The rise of pun-filled business names

October 31, 2014

Alan CartridgeA cartridge refill company has appeared in ‘seven of Britain’s best business names’ list.

An article on the Mirror website highlights how many businesses in Britain have been given “wacky” names to make them “stand out from the crowd”, listing seven of the best named businesses.

Among those listed is Yorkshire-based cartridge refill shop Alan Cartridge, named after the comedy TV show character Alan Partridge, with the article quoting Partridge: “It might not be the most obvious link, but the verdict from us: back of the net!”

Other businesses that appear in the article’s list include kebab van Jason Donervan, tyre firm Farther Treads, flooring company Lino Ritchie, florist shop Florist Gump, and cleaning company Spruce Springclean.

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Epson sees inkjets boost revenue

October 31, 2014

The OEM’s quarterly results saw revenue increase by 17.1 percent, with inkjets making up 74 percent of segment revenue.

Epson's RIPS bags

Epson’s RIPS bags

The results saw the OEM reveal a revenue increase for the quarter of 17.1 percent to ¥266.5 billion ($2.3 billion/€1.8 billion), with the information equipment segment – including printers, consumables and MPS – growing in revenue year-over-year by 20 percent to ¥221.4 billion ($1.9 billion/€1.5 billion).

Epson stated that “revenue and business profit exceeded our business plan owing to yen depreciation and steady growth in each of the businesses in the information equipment segment”. The information equipment segment “saw printing systems increase” year-over-year by 16.2 percent, to ¥169.2 billion ($1.5 billion/€1.2 billion), and Epson noted that inkjet printer revenue was “up on strategic growth in high-capacity ink tank models and consumables sales”, making up 74 percent of the information equipment segment.

The high-capacity ink tank models, which The Recycler reported on earlier this year, have seen “solid growth in emerging markets” and “began selling in Western Europe” in the second half of the year, with the OEM projecting sales of 2.5 million units worldwide by the end of the 2014 financial year. In turn, both MPS and RIPS (the replaceable ink pack systems used in the ink tank machines), saw orders “growing smoothly in Japan”, with “customer response favourable”, and sales begun in Western Europe “on schedule”.

The information equipment unit also saw “strong consumables sales” and strong POS (point of sale) machine sales in Europe and the USA. Predictions for the second half of the year from the OEM included “no major changes expected in business environment or plan assumptions”, but “performance-linked expenses [will] increase”, and an increase in expenditures has been postponed”.

In terms of the information equipment segment, one positive prediction from the OEM is that “unit shipments of high-capacity ink tank models and projectors [will] increase”, but it warns that “special factors affecting inkjet consumables” and “investment in strategic product sales promotions” will affect the unit’s half year results”. It expects that the segment will grow to ¥888 billion ($7.9 billion/€6.3 billion), with ¥686 billion ($6.1 billion/€4.8 billion) from printing systems for a 35.3 percent year-over-year increase – inkjet printers are set to make up 75 percent of this revenue.

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Memjet terminates Australian partnership

October 30, 2014

Memjet Logo with Lockup v2OEM unexpectedly cancels agreement with firm regarding narrow-web inkjet label presses.

WhatTheyThink reported on the “shock, seemingly arbitrary” move by US private equity owners to terminate Memjet’s OEM partner agreement with Rapid Packaging Servicesfor the development and manufacture of narrow-web inkjet label presses, despite the agreement being scheduled to run until 2017.

While Memjet reportedly “refused to say” why the agreement was terminated due to “commercial confidentiality”, a spokesperson from Rapid claimed they “have not been given a legitimate reason why” and have not been able to negotiate with Memjet management, which simply referred them to their lawyers.

The article added thatBruce Mansell, Founder of Rapid, asserted there had “absolutely not” been any outstanding commercial liabilities between the companies, adding that Rapid “have been paying in advance for print engines, heads, and ink. We have not been given any legitimate reason why Memjet is cutting us off after years of pioneering work deploying their technology in the digital label printing sector”.

Meanwhile, Memjet spokesperson Kim Beswick confirmed the termination of Rapid’s license to sell and service the company’s technology, but refused to give a reason; although she reportedly added that “there were ongoing negotiations”.

Commenting on the impact the decision may have on Rapid’s 250 Memjet customers, Beswick said she would find out how they could get in touch with Memjet and its resellers, but added that “those who need to know, know” and asserted that “no one would be left behind or stranded”. She said: “Although we regret that Rapid Labels is no longer an authorised Memjet partner, Memjet has over 30 OEM partners worldwide. It is only natural that there is some ebb and flow in our business relationships.”

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European Commission calls for remanufacturing research projects

October 29, 2014

yoga€143 million call for research projects into reuse and remanufacturing launched to encourage development of ‘factories of the future’.

Resource reported on the launch of the European Commission’s (EC) €143-million ($182 million) research and innovation project, ‘Factories of the Future’, which is calling for research projects investigating reuse and remanufacturing in order to look into “reuse and remanufacturing technologies and equipment for sustainable product lifecycle management”.

It is hoped that the project will help to reduce the environmental footprint of the EU, as well as to increase resource efficiency and the competitiveness of EU industry, by encouraging manufacturing industries to “develop innovative technologies and approaches to manufacture added-value products with fewer resources” and “ensure a sustainable product lifecycle based on reuse and remanufacturing methods and technologies”.

The EC predicts that successful projects could “significantly reduce” energy consumption and the use of non-renewable materials, contribute to a “minimum” reduction of 20 percent in greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing activities and 10 percent in waste generation, and a 20 percent increase in productivity rates; as well as creating “new, safe, and sustainable” jobs.

Research projects of interest would include  those that address areas such as “eco-innovative approaches for product design” that involve reuse and remanufacturing for “product recovery and spare parts/services support”; manufacturing and equipment concepts for reuse and remanufacturing that improve resource efficiency and service lifetime; technologies and automation solutions for “the effective disassembly/separation and recovery of advanced materials; and generation and validation of new business models to “improve the economic viability of closed-loop lifecycles which make use of the systemic approaches for product lifecycle management”.

The project comes after the EC noted that many technological products are currently made from “advanced materials” that are “poorly recovered and reused”, stating that “there is a need for new product design approaches […] that use resources more efficiently and can be reused or easily broken down for recycling”. The EC added that “by aiding the extraction of resources and working components of end-of-life products, creating longer lifespan products, and promoting reuse, businesses would save time, money, energy, and resources”.

The EC expects projects to request between €3 million ($3.8 million) and €6 million ($7.6 million) in funding, which “would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately”, although it will accept proposals requesting other amounts.

The deadline for research project submissions is 4 February 2015.

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Little change for Canon in third quarter

October 27, 2014

CanonThe OEM reported falls in sales and profit, but printer sales continued at previous levels.

The third quarter results saw demand for MFPs and laser printers “maintain steady growth”, while inkjet printers “decreased slightly” compared to 2013’s results. Third-quarter net sales fell by 4.5 percent year-on-year to ¥872 billion ($8 billion/€6.3 billion), while net sales for the first three quarters in total came to ¥2.6 trillion ($24 billion/€18 billion), a one percent decline over the same results last year.

In turn, “group-wide efforts to thoroughly reduce spending” at Canon saw operating expenses increase by only 0.9 percent, to ¥359 billion ($3.2 billion/€2.6 billion), and so operating profit for the quarter fell by 20.7 percent year-on-year to ¥71.8 billion ($659 million/€519 million). Additionally, net income fell by one percent to ¥58.2 billion ($534 million/€421 million).

The Office Business Unit, which contains Canon’s MFP, laser and inkjet businesses, saw total sales volume remain “at the same level as the previous year”, mostly due to “sluggish demand for monochrome models”, and despite “sales of colour office [MFPs] increase[ing] significantly” and “healthy growth” for the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5200 series.

The OEM’s high-speed continuous feed printers, in particular the Océ ColorStream 3000 series, “enjoyed solid sales”, but laser printer sales volumes decreased “slightly” due to the aforementioned decline in monochrome sales, and consumables sales declined as well. Inkjet sales volumes “remained at the same level”, whilst consumables sales increased, with the unit’s sales in total falling 2.4 percent to ¥482 billion ($4.4 billion/€3.4 billion), and its operating profit falling 13.7 percent to ¥57.9 billion ($531 million/€418 million).

Canon stated that in future, it believes “demand for [MFPs] is projected to continue to expand moderately”, specifically in colour models, and laser printer demand “is expected to remain at the same level as the previous year”, whilst inkjet demand is “expected to contract from last year’s level due to the delayed recovery of the global economy”.

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Pelikan workers in Scotland “resigned” to losing jobs

October 27, 2014

The plant in Turriff (Credit: Press and Journal)

The plant in Turriff (Credit: Press and Journal)

Staff at the company’s ribbon plant in Turriff are “resigned to the fact” that they will lose their jobs in company restructuring.

Press and Journal reported on workers at Pelikan Hardcopy’s Turriff plant in Scotland, who were informed that “their jobs are under threat as management considers redundancies” a couple of weeks after Pelikan reported it may close its plants in Switzerland as well as China.

The news outlet describes the factory as “cash-strapped”, and a “sombre atmosphere” at the factory late last week came as its 83 staff “braced themselves for union negotiations and sweeping job losses”. The plant produces thermal transfer film for ribbons as well as ink, and is said to be “no stranger to job cuts”, as 80 staff were made redundant in 2002 after Pelikan “reported a decline in revenue from its traditional typewriter and printer ribbons”.

Pelikan Hardcopy Scotland, the regional subsidiary in charge of the plant, was also said by the site to have suffered a 13 percent drop in revenue between 2010 and 2011, with takings falling from £10.57 million ($17.02 million/€13.41 million) to £9.23 million ($14.87 million/€11.71 million), as well as a “widening of its pension scheme deficit” from £7.42 million ($11.95 million/€9.41 million) to £8.84 million ($14.24 million/€11.22 million).

An unnamed worker stated that staff are “resigned to the fact really. The problem is the company haven’t kept up with the times. We still make carbon paper. We still make typewriter ribbon. When was the last typewriter made – 1969?” adding that 25 redundancies are expected, or “one third of the workforce”, and another employee stated that the plant’s mood was “quiet […] we’ve not been told anything. There’s not been a meeting. I think everyone else knows more than us”.

In turn, worker’s union Unite’s North-East Regional Officer Tommy Campbell told Press and Journal that the union “will hold talks” with Pelikan, adding that “we’ve been advised of the potential for redundancies and the union will be entering into talks in the coming weeks. It is always difficult and disappointing when the threat of job losses hangs over a workforce but we will be looking at all possibilities to avoid any redundancies”.

Local politicians also commented, with community councillor John Smith noting that he “worked as an accountant there many years ago, before it was taken over by Pelikan. The business has changed so much in nature. Big businesses go in these phases of laying people off – Pelikan certainly has that in its history – so I’m not sure if it’s a surprise”.

Aberdeenshire Councillor Sandy Duncan also stated: “I’m really disappointed – I share the staff’s disappointment. It’s a good source of employment in Turriff although it has had its ups and downs. But this has come out of the blue. I don’t know the exact unemployment figure for Turriff but certainly if that place starts paying people off it can’t help.”

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Trouble “may be brewing” for Samsung

October 24, 2014

The OEM reported a 60 percent fall in profit, with analysts blaming “poor marketing”.SamsungLogo_AP_23April1

Nouse reported on speculation that Samsung is “ailing” amid a 60 percent fall in profits in its quarterly results, with analysts questioning whether “poor marketing [is] to blame” for the results, and warning that it “must not repeat [the] mistakes of Motorola and Blackberry in [the] volatile mobile market”.

The poor results came amid concerns from market analysts that “cheaper, and ever-improving, competitors are gaining ground” in the smartphone sector, with the OEM’s recent Galaxy S5 phone receiving “lukewarm [reviews] at best” as it lost first place to Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi in the Chinese mobile handset market.

Samsung spokespeople have blamed “marketing expenses related to aggressive promotions” for the profit falls, but Nouse believes that “herein the problem indeed lies”, as marketing “has never been the Korean company’s strong suit”, and it adds that market experts have interpreted the quarterly results as “indicative” of Samsung “entering the same cycle of decline” as previous mobile giants Ericsson, Motorola and Blackberry, noting “something has to be done to stop the rot”.

Analysts Market Mogul’s Calvin Williams stated that “clearly Samsung is caught in an awkward position in the market, with more and more buyers being enticed by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’ bigger screens at the top end of the marketplace. At the same time, Samsung’s products are being undercut by cheaper and increasingly better rival players.

“As far as marketing is concerned, clearly their advertising does not resonate with young people as much as Apple’s does. Marketing is often an undervalued weapon – good marketing creates customer loyalty. Samsung often have a tendency to let their products do the talking, but it isn’t working at the moment”.

The site also suggests that even if marketing “isn’t on Samsung’s agenda”, one other option might be “streamlining”, suggesting HP’s recent split as a “similar” move. Samsung’s “shift” from the European laptop market is marked as evidence of the OEM’s moves to diversify, and the site believes that having been “fighting a war on so many fronts”, it makes sense that the company should “channel their energies into fewer products […] perhaps channelling energy into some more effective marketing campaigns would help too”.

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Clover joins US technology association

October 23, 2014

The remanufacturer has been appointed as a board member of Technology United.technologyunited

The association was founded in 2011, and includes ESP, Intel, Green Hills Software, GreatAmerica Financial Services, MWA Intelligence and fellow remanufacturer LMI Solutions. It states that it is “dedicated to providing the best and most aggressive technology and services” in IT security, embedded technology, IT automation and supply chain management.

Clover stated that as it “provides a vast breadth of technology products including imaging supplies, printer parts, and server and computer parts”, becoming part of the association will allow other Technology United members to “leverage Clover’s comprehensive service platform to fulfil their customers’ needs”.

Steve Noyes, Senior Vice President of Clover, said: “I am excited to represent Clover on the Board of Directors at Technology United and look forward to the collaborative opportunities it will provide. Our broad product assortment nicely complements the innovative technology solutions Technology United provides its global customer base.”

Mike Stramaglio, President and CEO of MWA Intelligence, added: “Everyone at Technology United is pleased to welcome Clover to the Technology United team. It is always a pleasure to have companies join our innovation family of great thought leaders who are dedicated to improving the industry. As Chairman, I look forward to a long and beneficial relationship.”

Clover announced earlier this year that it had agreed a strategic merger with global remanufacturer MSE, and previously acquired other industry companies including Dematec, K+U Printware and ERS.

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Xerox sees middling quarterly results

October 22, 2014

xeroxThe OEM reported a two percent decline in revenue overall and six percent decline in its document technology segment.

The results saw total revenue reach $5.1 billion (€4 billion), a fall of two percent over the last year’s results, with 57 percent of this total coming from the services segment, which saw a one percent increase in revenue to $2.9 billion (€2.2 billion). In turn, the document technology business, representing 40 percent of the total, saw revenue of $2 billion (€1.5 billion), a fall of six percent.

Operating margin meanwhile increased 0.1 percent year-over-year to 9.5 percent, leaving an operating profit of $486 million (€383 million), whilst $595 million (€469 million) in cash flow was generated in the quarter, and Xerox also repurchased $251 million (€198 million) in stock during the quarter, with an expectation that, having repurchased $730 million (€575 million) in the year already, it will have bought back around $1 billion (€788 million) by the end of the financial year.

Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox, stated: “This quarter we delivered earnings at the high end of our range. Profits from our document technology business came in above expectations while Services results were lower than planned. Our document technology business continues to provide strong profitability, and we are continuing to invest in our services business for revenue and profit improvement by strengthening leadership and evolving our operating model to better leverage our scale and drive efficiency and customer value.

“These activities will position us well for the future. Our business continues to deliver strong cash flow that enables us to invest for growth while returning capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.”

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Lexmark reports revenue growth in third quarter

October 22, 2014

lexmark-logoThe OEM saw a three percent growth, which “exceeded” its predictions.

The results showed revenue growth of three percent, revenue excluding Lexmark’s exit from inkjet in 2012 growing six percent, and MPS and Perceptive Software combined revenue increasing by 21 percent.

GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenue was $918 million (€723 million), whilst non-GAAP revenue was $921 million (€725 million), giving the growth of three percent, and “excluding the planned and ongoing decline in inkjet exit revenue”, this growth is six percent”.

In terms of the company’s Imaging Solutions and Services (ISS) segment, revenue “was about flat” compared to the same quarter last year, at $835 million (€657 million), but without the inkjet exit revenue, it grew three percent compared to last year; MPS grew 12 percent to $205 million (€161 million), non-MPS revenue was flat at $570 million (€55 million), and inkjet exit revenue of $60 million (€47 million), which was six percent of total revenue, declined by 29 percent.

Product-wise, hardware revenue grew eight percent to $196 million (€154 million), whilst supplies declined two percent to $593 million (€467 million), and laser supplies revenue grew two percent to $533 million (€419 million). As previously mentioned, the MPS and Perceptive Software revenue – packaged as Lexmark’s “higher value solutions”, is expected to pass $1 billion (€787 million) this year, with combined revenue of $291 million (€229 million) showing a growth of 20 percent over last year, accounting for 32 percent of total revenue.

Lexmark’s predictions looking forward include an expectation that total revenue in the fourth quarter of the financial year would be “down two to four percent”, with the inkjet exit continuing to “have a diminishing negative impact on revenue growth”, though excluding this, the OEM believes revenue in the next quarter will “grow year to year”.

Paul Rooke, Lexmark’s Chairman and CEO, commented: “In the third quarter, Managed Print Services and Perceptive Software combined revenue grew 20 percent, representing nearly one third of Lexmark’s total revenue, and is on track to exceed $1 billion this year. Our strong results reflect the work we have been doing to transform Lexmark to a solutions company, creating a unique portfolio of higher value imaging and software solutions.”

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