Doctors shouldn’t self-medicate, but marketers should follow their own advice…

November 11, 2016

I appreciate that there was a time when social media was considered by some of a passing fad, not suitable for business use.

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

Something that your kids were using, and it was probably not going to be useful for you to use in your business. Over time, we have been proved wrong, or your kids proved right! Today over two billion people have active social media accounts, and it is the marketer’s starting point to gain valuable, low-cost data about customers, and an effective way to reach them.

Social media for business is definitely an essential tool for businesses to gain customer insights, increase brand awareness, run campaigns and do so much more to build your business. At our sister company, Connett & Unland GbR, they have been helping companies do just that. A small engineering company generated 500 enquiries from a three-week Facebook campaign, that cost just €150. They helped a client use LinkedIn to identify and connect with key prospects and gain two new customers in eight weeks, having spent almost a year trying to get an appointment…

Having extolled and helped companies with their social media engagement, we thought we should follow our own advice, and have now launched our LinkedIn page, where you can find our most recent story updates, and connecting with us will allow you to keep up-to-date with our news and developments, as well as joining our network of industry representatives. Click the button and see what we are about, and if you like it, please “like it”.

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(and you can find our Facebook page here…)

 

 

Categories : Davids Blog

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All change in America

November 9, 2016

donald_trump_august_19_2015_croppedAs the United States of America wakes up to the news of a new President, it is worth looking at some of President-elect Trump’s positions and how they might impact on the global office imaging industry.

On the subject of trade, he is in favour of taxing imports, and has talked about imposing tariffs and duties of 45 percent on China. Since most office imaging products in one form or another originate in China, such policies could have a significant impact on OEM and aftermarket supplies. The tariff is too big to absorb, and so would have to be passed on to consumers, and the corresponding price increase would reduce demand for new products.

The US market accounts for around 35 percent of the global demand for office imaging products, and the long-term effects of such a policy if it were introduced might be the repatriating of manufacturing jobs and capacity to the US.

Mr. Trump has also said that he is in favour of imposing tariffs of around 35 percent on goods shipped from Mexico, in an effort to prevent companies moving jobs south of the border. In recent years the larger remanufacturing businesses have used the benefits of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to move operations to Mexico to reduce manufacturing costs, access lower cost workers and avoid the impact of minimum wage legislation now enacted in several US states.

If a 35 percent tariff is introduced for goods coming from Mexico, then it may well be significantly cheaper for the same remanufacturers to repatriate the production and jobs back to the USA, and where the demand for remanufactured products may well increase if he does follow through with the 45 percent tariff on China.

As we saw when the UK voted for Brexit in June, this year the currency market adjusted rapidly for the change, and uncertainty and early trading after the US election result has seen the US dollar weaken, and the Mexican peso fall to its lowest-ever level.

With the presidency and both houses of the US government of the same political persuasion for the next four years, it will provide a rare opportunity for potentially game-changing policies to ripple around the world. For the office imaging market, prices will rise if the US dollar remains weak, and could rise even further if tariffs are introduced.

David Connett, Creative Partner, Connett & Unland GbR

[email protected]

 

Categories : Davids Blog

HP Inc + Samsung: a Canon shot?

September 12, 2016

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

This is a big change in the market and potentially bad news for Canon.

When HP split last autumn, HP Inc had the printing and PC business, a lot of debt and not too much else going for it, if you follow their financials of year-on-year decline. The market is changing as people print less and use the cloud more, and there are price-competitive alternatives in the market like there never was before.

HP Inc has a problem that it owns its own inkjet IP and buys in laser technology from Canon. The SoHo inkjet market has been declining for several years, and the inkjet business market doesn’t have the traction yet, and at the same time. At the same time it is an open secret that HP Inc was not happy with the way Canon responded to the clone market, and all-in-all there’s been a big challenge for the new HP Inc team and a veritable supertanker to turn around, but it is turning.

Turn one – earlier this summer HP Inc announced it was changing the way it managed the supply chain, and was spending $450 million (€399 million) to buy back stock from the channel to create a shorter and more agile channel, where the SKU turns ration increases from two for older SKUs that support 10+ year-old technology to around six to eight turns on newer technology. The more you turn your stock, the more you turn your money and increase your profitability.

Turn two – it is now confirmed that HP Inc will buy the Samsung printer business, and it will now have its own laser business and will be able to reduce its dependency on Canon – and you can expect HP Inc to begin to replace Canon engine printers with Samsung lasers and/or HP Inc inkjet printers. An added bonus with such an acquisition would be that HP Inc would acquire Samsung’s Wi-Fi technology, which in the author’s opinion is significantly better than HP Inc’s.

These changes will bring an end to the Mark Hurd era of stuffing the channel and selling boxes (printers) at little or no profit, especially in a market that will see less printing being done. All printer brands need to own their IP so that they can control the market and focus on the brand value and profitability, and keep away from the Hurd channel stuffing, box-shifting strategy and the quarterly discounted suicide sales drives to get dealers to buy more stock. HP Inc’s focus will be on selling printers and consumables sales through a highly-managed channel that is profitable and rewarding.

Where does that leave everyone else? At $1.05 billion the deal is well-valued and now makes the Apex-Lexmark deal looks expensive, but still worth doing as the Lexmark brand has sales traction in Asian markets. Epson and Brother? Who knows, but there could be a synergy.

Canon looks to be the big loser and can expect declining sales of printers and consumables to HP Inc over the coming years. The big question is what will it do? Nothing in the short term, but it will need to reinvent itself and its market approach.

The mainstay of the aftermarket has been and is Canon-based HP Inc cartridges. Nothing will change in the short term, but the HP Inc market share will increase and include Canon and Samsung cartridges. If prices on OEM consumables increase, then aftermarket margins can increase as well.

One thing is sure though – the market is changing and cartridge volumes are declining, and there is still too much capacity across all aspects of the channel.

Categories : Davids Blog

Editorial ~ Issue 286 – September 2016

September 2, 2016

Will Roszczyk, Deputy Editor of The Recycler

Will Roszczyk, Deputy Editor of The Recycler

Cartridges seem harmless to most consumers buying them, and we know even within the industry that there’s relatively little risk in the finished products themselves, let alone remanufactured products that you’ll have produced and sold.

But nonetheless, as with every industry that includes manufacturing on any level, health and safety is important – and the combustible nature of toner powder is perhaps our industry’s biggest safety danger.

I remember visiting cartridge recycler ClozDLoop a few years ago for The Recycler, and being given a tour of the shredding warehouse where the company tore apart toner cartridges for recycling. The long safety briefing, the sheer amount of noise (dulled by ear defenders) and the descriptions of the unseen, magnet-based destruction of the cartridges brought home to me that certain parts of our industry feature very dangerous, volatile operations that have to take place every day.

It was at the forefront of my mind in that vast room that the damage any mistake might cause wold be catastrophic. Toner explosions are, as I said before, probably the most dangerous of the risks that face companies and individuals working with the substance, but it’s heartening to know that there are companies out there – such as BS&B Recycling – that create products to help minimise the risks posed by any possible explosions.

And the instances of these explosive events are thankfully rare – with our industry’s most recent such incident, at Shredex in Germany two years ago, already in the past for the company, which has restarted operations and welcomed back the only injured employee, and also invested more money into monitoring and safety operations.

We’ve also looked before at the toxicity of toner, and in this issue we look again at how realistic worries are concerning the most potentially risky of the two main consumable sources for cartridges. On the ink side of things, we very quickly realised that what little risk emerges from ink is usually in the mess it leaves should you spill it – as I’ve no doubt you’ve heard from our previous Editor!

Whatever area of the industry you work in, and no matter how simple or risk-free the task, health and safety is incredibly important for businesses everywhere – even for us at our desks, writing stories, features and columns. So it’s no surprise that such methodology as safety interlocking in waste recycling is important for people using heavy machinery and during high risk operations, as we also explore in our feature this issue.

Acquisitions and mergers, mergers and acquisitions

 Who last year could have predicted Apex and Lexmark’s merger/acquisition deal? Not me, that’s for sure – and the biggest deal in the printing industry is getting closer and closer to reality, with only the regulatory and governmental approvals to go. Whatever happens, this deal will surely have huge effects on how we view our industry and how others do, and LDZ’s “strategic partnership” with EBP AG is just another in a long line of such agreements that are sure to continue.

The industry and milestones

As someone who came into the remanufacturing sector completely fresh when I joined The Recycler nearly six-and-a-half years ago, it’s always interesting to find out how others got into remanufacturing or how their businesses began. Greenman AB’s Jorgen Wonisch spoke to us about his business and how it began for our Inside Track feature this month, and his story is definitely worth a read – turn to page 48 to see how he came from air traffic control to cartridges!

 It seems like so many companies are reaching important milestones lately, with this issue alone including Printlife’s 10th anniversary, Print-Rite’s forthcoming 35th anniversary and Cartridge People’s 15th anniversary – all of these remind us that a lot of businesses have been around in our industry for a long time, and it’s great to report on so many companies still going strong! If you’re nearing a big year, get in touch with us so we can share your achievements at [email protected]

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Editorial ~ Issue 285 – August 2016

August 31, 2016

It wasn’t planned or anything, but to have both our features in this issue cover Europe and the UK in the very month that the UK chooses to leave the European Union is quite a strange and fitting coincidence.

Will Roszczyk, Deputy Editor of The Recycler

Will Roszczyk, Deputy Editor of The Recycler

Focus on Europe highlighted the great positivity in the industry and some challenges ahead, but mainly saw speakers and delegates alike discuss how working together can make us stronger, while the UKCRA meeting ably pointed out that despite the risks many assume from the referendum’s outcome, the UK industry is looking at the positives and on how to keep doing what it does in giving the UK market a voice and a say.

It’s quite hard to have a balanced view on the subject of the referendum from here in the UK – and I won’t give away my thoughts, or that of the magazine! Suffice to say that whatever may come in the future, the industry’s connections across the channel will not be cut – Paperworld will still prove to be an important show for UK companies, and Focus on Europe will still host its fair share of the British industry each time it takes place!

In my editorial a few months ago, I pointed out that Europe is a key region, especially thanks to a winning mix of companies, and its internal and external voice and representation as part of the global industry. Our latest look at market data and printer sales paints a familiar, mixed picture of the state of the European industry, but even amidst lower sales, falling figures and our sector’s predisposition to “doom and gloom”, there is much optimism to be found.

For instance, in Eastern Europe, market data shows that Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary saw almost double-digit hardware sales growth; while globally, the market is expected to see growth every year for the foreseeable future. And that’s before I get to global MPS and wide-format predictions and results – it is never always bad news for the market!

What I saw at both Focus on Europe and the latest UKCRA meeting was this: people talking to each other, listening to each other and sharing their views on how best cartridge remanufacturing can survive against the challenges it faces. But hasn’t it always? In fact, now it seems that the OEMs are the ones that are beginning to feel the pinch: Xerox’ procession to a split is seeing it cut more and more jobs, while HP Inc is facing serious difficulties concerning its supplies business.

With mergers and consolidation continuing in the OEM space, who can say what might happen next. And whether within the UK, Europe or beyond, companies in our industry continue to expand, with Indian Toners opening a US subsidiary, BCMY creating new jobs in the UK, CET investing in the chip sector and Diamond Dispersions being acquired by Lubrizol.

It can’t be ignored that the number of remanufacturers is falling, nor that companies are struggling. And in many ways this might get worse before it gets better, because despite the positives of ‘Brexit’ in terms of sales, trading and offering an alternative, the global economy’s ructions whatever happens (and without taking ‘Brexit’ into account) will always hold sway over business.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, because you’ll all have heard about it before, but diversifying your business – whatever you might do – is a sure-fire way to safeguard your survival down the line. MPS is booming globally, so try and get a piece of the pie; wide-format is expanding but features barely any remanufacturing, so see what Panovo’s Michael Panthel says about remanufacturing wide-format cartridges in our report from Focus on Europe.

In essence – the industry, like all others, faces huge economic challenges as well as technological barriers, and it’s up to you, as a member of it, to look for the positives, the advantages, the niches and take full advantage of them. Looking at how different the entire industry (OEMs included) looked even a couple of years ago, who can say what will happen three, four or five years from now.

The UK will have left the EU by then, but nobody can predict what might happen to it or Europe, or anywhere else in the world. And as an industry we should focus on our strengths – the environmental advantages and working together for remanufacturing – as well as continuing to survive, as always.

Categories : Davids Blog

HP Inc – waiting to catch the HP cold?

August 31, 2016

The latest figures from HP Inc are not inspiring, as print revenues fall for yet another quarter and more than 14 percent year-on-year.

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

On first reading the HP Inc news is not good, but getting underneath the figures and looking at the market, not everyone is sharing the HP pain.

Talking to cartridge collectors and remanufacturers over the last few days, the aftermarket volumes have declined around eight percent, but the product mix of empties has changed with more new-build cartridges in the mix, less OEM and about the same level of remanufactured empties. On the surface HP Inc would appear to be losing out to the aftermarket in some market segments.

Consumer trends are a major factor for printer OEMs: the HP brand isn’t the must-have brand anymore. 18-year-olds don’t get so excited about technology if my 18-year-old niece is an example. Having passed her A levels, we offered her a new iPhone and she just shrugged her shoulders and asked for the money instead, so that she could join her friends on holiday in Greece this summer. Interestingly as she goes off to university this month, she does want a printer that can take remanufactured cartridges.

How will HP Inc adapt to this market change? You can expect it to focus on the rapid rebuilding of its installed base with the sale of discounted printers and the expansion with MPS and instant ink options. A case of investing in hardware expansion now and reaping the consumables revenue down the road.

For remanufacturers the market share is holding at between 18 and 23 percent despite the troubles at HP Inc, and remanufacturing niche products is now a mainstream activity, as is remanufacturing new-build cartridges and developing highly profitable second generation MPS programmes. But if HP Inc was to take an ink-based focus in its growth strategy, then Canon will catch most of the cold.

Brother are adapting to a changing market with all sorts of printer and cartridge lockout features, Samsung don’t appear to have realised the market is changing, and Epson are “tanking it” to lock out the aftermarket for as long as they can. The unknown is how the change of ownership at Lexmark will impact on the market over the next two years.

Categories : Davids Blog

August Bank Holiday Monday

August 25, 2016

sunny-pictures-14The Recycler’s UK office will be closed Monday 29th August.

The office will be open again on Tuesday 30 August, but in the meantime, should you have any news or editorial enquiries, email us at [email protected]

Categories : Davids Blog

Clover

August 22, 2016

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

Stefanie Unland, Managing Editor of The Recycler

It should not come as a surprise that Golden Gate and Clover are considering their future options. It is a little over six years now since the Golden Gate venture capital firm bought into the Clover dream, which has seen Clover become the industry leader, and along the way enable many to realise their dream – sell their businesses to Clover, and sail off into the sunset. A distant dream for many of us, but still a dream.

While Golden Gate takes a long-term view of their investments, it is normal for venture capital investors (VCI) to have a vision and an exit strategy when considering any investment, and a five-to-10 year window is very normal. So six years in with Clover, the most solid of businesses, it is a case of job done and time to consider the exit options, and deliver a return on their investment.

So the question is now: where does Clover go from here? With a ticket price of $1.5 billion, it is beyond the resources of most industry players, but not all: and with 10 or so interested parties, Clover will have no problems courting possible suitors, though the price ticket might be a little challenging for some, but not all.

Who would buy into Clover? Well certainly another VCI would be interested. Those who see what has been built, and the opportunity to invest in strengthening the Clover market position and growing the business in adjacent channels while stripping out costs could certainly increase the ticket price to over $2billion in five years. Or possibly buy in, strip out costs and break up the company into its core businesses.

After the Static and Lexmark deals you have to put Apex and one or two other Chinese companies in the frame. Looking at Lenovo’s situation, Clover would be an extremely good fit as they seek to grow their mobile footprint and possibly tie up with another OEM on the printer business.

But there are others looking as well, and it is likely that a deal will be done as early as the end of this year.

Categories : Davids Blog

The Splash Bar – RIP

August 17, 2016

The bar within the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas was demolished alongside the hotel in recent months.

The now-demolished Riviera Hotel and Casino, home to the Splash bar

The now-demolished Riviera Hotel and Casino, home to the Splash bar

The bar was a favoured location for many industry companies and individuals during the World Expo events in Las Vegas down the years, though the company that ran the hotel filed for bankruptcy in 2010, meaning that the hotel was closed down and has now been demolished. The new owners of the site are intending to turn the site into an expansion of the business district.

The bar was also used in a wide variety of Hollywood films during its heyday, including Ocean’s 11, Diamonds Are Forever, Casino, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Hangover and finally Jason Bourne, which used the closed hotel set for action scenes. You can watch a video of the site’s destruction – through implosions – here.

What were your memories or experiences of the Splash Bar? Fill in the form below to get in touch.

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If you’d like to call us…

August 15, 2016

telemarketing…please get in touch via +44 (0) 1993 220785. Due to travelling on a Sunday, our phone divert for our main number isn’t working! So if you’d like to speak to us over the next few days, make sure to call on this number to get through to us.

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