Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What do YOU know about "data solutions" for the A/E/C industry?

If it was 30 years ago and your son or daughter, who just graduated college, said, “Dad (or Mom), I’d like to join the family reprographics business, how about you set up a new branch, across town, for me to run?”, it is likely that you would say, “no problem, that sounds great, we’ll find a good location, one where we can service customers we currently don’t have, I’ll acquire the equipment we need, and you’ll be good to go”.

But, the fact of the matter is that it isn’t 30 years ago, and the reprographics business faces challenges today, challenges that most of us never expected to be challenges.  To me, the most major challenge is “what action(s) must we take in order to continue being relevant to our customers?”..... (and, for most reprographers, revenues from A/E/C-sector customers continues to be their main source of revenue.)  Per what I read in ARC Document Solutions’ Q2 2016 financial-results report, ARC’s revenues from “reprographics” services (still primarily from printing plans and specs) continued to decline*.  And, not because non-residential construction has declined, but because A/E/C-sector firms are continuing to push the envelope of “digital document management, collaboration and distribution.”  Why “print”…… what does not need to be printed!  (*I suspect that other reprographics firms are experiencing the print-revenue pressures that ARC is experiencing.)

ARC offers Skysite. What do you offer? 

The larger question, I think, is what do you know about products that enable digital document management, collaboration and distribution?  ReproMAX (at least many of ReproMAX’s members) offers DFS.  RSA Corp’s members have an RSA-developed product.  But, are these products sufficient to compete against products developed by the non-reprographer community?  Does Skysite, does DFS, etc. go far enough?

This morning, I visited Bluebeam’s web-site.  (As many of you know, Bluebeam was sold about two years ago – for $100 million (nearly 5 times Bluebeam’s annual revenue at the time.)

Do you know what Bluebeam is?  If not, you should take the time to learn what it is …. especially, why it appeals to A/E/C-sector customers and how it affects the issue of “print less” (I hesitate to use the word, “paperless”.)

Read the case study at this link:

While on Bluebeam’s web-site, I visited the page that shows BB’s resellers; here are the “reprographers” who are BB resellers:

-Lellyett & Rogers Services Co.
-TPM, Inc. (formerly known as The Print Machine)
-C2 Imaging (formerly known as C2 Reprographics)

Why are only five reprographers signed up as BB resellers? What do these reprographers know that you don’t know?

When I visited BarkerBlue’s web-site to see what BarkerBlue (a ReproMAX partner) offers in the way of document management / document control services, I did notice that BarkerBlue has a web-page where it talks about “platform integration.”  BarkerBlue mentions PlanGrid, Bluebeam and Newforma (among others) and says that “we help organize your files in the cloud of your choice, updating your repository in PlanGrid, Box, Procore, Newforma, Bluebeam Studio”.  BarkerBlue also offers DFS (a ReproMAX product.)  Apparently, BarkerBlue is not a Bluebeam reseller.

Take a look at the information at this link.  You will find it interesting!

After you’ve read what’s on that page, be sure to click on the link (in the right hand side-bar) that says, “Peer Exchange on e-Construction”.  That will bring up a pdf file that contains very interesting information about paperless construction initiatives.

Do you know about these companies and what they offer to customers in the A/E/C sector who are looking to improve business process and workflow, print less, and deliver projects faster?

And, there are other products I’ve not listed!

I’m certainly not (by any stretch of imagination) an expert on document management, project collaboration or digital distribution.  But, I do know that there’s a push in the A/E/C sector to expand the use of software (cloud-based or otherwise) that will enable A/E/C sector customers to print less.

On September 1st, the IRgA changed its name to the Association of Printing and Data Solutions Professionals.  If you’re a reprographer, what “data solutions” do you offer?  And, if your firm does offer “data solutions”, are your solutions relevant, competitive, compelling?  Just a suggestion to the APDSP Board – compile a thorough list of digital document management, collaboration and distribution” products available on the market and then do a write-up to explain what each does.  APDSP members will benefit from knowledge of those products.  And, with knowledge, when you are out in the field having discussions with A/E/C sector customers (and prospects), you will be able to hold your own.  And, if you’ve developed your own data solutions product(s) and/or are a reseller for another (or others), that might help you keep your relationships and develop new ones.

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