Boeing Corp recently decided to enter into a contract with Fedex Office (most reprographers, I think, still refer to Fedex Office as Kinkos) to provide reprographics and graphic imaging services to Boeing, replacing American Reprographics Co (ARC) for the service that ARC has been providing to Boeing for the last several years*. Overall, not good news for ARC. Overall, good news for Fedex Office. But, be sure to read the last paragraph of this post, because ARC, apparently, is not totally out of the picture.
(* OCE had the Boeing deal before ARC took it over a few years ago.)
According to a knowledgeable source, ARC achieved a 99.8% satisfaction rate for the services it provided to Boeing, but, in spite of that, ARC lost the deal to Fedex Office. With that high of a satisfaction rate, why’d ARC lose this deal to Fedex Office? Was it price? Probably not. Was it service? Doesn’t appear to have been for that reason. Was the loss due to a strategic relationship? I think so.
As we are all aware, Fedex Corp is a major transportation company; Fedex owns or leases a significant number of aircraft. While Fedex’s aircraft fleet does include Airbus aircraft, Fedex’s fleet also includes Boeing aircraft.
If I was the guy running Fedex Office’s business and wanted my company to take over the reprographics services relationship that ARC has with Boeing, I know what I would say to my boss at Fedex, and what I would want my CEO to say to Boeing’s CEO. In just about any business where a prospective vendor (in this case, Fedex Office) is also a significant customer (in this case, of Boeing’s), that relationship, the “customer-vendor” relationship (in this case, the Fedex-Boeing relationship) certainly carries with it the power to influence who’s going to get a deal - - and, of course, the “deal” I’m referring to is the Boeing reprographics deal.
My guess is that Boeing is the type of company that requires large-format and small-format imaging services, with quite a bit of the large-format imaging services generated by Boeing’s production of technical (design/engineering) documents. ARC and other reprographers have a great deal of experience with, not to mention extensive technology (software) designed to handle, file conversion, file management, document management, technical document collaboration, reprographics, job-submission, quality control, and job-cost-center tracking and reporting. The “big question” in my mind, does Fedex Office have the reprographics know-how and the technology know-how (and software) and the business-process know-how to do as good a job, as comprehensive a job, for Boeing that ARC has been providing to Boeing? Only time will tell. Second “big question”; while Fedex Office learns what it needs to know to successfully service Boeing’s reprographics and document management requirements, will ARC stay in place for a period of time, even after Fedex Office begins its implementation? It looks like that will be the case, for, according to a knowledgeable source, ARC’s nationwide contract with Boeing has been extended for at least two months and, for one critical Boeing facility, has been extended for a year! So as to ARC, it wasn’t all bad news. One thing’s for sure, even with the relationship advantage that Fedex Office evidently had on this deal, Fedex Office, in my opinion, better get crackin’ on all that it needs to know to fully and comprehensively deal with Boeing’s document management and reprographics requirements. For, who knows what could happen, down the road, if that does not happen.