Saturday, April 28, 2012

Staples Launches Managed Print Services


Posted (on MPS Mentor) April 25th, 2012 by Joe Panettieri

Staples has launched managed print services and the big box retailer expects to help customers cut printing costs by up to 30 percent. Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, is leading the managed print services (MPS) push. Although managed print services is considered a prime opportunity, only about 30 percent of MSPs offer managed print services, according to our annual MSPmentor 100 report.

Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) is no stranger to the managed services market.  Thrive Networks, the retailer’s managed services arm, ranks among the world’s top MSPs, according to our annual MSPmentor 100 report. While Thrive Networks is not involved in the Staples Advantage MPS push, Thrive Networks President Jim Lippie says he’s aware of the Staples Advantage MPS effort.

According to a prepared statement about the managed print services push:

“Staples Technology Solutions can conduct a comprehensive assessment to help businesses understand their total cost of printing. The process analyzes hardware, maintenance, staff resources and consumables such as ink, toner and paper. Staples can also evaluate printing habits to pinpoint how the printing devices are used. The information is used to optimize the fleet based on the customer’s unique goals and organizational requirements.”

Staples says its managed print services effort will include:
   A brand-neutral solution that works with a customer’s existing printer fleet
   Assistance reaching sustainability goals through office printing guidelines
   Reduced time spent on print fleet maintenance and support
   Automated supply replenishment
   A single, predictable monthly bill
   Ongoing account management of a company’s print strategy

It sounds promising, and I realize managed print services is a real opportunity for MSPs. But MSPmentor also is careful not to hype the market. Many printer vendors focus their managed print efforts as direct-sales initiatives rather than promoting VARs and MSPs to end-customers.

Still, there are signs of progress across the managed print market. Many of the new industry milestones surface at Photizo Group conferences. And there was plenty of managed print chatter at the recent ITEX conference in Las Vegas, where MSP-oriented software companies like Shockey Monkey apparently held discussions about a range of managed print industry opportunities.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Service Point Launches First Concept Store In US

Sounds like what they did in Norway, last year or the year before
Service Point has announced the opening of the company's first retail concept store in the United States.
April 16, 2012
Service Point has announced the opening of the company's first retail concept store in the United States. The store, located at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, will serve students, businesses and the general population in the greater Boston area.
Service Point has its roots in large format black and white printing for the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries. In the 1990s, the company expanded its original offering to include color printing in both large and small formats, onsite facilities management of equipment, scanning, and software and equipment sales for a variety of industries including AEC, financial, legal, education, non-profit, and small business.
Based on Service Point's successful concept stores in Europe and building upon the company's expertise in this space, the Cambridge store offers consumers a chance to put a creative stamp on products used in their personal and professional lives. Photos or digital files can be turned into works of art, or reproductions from artists and photographers can be purchased. The store's in-house graphic designer can assist with everything from logo creation and launch materials, to brochures and portfolios. Templates are available, custom products can be created, and a range of mounting, finishing and framing options exist.
"We have adapted our Cambridge store to create a forum for inspiration and creativity," said Kevin Eyers, Managing Director of Service Point USA. "Our goal is to make art accessible to more people, whether that's through reproductions of existing art or by inspiring customers to use their photos in new ways. We invite you to stop by and make yourself stand out."
With 4.5 million people, the metropolitan Boston area is the tenth largest in the U.S. and is home to over 50 colleges and universities. Eyers said, "Boston is a hot bed of creativity and entrepreneurship, and we are confident our concept store will be well-received here. In fact, we've already begun looking at converting some of our other locations in the US to be more customer-friendly and retail-oriented."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Solution Selling Means Not Always Selling Your Product/Service

On April 22, 2012 by Jennifer Matt
In order to truly sell solutions (not just your products/services), you have to be willing to NOT sell when your solution doesn’t fit.

And, the U.S. economy is in a recovery mode ???

Standard Register Reports 1Q Revenue of $157.6 Million
Monday, April 23, 2012
Press release from the issuing company
Standard Register today announced its financial results for the first quarter 2012. The Company reported revenue of $157.6 million and a net loss of $5.1 million, or $0.18 per share. The results compare to prior year revenue of $164.9 million and net income of $0.4 million, or $0.01 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income, adjusted for pension loss amortization, pension settlement, restructuring, and deferred tax valuation allowances was $1.9 million, or $0.06 per share, for the first quarter of 2012 as compared to non-GAAP net income of $4.1 million, or $0.14 per diluted share for the same period in 2011.
"We saw significant positive activity in the first quarter of 2012 as Healthcare, Financial Services and Commercial Markets business units grew Core solutions during the period. Combined with the on-schedule implementation of our restructuring plan, this gives us good momentum. While revenue was down overall from the year-ago quarter, we have a strong current ratio of 1.9, adequate liquidity for operations and expect to end 2012 with positive cash flow of at least $5 million," said Joseph P. Morgan, Jr., president and chief executive officer.
Morgan continued, "We continue to make the necessary investments to transform Standard Register into a provider of solutions that enable our customers to align their brand communications with their corporate priorities and standards. We are seeing our portfolio evolve and winning new business that demonstrates good progress."
Total revenues declined 4 percent to $157.6 million in the first quarter versus $164.9 million in the prior year. Core priority growth solutions revenues grew 3 percent during the quarter whereas Legacy products, such as business forms and transactional labels, across all business units declined by 9 percent.
Healthcare revenue declined 6 percent to $57.0 million in the first quarter compared to $60.7 million in the prior year. Core solutions grew by 5 percent driven by the acquisition of 100 percent of the ownership interests in iMedConsent, LLC (dba Dialog Medical), which the Company completed in the third quarter 2011, as well as new business and organic growth in patient communications and patient identification and safety solutions. Healthcare technology solutions sales grew 15 percent in the quarter. Legacy products, primarily clinical documents and administrative forms sales declined 12 percent as customers advanced implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) initiatives.
Financial Services revenue showed slight growth at $43.5 million in the first quarter compared to $43.3 million in the prior year. The Company began recognizing revenue from a new Core solutions customer and saw growth in existing smaller customers. These sales served to offset the loss of Legacy and Core solutions from a customer that is expected to impact revenues in this segment by $18 - $20 million this year.
The Commercial Markets business unit experienced a 7 percent decline to $37.6 million for the quarter from $40.3 million in the prior year driven primarily by losses in Legacy products, which represent a disproportionate amount of sales in the business unit. Momentum in Core marketing solutions is expected to grow during the remainder of 2012.
The Industrial business unit generated $19.5 million in revenue or a decline of 5 percent for the quarter as compared to $20.6 million a year ago, driven by pricing pressure and weak demand from HVAC customers, and a 49% decrease from the year-ago quarter for in-mold labeling sales related to timing.
Gross margin as a percent of revenue decreased to 30.6 percent for the current year quarter from 32.4 percent in the prior year quarter. Pricing pressures, particularly in Legacy transactional forms and labels, declines in volume and material cost increases all contributed to the change. Selling, general and administrative expenses, excluding pension and restructuring, declined $1.8 million to $44.4 million, or 28.2 percent of revenue, relative to $46.2 million and 28.0 percent for the prior year quarter.
For the first quarter 2012, capital expenditures were $0.7 million, pension funding contributions were $7.0 million and Non-GAAP cash flow on a net debt basis was $3.4 million. For 2012, the Company is planning to spend $9 - 11 million in capital expenditures to further support its Core growth solutions offering and to contribute at least the minimum requirement of $27.0 million for Pension funding.
Conference Call
Standard Register's President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Morgan and Chief Financial Officer Bob Ginnan will host a conference call at 10:00 a.m. EDT on April 20, 2012, to review the first quarter results. The call can be accessed via an audio web cast accessible at:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Condominium Construction to be on the rebound in Florida (TG!)

Reprographers in Florida, rejoice! I wouldn’t worry too much about the risk of another bust, I’d worry more about a halt to what’s going to happen.

South Florida's New Condo Boom Risks Another Bust


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Paul Owers, Staff writer

If you're in the market to buy or sell in a high-rise, be careful. Some experts see another condo collapse on the horizon.

More than two dozen condominium projects, including five in Broward and Palm Beach counties, are being added to the South Florida skyline in the next few years, according to, a consulting firm.

By the end of 2012, as many as 10,000 units could be in the planning stages, the firm said. That's nearly a quarter of all the existing condos that sold in South Florida last year, according to the Florida Realtors.

Developers insist the market will be improved, with demand for luxury units strong by the time they're finished building.

But when most of these condos are ready for occupancy in 2014 or later, they'll be competing with the leftover supply from the housing boom, creating a glut that threatens to send the recovering market into another tailspin, analysts say.

"The music is starting again," said Peter Zalewski, principal at CondoVultures. "We think there's going to be disappointment."

Consumers would be better off buying existing condos rather than waiting for the new wave of construction and the uncertainty it brings, Zalewski said.

Livia Periu, a New York resident looking to buy in South Florida, said another housing bubble is possible, but she's not overly worried.

"You'd think the builders would have studied the market so we don't fall into the same situation that we had before," she said.

From 2003 to 2011, developers built roughly 49,000 condos in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties east of Interstate 95, CondoVultures said. By the end of last year, less than 10 percent of those units were still in developer hands, according to the firm.

But all those buyers aren't living in the condos. Many were sold at deep discounts to foreign investors paying cash. They're renting the units with plans to sell when prices pick up.

Leading the new development charge is Miami's Jorge Perez, who rose to prominence during the boom before struggling when South Florida condo prices cratered by more than 60 percent. Trump Hollywood was among several projects he handed back to lenders.

Undaunted, Perez's company, The Related Group of Miami, now is proposing a handful of developments in the three counties, with a half dozen additional condo projects under consideration.

Related is targeting wealthy Latin American investors willing to pay cash upfront, said Carlos Rosso, head of the company's condo division. He said the buildings proposed now won't lead to another downturn.

"It's a slower pace and a lot less volume," he said. "It's a good way to come back."

Still wary from losses during the housing meltdown, many lenders aren't offering construction financing. So Related and other developers are requiring buyers to pay up to 80 percent of the cost of the condos before closing. That means a buyer would pay $640,000 up front on an $800,000 condo.

During the boom, buyers typically put only 20 percent down.

With the buyers' money in hand, developers don't need loans to finance construction of the projects.

Related has nearly sold out at Apogee Beach, a 49-unit condo in Hollywood where prices start at $1.8 million, Rosso said. At one of its Miami projects, My Brickell, 85 percent of the 192 units are under contract, Related said.

While response has been good so far, interest in luxury units is bound to weaken, analysts say.

The investors who scooped up bargains from the bust will be ready to sell during the next couple of years -- right around the time the new wave of construction hits the market.

That could soften rental rates, prompting nervous investor-owners to unload the units.

"Is the market as deep as (developers) believe it to be?" said Lewis Goodkin, a longtime Miami-based housing consultant. "I think the answer is: No, it isn't."

But Silvia Coltrane, who hopes to tear down the Howard Johnson's on Fort Lauderdale beach and build 170 condos, said Fort Lauderdale is not overbuilt because city officials were careful not to allow that.

"I'm bullish on the market," she said. "There's a certain stability to it."

Overbuilding won't happen now because there's virtually no construction financing, developers say, adding that not all of the planned projects will go forward.

Still, at The Related Group, Rosso admits some apprehension about the number of builders getting back into condo construction.

"It's very strange to see how fast the market can heat up," he said., 561-243-6529 or Twitter @paulowers

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Florida Contracts Pick Up the Pace in February


By Scott Judy (Southeast Construction News, McGraw-Hill publication)

The value of new Florida construction contracts improved by 25% in February, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of ENR Southeast. The company estimated the value of new contracts at nearly $1.7 billion; last February, Florida registered roughly $1.3 billion in new projects.

All three broad construction categories experienced increases during February. Residential contracts jumped the highest on a percentage basis, increasing by 36% to total more than $868.8 million for the month. The nonbuilding category, which includes infrastructure projects, improved by 29% for a $409.3 million total. And the nonresidential category recorded $408.1 million in new contracts, or 6% better than the same period of a year ago.

Two months into 2012, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates that all three building categories to be positive on a year-to-date basis.

The nonbuilding sector has surged the most, improving by 66% compared to the start of 2011 for a nearly $891.6 million total. The company estimates the year-to-date total for new nonresidential contracts at nearly $1.1 billion, or 32% ahead of 2011’s early pace. Residential contracts totaled nearly $1.6 billion through February, or 23% better than a year ago.

Overall, through February, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates Florida’s new contracts at $3.5 billion, or 35% better than a year ago.