Recent results from printer vendors make sobering reading. In Q4, HP experienced a 14% year-on-year decline in total printing revenue, with hardware unit sales down 17% (including a 23% decline in commercial hardware units) and supplies revenue down 10%. Xerox results for Q3 were also bad. Revenues for its Document Technology business, which now accounts for just over 40% of total revenue, compared to almost 60% for services, were down 12% or 9% on constant currency. Lexmark fared no better, with Imaging Solutions and Services revenue down 16% or 11% at constant currency in Q3. This included an 18%/14% decline in non-MPS revenue. It will be interesting to see what vendors do to reverse or compensate for falling print revenues. On page 18, Louella Fernandes outlines some of their options.
Whatever course printer manufacturers choose, innovative thinking is essential. Innovation is a much over-used word, but it is what the printing industry is built upon. For me, the process of transferring words from a computer screen to the printed page, with such precision and at such high speed, is still a source of wonder, and on page 12 we celebrate a key milestone in the modern printing industry, the launch of the Xerox DocuTech. Xerox UK graphic communications marketing manager Kevin O’Donnell remembers the feeling of being part of something that would change things forever, comparing it to “the fist Netscape searched web page I clicked and the fist mobile phone I owned”. I wonder if there are Epson marketing people who feel the same about the company’s EcoTank and WorkForce Pro printers (see page 14). While nothing like the DocuTech in terms of technical innovation, these high capacity inkjets are turning the traditional printer model on its head. If they encourage people to print more by removing ‘bill shock’, they could even influence the future of print.
No matter what the future holds for the printing industry, there will continue to be opportunities for enterprising resellers who can spot an opening or opportunity to make their mark. On page 42, Jonathan Whitworth talks us through the fist 10 years of Develop distributor DSales (UK) and on page 46 we profile Office Evolution, which has successfully flown the Develop flag for almost as long. Whatever your plans for the future, whether you plan to climb the corporate ladder or strike out on your own, PITR wishes you a Happy Christmas and a successful and prosperous 2016.
James Goulding, Editor.
Free Download Options: