Monday, October 31, 2011

ReproConnect makes significant headway, in spite of a lackluster reprographics economy!

I’d like you to know that I’m not easily impressed.

But, I’m one to give credit ….. when and where credit is due.

Reprographers are aware that the A/E/C segment of the reprographics market has been slow for several years by now. (Hopefully, 2012 will see a turn for the better.) In spite of that, ReproConnect, which offers Internet-based e-planroom services, has made significant headway with its ReproConnect planroom product. To me, making headway (in other words, growing your business) in a down market is not just impressive, it is astoundingly impressive.

How do I know how ReproConnect is doing?

Earlier today, I posted an article on the blog to inform reprographers, who use OCE Plan Center, that OCE is going to shut-off OCE Plan Center come the first of January, 2012. In that blog post, I mentioned a few alternative e-planrooms, those that came quickly to mind. One of those alternatives mentioned was “ReproConnect.”

After I did that post, I received an e-mail from Joseph Szobody of ReproConnect. Joe shared this (see below) with me about his progress with ReproConnect:

“This year we have had a record number of sign-ups in spite of the bad economy. There are about 160 reprographics companies that have licensed ReproConnect now. Note that these are unique companies - the number of locations is much higher. I believe you'll find that is a whole lot more than even our nearest competitor (if you only count independent reprographers and ignore any chains or other shops owned by a parent company that might mandate a particular planroom).”

“Our growth has been almost entirely over the last 4-5 years - we only had 12 clients back in 2006. It's all due to our extreme focus on simple solutions that directly target sales (the bottom line!), and making sure we support our clients both technically and with sales / execution. Considering we're a very small company, competing with several ‘big boys,’ it is pretty stunning to now be #1 in the nation. We are having fun.” J

I don’t recall ReproConnect being “out there” when I retired from NGI in December 2007, but, evidently, they were, per what Joe said in the e-mail he sent me. Considering the fact that ReproConnect began its business in 2006, managing to get up to 160 licensed reprographics companies is, in my opinion, a stunning achievement, especially considering the fact that the Great Recession began in December 2007, and, for the A/E/C industry (and for the A/E/C segment of the reprographics industry) has yet to turn to the upside.

After reading this post, perhaps ARC will let me know how many ARC locations and non-ARC-owned reprographics companies are using PlanWell, perhaps ReproMax will let me know how many reprographics companies are using DFS, and perhaps RSA will let me know how many reprographics companies are using PlanCommand?

I’d be happy to compile and report the numbers!

OCE to discontinue OCE Plan Center !!!

It’s official!

Effective January 1, 2012, OCE will no longer provide access to the OCE Plan Center on-line hosting service, rendering the software non-functional. In addition, OCE will no longer provide technical support or updates.

OCE has documented a process whereby you can export the files you are currently storing on the OCE Plan Center server. For information about that process, call OCE at 1-800-661-2966.

The two paragraphs that appeared immediately above were copied from a letter that, evidently, OCE has distributed to its OCE Plan Center customers.

I’ve placed a copy of that letter in my Google Docs library, and here’s the link to that letter:

For those of you who have been using OCE Plan Center as your e-planroom service and are planning to replace OCE Plan Center with another Internet-based e-planroom service, I did a post on my blog, several months ago, that mentioned a variety of Internet-based “e-planroom” services. Some of the options that come quickly to mind are ARC’s PlanWell, ReproConnect, RSA’s PlanCommand, and Lynn Imaging’s eDistribution.

Another blogging milestone will soon be reached by Reprographics 101, if I don't drop dead

If I don’t drop dead within the next few days, Reprographics 101 will have achieved another milestone (of sorts), 900 posts, since I started Reprographics 101 on February 27, 2009.

Below, I’m going to share with you:

* The first post I did, when I started Reprographics 101

* Visitor statistics, since I first started Reprographics 101 – as reported by Google Analytics. Please note that the “analytics” service was, for some unknown reason, turned off for a period of about 4-6 months. If the analytics service had been working during that period, the numbers would be higher

* My comments, from the perspective of the author of Reprographics 101 (that’s me!)

Initial post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2009

Initial remarks about my blog

After spending (investing!) nearly all of my adult life (39 years and counting) in and around the reprographics business and industry - - and being one of the most opinionated people in the reprographics industry (at least that I'm aware of), I've decided to start a blog to share my opinions. (One of my ex-partners said, in the past, that I'm not "opinionated" but, rather, that I'm "arrogant". My take is that he said that because he doesn't know the difference between being "arrogant" and being "highly opinionated.") Whatever.

I should not fail to mention that my favorite comedian is Lewis Black. That should give you some sense of my sense of humor. Although I'm intending to use this blog to share my thoughts and opinions about the reprographics business and industry, it is highly likely (if not a given) that I will rant and rave about other topics.

Google Analytics reports these numbers (from inception through October 20, 2011, which, as I mentioned, does not include visitor activity when the analytics service was turned off.)

* 13,127 Visitors

* 30,976 Visits

* 55,907 Pageviews

* 30,976 visits came from 119 countries/territories

* This country/territory (the U.S.) sent 25,281 visits via 52 regions

Statistics for “visits” from top 10 U.S. states:



# of visits










New York






North Carolina















My comments from the perspective of the author of Reprographics 101…..

Although there are other blogs devoted to the reprographics business and industry, I’m pretty sure that Reprographics 101 is the only blog authored by an individual or company not active in the reprographics business. Which “sort of” makes Reprographics 101 an “independent” blog and, some would say, an “unbiased” blog. In spite of the fact that I know a lot of reprographers (both here in the U.S. and around the world), only one reprographics blogger has mentioned – and provided a link to – Reprographic 101 – and that particular blogger (Jared Willis) is no longer working in the reprographics industry. It is, of course, frustrating that other reprographics-bloggers won’t mention the existence of Reprographics 101. Perhaps they don’t want the competition? Perhaps they don’t want others to know about Reprographics 101? Why that is, I haven’t a clue.

According to Google Analytics, which captures visitor statistics, Reprographics 101 gets anywhere from 100 to 225 “visitors” each day, during the week, and about 1/3rd to 1/2 that many on weekends. That’s not a lot of visitors. Which often moves me to think hard about continuing Reprographics 101. But, nearly every time I think about discontinuing Reprographics 101, I get an e-mail from one of my blog-visitors telling me “great job – keep it up.” (or an e-mail along those lines.) So, I “truck on”.

I seldom get “comments” on articles I post on Reprographics 101. I’ve mentioned this before. Is that due to “reprographer-apathy”? Or, is it due to reprographers really wishing that Reprographics 101 would simply go away?

Some of my blog-visitors have suggested that I open up Reprographics 101 to advertising. I’d do that, but have not done that because I haven’t figured out how to do that.

I’ve considered adding a “forum” (or linking a forum) to Reprographics 101, but I haven’t figured out how to do that.

I’ve considered adding RSS feeds to web-sites that contain news about the reprographics industry and about the A/E/C industry, but I haven’t, as of yet, figured out how to do that. But, I plan on testing that over the next couple of weeks.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for today. Thank you.

Former employee reviews ABC Imaging

I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally visit to read employee reviews (posted by both current and former employees) of companies in the reprographics business.

Most of the reviews I read, especially those posted by former employees, are quite mean-spirited.

Glassdoor provides a forum for employees to post comments about their employers. The question I have is….. is glassdoor’s forum fair to employers? Should not glassdoor allow employers to respond to comments posted about them? I travel quite a bit, and, from time to time, use to research hotel ratings and reviews. Travelers post reviews, some are negative, some are positive. Hotels are allowed to post comments about a review. Should not glassdoor allow employers to respond to comments about them?

Here’s a very recent “former” (and an apparently disgruntled one at that) ABC Imaging employee’s review of ABC:

Review posted on on October 17, 2011

Postion: ABC Imaging FM Engineer in Washington, DC: (Past Employee - 2009)

Can Gain a lot of experience fast but it is a Horrible, Horrible, Horrible Place to work


If you work in IT you pretty much get thrown to the wolves fast and you get to learn a lot in the process. They have a lot of under appreciated great workers. You can gain a lot of experience with printers/servers really fast, but you will have to learn on your own


Well this is going to be a much more expansive list than the Pros. Most importantly there are a lot of incredible people that have been working for a while, but instead of appreciating these people they are taken advantage of over worked, way under paid and under appreciated. When I was there we would regularly work 80 to over 100 hours a week and receive no overtime bonus or even a pat on the back. There is a lot of travel involved, but they make the travel as miserable as possible. They only give you 40 dollars a day to spend in New York, LA or Kansas City. If you end up driving your own car they only pay 30 cents a mile (That is if they ever pay you). They will not pay for rental cars even if one is necessary and turning in expense reports is such a chore that I have known people to eat the cost rather than to just turn it in.

When I was there they constantly hired people who didn't understand the business to manage positions that they knew nothing about rather than hiring from within. There was one year where I went through 4 Managers and each one was worse than the next. Finally they had someone working production managing the IT department. That was the last straw for me. Benefits are non-existent. If you have a family you have to pay over 1000 (that's over a thousand) out of pocket for just insurance. Many people in the company don't even make that much a month. The owner has a bill of rights that states that the company answer is always yes to client demands, but at the same time the owner and management tell the workers that they need to to convince the client what they should want. If that doesn't make sense to you I thought the same thing the first time I heard it. The ownership and management are big believers in one-sided loyalty. All employees must remain loyal to the company while management and the ownership cut pay by 7 % indiscriminately lay people off, treat people like dirt, and hire people from outside with no experience in the industry to tell the people that have been keeping the company going how things should be done. Forgot to mention that the company had to cut pay during hard economic times for all employees, but at the same time they had money to open up offices in Denver and Philadelphia which were bound to lose money on top of all of the money that would have to be dumped in to purchase the new shops.

Advice to Senior Management

Wake UP!!!

I would ask management to think about how many talented hard working loyal employees have to leave before you realize you can't treat everyone like dirt and expect the world out of them. There has to be some give and take and not all take and no give.


Joel’s further comment:

My advice to employees who do not like working for an employer is very simple - leave and get a job somewhere else!

I have several friends who work for ABC Imaging and who have worked for ABC Imaging for more than 10 years, some for more than 20 years. If they are still working at ABC Imaging, could ABC Imaging really be as bad a place to work as the glassdoor poster said?