The Biggest Challenges Facing Today’s Document Imaging Dealers: Part 4

antsWe haven’t run out of challenges yet from our 2014 class of Elite Dealers. This week we present another group and will wrap it up next week with an article that identifies the one challenge facing more document imaging dealers today than any other challenge mentioned to date.

“Continuing to push to get better in a marketplace that continues to change rapidly and to remain relevant to our clients and show them the value of a locally owned and operated organization.” Image Matters, Knoxville, TN 

“For Systel the biggest challenge currently, or the biggest test we’ve seen recently, is the manufacturers’ undercutting equipment and service pricing dramatically for major account business to gain market share in our area. Luckily, with Systel’s size, customer relationships, and product differentiation, we are able to compete with direct operations, however, they are beginning to create a price war in certain markets that is not the best overall result for consumers, especially in the long run. Most of our smaller, local competitors who have less margins are unable to compete and bid on these accounts. If the consumer is not happy with the service from the direct manufacturers they are challenged with few dealers in the Industry who can meet their needs at their current price or they are stuck in a long lease with buyouts they can’t afford to roll into a new lease.”  Systel Business Equipment, Fayetteville, NC 

“Our biggest challenge is search engine optimization catering to the masses via the social media movement. The Internet is a black hole and investing time and money can be lost if you do not have the right partner. In 2015, our goal is to hire a developer who can give us the strategy to effectively market our business locally and nationwide.” American Ink Solutions Inc., Westlake Village, CA 

“Our biggest challenges are keeping a strong control on cash flow and making sure we don’t run too fast. I have a great person in charge that is doing an excellent job of controlling costs and cash flow. Secondly, finding the best people to do the job. We have gone through a few, but we now feel we have a strong team.” Upstream Office Solutions, Tampa, FL 

“As the direct operations continue to cannibalize the market and sell equipment for less than we pay for it at times we have really kept a close watch on new products and services we can market to increase revenues. With the IKON acquisition several years ago it became apparent that we had to move to two or three lines to remain competitive. We have not taken on any new MFP lines this year, but our decision to bring in Canon and Samsung has proved to be a savior for us as it becomes more apparent that the manufacturers only care about moving the box at any and all cost. We love the fact that Samsung has had no interest in selling direct to the customer and continues working to strengthen their relationship with their dealers. “We continue to see that many clients have gone the direct route once before and do not make the same mistake again. They realize after they get that rock bottom price that something has to be missing to receive the cheapest price. We find it to be the service as the direct operations know how to make the equipment and have no idea how to take care of a customer. We heard from a manufacturer’s rep a while back about how it was insane what they were doing to this industry because they have a hard enough time keeping the dealer principals happy, let alone trying to keep thousands of customers happy on top of it. We are good at making the equipment and bad about keeping the customer happy.” Vision Office Systems, Charlotte, NC 

“Our biggest challenge is transitioning from an equipment-focused dealership to a services-focused organization without losing the core equipment business. We have partnered with a great local IT company enabling us to be the one company our customers can rely on for all things technical.” Atlantic Business Systems, Melbourne, FL 

“Although our company name of Copier Fax Business Technologies has a lot of equity in the Buffalo, New York market, we realized that the name potentially hurt our chances for new business. The name did not properly reflect our expanded services that we provide, and at times, hurt our staff’s chances of scheduling a new business appointment because customers were ‘set with their copiers.’  Another challenge was our decision to expand into the Rochester, NY due to a strong Konica Minolta market share opportunity. Being new to the Rochester market meant that we needed to figure out a way to build our brand and equity in this new territory.  In both circumstances, the creation of Documentelligence™ and the supporting external marketing campaign continues to address and overcome these challenges. By re-inventing ourselves, while expanding our services to our customers through Documentelligence, we have a strategy to overcome our challenges and ultimately grow.” Copier Fax Business Technologies, Buffalo, NY

The blurring of the lines of IT services and actual copier hardware issues as well as making basic IT issues affordable without overcharging customer as they are hypersensitive to IT bills.” On Demand, Houston, TX

“Keeping up with an ever-changing industry is a monumental task. Woodhull makes sure that all employees (sales, service, admin) are fully trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of our business. We are currently putting our sales force through solutions training to increase their confidence in talking with our customers about ways to enhance their office document management. We are also elevating our Help Desk by adding one more employee who can help answer our customers’ questions and make small fixes over the phone.” Woodhull USA, Springboro, OH

“As the industry has become more crowded with MPS providers and viewed more and more as a commodity, Flo-Tech has looked for ways to continually add value to our clients and deliver on the ‘Managed’ in Managed Print Services—something many of the providers in the MPS space are not delivering, contributing to the commoditization of MPS. So how are we doing it? Equally as important as the assessment and implementation phase in any MPS engagement, Flo-Tech is focused on the ongoing analysis and consulting we can provide throughout the term of an MPS engagement, both formally through regular business reviews, and informally as needs and/or issues arise. We have the capability to use a number of tools that evaluate a customer’s entire print infrastructure from many different perspectives. Based on that, we can offer improvement plans over the term of the engagement that continually optimizes their environment based on needs and culture within their offices/locations, which may vary from location to location.” Flo-Tech, Middletown, CT


Scott Cullen
About the Author
Scott Cullen has been writing about the office technology industry since 1986. He can be reached at