road 
West Chester, OH 45011

American Reprographics (NYSE: ARP) "pops up" 10% in the last 10 days

Interesting "pop" over the last ten days.

On December 10th, ARC's shares were trading around $6.75 per share.

This morning, December 21st, ARC's shares are trading at around $7.43 per share.

That's a "pop" up of just about 10%.

This morning, an article appeared on that said this:

Equities research analysts at Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Reprographics Company (NYSE: ARP) from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to clients and investors on Wednesday.

American Reprographics Company (ARC) is a reprographics company in the United States providing business-to-business document-related services that typically include document management, document distribution and logistics, and print-on-demand. The Company’s primary market is the architectural, engineering and construction industry (AEC) industry. It also provides these services to companies in non-AEC industries, such as aerospace, technology, financial services, retail, entertainment, and food and hospitality. As of December 31, 2009, the Company operated 272 reprographics service centers, including 259 service centers in 208 cities in 38 states throughout the United States and the District of Columbia, seven reprographics service centers in Canada, one in United Kingdom and a business venture company in China with five locations. It services approximately 138,000 active customers.

Shares of American Reprographics Company (NYSE: ARP) traded down 0.28% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $7.02. American Reprographics Company has a 52 week low of $6.00 and a 52 week high of $11.31. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $7.20 and its 200-day moving average is $7.80. On average, analysts predict that American Reprographics Company will post $0.03 EPS next quarter. The company has a market cap of $321.0 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of N/A.

- - - - - - - - -

Joel's comment:

Given the upgrade, I guess that the equity research analysts at Zacks are now experts in the reprographics industry?

During the past three months, and even before that, there hasn't been much positive news (if any positive news) about "recovery" in the A/E/C Industry or about "recovery" in the A/E/C Reprographics Industry. So, I can only conclude that the Zack's guy/gal who follows and rates ARC must know something that us reprographers don't know.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quarterly Index of A/E/C reprographer sales revenues from "plans printed on paper" (Q3 2010 update)

This is the 3rd quarter 2010 update to the index of the U.S.A. A/E/C reprographics industry's sales revenues of "plans-printed-on-paper".

The A/E/C Repro PPoP Index .....

This index does not attempt to track "total sales" of A/E/C reprographers. It attempts to track only sales of "plans printed on paper," which, traditionally and even nowadays, is the core (main) revenue generator for all A/E/C reprographers.

And, by "plans printed on paper", I mean A/E/C "plans", large-format, b/w and color, unbound or bound, full-size, half-size, whatever l/f size.

There will be a recovery in the A/E/C industry and thereby in the A/E/C reprographics industry. However, some are saying that even though there will be a recovery in the A/E/C industry, the recovery of sales revenues from "plans printed on paper" may not mirror the A/E/C industry's recovery, since some are expecting (I guess I should say, some are saying) that revenues from printing plans on paper are being negatively impacted by customers distributing CD's (or files) instead of distributing "hard copy" plans.

For this index, Q1 2006 is the ground-zero (base) point.

YR-- 2006-----2007-----2008----- 2009-----2010

Q1-- 1.00-------1.09-------1.10------0.65------0.55

Q2-- 1.06-------1.18-------0.98------0.65------0.60

Q3-- 1.08-------0.97-------0.85------0.57------0.60

Q4-- 0.89-------0.93-------0.64------0.49------

It does look to me like the index has stabilized, which means to be that we've begun a rebound from the bottom that was it in Q4 2009.

(This index is based on A/E/C Repro Vendor sales to A/E/C Reprographers)

Thomas Reprographics first in the U.S. to acquire OCE's new Arizona 550 XT flatbed printer

Even well before the A/E/C Industry headed into a recession, Thomas Reprographics, one of the largest "reprographics" companies in the U.S. (which also makes Thomas Reprographics one of the largest reprographers in the world), Thomas had expanded its business into the non-AEC "color services" sector. I had the opportunity to visit Thomas' main-plant facility a few years ago and observed some of their non-AEC jobs running on a Xerox IGEN (small-format color) system and on a grand-format printer.

Here's an announcement about Thomas' latest additions to its non-AEC "color services" equipment arsenal:

TRUMBULL, Conn., Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Oce, an international leader in digital document management and large format printing solutions, today announced it installed the first Oce Arizona® 550 XT printer in the U.S. at Thomas Reprographics' facility in Dallas. This installation was quickly followed by a second Oce Arizona 550 XT printer placement at Thomas Reprographics' Austin, TX, location.

The Oce Arizona 550 XT printer is the next generation model in the award-winning Oce Arizona Series of UV flatbed printers. It uses UV curable inks and Oce VariaDot™ imaging technology to deliver near-photographic image quality for nearly any application. Designed as a true flatbed system, it can print on a wide variety of oversized rigid substrates up to 98.4 by 120 inches, and offers a flexible media printing option for roll-based media up to 86.6 inches wide. The Oce Arizona 550 XT printer features a Production print mode of up to 462 square feet per hour on rigid media without sacrificing any of the award-winning print quality for which the Oce Arizona Series is famous.

Trevor Hansen, Director of Product Marketing at Thomas Reprographics, cites quality improvement, ink cost savings, labor savings, and the ability to offer a wide range of output as key features of the Oce Arizona Series printers installed at various Thomas Reprographics' locations. In addition to the two new Oce Arizona 550 XT models, an Oce Arizona 250 GT printer is installed at the Phoenix location; an Oce Arizona 350 GT printer is at the Minneapolis facility; and another Oce Arizona 350 GT printer is in the Miami office. These are just a few of many Oce printers used by Thomas Reprographics to serve its customers in the AEC and display graphics industries.

"Because of the economy, traditional reprographic work for the architectural / engineering / construction (AEC) industries isn't growing right now," said Hansen. "As the economy turned south, the addition of the Oce Arizona printers to our line gave us the ability to offer a broader range of services. We're growing our display graphics business with our Oce Arizona Series printers."

ReproMAX inks deal to supply and host Asite's "award winning" web-based, collaborative, software-as-a-service platform

From information found on ReproMAX's web-site:

30 November 2010
ReproMAX (Chesterfield, Missouri, USA) has signed a major contract with Asite's distributor in North America (SaaS North America) to supply and host its award winning web-based collaborative Software as a Service (cSaaS).

Asite's cSaaS platform enables the ReproMAX membership to deliver a complete collaborative solution for print services and project management solutions to maximize data and control:

 State-of-the-art cloud-based global data centers
 Storing and controlling all documents
 Version control
 Global Print Distribution
 Automating key contract administration tasks such as fee note processing
 Making it easier to share best practice and examples
 Workflow services
 AppBuilder - building new Applications with no coding experience
 Collaborative Building Information Modelling for the entire supply chain
 The ability to report across the breadth of the service

Rick Bosworth, President of ReproMAX commented "ReproMAX is extremely excited to be able to offer a world-class SaaS solution to our AEC customers. The cloud based infrastructure, global print distribution network and wide-ranging software solutions set provides us the most cutting edge and comprehensive solution set in the construction industry today."

Al Douglas, CEO of SaaS North America commented "As North American distributor for Asite, SaaS North America Inc. is proud to have industry leader ReproMAX as a key value added service provider of the Asite platform. Being well positioned within the AEC market, we know that the ReproMAX organization will take full advantage of the power of our cSaaS platform and provide these highly valuable services to their clients from the smallest, up to an enterprise level on a global scale. With premier reprographic companies in most major cities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as members in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, ReproMAX will, for the first time anywhere, provide seamless global print distribution, user-customizable AEC workflows, collaborative BIM and eProcurement to the AEC community from a cloud-based platform. We welcome them into our family and we are very excited about the future".

Tony Ryan, CEO of Asite commented "This proves how our service is now market leading in its ability to deliver state-of-the-art solutions on a truly international basis to a much wider audience. Our cSaaS is way ahead of the competition and I cannot see anyone catching us for some time to come." Asite delivers flexible IT solutions for collaboration, trading and sourcing for use by companies at any point in the supply chain.

For more information about ReproMAX, call (800) 873-7762 or send an email to:

For more information about SaaS North America, call +1 (613) 686-3799 or send an email to:

For more information about Asite, please call +44 (0)207 749 7880 or send an email to:

Pinnacle Infotech - BIM Services - Reprographics Newsletter

After the May 2009 IRGA Convention, I did a post about RCMS Group and about KP Reddy, President of RCMS. RCMS Group is a “BIM Services” company. In September 2009, ARC acquired the assets (and business) of RCMS; KP Reddy continued on with RCMS.

There is another company I know of that offers BIM services. And, today, while doing some reprographics industry research, it dawned on me that I’ve never done a post about that other company. (I am sure that there are many companies that offer “BIM services”.)

This other company is known as Pinnacle Infotech, Inc. and is led by Mr. Biswanath Todi.
Although it is highly doubtful that Biswanath with remember this, I first met him at an IRGA Convention. The IRGA Convention that was held in Orlando, several years ago. I remember visiting him at his booth – here he was promoting his firm’s CAD services. I recall asking him how much it would cost to scan a hardcopy A/E drawing and then covert from raster to vector. His response, “why scan and convert, when for around $50.00 per drawing, we can create a new vector (AutoCAD) file from scratch?” Made sense to me.

Anyway, I did not know what BIM was at that time (and I’m sure that most in the reprographics industry had little clue about BIM way back then.) And, he was not, to the best of my recollection, promoting Pinnacle’s BIM services at that time.

Here’s some information about Pinnacle Infotech, Inc.

“About Pinnacle”

Pinnacle Infotech was founded in 1992 to provide CAD Design, Modeling and Drafting solutions. We started serving the global market in 1998. A market leader today, Pinnacle has a team of 500 architects, engineers and CAD professionals with a thorough understanding of international architectural and construction

Pinnacle Infotech Inc.
9950 WestPark Drive
Houston, Texas 77063

P : 713-780-8784
E :
W :

Also, Pinnacle publishes a monthly newsletter that covers things happening in the reprographics industry. Here’s the lead-in to the most recent issue of that newsletter, Pinnacle’s Communique:

“Pinnacle's Communiqué”

Issue 18 / Nov.2010

The eighteenth issue of the Communiqué, Pinnacle's monthly newsletter is on shelves now. The newsletter focuses on the Reprographic industry. Hopefully the articles and news related write ups will interest you a lot. The write ups are high on information quotient as our sole aim is to keep you updated. The newsletter is intended to be a five minute read with many of the articles offering links to further information.

Biswanath Todi
Pinnacle Infotech Inc.

For those of you who are too lazy to “right now” visit Pinnacle’s web-site, here’s their “front page” introduction:

Pinnacle's Journey: A Landmark in BIM Service

Pinnacle can rightly boast of being the Global leader in the world of innovative BIM services for Construction, Architectural and Engineering Industry for 12 years.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a comparatively new concept in the world of construction. Pinnacle has been working tirelessly for 18 years to bring a revolution in the construction industry. Construction work of any sort is not all about just drawings, materials and then a building. There is a lot than what meet the eyes. The entire process involve a huge amount of expenditure, piles of wasted materials and to top it all a considerable amount of time. As they say, "time is money", we help you Buying Time, while buying our service.

During the early years of the 20th century, our company stepped in as one of the flag bearers in outsourcing BIM technology. The construction industry used to work independently before. Later on, the construction companies understood that a virtual 3D structure can make the process much easier and cost effective. The procedure got widely popularized in the US and other developed nations. Developing countries are fast catching up with the world. The construction companies and the building owners have started paying attention towards subscribing BIM service procedure as that can reduce the total expenditure by 5-15%. BIM is a service to eliminate RFI (request for information) or any other conflicts that arise during the construction procedure. Dispersion of wastage or clutter on the site helps in pr accurate prefabrication and thus improve the quality of construction.

Pinnacle has introduced innovative solutions and a delivery model which is significantly changing the functioning of the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry. Our speedy delivery model for the AEC community has helped Pinnacle grow into a huge global BIM service provider. During the testing time of recession our MEP services have managed to establish its effective aid towards cost-cutting. The clients have also realized the reliability of BIM service.

Pinnacle has so far successfully delivered more than 1000 projects. Our delivered projects comprise of at least 3000 Institutional, Industrial, Residential and Commercial structures. 12 years is quite a long time and when we turn back, to our utter contentment find some large projects like, Airports, Hospitals, Stadium, Hotels, Research Centre, Power Plants, Water Treatment Plant, Convention Centre, etc. An ideal mix of infrastructure, experience, process and technology innovations and commitment to excellence has led to long term business relationships with over 500 clients globally.

BIM has a lot to offer in terms of advantages. The entire life-cycle of a project can be encapsulated using BIM. Today success of a project is determined by the pre-construction planning and coordination. Pinnacle Infotech integrates its process and services with customer's existing systems, in a manner, which ensures that existing critical systems remain in place and the new BIM technology starts providing benefits.

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Joel’s further comments:

When you do have the time to visit Pinnacle’s web-site:

• click on the “what is BIM” box and it brings up valuable information and insights about BIM

• click on the “testimonials” tab, and you will see that Pinnacle provides services not just to A/E firms, but to reprographers as well

Service Point Announces Q3 2010 Results (update to previous post)

On or around November 15, 2010, SP posted on its web-site a report covering SP's performance through the first 9 months of 2010.

I did a post about that report on November 23, 2010, indicating that an English-language-version of SP's Q3 2010 report was unavailable.

When I visited SP's web-site today, I did find that an English-language version of SP's Q3 2010 is now available.

You can find the English-language-version of that report at this internet address:

I encourage reprographers (and financial analysts who follow the reprographics industry) to read SP's most recent report. It is always quite interesting to see how companies in the reprographics industry talk about their performance, recent actions, developing trends and future plans.

Shredding is a "document management" service (?)

I’ve always found it interesting to explore different industries and to see how different companies, companies who compete with one another, “present” and talk about their services and products.


While visiting Service Point’s (the SP USA division’s) web-site, I noticed that SP lists “document shredding” as one of its services. However, after clicking a bit deeper into that particular service, this is what came up:

Secure Document Shredding + Recycling
Service Point professional partner Cintas, a national organization and certified member of NAID (National Association for Information Destruction), provides confidential document destruction and recycling services for our clients.

-Locked receptacles are supplied, conveniently placed for collection in multiple offices or floors of your business as needed.
-A variety of materials may be placed in receptacles for processing: paper documents (small and large format), CD’s, tapes, film, etc.
-Staples, rubber bands, paper clips, etc. do not need to be removed.
-Receptacles are regularly collected and emptied, with pick ups scheduled as required.
-All materials remain securely locked in Cintas trucks for destruction off-site at secure shredding centers or are shredded on-site in specially equipped trucks.
Shredded material is delivered to a recycling center to be turned into future products.

So, while SP advertises “document shredding” as one of SP’s services, SP, apparently, does not provide shredding services itself, but, rather, refers customers to its “partner” who does shredding, Cintas Corp.

So, after I visited Service Point’s web-site, I went to Cintas’ web-site. Cintas is a publicly-traded company.

Cintas’ products and services (per information found on Cintas’ web-site):
-Uniform and Apparel
-Facility Services
-First Aid and Safety
-Fire Protection
-Document Management
-Cleanroom Resources
-Flame Resistant Clothing
-Promotional Products

After I saw the list of Cintas’ products and services and did not see “document shredding” listed as a service, I clicked on “document management,” and, lo and behold, this is what appeared:

Cintas’ Document Management Services:

Each year improper document management costs businesses like yours millions of dollars in liability and lost productivity. Let Cintas help you choose the proper document shredding, imaging, and storage program to ensure:
-Data privacy and security
-Regulatory compliance
-Control and access to information
-Cost control associated with information processing

So, shredding is a “document management” service. (!) (?)

Until I read about Cintas’s document management services, I did not know that Cintas was in the “imaging” business or in the “storage” business.


I first heard about Iron Mountain around 1985, when one of the guys at the investment bank that took my former company public, asked me what I knew about “document storage and retrieval services” and “do you know about a company called Iron Mountain?” So, since then, I’ve on-and-off followed Iron Mountain. Way back then, their business was “storage and retrieval” of “hard-copy” documents, but, since then, IM has morphed into a multi-faceted company (Warren Buffet reportedly is an investor in IM stock), and IM offers “shredding services” and other services that are truly “document management” services.

Iron Mountain’s services (per information found at “what we do” on Iron Mountain’s web-site):
-Document Management Solutions
-Health Information Management
-Digital Archiving
-Online Backup
-Records Management and Storage
-Secure Shredding
-Data Protection and Recovery
-Disaster Recovery
-Technology Escrow Services
-Consulting and Professional Services
-Records Management Compliance
-Marketing Production and Fulfillment Services
Pick-and-Pack Fulfillment
Digital Printing
Customized Kitting and Booklet Creation
Lead Response Fulfillment
Print Management
-Film and Sound Archiving
-Products and Services A-Z


Though a few keystrokes in Google, I also came across “Shred-it”. Shred-it does not mention or refer to “shredding” as a “document management” service, but, all the same, since they compete with the others who offer “shredding” services, I thought I’d mention them in this post. Particularly, because where a couple of their key management team members toiled before joining Shred-it.

About Shred-it (per what they say about their services, as per their web-site):
Shred-it specializes in providing a tailored document destruction service
that allows businesses to comply with legislation and ensure that the client, employee and confidential business information is kept secure at all times. Through our strict chain-of-custody processes, reliable on-time service and a global network of local service centers, Shred-it provides the most secure and efficient confidential information destruction service in the industry.

Interesting to see where a couple of their key management team members came from:

Vincent R. De Palma
, President and Chief Executive Officer
Vince joined Shred-it in August 2009, bringing over 25 years of executive experience to the company. He became well acquainted with business to business services in his past roles as President of Pitney Bowes Management Services, and as President of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Benefit Services. Vince has also held senior management positions at Petroleum Heat & Power Company and McKinsey & Company.
(A visit to Pitney Bowes’ web-site revealed this: Pitney Bowes does not indicate that it offers “shredding” services, but Pitney Bowes does sell document shredders. I guess that Mr. De Palma decided that there was more money in doing the actual shredding than there was in the one-time sale of shredders? Well, even if that’s not the case, its certainly much more fun to shred documents than it is to deliver and install a shredder.)

Robert Guice
, Executive Vice President, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
Robert joined Shred-it in 2004. Robert is responsible for overseeing Shred-it's sales, services and operations in the European and Middle Eastern markets, which includes 30 branches in six European countries and two branches in the Middle East and Africa region.
Mr. Guice has expertise in sales, sales management and business management. Prior to joining Shred-it, Robert served as Sales and Marketing Director for the UK branch of an international records and information management company. He has also held management positions in the United Kingdom and internationally in the telecommunications, and IT industries. Robert has managed global accounts and led multi-discipline teams in his previous roles.
(Could it be that Mr. Guice was previously with Iron Mountain?)

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For reprographers who are looking for ways to supplement their revenues and who are already involved in providing “document management” services, perhaps you should consider adding “document shredding” as one of the services you provide???

Housing starts up, slightly, but building permit activity is down

One of my favorite things to do is to listen to business news on Bloomberg (on Sirius satellite radio). And, I do that every chance I get. My "all time favorite" business news show is the one that is hosted by Bloomberg's Tom Keene and co-hosted by Ken Prewitt. If you are interested in what's going on in the business world and have not dialed into that show, you are missing the best business news show on the planet.

A while back, before the recession began to get real deep, some financial analysts (some of whom follow and report(ed) on ARC) apparently were of the opinion that the fall-off in the "residential" development sector was somewhat isolated, meaning that, even though residential was falling off and expected to decline further, it would not have much of an effect on "non-residential" development. In one of my earliest blog posts, I said that the decline in residential development would have a trickle-down effect on all types of development, including the non-res development sector. And, I gave my reasons for why that would happen. Well, I was right and "they" were wrong. I am not perfect, nor am I even all that smart. But, when you've been in the reprographics business and industry for many, many years, you do experience (i.e., "see") the ripple effects and trickle-down) (or trickle-up) effects that impact the A/E/C Industry and, thusly, that affect the Reprographics Industry.

Although the Home Builders Index is still very, very soft (at 16, as mentioned in one of my blog posts yesterday), it was reported, this morning, that housing starts are up .... slightly. That's always a good sign for people who are hoping that recovery in the A/E/C industry is coming. We still have a long way to go to see housing (residential construction) recover (we still have this very big, very ugly foreclosure thing to get through), but any uptick in activity, no matter how small in the beginning, brings hope that the future will be brighter. And, reprographers are a hopeful bunch.

Found on Bloomberg ....

U.S. Housing Starts Rise for First Time Since August
By Shobhana Chandra - Dec 16, 2010
Builders in the U.S. began work on more homes in November for the first time in three months, showing the industry is struggling to recover.

Housing starts rose to a 555,000 annual rate, up 3.9 percent from October’s 534,000 pace that was higher than initially estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 550,000 pace. Building permits, a proxy of future work, fell, reflecting a drop in applications for multifamily projects.

Companies like Toll Brothers Inc. anticipate the industry that triggered the worst recession since the 1930s will regain its footing in coming months after the end of a tax credit caused demand to slump. While low borrowing costs and prices may help entice buyers, mounting foreclosures and unemployment near 10 percent mean housing will take years to fully rebound.

“Housing remains stuck in the mud,” said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, who correctly forecast the pace of starts. “Builders are in a wait-and-see mode. Foreclosures are still problematic and the recent backup in mortgage rates poses a significant threat.”

The median forecast was based on a survey of 76 economists. Estimates ranged from 520,000 to 595,000.

Permits dropped 4 percent to a 530,000 annual rate, the lowest level since April 2009. They were projected to climb to a 560,000 annual rate, according to the survey median.

Fewer Claims

A report from the Labor Department today showed fewer workers unexpectedly filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, pointing to a labor market that is on the mend. Applications for jobless insurance payments fell by 3,000 to 420,000, the lowest in three weeks.

Another Commerce Department report today showed the current- account deficit widened to $127.2 billion in the third quarter, reflecting an increase in imports. The gap, the broadest measure of international trade because it includes income payments and government transfers, was the biggest in almost two years.

Stock-index futures were little changed after the reports. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in March rose 0.1 percent to 1,233.5 at 8:46 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities rose, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down to 3.50 percent from 3.53 percent late yesterday.

Year-to-Year Drop

From the same month last year, housing starts fell 5.8 percent, while permits were 15 percent lower.

Construction of single-family houses increased 6.9 percent to a 465,000 rate, the highest level since April. While permits also rose, by 3 percent, the 416,000 level of applications in November signals work may slow in coming months.

Work on multi-family homes, such as townhouses and apartment builders, dropped 9.1 percent to an annual rate of 90,000, a third consecutive decline and the lowest level since June. Multifamily permits plunged 23 percent to a 114,000 pace.

Three of four regions showed an increase, led by a 16 percent increase in the Midwest.

Americans have pulled back on house purchases following the expiration of a tax incentive of as much as $8,000, which required that contracts be signed by April 30 and closed by Sept. 30. Sales of new and existing properties fell in October. Figures for November are due next week.

The recent increase in mortgage rates may also cool demand. The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.61 percent in the week ended Dec. 9, up from the record-low of 4.17 percent reached in November, according to McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac, which began keeping data in 1971.

Fed’s Concerns

Today’s report is a reminder why Federal Reserve policy makers, who met Dec. 14 for the final time this year, say housing is lagging while the economy rebounds. They cited declines in home values as one of the constraints on consumer spending.

“The housing sector continues to be depressed,” Fed officials said in a statement after the gathering, at which they reiterated a plan to expand record monetary stimulus and said economic growth is “insufficient to bring down unemployment.”

Home values are poised to drop by more than $1.7 trillion in 2010, according to Zillow Inc., a closely held provider of home price data. This year’s estimated decline, more than the $1.05 trillion drop in 2009, brings the loss since the June 2006 home-price peak to $9 trillion, Seattle-based Zillow said on Dec. 9.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo’s confidence index was unchanged in December from a month earlier, a report showed yesterday, indicating developers remained pessimistic.

Builder Outlook

Even so, the housing market will avoid a double-dip after reaching a bottom last year, and the industry will gain momentum in 2012, according to Douglas Yearley, chief executive officer of Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury-home builder.

“The recovery is here to stay,” Yearley said in a Dec. 7 interview in New York. “I think 2011 will be an improving year, but I think 2012 will be a big year for us.”

While the number of visitors to its sales offices isn’t up, Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Toll is seeing more “quality” visitors, a sign buyers are less skittish about the market and more serious about purchasing, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at