The Week in Imaging’s 2011 Elite Dealers

After a one-year hiatus The Elite Dealer Awards are making a comeback in The Week in Imaging. We’re thrilled to present this very special award back. This is an award that honors the best and the brightest in the dealer community. We all know it’s a shrinking community, but on a positive note, many of those who remain are stronger than ever and holding their own against some of the most intense competition they’ve ever faced. 

The dealers we are honoring each week throughout the month of October aren’t necessarily the biggest dealers in the business although some are and many are doing very nicely from a financial perspective even if they’re maintaining the status quo or keeping as close to that as possible during the economic downturn. In narrowing down our selections we focused on growth, innovative marketing and sales programs, community leadership, and leadership within the industry. What we’ve settled on are a group of dealers who we are proud to call Elite

If your dealership didn’t make the cut this year or would like to be considered next year, make sure you’ve signed up to receive our weekly e-mail blasts. We start soliciting nominations in July and typically complete the process in early September.   

Following is our fourth and final group of Elite Dealer winners. We have presented the winners in random order during the past month even though each weekly group of 10 is in alphabetical order. 

2011 ELITE DEALERS ROUND 4

Advance the Document Specialists

www.advancestuff.com

Cockeysville, MD

Year Founded: 1964

No. of Employees: 160

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $38 million

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Increasing traffic to the Website through various initiatives, including blogs, which has also led to increased sales.  

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Savin, Ricoh, Canon, KIP, Kyocera, Panasonic, DocuWare, Laserfiche, eCopy, PlanetPress

The Elkins Family

Advance the Document Specialists have done a terrific job over the years of staying ahead of the technology curve. As a technologically forward thinking company, Advance has simplified the installation process through an Onsite & Online program. As one of the first in the country to perfect the process, they’ve found that by pre-configuring the MFPs prior to delivery, customers enjoy a plug-and-play-like capability with minimal downtime and more efficient use of their own IT resources during the set-up process.

We also like how they are investing in mobile printing solutions offered by their manufacturers to keep remote customers connected to their company’s MFPs while traveling. Not every dealer is doing this yet. Meanwhile, current efforts are focused on an initiative to offer enhanced network services to small businesses for their basic IT needs.

Advance also stands out through its Website. Advance’s marketing department creates an extensive plan each year to target specific objectives and create measurable outcomes. One initiative was focused on Advance’s Website and increased optimization of electronic document management and office technology. In 2010, the Website was revamped to create a user-friendly platform to promote new and existing customer lead generation. This year, they’ve enhanced their content, focusing on positioning Advance as the industry leader and expert with electronic document management and technology as the primary focus. Specific, measureable objectives include increasing Web traffic, traffic source referrals, and top content landing pages. We commend them for this initiative.

Through customized search engine optimization, Advance has seen a significant increase in organic placement for terms commonly searched relating to their industry. In 2010, Advance ranked number one on Google for two keyword phrases and as of August 2011, Advance is ranked number one on Google for six keywords. Additionally, Advance’s traffic sources have begun to shift. Approximately 52 percent of traffic arrives to the Advance site from search engines, up from 49 percent last year, and referring site traffic has increased more than 26 percent because of social marketing campaigns launched in 2011.

One additional marketing initiative was the creation of a document management Microsite. In analyzing the data from the Website, Advance discovered that once customers arrived at the document management section of their site, they clicked continuously on the same document management-related links. The new microsite, dm.advancestuff.com, provides visitors with a 50,000 foot overview of document management and details what Advance can provide in a customized package based upon the customer’s unique business requirements.

This is one example of Advance’s focus on education as are the supplemental workshops for educating customers about document management. The workshop offers the customer a place to explore document management in a non-pressure environment, complete with case studies, blog entries, and videos. These have resulted in $164,000 in new sales to date. Clearly, this is a marketing initiative with measurable results.

This year Advance has focused on strengthening the abilities of its sales reps to act more as consultants and less as sales representatives. The dealership’s go-to-business strategy is more focused on solving customer’s problems and acting on their behalf, educating them and walking them through the process of how Advance can help them be more efficient in their daily operations, as well as their long-term strategic initiatives.

“It’s our job to become immersed in their business and understand the nuances of how we can improve their process,” says Jeff Elkin, COO. “Something we’ve found few of our competitors do.”

Additionally, Advance consistently looks for new ways to engage customers and offer them information about the products and services they provide that bring efficiency and cost savings to their business through continued education. In February of 2011, Advance launched a blog to provide current, industry specific information to its customers. According to Elkin, much of the success of the Website thus far in 2011 can be attributed to the blog.

An additional aspect of Advance’s services that helps them stand out for us is their customer training program. Upon delivery and installation, Advance’s trainers work with the end users on an ongoing basis to make sure they are comfortable and understand all of the features and benefits of their machines. This is something the dealership has found is not common in their market. We’d hazard to guess, most markets. That’s another reason why this not-so-common office technology dealership with a concentrated focus on document management is Elite.

ASI Business Solutions

www.asibiz.com

Dallas, Texas

Year Founded: 1989

No. of Employees: 45

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $9-million

Recent Performance: Revenues have remained consistent the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Migrating from OMD to e-Automate.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Lanier, Lexmark, HP, Francotyp Postalia, Fabsoft, Satori, MBM, Neopost

 

The ASI Lobby

The secret to ASI’s selection as a 2011 Elite Dealer is its 212° extra-degree culture. We are thoroughly impressed how the entire company, from top to bottom, strives to deliver this level of effort to clients and the way they encourage prospects to recognize what can be gained by partnering with a company that does that extra degree. The thing about 212° is that at 211°degrees, water is hot, at 212° degrees it boils, and with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.

As Randy Allen, vice president of marketing, says, “This metaphor is what feeds our every endeavor, consistently pushing us to make the extra effort in every task, action, and opportunity we undertake. It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences.”

ASI takes this approach so seriously they provide visitors with a copy of the book, 212° The Extra Degree and display these words on their walls. They are also prominent in internal and external presentations.

If the one constant in this world is change, you’ll find that constant taking place at ASI. For example they’ve created a new Website, www.asibiz.com, which is designed to make it easier for visitors to communicate with ASI. The dealership is also leveraging social media in their marketing efforts and has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin as well as blogs.

They even have their own Youtube channel, www.youtube.com/user/ASIBusinessSolutions#p/u. We are particularly enamored with the various educational videos you’ll find there addressing business topics pertinent to clients and prospects. This is high quality stuff and not to be confused with those low-budget, late-night or daytime cable TV spots.  

Although ASI continues to hold its own in a difficult economy, they’re still making investments and changes to fine-tune their operations. This year they migrated from OMD to eAutmate. We understand this has empowered ASI administrative and service employees with better, more insightful information, positioning ASI to make better decisions and provide additional customer support. Additionally, the sales department now uses reporting to identify fleet performance trends and metrics that can result in recommendations to ensure customer business objectives are met.

With the addition of managed network services, ASI continues to evolve to meet the needs of their target audience by proving a complete spectrum of office technology, including digital hardware, MPS, MNS, document management, and mailing solutions. Having written about ASI’s MPS program before, we can testify that this is indeed one of this dealership’s biggest strengths.

Equally impressive is ASI’s M.D.O.M four-phase approach. This ensures results are in alignment with what the company promises its clients. According to Allen, “This in-depth approach to managing our customer accounts positions us to grasp and respond to ongoing changes as they occur within their organizations.”

Finally, ASI’s technology portal is another area that helps them stand out. Here clients can see their proposed equipment/solution in action in advance of acquisition. In addition to basic technology demonstrations, this area serves as a lab to perform test scenarios for advanced customer solutions.

Cell Business Equipment (CBE)

www.Kopiers.com

Irvine, CA

Year Founded: 1992

No. of Employees: 71

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $18+ million

Recent Performance: Grew 8-18 percent over the last three years, including 18 percent growth since 2010

This Year’s Big Win: Placement of 45 net new connected machines at the Perris Unified School District.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Sharp, Ricoh, Canon, Francotyp-Postalia, Equitrac, Print Audit, Webiplex, Docupeak, SuCopier, Nuance

Tarek Hafiz, President of CBE

People still buy from people they like and trust. Much of CBE’s success is created by providing state-of-the-art products and services what they call “The old fashion way.”  They still do cold calls and ask for and receive referrals. In fact one of the biggest wins of the year was a walk-in, cold-call that ultimately resulted in an initial placement of 45 net new connected machines at the Perris Unified School District. This successful installation provided referrals that added a neighboring school district, including MPS agreements with both clients.

Two things that CBE is proud of and stand out for us is their stable staff and their ability to successfully cross-train five generations of workers (Silent, Boomers, Gen X, Y, and Z) to create a positive workflow of emerging technologies. Okay, so we weren’t aware of all those other generations of workers, but we are now, and that sounds like quite the challenge. We think that cross-training is as impressive as their ability to successfully bridge the generation gap in the workplace.

CBE senior management takes pride in being socially liberal and financially conservative. During prosperous economic times and bad, CBE has always reinvested in their business and the community. They don’t over spend or under budget. It’s a delicate balance and one they’ve been able to maintain over the course of their history.

After purchasing another dealership a few years ago, CBE management calculated they could actually save money and increase machine sales, field service management clients, equipment contracted under MPS and document management by concentrating on their current customer base and direct referrals. Rather than buying customers through acquisition, they refocused on their 3,300+ strong current customer base.

That approach has worked and CBE has achieved double-digit machine population growth by concentrating on getting to know their current clients and the challenges within their businesses.

At the same time CBE stopped making equipment replacement their number one priority. By rarely mentioning new equipment, they say they earn the client’s trust and have increased their managed print and document management business. Additionally, they provide network administration, which includes document management, business procedure software, workgroup options, digital document delivery, network repositories, bundled printers, security options, business color, ongoing structured training, scanning, emailing, offsite storage, back-up and retrieval.

 Being privately owned allows CBE to go the extra mile for their clients. Employees are allowed to make their own rules when necessary. That may sound risky, but management stands behind the action and promises of their employees while clients and sales staff know that decisions are quickly made at a local level. This flexibility enables CBE to have a signed contract and installation before a competitor has received approval from their corporate headquarters or OEM.  

CBE treasures their employees. Consider that they believe educating their staff makes better employees, parents, spouses, and community members. CBE also offers tuition reimbursement for educational expenses for its employees whether it’s technical, general education, college or graduate work. If it is educational, CBE supports it.

We’re also impressed that throughout the entire economic downturn CBE has not laid off a single employee. They continue to meet OEM quotas, pay vendors on time, pay federal, state and county taxes, provide health insurance, 401K, vacation and sick leave to their staff and continue to actively support their community.

We can provide dozens of examples of how CBE supports the community, but we’ll identify two. During the 2010 year-end holiday season, CBE sponsored a food drive; donating more than 1,900 lbs. of food to local families. Recently they sponsored a campaign to collect needed personal items that were sent to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. 

Most of all we’re impressed by the culture at CBE and the way management values employees and the way employees value each other. Through the years employees have shared the joy of employee graduations, marriages, births, new cars, new homes, vacation plans, achievement recognition trips, new product launches, company picnics and holiday parties. They describe their employees as an extended family that understands working together, sharing the risks and rewards of the office equipment business, enables the individual staff members to join in a common quest for personal, business and community enrichment.

President Tarek Hafiz sums up the CBE philosophy. “We acknowledge and thank all those people who have helped CBE grow and prosper over the past 19 years. We are honored by the longevity of our employees, vendors and clients. Sales, solutions/IT, service, warehousing and administration working together create a seamless package for our clients.”

To us, that says it all and is the foundation of an Elite Dealer.

COMDOC

www.comdoc.com

Uniontown, OH

Year Founded: 1955

No. of Employees: 650

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $135 million

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Winning three accounts worth more than $1 million each.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Xerox, Sharp, DocuWare, Nuance, NSI

Once an independent, not always an independent, but even though ComDoc was acquired in 2009 by Global Imaging Systems, they continue to operate very much as they have in the past.

ComDoc sets themselves apart from its competition thanks in large part to their strong employee culture, their methodology, such as printing responsibly, and comprehensive hardware and software offerings. We also admire ComDoc’s commitment to the community through their support of community organizations such as the Akron Children’s Hospital Parent Mentor Program and the Green High School Developing Leaders of Tomorrow program.

It was a great year for ComDoc with three big $1 million plus wins. Additionally Sharp honored them as a Hyakuman Kai Elite Dealer and were a DocuWare Diamond Club honoree.

A new program that helps ComDoc stand out among this year’s Elite Dealer nominees is their PRINT responsibly program where they and their customers work together to have a positive impact on the environment as well as the customer’s bottom line. This is achieved by providing customers with the appropriate document management solutions. This methodology involves identifying the location of inefficiencies within the customer’s business; providing customers with a free PRINT responsibly assessment which identifies current costs, redundancies, and productivity bottlenecks; matching them with strategic products and services that are designed to reduce hard costs and streamline workflow; managing day-to-day activity with monitoring solutions that provide tracking and measurement capabilities for real-time results; and sharing success with others backed by data and benchmarks that document the customer’s returns. 

With a company wide emphasis on nurturing and developing employees, strong leadership,  community involvement, innovative marketing programs, and a strong vision, Comdoc exemplifies what it means to be Elite.

Edwards Business Systems (EBS) and Virginia Business Systems (VBS)

www.edwardsbusiness.com

Bethlehem, PA

Year Founded: 1954

No. of Employees: 147

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $30.2 million

Recent Performance: Has grown 3 percent over past four years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Continued growth.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Ricoh, HP, Kodak, Fiery, Muratec, EFI, Creo

Edwards' Headquarters

Because we can’t name one and not the other an Elite Dealer since they are essentially the same dealership operating out of different locations, EBS and VBS both rate Elite in our book. Each location strives to do business in the most ethical manner possible, which we and their customers appreciate. One look at their mission statement and it’s clear exactly how this organizaiton operates. It openly states to clients what they believe in, what they are committed to, and how they intend to perform their job. The mission statement goes beyond words; it commits every department and employee with the focus for providing Fast Forward Document Solutions to clients. 

Over the years, EBS and VBS have shown they understand their customer’s challenges, deliver efficiencies, and provide the solutions and support their needs. That’s why customers enjoy doing business with both organizations and select them over competitors.

Additionally, the offices and staff of EBS/VBS are committed to reaching a balance between business and the environment, aspiring to be environmentally conscious and to use sustainable principles in all aspects of their business. But they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk and both are Platinum Members of the Green Business Bureau and the Eco Chamber, and together are focused on helping clients adopt and adapt to green initiatives, bringing green efficiencies and money-saving programs to their operations.

We also like the way EBS and VBS have made the transition into production printing. That’s not easy. Dedicated teams of EBS/VBS sales and technical personnel have specialized in this technology.  Both organizations have developed and provide advanced solutions in hardware, software and technical connectivity for high-volume digital printing, production workflow applications, color profile management, variable data printing and digital marketing programs. 

Going back to green initiatives, EBS and VBS focus internally and externally on green initiatives and each brings solutions to clients to help them balance business and the environment. 

Most of all we find their PrintPlus+ managed print services program a winner. Marketed by their managed print services team, this branded program addresses the networking challenges, cost efficiencies, integration, and effective usage of a full complement of equipment and software developed for both organization’s client’s needs. It’s true, many companies claim similar analysis and solutions, but with the range of equipment, software, and technology under the EBS/VBS roof, Ray Fuentes, president of EBS and James Dotter, president of VBS feel their organizations are distinctively capable of delivering substantial cost savings and system improvements for clients. While focused on streamlining a client’s document management systems, PrintPlus has delivered successful, cost-effective and green solutions and has contributed significantly to EBS/VBS’s growth while bringing cost savings to their clients.

Each of the EBS/VBS local offices is committed to the community. Some of their more unique commitments include:

  • Being a major sponsor of Musikfest, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Musikfest is a FREE10-day music festival with over 2,000 volunteers, 15 “platzes” or places where daily concerts play from noon until 11 p.m. every day. As a primary sponsor, EBS helps Musikfest bring the concerts to more than one million visitors every year.
  • Developing and initiating “EBS Derby Day 2011”, held at PNC Field, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. This annual event includes the Northeastern Pennsylvania Homerun Derby, a Fast Pitch Contest, an Adult Class Pinewood Derby Race, mascots, food, music, prizes and fun. All proceeds benefit the Boy Scouts of America in the Northeast Pennsylvania Council. EBS not only originated the event, but also developed sponsorships and support, promotions and volunteers.
  •  The offices of EBS and VBS have made significant commitments to the “Pink Shirt Initiative”.  Offices have mobilized to participate in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation walks and races; employee teams have participated, sponsored, supported and volunteered throughout the year at events; and each office has undertaken a Pink Shirt Initiative for fundraising. 

In an era where buyouts and direct branches are still facts of life, EBS and VBS continue to be recognized by all of their vendors for excellence in sales and service. Those are still important criteria for success in this industry and further testament to why EBS and VBS are Elite.

Imagetec L.P.

www.imagetec.com

McHenry, Ill.

Year Founded: 1992

No. of Employees: 225

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $20+ million

This Year’s Big Win: Winner of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award

Major Product Lines Carried: Konica Minolta, HP, Toshiba, Lexmark, Ricoh

Throughout the history of the Elite Dealer awards, year in and year out the list contains many familiar faces. One of the most familiar is Imagetec L.P., a multiple-time honoree that’s consistently honored by its vendors—Konica Minolta, and Toshiba—as being one of their top dealers too. The company now offers Ricoh technology and it’s likely they’ll soon be on the Ricoh honor roll too.

Industry wide recognition is nice and can be an asset when establishing credibility with customers, but if Imagetec weren’t doing all the right things along with the little things too, they’d have a difficult time keeping their 225 employees gainfully employed.

“Our strength lies not only in our partnership with our vendors, allowing us to provide state-of-the-art products, but in our ability to deliver high-quality service and solutions, which guarantees our success into the future,” says Richard Cucco, general partner.

One thing we’ve noticed is that Imagetec has an uncanny knack of connecting with clients.

The company does that through office technology shows and lunch and learns, both of which help foster stronger client relationships. They’re also using the Web to generate leads via an inbound marketing program, and earlier this year launched an industry blog (blog.imagetec.com) that offers insight and expertise on document imaging, print management, office equipment, and other issues. Over the years the company hasn’t been shy about investing in its facilities and that’s abundantly evident in the high-tech demo rooms within each of its facilities that showcase the equipment and solutions that Imagetec sells.

Participating in local business expos keep and involvement with their local Chambers of Commerce also keeps the Imagetec brand in front of customers and prospects. Add to that billboard advertising, quarterly four-color mailers to 11,500 businesses in the Chicagoland market, and radio advertising, and it’s no wonder Imagetec maintains such a high profile.

We think it’s impressive that they were recognized this year with a 2011 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for being an ethical and reputable company. That underscores the quality service Imagetec L.P. provides to customers.

Although they started out as an office equipment dealership, Imagetec is now positioned first and foremost as a print management dealership that also happens to sell office equipment solutions. They’ve successfully made the transition into managed print services and now provide clients with IT services, two areas that have them well positioned for ongoing success. They’ve also opened a new office in Lincolnshire thanks in part to the addition of the Ricoh line.

It’s difficult to fully document Imagetec’s 2011 selection as an Elite Dealer in a few paragraphs because they’ve done so much over the years to earn their Elite status. We’re particularly impressed by their Sales Force Automation (SFA) program launched in 2001, a database program that assists the sales force by allowing them to better organize, track, and forecast sales while providing them with up-to-date information on current and prospective customers. That’s not new, but it’s innovative as is a division, launched in 2003, called HiTec Water Solutions that distributes water purification equipment to commercial accounts. Most recently the company formed Core Print Solutions (CPS), a new division focused on managed print that is expected to increase IMAGETEC’s sales by millions of dollars annually.

And don’t be surprised if they’re an Elite Dealer next year too. After all, they’ve got a strong track record of doing the right things year in and year out.

Loffler Companies

www.loffler.com

Bloomington, Minn.

Year Founded: 1986

No. of Employees: 286

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $46+ million

Recent Performance: Grew by 7.6 percent the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Recognized by the Star Tribune as one of the 100 Best Places to Work in Minnesota.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Canon, Konica Minolta, HP, Toshiba, eCopy/Nuance, Neopost, Pitney Bowes, Satori

Jim Loffler

If you want to meet a well-rounded dealership, go no further than Loffler Companies. This dealership sells everything from traditional office technology such as copiers and MFPs to mailing equipment and phone systems. We applaud them for their ability to provide clients with integrated solutions with the expertise to analyze, recommend, implement, and support quality solutions from one organization, including copiers, printers, managed print services, IT managed services, IT solutions, phones, dictation, call recorders, on-site managed services, mail software and hardware, and document workflow and management. This gives them an advantage over dealers whose product lines and the services they provide aren’t as diverse.   

They’ve also done a nice job of leveraging marketing partnerships with the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Timberwolves as a means to link in with local charities. This creates a positive image of Loffler within the community. We’re also impressed by their ability to leverage variable data marketing campaigns with PURLs (Persistent Uniform Resource Locator) on the Web to drive participation in learning events at Loffler.

Beyond being a positive contributor to the community and doing what they believe is right, Loffler is well regarded throughout the office technology industry, particularly by their vendors. They’ve been recognized by both Canon and Konica Minolta as a top 15 dealer in the country. Founder Jim Loffler was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist and Inc. Magazine honored the dealership as one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. They’re also an HP Elite Dealer, and the Star Tribune has recognized Loffler one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota. That acknowledgement says a lot about this dealership as a whole.

When asked why they feel they’re an Elite Dealer, Gary Volbert, director of marketing tells us, “We focus on not meeting client expectations, but exceeding them every day. By doing this and providing timely and quality support for our clients, we are improving clients’ productivity and value.”

This has been acknowledged by clients through repeat business with Loffler and growth because clients feel like partners in the process. And it’s that ability to forge partnerships with clients, their vendors, and within the community, that makes Loffler Elite.

Nevill Imaging Solutions

www.nevillsolutions.com

Carrollton, TX

Year Founded: 1975

No. of Employees: 100+

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $16 million

Recent Performance: Grew 10 percent over past three years

This Year’s Big Win: The sale of 1,100 printers and 100 MFPs to a Fortune 1000 company.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Kyocera Mita, Sharp

Reed Melnick

When we think of Nevill Imaging Solutions we think of the enthusiasm of President Reed Melnick and his ‘Have a Nevill day!’ greeting and the way he refers to his employees as ‘Nevillmaniacs.’ It may sound nuts, but you got to love it. We do.

For Nevill being Elite comes from years of consistent execution and employees developing great habits relating to team work and Platinum-level customer support. What differentiates Nevill from its competitors is their long-term employee’s high-level of industry and business knowledge. This knowledge empowers them to make the right decisions regarding all aspects of the industry, customers, partners, or just business in general, quickly and accurately. As Reed says, “We know how each other thinks and all sync as one to move the business forward successfully.”

One of the biggest wins this year has been the sale of 1,100 printers and 100 MFPs to a Fortune 1000 company, which required leveraging all of Nevill’s technology tools and expertise to land this major account.

Customer satisfaction is always a great way to gauge success and Nevill has been honored by customers with the Consumer Choice Award for MFP Technology Vendors for 2011. Peer recognition is also an excellent barometer of how a dealership is viewed in the industry and other dealers often look to Nevill for advice, marketing ideas, and as a sounding board and partner in servicing their shipments that come to Nevill’s local servicing areas. “

We are the ‘partner of all dealers’ and they are ours,” says Melnick, and that is one of the reasons you’ll find Nevill Imaging Solutions an Elite Dealer once again.

 

 

Systel Business Equipment

www.systeloa.com

Fayetteville, NC

Year Founded: 1981

No. of Employees: 250

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $44 million

Recent Performance: Grew 28 percent over the past three years

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Making the list of North Carolina’s Top 100 Largest Private Companies in Business North Carolina Magazine.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh, Konica Minolta, HP, Panasonic

Keith Allison

With nine office locations across the Carolinas and Georgia and 2:1 service to sales personnel ratio, no wonder Systel continues to provide unbeatable customer service and satisfaction. What impresses us is how Systel’s knowledge and expertise in the industry, along with its relationships and reputation in the communities it serves has allowed them to retain customers for more than 30 years while winning major account deals over national direct competition.

Above all, the thing that sets Systel apart from its competitors and other dealers across the country is Systel Printing, which opened in 2004. Located adjacent to Systel’s Greensboro, N.C. office, this is a full-service digital and offset print shop for customers. It also allows Systel to offer customers zero down time at no additional costs should their equipment crash in the middle of a large print job since they can upload their file through Systel’s Website and the job can be delivered locally or ship to them the next day. Now that’s customer service!

Not content to remain complacent and rest on their laurels we admire Systel’s courage to change. That is exemplified in their new look. All of the dealership’s new publications and marketing pieces have sleek new designs with colorful Print, Scan, Copy, Send tag lines and images. We hear it’s been a big hit with customers and prospects. Check it out on their Facebook page, www.face.book.com/systelnow.

Speaking of Facebook, we also like the way Systel is leveraging social media and the Internet in their business. Through social media, Systel highlights its latest products and promotions while also offering live requests for service trouble-shooting videos or special installation and training videos for customers to reduce service calls and customer downtime. After the first month of going social, they had more than 75 followers on Twitter and an average of 115 Facebook visitors per week. Those may not be Ashton Kutcher-type numbers but they aren’t bad numbers for an office technology dealership. The goal is to raise that to 300-400 regular followers before the end of the year.

Maintaining a high profile in the community and now on TV is another way Systel remains in the forefront of customer’s minds and reaches new customers. The TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, recently added Systel as an official vendor for their ninth season. In addition Systel contributes to more than 50 charitable, non-profit organizations and events across the state, including March of Dimes, American Heart Association , and the Child Advocacy Center. And Systel’s corporate office donated $10,000 to support the local arts as “Co-Producer” of Fayetteville’s Cape Fear Regional Theater to support their 50th Golden Anniversary Season.

A strong believer in supporting education, Systel has endowed scholarships and supported student aid and learning programs for local colleges and universities such as Methodist University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, North Carolina State University, and Campbell University and Law School.

This has been a solid year for Systel. Not only are they celebrating their 30th year in business, they’ve earned top awards and recognition such as the Ricoh Strategic Major Accounts Award, the Pro-Tech Service Award from Konica Minolta, and OPS Elite Partner Status from HP. However, the biggest accomplishment thus far in 2011 was making the list of North Carolina’s Top 100 Largest Private Companies by Business North Carolina Magazine.

In an economy of wage freezes, lay-offs, and smaller dealers being bought out by manufacturers, Systel has proven an independent dealership can survive and thrive in this industry. Case in point they’ve grown sales 20 percent over last year when the industry as a whole was down almost 30 percent. Not bad for a family owned and managed business. 

2011 ELITE DEALERS ROUND 3

APPLIED IMAGING

www.appliedimaging.com

Grand Rapids, MI

Year Founded: 1987

No. of Employees: 130

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $25.5 million

Recent Performance: Grew 50 percent over the last three years.

This Year’s Big Win: The acquisition of American Imaging in the Detroit area along with implementation of a three-year plan to add another 60 salespeople.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh, Océ, Canon, Kyocera, OnBase, HP, Lexmark

Applied Imaging's Headquarters

Applied Imaging has done a nice job of separating themselves from the office technology provider pack by offering four distinct programs that deliver exceptional value to their clients. Those include their PrintSmart (MPS), NetSmart (managed network services), DocSmart (document management and workflow solutions), and ProTeam, production print and high-volume graphics color and black & white applications.

Plenty of dealers spend money on advertising, but we like Applied Imaging’s advertising style. Their “Integrated Advertising Platform” has been instrumental in establishing the dealership as a market-leading brand and as one of the most recognized companies in Western Michigan. The core messaging strategy, “Yes It Can Be Done” is motivating to customers as well as Applied Imaging’s employees who bring this can-do message to their customers every single day. Included in this successful strategy is an ongoing radio campaign featuring real customers who describe how they’re benefitting from programs such as PrintSmart and NetSmart.

“A tactical benefit is that it validates and legitimizes the marketing message that the sales force shares in their initial customer interactions,” reports John Lowery, president.

Another innovative marketing strategy is the integration of a search engine marketing campaign with specifically designed landing pages, pay-per-click, and search engine optimization.

Acknowledging that acquisition is a key strategy for growth, Applied acquired Detroit-based American Imaging, which added annual sales of $1.6 million, helping Applied reach annualized sales of $6.5 million. In addition they are in the midst of an ambitious three-year plan to add another 60 sales people, which they expect will be a key driver to growth.

We can’t ignore the especially difficult market that Applied Imaging plays in. As they pointed out to us in their nomination form, they’re in Michigan, which is about dead last in every category of business. Regardless, they’ve flourished in a down economy not just by acquisitions, which account for about 9 percent of their growth while growing organically another 41 percent. That ability to compete and succeed in one of the most depressed areas of the country is a testament to their culture, one of winning, and of hiring the right people.

“We are not an easy place to get a job,” adds Lowery. “We hire the best and deliver outstanding client service and support. When applicants or candidates come into our office, they always comment on the positive attitude.”

It’s that positive attitude, winning culture, and ability to add programs that appeal to their customer base and will allow Applied to continue on its growth path that make them the perfect picture of an Elite Dealer. 

ATLANTIC LASER, INC.

www.atlanticlaser.com         

Jacksonville Beach, FL

Year Founded: 1992

No. of Employees: 7

Approximate Yearly Revenues: Not released publicly

Recent Performance: Expect to grow revenues 3-5 percent this year.

This Year’s Big Win: Winning the business of the local division of an international corporation for equipment, service, and supplies.  

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: HP, Canon, Okidata, Brother, Konica Minolta, Sharp, Ricoh

Atlantic Laser's Headquarters

It still surprises us that more dealers on our Elite Dealer roster aren’t full-service dealerships like Atlantic Laser. Yes, a large focus on their business is on supplies and compatible toner cartridges, but they also carry a fair share of hardware from the likes of HP, Canon, Konica Minolta, Sharp and Ricoh.

A strong customer service focus is one of the hallmarks of this dealership as they strive to differentiate themselves from competitors by the relationships they build with clients, vendors, and partners. They’ve been particularly successful over the years in delivering on their promises and are also adept at offering suggestions to assist customers in settling on the products that will work best for their office even if it means Atlantic doesn’t always get the sale. Customers seem to love the fact that 98 percent of the time this dealership processes and delivers orders for next-day delivery. With service like that it’s not surprising how many of Atlantic’s customer relationships have spanned more than two decades. Better yet, it’s not unusual for customers to take Atlantic with them when they change jobs. Now that’s customer loyalty!

Two years ago the dealership launched their “Green-Up” initiative.  Efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle were stepped up to ensure Atlantic Laser is doing everything possible to reduce its carbon footprint. We applaud them for those efforts. This past August they began the next phase by launching their “Stay Green” program. This recycling program is designed to keep their customer’s ink and toner cartridges out of landfills. It’s not necessarily a unique program, but it fits in nicely with the company’s ‘Green-Up’ initiative and it’s a program that’s been well received by customers.

One of the biggest wins of the year was beating out the Big Box stores and other larger dealerships to supply the local division of a large international corporation with office equipment, service, and supplies.

Another reason we like Atlantic Laser is its monthly newsletter, the Laser Flash. It includes ideas for selecting equipment, streamlining processes, contests, puzzles, community issues, ethics in the office, and many other topics relevant to office. The “Laser Flash” is a well-received piece and they always get positive feedback from customers. Besides mailing and e-mailing it to their entire database, you’ll also find it on Atlantic’s Website. It’s also included in invoices and monthly statements. It is used primarily as an educational piece with limited advertisements for products and service.

Here too is a dealership that values strategic relationships: In early 2010 they joined with five other businesses – a promotional products company, an IT company, a sign company, a printing company and an imprinting company – to form a strategic partnership. This partnership allows Atlantic Laser to offer the services of the other companies to their client base and other partners to do the same. This strategic partnership seems to be working out well for all involved. Partners trade leads, meet monthly to discuss better avenues for product awareness, and have fostered relationships with other companies that they can trust to treat customers just the same as Atlantic treats its customers. And that’s just one more reason why we salute Atlantic Laser as a 2011 Elite Dealer.

BLUE TECHNOLOGIES

www.btohio.com

Cleveland, OH

Year Founded: 1995

No. of Employees: 150-200

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $25.9 million

Recent Performance: Grew an average of 3 percent over the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Implementation of a plan to grow the dealership during the next 36 months into a $50-million company.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Panasonic, KIP, Hyland Software, FileBound

One way Blue Technologies differentiates themselves from competitors is by stating “We have it all.” In addition to document hardware solutions for local and national businesses, Blue provides document management, enterprise content management, document archival/storage/retrieval, workflow, business process automation, streamline documentation, and paperless office initiatives, making them an extremely well-rounded dealership. We also like the way they deal with more difficult projects by bring in system integration engineers or developers to assess the problem and recommend a solution.

We find Blue Technologies’ programs particularly innovative. For example, Blue Prospecting is a program that allows every employee in the company to be a part of the sales process. This program uses the vertical market information in SalesChain, Blue’s company-wide CRM program along with account information in an effort to increase appointments and presentations that will increase selling opportunities.

Blue Prospecting is broken down into nine different markets; Sales reps then assign their customers/prospects into the correct target vertical market group. Blue’s marketing department then sends weekly e-mails to the correct market group with an applicable message to identify industry issues and solution’s targeting that vertical market.

We also like the Document Expo that takes place monthly at each Blue branch. A monthly Document Expo has got to be a challenge but it seems to be paying off as it allows Blue’s sales representatives to invite target clients and prospects and show them what Blue can do for them. The client’s visit includes a tour of the facility and an opportunity to meet the staff that will be servicing them throughout their contract. The site tour is also an excellent way for sales representatives to showcase how Blue uses the solutions they sell in their business. Often, clients leave the events stating, “I had no idea you were able to do all that!”

Another thing that Blue has that impresses us is The Commitment to Excellence. We’re told it’s the most important reason customers choose to do business with Blue. This is a 5-point pledge that protects the customer after the acquisition is complete and covers Product Performance Commitment, Service Commitment, Supplies Commitment, Easy Acquisition Commitment and the Complete Customer Satisfaction Commitment. Blue’s “Commitment to Excellence” guarantees more than just product performance.  It also guarantees the performance of their people.

We also like the growth path that Blue is on. The dealership operates in an environment of disciplined, well-trained and highly motivated employees representing sales, service, and support. A plan, with the help of industry expert Mike Riordan, is now in place to grow the company over the next 36 months into a $50 million dollar company.

The process started with a three-part training seminars led by Mike Riordan. The training seminars included managers from all branches and departments within the company. Together they learned how to recruit, hire, and develop their staff. This has led to an instant synergy within the managers to renew the team approach to selling to Blue’s clients. Since the beginning of this process Blue Technologies has already redesigned the recruiting, hiring, and training program.

As far as big wins, Blue recently signed a $2-million document imaging deal with an international company, placing them on the right road towards reaching their $50 million goal.

Amazingly, Blue has been an Elite Dealer since 1997 and it’s easy to see why. They continue to raise the bar by educating ourselves, evaluating, their client’s level of satisfaction, and identifying new solutions to answer client’s needs.

MERITECH, INC.

www.meritechinc.com

Cleveland, OH

Year Founded: 1978

No. of Employees: 81

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $15 million

Recent Performance: Grew 5 percent the past three years

This Year’s Big Win: Securing their fourth five-year contract with the City of Cleveland.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Muratec, HP, Microsoft, SentryFile

 

Meritech's Demo Room

A lot of dealers talk about being solution oriented, but Meritech truly is. This is a dealership that does a bang up job of assessing their client’s needs and then customizing a solution for them. By doing the right thing and implementing the proper solution on behalf of their clients, Meritech sets the foundation for a strong and lasting business relationship.  

One of the things we like most about Meritech is the ‘bundled’ program offered to clients that includes scanning and printing equipment along with print management and managed network services. It may not be the most unique approach in the industry, but it still is cutting edge and seems to be working, appealing to those customers who would rather deal with one vendor rather than three or four.

Kudos as well to the way Meritech gives back to the community. They support various non-profit organizations. During the holidays they redirect money to needy organizations such as Koinonia Homes and The Littlest Heroes. The dealership also has a campaign where employees contribute canned goods, which are then donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.

This year’s big win was the City of Cleveland. Every five years the city opens up the bidding for new equipment and technology. This is the fourth five-year contract Meritech has won—an impressive achievement for this 33-year-old office technology dealership.

If you’re a music fan, you know Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When the Hall was established, Meritech donated to the Hall their first MFP, allowing the Hall to not only rock around the clock, but print around the clock too. That by itself may not make them Elite, but their 33-year track record certainly does. 

MERIDIAN IMAGING SOLUTIONS

www.meridian-imaging.com

Alexandria, VA

Year Founded: 1985

No. of Employees: 95

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $25 million

Recent Performance: Grew 54 percent over the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Exponential growth in revenues and new hires.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, RISO, Nuance (Equitrac), NSI (AutoStore), Westbrook Technologies (Fortis)

Meridian prides itself in being brand neutral, analytical, and employee owned. That’s our kind of Elite Dealer! Indeed, those characteristics certainly differentiate them in the office technology business and in their market. Because of those qualities, they’re not impacted by mergers or acquisitions, influenced by manufacturer overruns, or driven by stockholders.

A valued member of their community, Meridian will participate in the Heart Walk (American Heart Association) in November. Additionally, as a company, Meridian makes donations to Books for Soldiers, Toys for Tots, and Dress for Success. They also allow employees to volunteer up to 10 hours/month during work hours without having the time out of the office deducted from their leave balance, which illustrates the organization’s community mindedness.We view that as fairly progressive for an office technology dealership.

The company’s most significant accomplishment during the past year has been its growth. That’s evident in new customers, revenues, and staffing. Indeed, one in three faces at Meridian is a new face. Add to that its commitment to job creation in the State of Virginia has been exceeded and that’s something we applaud them for, particularly in this current economic climate. Coincidentally one of its innovative marketing programs this year was a digital communication piece that they created with the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. 

While we love the focus on job creation, that wouldn’t mean much if they weren’t successful and a large part of that success comes from the excellent service they continue to provide customers. As they pointed out to us in their nomination form, the only way Meridian has grown is by retaining customer relationships with excellent service. This philosophy is the root of Meridian’s flexibility.  It’s not unusual for employees to work past midnight and on the weekends to help customers. They seem to do that willingly. That’s because as an employee-owned company, everyone has a vested interest in exceeding customer expectations. It’s a commitment that spans the entire organization and one of the many reasons Meridian is a 2011 Elite Dealer.

OKLAHOMA OFFICE SYSTEMS, LLC (OOS)

www.oosinet.com/onesoucreok.com

Oklahoma City, OK

Year Founded: 1981

No. of Employees: 65

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $12.5 million

Recent Performance: Grew 5-9 percent over the past three years

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Converting more sales to an MPS model.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, HP, Kyocera/CopyStar, Lexmark, Muratec

Oklahoma Office Systems was one of the one of the first dealers in the U.S. and the first dealer in Oklahoma to adopt a managed print services model back in 2003, a time when the concept of managed print services wasn’t even a twinkle in the average office technology dealer’s eye. Recognizing that this was the future of the business and that they couldn’t do it all themselves, the company had the foresight to partner with Strategy Development to create a more disciplined and productive sales staff, from sales management to field sales representatives. By implementing realistic territories based on the MIF model, they’ve incorporated more strategically proven processes and methods combined with a high level of accountability to bring more consistency and success to the sales process. That alone may not be all that unique, but the success they’ve experienced of converting more sales to the MPS model is as is their total focus on managed print services.

The focus at OOS has always been on looking for better ways to service the customer and towards that end they introduced Managed Network Services in 2011, implemented new software solutions to proactively troubleshoot problems, and incorporated time-saving technology such as Print Fleet among others. Improving customer satisfaction is another priority and we like they way they’ve employed personal Customer Account Managers (CAM) and overlay sales professionals as well as introduced personal one-on-one quarterly reviews for every MPS customer. That to us is going above and beyond.  

We also applaud OOS’s philanthropy efforts and the way they give back to the community with support for such organizations as A Chance to Change Foundation, United Way of Central Oklahoma, Fine Arts Institute of Edmond, Jim Thorpe Association, and Rehabilitation Hospital and Rotary Club of Edmund.

One thing you won’t find at this dealership is a revolving door in their service and administration departments where the average tenure is 15 years.

Finally, we’re not the only one who finds OOS special. They are also a HP OPS Elite Dealer, a Copystar Service Solutions Provider since 2006, and a Konica Minolta ProTech dealer.  

THE PHILLIPS GROUP

www.buyphillips.com

Middletown, PA

Year Founded: 1940

No. of Employees: 195

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $50 million

This Year’s Big Win: Winning the business of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Sharp, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, HP, Hyland

What we like about The Phillips Group is that they represent a vanishing breed in the office dealer landscape—a dealership that is more than an office technology dealership. They are a  full-service dealership that sells office furniture, office supplies, breakroom, janitorial, and promotional products in addition to office technology.  

We give extra credit to Phillips for getting into the leasing business. In an industry where leasing rules and challenges are commonplace, in 1997 Phillips created Phillips Capital to better serve their customer base who had grown increasingly frustrated with the traditional leasing companies. Phillips Capital provides customers with a more personalized and flexible leasing option. Today, Phillips Capital supports virtually every one of the dealership’s document management clients. With more than 88 percent of customers using Phillips for their leasing needs and more than 5,500 leasing programs covering tens of thousands of devices, there is a huge benefit to taking this component of the business in house and maintaining control over the process.

That’s one way Phillips differentiates itself from competitors. Another is the comprehensive suite of document products and services, including managed print services, which is gaining big traction in the markets Phillips serves.

We’re also impressed by Phillips’ green initiatives. Current internal and external green initiatives include reducing their annual electrical usage through a lighting retrofit that eliminates 175 tons of CO2 annually; the addition of motion sensors on all warehouse lights; upgrading delivery vehicles to diesel-burning engines; cardboard recycling, and collecting delivery boxes from customers so they can be reused; as well as recycling of scrap metal and plastic. In addition they collect and recycle all brands of toner cartridges, recycle catalogs, paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, and wood pallets as well as copiers that are then redeployed into the marketplace as full machines or part replacements.

On the community level Phillips contributes to more than 100 charities annually and employees work together to raise funds to support needy families. In addition they provide donations through the Pennsylvania Educational Tax Credit program.

In a year that’s been pretty good to Phillips so far, the one win that stands out is gaining the business of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics. We also give Phillips credit for being ranked as the top Harrisburg dealer for the past 10 years, no easy feat for the average dealer, unless of course you’re an Elite Dealer, which Phillips is.

STARGEL OFFICE SOLUTIONS

www.stargel.com

www.starmanagedservices.com

Houston, Texas

Year Founded: 1987

No. of Employees: 84

Yearly Revenues: $20 million

Recent Performance: Grew by five percent the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: The launch of a new managed services division.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Toshiba, Océ, HP, KIP, Lexmark, Docuware

The Stargel Management Team

We like a dealership who starts out by saying their best asset is their employees. In addition to providing all employees with annual customer service training, Stargel recognizes employees monthly, quarterly, and yearly with Star Awards for Outstanding Customer Service.

Response time is critical to keeping customers satisfied, and although it may sound crazy, Stargel guarantees a 90-minute onsite response time or the customer receives a 1 percent credit for every minute they’re late up to a 100 percent credit on their next service bill. 

With an eye toward the evolution of the office technology industry, Stargel launched a new managed services division earlier this year called Star Managed Services. This division allows Stargel to offer customers additional services besides traditional office technology. Those services encompass managed print services, remote IT monitoring, cloud-based computing, and document management. How successful have they been? How about year-to-date billings of more than $1.5 million—all new revenue!

This is not the first time we’ve recognized Stargel Office Solutions as an Elite Dealer. No wonder. During the past 25 years they’ve been a leader in the industry and their community. This year as in years past they continue their commitment of providing customers with new offerings and top-notch service. Even Toshiba, their primary vendor has noticed these efforts, and Stargel was recognized this year as Toshiba’s Southern Regions “Market Leader.” In addition Stargel holds the distinction of being Toshiba’s only two-time Innovations Award winner. In our view not only is Stargel Office Solutions a market leader and an innovator, they are Elite.

STRATIX SYSTEMS, INC.

www.stratixsystems.com

Wyomissing, Pa

Year Founded: 1970

No. of Employees: 80

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $14 million

Recent Performance: Grew 25 percent during the past three years

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Launching an IT Services business earlier this year.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh, Riso, Samsung, PrintFleet, Equitrac, Dell

I think we can all agree that in this day and age an office technology dealership cannot survive on hardware sales alone, solutions and services have to be part of that mix. That’s why earlier this year Stratix Systems’ printing and ECM solutions divisions spawned a third line of business—IT Services. This portion of their business encompasses the products and services required to assess, create, integrate, and support clients’ information technology environments. Stratix now has three full-time network/systems engineers, each possessing a host of IT certifications. Additionally, the company works with a supplemental certified IT consultant for clients with highly specialized solutions requirements. Add to that an expansion of its IT Services partner portfolio with the addition of Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, Avast!, Datto, GFI, Sage, Symantec, and Watchguard, and it’s clear this is no ordinary copier dealer. In fact it’s testimony to why Stratix Systems is more than just a copier dealer.

This transition is not earth shattering nor is it out of character for Stratix since for more than 40 years ago they’ve been focused on providing clients with leading-edge technology solutions. Today, Stratix Systems supports more than 4,000 clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey with a 94 percent repeat customer ratio. That’s impressive!

Partnerships and certifications remain critical to this dealership and Stratix is closely connected with the Microsoft Partner Network and is Microsoft Small Business Specialist Certified as well as Dell PartnerDirect Preferred Server Certified, ECMp and CDIA+ Certified. Add to that Cisco Partner Registered along with various individual certifications from Microsfot, Ricoh, Sage, WatchGuard, and AIIM. This commitment to certifications is ongoing and one of the ways they differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

We are especially impressed by Stratix’s forward-thinking management and their focus on refreshing product and service offerings in favor of more up-to-date technologies and programs; their concentration on developing solutions based on emerging technologies such as cloud computing and storage services; and the expansion of their IT and ECM teams, resources, and capabilities.

We believe a dealership that separates itself from the pack by providing IT Services, content management, and imaging solutions is not only a true strategic technology solutions provider but an Elite Dealer as well.

WOODHULL, LLC

www.woodhullusa.com

Springboro, OH

Year Founded: 2000

No. of Employees: 52

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $8.9 million

Recent Performance: Has grown at a 5 percent rate with a compound growth rate of 22 percent since 2000

This Year’s Big Win: The largest school district in Ohio.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh

The Woodhull Executive Team

We’ve been well aware of Woodhull, LLC for many years and one of the reasons we like what they’re doing today is their ability to work with customers to implement a Total Green Office Solutions strategy. This involves toner recycling, default duplex, optimized printing devices to conserve electricity and reduce their carbon footprint, and to recycle equipment that customers no longer need. We’re not the only one who has acknowledged their excellence in this area, they’ve been honored by the Better Business Bureau with an Eclipse Integrity Award.

We like the way they go to market, particularly with their fleet of service vehicles imprinted with their marketing mantra.  It must be great to be a Woodhull customer, especially if you’re a baseball fan. An open house at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in downtown Cincinnati is a great way to mix and mingle with customers and educate them too. Besides the baseball theme, customers can attend MPS/EDM seminars in an auditorium which looks like a mini baseball stadium. How cool is that? In addition customers can check out new technology at six demo stations throughout the Reds Hall of Fame.

So far it’s been a very good year for Woodhull. They’ve partnered with a third-party IT company, Agiliant to provide MPS for their ambulatory healthcare customers and their IT services for Woodhull customers when necessary. In an era where hybrid dealers are becoming the norm, Woodhull, LLC, truly is one, experiencing an MPS growth rate over the last two years of 284 percent. A big win was the Lakota School District, the largest school district in Ohio, which they won in partnership with Ricoh.

When it comes right down to it, Woodhull, LLC, is a stunning example of a dealership that places personal and integrity above everything else. They strive to continually earn the right to be the first choice of employees and customers alike by providing customers with quality document management solutions complemented with exceptional service and support. They’re also certified by Ricoh as a Five Star Solutions Provider and by Ricoh and Print Management Solutions Group as a Ricoh ChaMPS Dealer MDS Quality Certification. Oh yeah, and they’re also one of our 2011 Elite Dealers. 

2011 ELITE DEALERS ROUND 2

BAY COPY

www.baycopy.com 

Rockland, Mass.

Year Founded: 1972

No. of Employees: 31

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $5 million

Recent Performance: Grew by 10 percent the last three years.

This Year’s Big Win: A major contract with South Shore Savings Bank for a managed print services program.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Muratec, Lexmark

Bay Copy's Ray Belanger

It may seem that every dealership in the industry is transitioning into managed print services and Bay Copy is no exception. But what we like about Bay Copy is that they’ve been hugely successful which is an accomplishment considering the size of the company. They’ve expanded their Management Print Division and now work with clients to consult on how to save on printing/copying costs, network their systems for maximum efficiency, and use the latest in technology to make their businesses run more profitably.

This past year Bay Copy has worked closely with South Shore Savings Bank on a comprehensive MPS program. Additionally, Bay Copy continues to upgrade its software platforms for data collection and reporting systems for MPS.

Bay Copy is now into its third year as a Business Solutions Dealer (BSD) for Lexmark International. In fact Bay Copy was the first company in Massachusetts named as a Lexmark BSD, joining a select group of dealers across the United States. This has helped Bay Copy broaden its reach in the managed print service market. This has also enabled the dealership to provide customers in the SMB market with a more robust product offering.

With the economy tough and tougher for a smaller dealer, we can appreciate the fact that Bay Copy enjoyed an increase in sales over the previous year, based in part upon the continuing expansion of their in-house Office Products Division, but even more so with a significant expansion of their Print Management Division along with adding the Lexmark line to its product offerings. And as the industry and public went wild over copier security during the past two years, Bay Copy had the wherewithal to respond in kind, expanding its work in the office security arena and helping customers understand how to remove data from a copier’s hard drive.

Although these traits are nothing new to the average office technology dealership, they continue to position Bay Copy as the little office technology company that could. 

When we think of Bay Copy, we can’t overlook CEO Ray Belanger who is a well-respected member of the office technology dealer community as well as his local community. His presence has helped keep his dealership at the forefront of the industry both locally and nationally. Ray is former president of the Select Dealer Group and continues to be an active member, serving on the group’s Board of Directors. That involvement, to us, shows a huge commitment to the industry. Additionally, Ray plays a key role as a member of the Lexmark Business Solutions Dealer Advisory Board and was a featured speaker and presenter at this year’s Lexmark International Annual Meeting. Ray is also the former president of the Konica Minolta dealer council and has served on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Cannata Report.

COPIER FAX BUSINESS TECHNOLOGIES

www.copierfaxbt.com

Buffalo, NY

Year Founded: 1990

No. of Employees: 23

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $4.2 million

Recent Performance: Business is up 12 percent the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Named by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Muratec, DocuWare

Copier Fax Business Technologies may be one of the smallest dealers we’re honoring in terms of revenue, but they’re still doing things that their larger, well-heeled competitors do that place them firmly in the Elite Dealer category. Consider that Copier Fax can manage the entire workflow from document creation at the workstation to any type of printing device just like the big boys.

We’re not the only ones who have noticed that Copier Fax Business Technologies is special. Konica Minolta recently presented their service department with the Pro Tech Award for the fourth consecutive year. Equally impressive is that they’ve been named by Inc. magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country.

This is a cutting edge dealership, particularly with their approach to service. Technicians are dispatched directly through their GPS-enable smart phones, which also helps the dealership gauge their exact locations which is critical for providing customers with unparalleled service.  Another example of their service excellence is how all field engineers have earned Silver and Gold Seals of Excellence from Konica Minolta.

Copier Fax is on the leading edge of the social networking revolution and use Facebook and Linkedin in their marketing efforts. 

We also like the way the dealership gives back to the community via blood drives with UNYTS (Upstate New York Transplant Services) as well as organ donation signups. Staff and executives volunteer for local non-profit agencies with some serving as Board members. In addition, Copier Fax is partnered with Konica Minolta’s Clean Planet initiative for recycling toner cartridges and consumable parts.

Most impressive, is that even in a down economy, a small dealership such as Copier Fax Business Technologies can still continue to grow the business, hire new employees, and increase the pay of their current employees.  Now that’s Elite!

FRASER ADVANCED INFORMATION SYSTEMS

www.fraser-ais.com

West Reading, PA

Year Founded: 1971

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $22+ million

Recent Performance: 2010 revenues were up 9.43 percent over last year

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: The launch of its Global Support Center.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Sharp, Canon, HP, Microsoft, ImagEze Document Management Software

Fraser's Global Support Center

We’ve long been impressed by the accomplishments of Fraser Advanced Information Systems so it’s no surprise they are once again an Elite Dealer. Fraser has evolved over time from a business equipment company to a multifaceted, full-service office technology firm. Not only does the 40-year old company offer the usual mix of office technology they complement it with document management, Managed IT Services, Network Support, software development, and custom programming that meets the needs of customers in every type of business and industry imaginable.

The core of Fraser’s operations resides in its state-of-the-art Global Support Center, a $2 million dollar undertaking where a team of specialists remotely monitor thousands of clients’ devices while proactively dispatching Fraser field technicians for service calls via G.E.T. Support (Global Engineering Tracker). With G.E.T. Support, Fraser’s Global Support Center team can track and verify the location of any of its field techs via GPS, dispatch them to a customer location, and inform the customer of an expected arrival time. It’s a highly efficient way of operating the service side of the business while improving the customer’s experience.

G.E.T. works in conjunction with the Global Support Center and is also part of Fraser’s Green Initiative. Because of its proactive approach and remote monitoring capabilities, the Global Support Center helps reduce downtime for the customer as well as reduce Fraser’s carbon footprint as many issues are resolved via the cloud. If a machine or device has a problem, the Global Support Center is notified via an e-mail and is aware of the problem, often before the customer is aware of it. If a Global Support Center team member cannot fix the problem remotely, a tech is dispatched via G.E.T. Support. 

Another differentiator for Fraser is its Entrepreneurial Team (E-Team). Fraser was built with an entrepreneurial spirit that remains the lifeblood of the company today. The E-Team allows for more flexibility and spontaneity in the decision-making process as opposed to a larger conglomerate-type organization.

We also like the Fraser markets itself. By using video, social media, and Web 2.0 techniques to promote the dealership and its offerings, along with a re-designed Website, Fraser has generated a lot of “buzz” within the industry for its in-house produced videos, e-blast commercials, and free iPad promotions. This is so innovative that dealers from across the country have called Fraser to inquire about their marketing strategies, which are evolving along with Fraser’s direction and infrastructure to reflect the fast-changing, technology driven vision of the company. Fraser also developed a series of videos titled, “Learn to Earn Zone” which educates the sales team on the latest offerings from Fraser and its vendors, so that the end result is a customer base that is informed and up to date on the latest products and technological advances.

Fraser was fortunate enough to experience many wins over the course of the last year: landing new major accounts, including some large school districts, re-signing major hospital accounts, unveiling a new Website along with the acquisition of PennLantic Systems for Business, an office equipment dealer that specializes in IT and managed services. This acquisition has bolstered Fraser’s tech support abilities.

Fraser’s growth has been driven by its outstanding service department and service guarantees. Its ‘Best Practices’ service is achieved through ongoing training within its certified Sharp and Canon Training Center, which enables Fraser’s technicians to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation. Since 1986, the dealership’s unyielding dedication to excellence has been recognized by Sharp Electronics with the Hykuman Kai Award and in recent years by Canon with the Golden Eagle Award. Those accolades underscore just how Elite Fraser is in the office technology dealer landscape.

There is no doubt that Fraser is the model of an Elite Dealer. When the company tells customers and prospects “Experience the Fraser Difference,” there is indeed a difference.

“The reason is simple – we are unlike any other office technology dealer,” says company President Bill Fraser. “Fraser is elite. We have built a company to meet all information management needs. We combine outstanding customer service with state-of-the-art technology to deliver efficient, affordable, and reliable workflow solutions. We remain committed to providing our customers with ‘More Choices and Better Solutions.’”

IMPACT NETWORKING

www.impactnetworking.com

Waukegan, IL

Year Founded: 1999

No. of Employees: 130

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $21.5-million

This Year’s Big Accomplishment: Transitioning their dealership into the mobile computing and communications age.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Muratec, Avaya, Samsung, HP, KIP, Docuware, Objectiv Lune, Planet Press

Frank Cucco, President of Impact Networking

Plenty of our Elite Dealers sell copiers/MFPs, but not as many have made the investment into production printing that Impact Networking has made, which is one of the reasons we’re honoring them as an Elite Dealer. As Impact says, ‘Selling to companies that specialize in offset or conventional printing requires a certain demonstration of expertise.”

To ensure they have that expertise, Impact created a new division in their company to sell this equipment to printers, print departments, and other service bureau-type organizations. Specialists find leads, demo, and integrate the equipment.

Another area where Impact excels is the way they’ve integrated services into their organization, from document management, to variable data, to MPS, to scanning, to Web design, including coding, hosting, and networking with the sale of its products. By combining equipment sales with services, Impact is differentiating itself with customers who are looking to minimize their outsourced partners. This combination of services and products has led to greater efficiencies and value to Impact customers while increasing profits for Impact over the traditional equipment sale. And that’s been helping the company grow.

Impact Networking = innovation in our view. Consider how they’ve taken full advantage of mobile computing. Plus all of their business documents are being converted so they work on mobile OS platforms and are accessible to sales reps no matter where they are located. That’s innovative for an office technology dealership. Additionally, all sales are issued pre-configured iPads. With these devices and cloud computing, reps can create sales orders on the fly and have customers sign for those orders directly on the tablet. Documents are then e-mailed immediately to headquarters for processing. It’s all about speed.

As revenues stabilized after the economic downturn, Impact discovered that by continuing to refine their business processes, profits on revenues increased. We like the way that Impact has capitalized on this by creating innovative sales incentives for its reps that exceed personal sales quotas. Incentives included trips to exotic locations, partner dinners, rewards for cross department leads, and additional commissions for selling certain products and services.

One area that we’ve always found important when making our Elite Dealer selections is the dealer’s work environment and culture. We find the leadership’s ability to communicate with every employee during quarterly all-company meetings something special. Here, key leadership personal discuss company performance and create a unified vision for the future. These quarterly events also include guest speakers who discuss what’s happening in the industry or help with team building.

It’s not all business at Impact Networking, however, and during the past year the company has rolled out a new Wellness Program and wellness initiatives as well as giving programs for employee participation. Further evidence of how Impact values their employees and their perspectives can be found in a KEYS (Key Employees Yield Success) group where employees gather for roundtable discussions that create valuable ideas within the company that are often tested and implemented. Indeed, many innovations that Impact has deployed started from these KEYS meetings.  And that is another reason why Impact Networking is a 2011 Elite Dealer.  

LDI COLOR TOOLBOX

www.myLDI.com

Jericho, NY

Year Founded: 1999

No. of Employees: 250

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $50+ million

Recent Performance: +15 percent the past three years

This Year’s Big Win: A national contract with one of the country’s largest advertising conglomerates.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Canon, HP, Océ, Sharp, Toshiba, EFI, Nuance, eCopy

When we think of LDI Color ToolBox we think of a cutting-edge office technology dealership. This is a dealership unlike any other in the way it leverages technology, implements technology, and develops technology. 

LDI’s development of “Color ToolBox” is recognized throughout the industry as one of the most progressive programs for introducing high-quality color into a variety of color-critical corporate environments. This is an area where LDI stands out from the pack. Enabling those efforts are LDI’s direct relationships and close ties with Canon, Xerox, EFI, Oris, and CGS. Those relationships allow its staff of certified sales, technical, system engineers, and specialists to provide clients with industry-leading color graphics management tools, and consistent input and output.

LDI continues to declare its independence and has the uncanny ability to maintain close direct relationships with its major manufacturer supplier and strategic third-party providers. That’s key for a multi-line dealership. The company is so well respected by their manufacturers and partners that LDI management sits on the advisory boards and development committees of its partners, allowing LDI to understand, influence, and integrate critical industry trends and development.

We’re also impressed by the way LDI is focused on ‘green’ and sustainability via its branded initiative, LDI Green Up and its managed print services process. These initiatives have appeared on billboards in Times Square and continue to connect prospects and customers to strategic manufacturer developments and best practices through education and awareness programs. These programs have impacted many client environments, accelerating significant reductions to consumables energy and carbon footprint.

LDI not only maintains a high profile in the office technology industry and within the New York City market, but has broken into the national media scene on multiple occasions with stories describing its unique approach to common and uncommon problems. Topics include industry accolades, battling terrorism, digital security and the effective use of business networking—not exactly the topics one would expect to hear from an office technology company.

LDI recognizes that its success would not be possible without strong bonds to the geographies and communities that it serves and we applaud them for acknowledging that. LDI staff currently sits on the boards of many local not-for-profit agencies, has used its profit dollars to enrich the lives of others less fortunate, has designated some of its annual customer appreciation events to benefit community organizations, and has used its production print equipment and significant resources to further the aims of many worthwhile charities.

It’s been a super year for LDI and they continue to forge ahead with numerous wins in the legal, healthcare, financial, and educational vertical industries. Some of the most significant wins include a national contract with one of the country’s largest advertising conglomerates, a partnering opportunity in what is considered the to be the largest 2011 legal vertical installation in New York City, and a fleet refresh at one of the local universities.

Finally, LDI rates Elite status because it has shown that it can navigate through an evolving marketplace and changing world with precision and integrity. We also like the way they’ve grown organically, taking the time to recognize and reward its most valuable asset; a group that President and CEO Jerry Blaine describes as “seasoned, dedicated professionals and individuals with expertise in providing the industry’s best office technology, for more than three decades.”

MARTIN WHALEN OFFICE SOLUTIONS

www.mwos.com

Bradley, IL

Year Founded: 1936

No. of Employees: 74

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $17 million

Recent Performance: Grew 9 percent over the past three years

This Year’s Big Win: Placing 40+ MFPs and 150 printers in a multi-school district.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Canon, Lexmark, Kyocera, HP

Martin Whalen Office Solutions tell us they are proud to serve a smaller market where personal relationships and community involvement matter while emphasizing the local angle and their rich 75-year history of providing office technology. 

75 years! Now that’s an achievement and although longevity in itself doesn’t make for an Elite Dealer, they must be doing something right to not only stay in business but maintain their independence in a landscape where acquisitions and mergers have become all too commonplace.

Honestly, we do love the way they are celebrating their 75th anniversary and not only involving their customers but employees from throughout the organization in the festivities and various promotions. 

“For our employees we wanted to do something special and we rented a historical theatre and had a red carpet dinner where we thanked our employees and debuted our 75th Anniversary video,” reports Marty Whalen, president.

For customers, the dealership threw a customer appreciation party and ran a promotion where they gave away three $7,500 prizes out of the more than 1,000 entries. We appreciate the scholarship essay contest that Martin Whalen Office Solutions is sponsoring for local high school seniors who answer the essay question, “What will the office of the future look like in 25 years?” Three $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to the winners. That’s contest is a natural since the dealership does a lot of school business and this is the ideal way for them to give back to customers and the community.

Big wins, well this dealer had a few in 2011, including a multi-school district for 40+ MFPs and 150 printers.

“We’re product of this win because the original proposal called for just the copiers,” says Whalen. “Our total solution made sense for them to replace all of their print devices. It saves them money and helps cut their IT cost of labor every year going forward.”

But what really impressed us about this 75-year-old office technology dealership was the implementation of CEO Juice software, a program that measures their Net Promoter Score. This is a score used by companies across the U.S. to see what their customers really think of them. A score of 96 percent looks pretty darn good to us, especially when you consider that a company like Apple scores in the 70 percent range and the average company only scores about 10 percent. That backs up Martin Whalen Office Solutions’ claims about the quality of their customer service.

When one considers there aren’t many successful third-generation family businesses remaining in the office technology industry, Martin Whalen Office Solutions deserves a load of credit. This is a company that refuses to remain complacent and continues to change to meet the needs of customers, technology, and the economy. Finally, let’s not overlook the people who make this dealership Elite.

“We have always spent a great deal of time looking for good people and feel that our patience in hiring leads to good outcomes for our customers and our company,” notes Whalen. “Many of our employees have been here more than 25 years and they are as much a part of our family business as the Whalen family. We treat them well with industry leading retirement plans, bonus plans, and flexible working conditions, and they, in turn, mirror this care to our customers. It’s been a formula that has worked for many years and we think it will carry us to the fourth generation as well.”

PROSOURCE

www.totalprosource.com

Cincinnati, OH

Year Founded: 1985

No. of Employees: 150

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $30+ million

Recent Performance: Grew 10 percent over the last three years

This Year’s Big Win: The acquisition of docuVision.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Muratec, OpenText, OnBase, Equitrac, FileBound, Kofax, Fujitsu, Kodak, Panasonic, EMC2, EFI, Planetpress Suite, Printshop Mail

Plenty of dealerships tout their talented and experienced employees, yet we are impressed by the  numerous awards and training certifications from manufacturers and industry organizations that have been bestowed upon ProSource’s employees. That validates those claims. Add to that validation about the ProSource work environment and their industry sales and service excellence and you have all the makings of an Elite Dealer.

Let’s look at some of the company’s accolades. Those include being named a 2011 Enquirer Media Top Places to Work, Konica Minolta Pro-Tech Award Winner (7th consecutive year), 2011 Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business Excellence Awards Community Involvement Runner-up, 2007 & 2011 Better Business Bureau Torch Award Honoree, and 2006 Small Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.

We’d also like to give ProSource a big pat on the back for their green initiatives. Last year they launched a series of green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their natural resource sustainability efforts. This included partnering with their vendors to offer customers ‘green’ receptacles to help recycle spent toner bottles and print drums. Along with this effort, they’ve expanded their electronic document solution product suites to support customer’s efforts to reduce their paper consumption as part of their green initiatives.

ProSource does a nice job in supporting their community too, including implementing the “Casual for a Cause” program, which allows employees to donate $5 to wear jeans on Fridays. That money is then matched by ProSource and donated to a different charity of the month.They also sponsor an annual toy drive to collect toys and games for children at St. Joseph Orphanage. Additionally, ProSource sponsors a Freestore Foodbank food drive every November to collect money and nonperishable donations.

The most significant accomplishment for ProSource in 2011 has been the acquisition of docuVision, a workflow and document management company. This acquisition positions them well for the future and also gives them an edge over many of their competitors in the Cincinnati market.

ProSource has been a family owned business for over 25 years, growing from three associates to more than 150, and experiencing exponential growth every year. 

“A company simply cannot grow and prosper like this unless it has a good, solid reputation of ethical behavior in the marketplace,” says Ben Russert, president. “As a sales organization ProSource has a goal to market as much new equipment as possible, however, we must never forget the overall good for our customer even if it postpones a possible sale or the customer develops a new need. The customer will recognize our concern for their business and it certainly will cement our relationship for the long term.”

By taking this approach, ProSource’s customers realize they are not just an equipment reseller but a true business partner. No wonder their customer retention rate is better than 92 percent. And no wonder they are a 2011 Elite Dealer.  

TA SEELEY OFFICE SYSTEMS

www.seeleyoffice.com

Glens Falls, NY 12801

Year Founded: 1981

No. of Employees: 10

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $2-million

This Year’s Big Win: Transitioning a long-time customer to a paperless operation by installing more than 40 new devices.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Konica Minolta, Muratec, United Stationers

Not all of our Elite Dealers are large entities. Some, like TA Seeley Office Systems, may only do $2-million worth of business a year, but they run a tight operation and keep their customers extremely satisfied. We appreciate their ability to balance office technology and office supplies, making them a true single source for their customers. They offer free next-day delivery for supplies and an impressive two-hour response time for service.

This turned out to be a good year for the dealership, winning new business and expanding on its existing relationships. TA Seeley’s biggest accomplishment, however, was helping a customer transition into a more paperless environment while installing more than 40 new machines at that location.  

Most independent dealers work the local angle, however, TA Seeley has proven for more than 30 years that buying local can make a difference. With the goal of helping customers become leaders in their fields, they offer honest upfront information and prompt courteous service. No, that’s not a unique objective, but it’s impressive when it done right and this dealership has shown time and time again that they can do it right.

As a family business, they’ve shown a talent for working with both large and small customers, and in the region they serve, they lay claim to working with five of the top eight employers. Not a bad achievement for a small, all-purpose dealership who also happens to be Elite.

TGI OFFICE AUTOMATION

www.tgioa.com

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Year Founded: 1964

No. of Employees: 00+

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $50 million

Recent Performance: Grew 5-9 percent the past three years.

This Year’s Big Accomplishments: Receiving Toshiba’s Market Leadership Award for the Eastern Region and Lanier’s National Award of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year.

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Toshiba, Lanier, Lexmark, DocuWare

Let’s start off by noting that TGI’s differentiating factor is its focus on premier customer service. As they say, “A satisfied customer is our most important asset.” We know plenty of dealers make that claim but the evidence shows that TGI truly delivers.

Things are changing at TGI and we like what we’re seeing. They’re in the midst of a major rebranding project, changing their logo, Website, and marketing materials with the intent of conveying TGI’s focus on advancing technology and enhanced customer service.

“We are in the process of positioning our Website to be a primary source of industry leading educational information,” says TGI President Frank Grasso. “We have seen an increase in traffic due to the addition of five value-added microsites that solely provide informative information. Additionally, we have transitioned into a new CRM program that allows us to set up predictive e-mail campaigns to our client’s based on the business intelligence we collect.”

Additionally, TGI is bullish on advertising and promotions and the mix includes Bloomberg Business Radio, sponsorship of the Brooklyn Cyclones and Long Island Ducks Minor League Baseball Teams and Outdoor Billboards on Major Highways throughout NYC. These efforts ensure that TGI is never out of sight, out of mind. 

We’ve written about TGI’s managed print services program before—GPS (Green, Print, Save)—and that program provides a roadmap for businesses to successfully navigate the winding roads of a print strategy. It’s a strategic initiative that we feel make TGI stand out from the pack. TGI’S GPS offering was developed to help companies identify ways to reduce costs, gain control, and be more environmentally responsible with their printing devices.

Guarantees are commonplace in the office technology industry, and TGI has their Equipment Replacement and Performance Guarantee on all the equipment they sell.  If a customer’s copier, fax or printer is out-of-service more than two consecutive business days or requires off-site service, a loaner machine is provided by TGI at no additional charge. Plus if a client’s machine or its accessories do not operate within TGI’s product specifications and if the equipment cannot be repaired TGI will replace the machine or accessory at no charge with a model of equal or better specifications. That may not be unique to the industry, but it further illustrates TGI’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

An active member and supporter of the community, we absolutely love how they speak at local board meetings on how businesses and households can pinpoint opportunities to reduce their environmental impact. They also practice what they preach. In May 2011, TGI installed Solar Panels at their Brooklyn headquarters. This is expected to produce 1,508,847 KWHs of electricity. Not bad.

TGI has also been recognized by its manufacturer partners. This year they were acknowledged with the Toshiba Market Leadership Award for the Eastern Region and Lanier’s National Award of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year.

TGI Office Automation’s focus on providing premier customer service embodies the principle of an Elite Dealer. As does partnerships with strategic accounts and preferred vendors. By creating a strong foundation and a scalable platform for conducting business, TGI has become a business partner that excels at helping its clients solve their business problems. Add up all these qualities and it’s easy to see why this 46-year-old, $50-million office technology dealership is Elite.

ZOOM IMAGING SOLUTIONS

www.zoomcopiers.com

Roseville, CA

Year Founded: 1987 (as WOLCO)

No. of Employees: 120+

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $24 million

Recent Performance: +8 percent 2010-2011

This Year’s Big Win:

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Toshiba, Lexmark, KIP, Fujitsu, HP, DocSTar, Infodynamics

Gary Johnson of Zoom Imaging

It’s difficult to ignore a dealership that has been the leading Northern California Toshiba dealer for the past 9 years and a recipient of Toshiba’s ProMaster’s Service Award for the last 18 years. Plus they’re also one of the largest independent providers of office equipment solutions in Northern California.

Zoom strives to be recognized by customers for exceeding their expectation in office solutions, service and support and has been doing that for at least as long as President Gary Johnson has been running the company.

Zoom has a reputation for being ahead of the curve and was one of the leaders of the pack in 2010 on digital copier hard drive security.

“We were the first to offer multiple solutions to help protect our customer’s sensitive data  and continue to ensure that the information processed by each copier stays safely within that organization and not in the hands of identity thieves,” says Johnson.

We’re also impressed by Zoom’s average Net Promoter Score (NPS), which as of July 2011 stands at 84. “The NPS is a straightforward metric that holds companies and employees accountable for how they treat customers,” explains Johnson. “It is both a loyalty metric and a discipline for using customer feedback to fuel profitable growth in your business. Employees at all levels of the organization understand it, opening doors to customer-centric change and improved performance.”

As a side note, the average company in the United States has a NPS of 10. NPS leaders in the US include USAA (87), Trader Joe’s (82), Wegman’s (78), Costco (77), and Apple (72). So as you can see Zoom is in some elite company there.

Sports marketing and office technology companies seem to go hand in hand and Zoom has been a current partner for more than 15 years with the Sacramento Kings as well as a major contributor for helping to keep the Kings in Sacramento for at least one more year. They’re also a partner with the San Jose Sharks, and sponsor various local high schools in the Sacramento area. Johnson says that sports marketing and sponsorship is a great way to get involved within their community.

Zoom’s biggest accomplishment this year was being awarded Toshiba’s 2010-2011 “Dealer of the Year” title back in May at the annual Toshiba dealer meeting. This prestigious honor recognizes the one dealer that best represents continued sales success, technical service expertise and outstanding customer service and satisfaction.

It’s easy to see why Zoom makes our list of 2011 Elite Dealers. Besides being one of Toshiba’s best dealers, they’re also one of the best in the country in our book.

2011 ELITE DEALERS ROUND 1:

ADVANCED IMAGING SOLUTIONS 

www.advancedimaging.net  

South Bend, IN 

Year Founded: 1995 

No. of Employees: 77 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $10 million 

This Year’s Big Accomplishment and Win: Sales staff successfully completed the “Breakaway Sales Performer” training and winning the business of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. 

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Lanier, Ricoh, Canon, HP, Riso 

We extend our kudos to Advanced Imaging Solutions for the way their account executives focus successfully find solutions to customer’s document process problems through workflow analysis and a consultative approach. And once a customer’s business objectives are identified, the dealership develops customized solutions centered around hardware and software. No, this isn’t a radical new concept in the industry, but it’s a concept that Advanced Imaging Solutions continues to do a superior job with while exceeding customer expectations and winning new business with. That counts for something. 

We also like the way Advanced has established metrics to measure the productivity of their service team with an emphasis on response time. Also notable is the Advanced ReNEW pre-used equipment program where customers ‘Buy ReNEW for a fraction of the cost of new’ as well as their eTools-Service offering, an online portal. The ReNEW program provides customers with gently used print devices that generally have a useful life of at least seven years, but are being traded up after only three to four years. Selling previously used equipment may not be a novel idea, but the way Advanced goes about it, is. 

One of the highlights of the past year was the successful completion by Advanced’s sales staff of the ‘Breakaway Sales Performer’ training. Additionally, they also picked up a key new account,  the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. 

Finally we need to acknowledge Advanced’s ethical business practices, a quality that they are extremely proud of and something that makes a huge difference in the business world. 

“By making decisions fundamentally based on what’s right, we establish trust and loyalty between our employees and our customers,” says Staci Emery, marketing coordinator. “That foundation allows us to move together toward a common goal—the successful integration of our state-of-the-art printer devices with our customers’ needs, goals, and objectives.” 

ATLANTIC, TOMORROWS OFFICE 

www.tomorrowsoffice.com  

New York, NY 

Year Founded: 1959 

No. of Employees: 255 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $70 million 

This Year’s Notable Accomplishment: A Product Expo held in May for customers and prospects. 

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh, Toshiba, Konica Minolta, Kyocera 

Larry Weiss & Yankee GM Brian Cashman at Atlantic's May Product Expo.

Atlantic, Tomorrows Office is an independent dealership that continues to thrive in a tough market. If they can make it in New York City, well, they’d make it anywhere, which makes them a consistent Elite Dealer honoree. Atlantic separates themselves from the pack of office technology providers in their market via their Seal of Satisfaction, a replacement and service guarantee that guarantees customers fast response time, loaner programs, a payback program if they don’t make their committed response time and a certified end of lease program assuring that the information on the copier being returned to the leasing company. 

They also have an impressive remote services program and recently eliminated the word “dispatch” from their vocabulary, substituting it with Help Desk. It’s a little change but a huge image enhancer in that it changes the perception of the company from that of a copier dealership to one that is more of an IT services and solutions company. 

“As we are all pressured to respond fast and provide better customer service, we at Atlantic have created a Help Desk mentality while eliminating dispatch,” notes Larry Weiss, president and CEO. 

Presently, Atlantic handles 10 percent of service calls remotely while 30 percent of  installs are remote, ensuring a plug and play scenario for customers and eliminating the disruption caused by delivery and installation/networking. 

Atlantic budgets a sizable $300,000 per year to give back to the community and some of the charities they support include the Make a Wish Foundation. They also support the National Kidney Foundation and St. Christophers Inc., a child welfare agency. Atlantic employees also serve on boards of numerous charitable organizations and help raise funds for various causes. 

One of the highlights of the past year was a Product Expo that drew 450 companies and 750 guests. Keynote speaker Brian Cashman, general manager of the New York Yankees, discussed leadership and shared stories about working for the Yankees with attendees and was a huge hit. 

In an industry where many dealers have a volatile relationship with their manufacturers, that’s not so much the case at Atlantic, where Weiss claims to have positive relationships with all of them. One reason is his ability to view the business from their perspective as well as his own. 

Asked why Atlantic is Elite, Weiss responds, “We continually look to grow and add value to our clients and prospective clients and we are involved in the CDA and help support the growth of the dealer in general.” 

That’s what being an Elite Dealer is all about.   

DES PLAINES OFFICE EQUIPMENT 

www.dpoe.com  

Elk Grove Village, Ill. 

Year Founded: 1955 

No. of Employees: 82 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $14 million 

This Year’s Notable Accomplishment: Becoming a partner/affiliate in the Agiliant Affiliate Network. 

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Sharp, OKI Data, HP, InfoDynamics, Konica Minolta, Toshiba (telephone systems) 

Chip Miceli

Meet a dealer who does more than just sell their customers new technologies and services. A priority is forming lasting and meaningful relationships with every one of their customers. Sure you’ve heard that line or something similar before, but DPOE has a proven track record of making that happen. This, obviously, makes a huge difference in customer retention. 

Despite the financial rollercoaster the country has endured the last few years, DPOE has experienced continued growth and stability. They attribute this success to their unparalleled customer service and their recent acquisition of four Chicago-area competitors. As a result, DPOE is one of the best-known dealers in their market. 

As the industry transitions towards managed print services, so has DPOE. They actively seek out opportunities to give presentations about managed print services and the benefits that it provides. In addition, they recently started hosting free seminars on network and document security topics, with an emphasis on how they relate to the office copier and safeguarding documents on the internal hard drive. The informational presentations about network and document security have been tremendously popular not only with business owners and community organizations, but also with local media. In fact, topics covered in DPOE’s MPS and security seminars have been featured in local news publications. 

DPOE knows that each of their clients has unique needs, goals and aspirations. As a result, DPOE has made it a priority to provide many flexible service and coverage packages. Their branded MPS service offering, “Image-Flex” and managed network services offering, “Tech-Flex” come in variable service level and price options, and always emphasize the “flex” factor so that the customer is always reminded of DPOE’s ability to remain flexible. It also reinforces their commitment to providing perfectly matched solutions to customer’s unique needs.  

One of DPOE’s most significant accomplishments this past year was becoming a partner/affiliate in the Agiliant Affiliate Network. This partnership has provided DPOE with an invaluable competitive industry advantage by providing them with the training and tools to deliver the MITOS (Managed Information Technology and Output Services) solution to their clients through their “Tech-Flex” service plan options. This partnership has transformed DPOE from a legacy copier and MPS provider to an expert master managed services provider capable of aligning all aspects of their customers’ IT infrastructure to achieve optimized solutions specific to their current and changing business needs. 

Bottom line DPOE is Elite because they’ve enjoyed tremendous success as a result of their highly-customized and service-oriented approach to the market. They pride themselves on their ability to identify, embrace and address the individual needs of their clients in this ever-changing industry where margins are continually compressed. Their business has grown by limiting the products and services they provide, rather than trying to offer multiple different types of products and services. As a result employees have become experts on each and every product and service they offer and are also able to work closely with the client, cultivate an intimate understanding of their business, and use their knowledge to identify and implement solutions for the entire spectrum of their clients’ IT infrastructure management and maintenance needs.  

ELECTRONIC OFFICE SYSTEMS (EOS)  

www.eosnj.com  

Fairfield, NJ  

Year Founded: 1983 

No. of Employees: 37 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $8 million 

This Year’s Big Win: Winning the business of a large, national fashion and design firm.   

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Savin, Kyocera, KIP, HP, Muratec 

Andrew Ritschel

This is a dealership that succeeds by focusing on the basics while evolving with the industry. If we had the space we would list all 22 of the unique advantages that EOS has over its competitors in the increasingly competitive northern New Jersey market. Three that stand out for us include how employees are guided by a list of 60 “Company Core Values” and each employee annually signs a “Customer Commitment” letter. Another is that a live receptionist answers the phone Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., something we’ve noticed whenever we’ve called over the years. We also like their Integrated Solutions Division that encompasses a mix of business partners, including Microsoft, Critrix, IBM, HP, Captaris RightFax, ECM Documentum, Kofax, and Dell all of help contribute to their expertise and excellence in providing customers with enterprise content management systems and network infrastructure. 

This is also a dealership that can seize an opportunity and run with it. The most recent example was when a national fashion and design firm’s client’s current supplier couldn’t meet their  expectations, EOS stepped in and earned the business. A modern 20,000-square foot facility offers an ideal location for prospects to see the equipment EOS sells in a real world operational setting. EOS also believes in giving customers piece of mind through a seven-year equipment performance guarantee. 

As industry trends dictate changes in the way dealers do business as well as their product offerings, EOS has made the transition into managed print services. Realizing that in the real word MPS is not going to fly with every customer, they offer standard and stripped down versions. 

Community involvement is paramount at EOS and each sales person is mandated to be a member of a non-profit organization as well as volunteer their time for worthy causes. In addition, the dealership actively supports The Save the Children Foundation and supports and contributes financially to dozens of non-profit organizations in their region. 

All of these illustrate what EOS has been doing right for the past 37 years and why they are once again an Elite Dealer. 

FLEXPRINT 

www.flexprintinc.com  

Scottsdale, AZ 

Year Founded: 2005 

No. of Employees: 110 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $20 million 

Recent Performance: FlexPrint is on track for $25 million in revenues in 2011 

This Year’s Big Win: Landing a multi-million dollar three-year contract with one of the nation’s largest financial institutions. 

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Ricoh/Lanier, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Dell 

Frank Gaspari

FlexPrint has a unique business model that has allowed them to enjoy overwhelming success in just five short years. Even in the midst of a recession, FlexPrint was enjoying a 700 percent growth rate year-over-year. Since their founding they’ve grown from three employees to more than 100 who are all focused on managing 40,000 devices throughout the country. Additionally, they’ve created more than 100 jobs in 20 different states. Those are impressive accomplishments. 

FlexPrint’s has an interesting business model, one that’s not product or technology driven. Instead, it’s a model driven by customer needs. FlexPrint takes a consultation approach to their business working with each client to find a customized program to help them manage internal paper output in the most cost effective and efficient way. FlexPrint staff work to reduce operating costs, eliminate redundancies and reduce the overall paper consumption within the client’s company. That’s what we call managing prints and that’s exactly what FlexPrint does so well. 

Another way that FlexPrint is unique is that they operates independently, which allows them to find programs and solutions that meet the specific needs and goals of each customer. They also service a range of legacy equipment, allowing customers to use systems they already have in place. FlexPrint flexibility and dedication to customer service bring real value to their clients in terms of efficiencies and cost savings. An ongoing focus is to exceed customers’ expectations and deliver ongoing managed solutions that deliver measurable results. From all accounts FlexPrint is succeeding in those endeavors. 

All FlexPrint programs include a comprehensive cost-pre-print approach and include maintenance, supplies, and quarterly updates on printer usage and efficiency all in one package. As FlexPrint President Frank Gaspari says, “FlexPrint sells a process, and our success and growth in the past five years has proven that approach.” 

A company is often only good as its employees and this is an area where we feel FlexPrint excels. They provide unique incentive programs for employees, including the Fantastic Five award and the President’s Club Trip. Launched this year, the Fantastic Five award recognizes five employees for going above and beyond in their work. The five winners can select from mortgage or rent payments for a year or college tuition for the winner’s child for a year. The company hosts its annual President’s Club trip to Hawaii for the top 20 employees who demonstrate exceptional service. Additionally, FlexPrint provides quarterly incentive trips, in office parties, company events and family functions for employees. 

Community leadership is another reason why FlexPrint earns Elite status. Their success has allowed them to give to dozens of charitable organizations on many different levels. The firm has provided financial support, volunteers and more to local events, charities and neighborhood organizations. Additionally, FlexPrint hosts an annual golf tournament with proceeds benefiting a different charity each year. Last year, the tournament raised more than $22,000 for the TERROS Call Center. For FlexPrint, it’s not about having a strategic plan for giving, but rather a willingness to improve their community and support organizations that make a difference. 

Environmental and green initiatives are also important to FlexPrint. Last year, the company planted more than 250 trees on Arbor Day with the help of the American Forests non-profit organization. Additionally, part of FlexPrint’s business model is to help clients find eco-friendly solutions to their printing by reducing overall paper consumption and eliminating discretionary printing. 

Last year, the company was listed as one of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the country by Inc. Magazine. FlexPrint was recently named one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies by Arizona Business Magazine and looking at the company’s culture, it’s easy to see why. 

Combined, all these accolades and aforementioned qualities add up to an Elite dealer. 

FLO-TECH 

www.flotech.net  

Middletown, Conn. 

Year Founded: 1992  

No. of Employees: 160 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $30 million 

This Year’s Notable Accomplishments: CEO Leo Bonetti being named one of the Top 40 Most Influential People in the Imaging Industry by The Week in Imaging and the company being selected as the 2011 Dealer of the Year by the ITEX Advisory Board and ImageSource Magazine. 

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Canon, HP, Xerox, Lexmark, Dell, Omtool, eCopy 

Leo Bonetti

What we have here is a perennial Elite Dealer honoree. Since its founding in 1992 printing and imaging have been the company’s sole focus, which has made it less challenging for them to transition into managed print services. 

 “Even our early print programs included many of the key components that truly define what makes a “managed print” solution,” notes Leon Bonetti, CEO and co-owner. “While our earlier programs may not have been multi-year contracts, our SmartPrint Support Program certainly included value-added services, including free preventative maintenance cleanings, comprehensive asset management reports, toll-free technical support, help desk training, supply recycling, and hardware consulting, and rightsizing.” 

Flo-Tech has been able to scale and expand those services into a comprehensive managed print services program branded under the ‘Integrated Print Management Program (IPM)’ name. 

“Under IPM we are providing support for printers, copiers, MFPs, fax machines, and scanners in a variety of customer environments with varying levels of complexity, page volumes and number of devices, including fleets with thousands of devices,” reports Bonetti. 

Their challenge, he says, was to go downstream to support smaller copier networks as part of a total fleet management program versus copier dealers who are trying to go upstream to support printer networks with hundreds of thousands of devices.” 

It’s only been three years since Flo-Tech added Canon to the mix, but during this time they’ve seen their Canon volume grow significantly. Last year they achieved well over 234 percent of their targeted growth number and based on that performance are one of Canon’s top 30 dealers in the United States. 

To support growth in hardware sales and implementations, Flo-Tech now has an Equipment Preparation facility to streamline implementation of devices at client sites. Devices are shipped to the facility where technicians test and configure the device to customer specifications. This facility is part of Flo-Tech’s Hardware Procurement and Distribution Department that is managed and supported by a team of equipment prep specialists along with a delivery specialist and a warehousing and shipping specialist. 

Always an innovator, we truly love Flo-Tech’s EnVision for the Environment program as well its Flo-Tech Coast to Coast program, a program that supports branch offices across the country. These programs couple nicely with the company’s vertical marketing approach as they help legal clients maximize the benefits of an MPS implementation to drive down costs, streamline support, improve productivity, and support their green initiatives. They’ve been so successful at serving this market that they were nominated to be included on the ballot in the New York Law Journal’s First Annual Rankings Survey for the “Best of the Best” in the document management services category serving the New York legal community.  

Although Flo-Tech has long had a major/national account focus that’s shifted during the past couple of years towards an expansion into the SMB space via the addition of an Imaging Systems Division (ISD). This division is focused on printing and imaging technology solutions for the SMB market. 

You can’t be an Elite dealer if you can’t retain customers, and Flo-Tech does a super job in that area too. A dedicated Client Support Manager provides a single point of contact for all of the day-to-day support requirements of the customer, including contract management, implementation/execution of Flo-Tech’s value-added services, coordinating activity based cleanings, educating clients on new offerings and setting customers up on Flo-Tech Connect for online ordering/service requests. As part of the company’s client retention strategy, Flo-Tech recently engaged in a process to further define what they would like the Flo-Tech ‘Customer Experience’ to be. 

“Through this initiative we went through a unique mapping process looking at all customer touch points, across sales and service, and mapped what we could do at each of those interactions to improve customer service, add value, and further strengthen our relationships,” explains Bonetti. 

Innovation is also evident in the company’s Alert Management Software (AMS), an internally developed program based on input/requirements from their customers. AMS is a remote monitoring application for the printing and imaging infrastructure. This system manages the thousands of alerts generated by a fleet printing and imaging devices with automated, intelligent alert handling, improving the availability and productivity of the output infrastructure while reducing support requirements. 

Whether it’s managed print, innovative programs, internally developed software, community involvement or customer satisfaction Flo-Tech is a fitting model of an Elite Dealer. 

KELLEY IMAGING SYSTEMS 

www.kelleyimaging.com  

Kent, WA 

Year Founded: 1974 

No. of Employees: 45 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $8.7 million 

This Year’s Big Win: Acquiring new customers and growing existing accounts in a difficult economy.   

Recent Performance: Grew overall revenue by 22 percent the past year.  

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Toshiba, Xerox, HIP, KIP, Muratec, Lexmark 

We love the emphasis on sustainability at Kelley Imaging Systems. The dealership strives to educate their customers about the benefits of using energy-efficient equipment, soy-based inks, and recycled papers while at the same time aligning with manufacturers who share their vision to protect the planet. They even provide customers with detailed information of how to download and print pre-paid postage for each of their manufacturer’s products so it’s easy for them to return their empty toner cartridges for recycling. That in itself may not be all that unique, but it is still a big part of the dealership’s environmental initiatives.  

In addition to offering sustainable solutions, Kelley Imaging Systems seeks out new opportunities to add value to their existing and prospective customers. As a full service MPS provider, they knew first hand that customers value single-vendor relationships, impeccable customer service, and innovative solutions. As a member of the Agiliant Affiliate Network Kelley has recently began to offer Managed Network Services (MNS) solutions, providing customers with the unique opportunity to have one vendor independently manage and optimize their entire IT infrastructure. 

Kelley Imaging Systems goes above and beyond to make sure their customers know they are valued and not just when it’s time to sign or renew a contract. For example, Kelley produces Service Checklists that are left with the customer after a service call is completed. These Checklists are detailed summaries and clearly explain what services and/or updates the technician performed while onsite, ensuring the lines of communication and understanding between Kelley Imaging and their customer always remain open. 

Numerous customer appreciation and retention strategies help keep customers satisfied. For example, once follow-up appointments have concluded, Kelley mails personalized thank you cards to customers. They feel this sentiment is more appreciated than a simple e-mail thank you.  

Kelley Imaging Systems also has an innovative strategy for ensuring they remain positively positioned in their customers’ minds. Specialized software allows them to input all their clients’ (and prospects’) information, and categorize them according to the type of client, where they are in the sales cycle, purchasing habits, and more. The software also allows Kelley to create completely customized marketing campaigns that correspond with specific types of clients,  allowing them to create automated processes to govern which clients receive each marketing piece and at what frequency and on what schedule. By automating these processes, the dealership ensures new and existing customers always receive ample, appropriately themed, and perfectly timed marketing messages. 

Kelley Imaging Systems’ most significant accomplishments this past year is their commitment to offering eco-friendly solutions, delivering exceptional customer service, finding new ways to add value to their customers, and their community involvement directly contributed to the immense financial success that they experienced this past year. Despite the difficult economy, they’ve still been able to acquire new customers, grow existing accounts, and enjoy a 22 percent increase in overall revenue over the past year. 

This past year also saw Kelley re-brand their company logo, Website, collateral and communications strategy. When times are tough you have to be impressed by a dealership that isn’t afraid to make this kind of investment. The new logo features three boxes that represent the core foundation of their company and represent “products, services and solutions.” Its earthy color scheme helps reinforce their mission to offer environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions. It’s that foundation that makes Kelly Imaging Systems an Elite Dealer. 

NORTHERN BUSINESS MACHINES (NBM) 

www.nbminc.com  

Burlington, MA 

Year Founded: 1985 

No. of Employees: 80 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $18 million 

Recent Performance: Sales have increased 10 percent from 2008-2010 

This Year’s Big Win: NBM was one of less than 20 dealers in the U.S. to be recognized both as a Sharp Platinum Service Provider and earn Sharp’s Hyukaman Kai Elite (over $5 million in wholesale) status.  

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Sharp, Konica Minolta, OKI, KIP, HP 

Left to right: John Pietragallo, director of service; Laura Bray, vice president; Vern Hydorn, vice president;

If making inroads into managed print services is an indication of a dealership’s Elite status then NBM has done a superior job of making that transition as they now support more than 6,000 printers since launching their MPS business in 2008. They’re also on the cutting edge in the services arena by offering outsourced IT services, an area that will become increasingly important to many dealerships going forward. The dealership just completed the design and implementation of a network for one of its clients, including a server, operating system, firewall, e-mail, laptops, and PCs. How many other dealers can do that? 

NBM sees this as the next great opportunity for growth. Additionally, as an indication of just how serious they are about solutions, document management, and IT services, in 2010 they added a full-time solutions person to sell document management and IT services. 

As the industry has migrated to direct sales and service organizations, NBM remains a true independent.  As a privately held dealer, they continue to provide a variety of products and services to best meet the needs of their clients. They tell us that there are few dealers in their region that can offer the level of service and varied product offerings supported by NBM. 

We’re not the only ones who find NBM special. They’ve been recognized as a Platinum Service Provider and achieved Hyukaman Kai Elite (over $5 million in wholesale) with Sharp. That’s a significant achievement since there are fewer than 20 dealers in the U.S. to achieve both. 

Finally, we appreciate NBM’s community involvement. The dealership and its employees support a variety of community organizations, including the Courtney Butcher Memorial Scholarship Fund, Lutheran Social Services, and Saint Anselm College Scholarship Fund. 

This truly is a dealership that has a focus on the future while maintaining a successful 26-year legacy. 

OFFICEWARE 

www.officeware.com  

Cincinnati, OH 45236 

Year Founded: 1995 

No. of Employees: 123 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: $27 million 

Recent Performance: +20 percent during the past three years 

This Year’s Big Win: The acquisition of Print Manage, Inc., a managed print services firm with four locations, 18 employees and $4 million in annual revenues.  

Primary Vendors/Product Lines: Canon, Lanier, HP, and various document management software solutions 

The ability to adapt to changing technology and varying customer needs are two reasons why OfficeWare is one of our Elite Dealers status. We also like their approach to managed print services and their focus on automating the document workflow process. Towards that end they’ve compiled best of breed document management software solutions they’ve branded eDOCSuite to bring customers scalable solutions to automate and manage documents in digital format. 

Another area where OfficeWare stands out from competitors is its Total Care Promise. They call it “the strongest written customer satisfaction guarantee in the industry.” It guarantees absolute satisfaction and a 98 percent uptime performance. Also impressive is OfficeWare’s DOC@nalysis and four-week sales training process that enables them to accurately assess document environments to identify areas that can be improved in their clients’ businesses. 

We also like they way they toot their own horn. Earlier this year they launched the OfficeWare blog. The blog presents insights on managed print services while also demonstrating their expertise in this important new segment. Annual customer satisfaction surveys and success stories demonstrate and underscore OfficeWare’s ability to contribute value in their business relationships. 

The most significant accomplishment of the past year was the acquisition of Print Manage, Inc., a managed print services firm with four locations, 18 employees and $4 million in annual revenues. This resulted in 110 new clients and an additional 4,000 MFPs and printers under contract. In addition their in-house leasing program provides flexibility in billing and term options to finance equipment purchases for their customers. 

A valued member of the community, OfficeWare donates 20 MFPS each December to non-profit organizations during their 20 Days of Christmas celebration. They also sponsor Norton HealthCare’s annual Snow Ball fundraiser benefitting the Kosair Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. Their latest donation was for $22,000! Additionally they contribute $5,000 to their annual Golf Classic. 

Besides being honored by The Week in Imaging as an Elite Dealer, OfficeWare has been recognized as an HP PartnerONE Elite dealer three times and in May earned Lanier’s 1010 National Award of Excellence for exceptional growth. Add to that the knowledge and expertise of their entire team and what you have is an Elite Dealer from the very top of the organization down. 

PERRY CORPORATION 

www.perrycorporation.com  

Lima, OH  

Year Founded: 1965  

Number of Employees: 184 

Approximate Yearly Revenues: 44 million  

This Year’s Big Win: Increasing their managed print services business by more than 300 percent. 

Recent Performance: Revenues grew 5 percent during past three years. 

Primary vendors/product lines: Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Muratec, Riso, Lexmark 

Including Perry Corporation on this year’s roster of Elite Dealers was a no-brainer. Last year their solutions division, which mainly sells archiving and workflow software grew by 64 percent over the previous year better than the 50 percent that was projected. And managed print services? How about 321 percent growth, well above the 200 percent that was budgeted? 

Another reason we like Perry Corporation is that they have the ability to fund customers internally so there is no third-party leasing company or bank involved. This gives Perry a ton of flexibility. We also like the way Perry makes it easy for customers to do business with them with a one-page contract that is simple and easy to understand. 

Because Perry Corporation is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), clients know that they are dealing with an “Employee Owner” that has their best interest at heart at every level within the organization. 

Acquisitions have played a big part in Perry Corporation’s growth and they’ve acquired three companies in the past five years, including an IT firm. The latter is an area that has the dealership well-positioned for the present and the future as IT organizations serve as the perfect complement to dealerships selling managed print. 

“We’re diversifying more and more so we’re not dependent on one revenue stream for our growth,” explains Clark. “That was the reason for the IT acquisition.” 

If growth is a good reason for making a dealership Elite, Perry Corporation is setting a fine example as a dealership that’s growing by leaps and bounds and making all the right moves to get there.

Scott Cullen
About the Author
Scott Cullen is the president/owner Sustainable Publishing Group and the editor of The Week in Imaging. He's been writing about the office technology industry since 1986.
  • http://www.advancedimaging.net Staci Emery

    Thank you so much for choosing Advanced Imaging Solutions! We are honored to have received this award and proud to have acheived the same Elite Dealer status as the other well deserving winners.

  • http://www.flotech.net Nancy Bauer

    Flo-Tech is honored to be included among this year’s Elite Dealers! Thank you and congratulations to all of the 2011 Elite Dealers -

  • http://www.tgioa.com Heather Higgins

    TGI Office Automation is honored to be named a 2011 Elite Dealer. We appreciate The Week In Imaging featuring us. Thank you!

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  • http://www.copierfaxbt.com Al Scibetta

    Scott, Thank you so very much for including Copier Fax Business Technologies, Inc. in your list of Elite Dealers throughout the US. I consider it a true compliment to all of our employees who work so hard to insure our clients satisfaction. Thank you again! Al Scibetta, President

  • http://www.cannatareport.com Frank Cannata

    Scott,

    A great group of dealers and it speaks well for your understanding who these people really are. Many people claim to know who the independent copier dealer is. You just proved you got it down pat.

    Great job,

    Frank Cannata