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Former remanufacturing employees occupy factory

March 30, 2015

Former Legacy employees protesting in 2013 (Credit: Curt Prendergast, Nogales International)

Former Legacy employees protesting in 2013 (Credit: Curt Prendergast, Nogales International)

Mexican staff who lost their jobs at Legacy Imaging’s plant two years ago continue to occupy their former workplace, selling its contents as they have not been paid severance.

The Recycler reported on the closure of the US remanufacturer’s factory in Nogales, Mexico two years ago, after the company’s aims to merge with another business fell apart. Staff at the factory arrived for work in February 2013 only to find locks had been changed, and protested against the closure, camping outside to prevent Legacy from selling anything before staff were awarded severance pay.

Arizona Daily Star investigated the situation two years later, finding that former staff “keep showing up”, having been granted access to the factory and possession of its contents by an arbiter. They are selling “anything and everything” in order to raise the money owed in severance pay – around $1 million (€920,399) – that Legacy Imaging failed to pay on going out of business.

Around 100 people lost their jobs, and now many spend their days sitting “at the entrance” of the factory, “hoping someone will show up to buy the remaining gallons of ink or maybe some stray office furniture”. The news outlet spoke to a number of the workers, who are referred to as a “quiet rebellion”, and many of whom have found it “hard to land new work” after being labelled troublemakers for their stand.

Many are near retirement, and numbers have dwindled as some “took new jobs, even at lower wages”, while others are “losing faith that they will ever find the justice they seek”. With Mexico having no unemployment benefits structure, and many businesses “taking flight” as Legacy did – known as ‘swallows’ or ‘golondrinas’ – the “consequences are few”, with plans to change the law not getting “enough support to be implemented”.

This has meant staff have had to “recover what they can, including selling whatever the companies leave behind”, with former staff watching the building and guarding it. They won the support of charities and local politicians, and spent around 143 days camped outside under canopies, making sure Legacy representatives couldn’t come and remove machinery or products.

They also approached a local mediation council, filing a lawsuit seeking wages and severance pay, and when Legacy representatives did not turn up to the hearing, the staff were granted possession “of everything inside the building”. However, they were unable to convince the arbiter that “three production lines” and finished cartridges worth $300,000 (€276,996) “had been removed before the company shut down and illegally sold or given to a competitor”.

The staff are “still considering their legal recourse”, but aren’t able to sue Legacy owner Frank Day “unless they can prove fraud or mismanagement”, and Arizona Daily Star profiled Day, though were unable to contact him. The employees use torches to save money and power, and also “tinker with outdated printers to see if they can get them to work”, while harvesting rainwater to “use for the bathrooms and to wash their hands”.

At this point, the group has only managed to raise around $40,000 (€36,298), which does not even cover 10 percent of their severance pay. Ink is sold in water bottles for around $7 (€6.46) per half litre. In turn, they have spent thousands on the legal battle, but the outlet noted workers “feel their options [are] running out”, and must soon decide “how much further are they willing to go […] they know their chances are not good. But giving up means accepting defeat [and] starting over”.

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Turbon sees €107.9 million revenue in 2014

March 30, 2015

Tturbon logohe remanufacturer reported its results for the financial year, with increases seen in income and earnings.

Reuters reported on the latest results, which included earnings before tax in the 2014 financial year of €10.7 million ($11.6 million), compared to the previous year’s €5.9 million ($6.4 million) – a growth of 81 percent. In turn, the company’s revenue for the year reached €107.9 million ($117.2 million), a growth of 43 percent compared to the previous year’s €75.4 million ($81.9 million).

Consolidated income for the full year came to €7 million ($7.6 million), an increase of 118 percent after €3.2 million ($3.4 million) in the previous year, while it predicts that in 2015, it will see consolidated sales of €105 million ($114 million) and profit before tax of €6.5 million ($7 million). In November 2014, the remanufacturer reported improved third quarter results including an increase in group sales, net income and earnings before tax.

The company reported in August 2014 that both turnover and operating profit figures for the first half of 2014 were “in line with […] expectations and confirm the positive […] trend” after its acquisitions of ILG and Clarity in 2013, and it acquired PBTI’s remanufacturing business and partnered with Embatex in 2014 as well.

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HP India VP confident about future

March 27, 2015

HP IndiaRajiv Srivastava, VP and GM of Printing and Personal Systems (PPS), says digital, printing and PC markets will continue to flourish.

In an interview with Channel World India, Srivastava said that HP believes “there is enough and more headroom for PCs (laptops and desktops) in India across metros and also non-metros. I am extremely bullish on digital India for the next two to three years”.

The “next level of growth” for technology will be smart cities, he continued, whose numbers will go up to “maybe 40 or 50”. He quoted statistics that show HP enjoys 26 percent of the PC market and 55 percent of the printer market, which is a “good leadership position for us and our PPS channels”.

When asked about the upcoming HP split, which The Recycler discovered last week will take place in November 2015, he confirmed that HP may inflict some “slicing and dicing” and work more closely with PC and printer channels.

“Right now there is [a] lot of churn taking place because of the shift in technology, as the market moves to cloud, mobility, and analytics […] partners who used to sell servers, storage or datacentre components suddenly realised that cloud plays a much bigger role.

“You don’t necessarily need datacentre products but enterprises need services. We are making sure that our partners embrace this new reality and change accordingly.”

The senior official said that the PPS division is in a process of incorporating new partners while consolidating existing ones. “Some are well entrenched in big accounts, and their appetite is not as intense as we would have liked”, he said. Nonetheless, he said there is traction on “skilling and training to make them capable to interact with customers in this new schema of transformation of the tech landscape”.

The smartphone and tablet markets are another sector he commented on. HP is yet to formulate a smartphone strategy for India, while it has implemented a “full-fledged tablet strategy” since 2014. He stated that the OEM has “an extremely strong play in the tablet market in India across multiple OSes (Android and Windows). We have a strong application portfolio of ISVs to help us guide sales and do commercial application-driven selling”.

He hopes to capitalize on the commercial market’s enterprise mobility segment, which is “heating up now”. He went on to cite IDC’s latest mobile tracker report for Q4/2014, which places HP at number five in the rankings, with a nine percent share in tablets. This comes within six months of HP’s entry into the market, while the number one vendor has only 15 percent.

Finally came the question of printing sales, and whether MPS will eventually dominate India. Srivastava affirmed thatthe home printer market will be mainly driven by project or research-oriented work through the education vertical. And that segment will continue to buy printers”. However, the enterprise segment is dominating sales “from a services perspective”.

He said that HP has geared up its MPS strategy and predicted that “digitisation will be the next opportunity for printer companies and channels” as enterprises become paperless.

Furthermore, he anticipated that “large corporates will become MPS-dominated, pay-per-use, and print-per-use. The companies managing large amount of records would opt for digitisation. And HP is present across all three segments: home, MPS, and digitisation”.

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ECi integrates supply network with new products

March 27, 2015

The software provider’s Private Supply Network (PSN) will be integrated with Ghent’s visual communications product range.ecilogo

The company announced the deal to add Ghent’s “top-quality” visual communications solutions – such as whiteboards and signage – to its PSN programme. This will provide a “new work flow” for dealers using ECi’s DDMS software to “purchase directly” from Ghent, as well as allow ECI to support the “entrepreneurial spirit and profitable growth” of SMBs.

Resellers will be able to download the master catalogue of products from Ghent, as well as to “automatically update pricing”, review stock “in real time” when orders are submitted, and “transmit purchase orders directly”. ECi’s Private Supply Network connects businesses to trading partners via the internet, while its DDMS software is a management solution allowing for companies to market their business via the web to new customers, alongside other business management tools.

Janet Collins, President of GMi Companies, which owns Ghent, commented: “We’re all moving to a ‘one-click’ world to make things easier. The ECi PSN integration is one way we’re removing barriers and getting incredible products to our customers more quickly.

“At the end of the day, we’re excited to provide quality American-made products to dealers and the customers at a much more competitive price than the wholesale alternatives. Providing better prices for customers means more margin for dealers everywhere.”

Tom Kapp, Executive Vice President at ECi, added: “We design all ECi software with efficiency, automation, and convenience in mind. As a platform for vendor communications, the ECi PSN enables the independent dealer to strengthen supply chain capabilities and offer a wider range of products with leading manufacturers like Ghent.

“This PSN integration is tightly woven into the leading software solution for the office product industry, ECi’s DDMS. Our joint programming effort provides our mutual customers with a powerful tool to improve productivity and enhance profitability.”

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HP to sell Chinese unit

March 27, 2015

TsinghuaTsinghua Unigroup has emerged as the preferred bidder for 51 percent of H3C Technologies.

HP is nearing a deal to sell control of its data-networking business in China to Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd., the Wall Street Journal reported.

A deal between the two parties, which may also include a separate server operation, is likely still a few weeks away and another bidder may still re-emerge, sources have said. Tsinghua Unigroup has been sparring for the $5 billion (€4.6 billion) deal with other bidders including China Huaxin Post and Telecommunication Economy Development Centre.

Extra pressure to find a buyer has been put on HP and other US technology companies in China after it emerged that the US government surreptitiously collected data and other information, in some cases using American companies’ infrastructure. HP has limited its list of bidders for H3C to domestic companies in an attempt to win Chinese government approval for the sale and boost prospects for the operation there.

Purchasing H3C would add to Tsinghua Unigroup’s growing networking gear market portfolio, following its recent purchase of two of China’s largest chip designers. The company also signed a contract with Intel in September 2014 which gave the US chipmaker 20 percent of Tsinghua Unigroup’s shares for $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion).

H3C is a major supplier of corporate-data networking gear in China, formed in November 2003 as a joint venture between China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and 3Com Corp. It became part of HP in 2010 when HP bought 3Com, and employs 5,000 worldwide.

The Recycler reported on HP’s plans for a major reshuffle last week, as it has been announced that the company’s split into HP Enterprise and HP Inc. is due to take place in November 2015. HP has indicated it may do acquisitions on the corporate side, and selling H3C could give it cash to bolster that effort.

 

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US company offers chance to destroy printer

March 26, 2015

copiercrushUniversity Office Technologies will give a new MFP to the winner of its competition, and drop their old device from a crane.

The office products dealer, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced its ‘Motor City Copier Crush’ competition will take place on 22 April. Administrative professionals from the local area can enter the competition to win a new Sharp MFP, and the winner will get to keep the new device and have an “unwanted copier” or printer dropped from a 60-foot crane.

The “most compelling submission” as to why someone’s printer “deserves to be replaced with a brand new one” will win the competition. University Office Technologies is offering to install the new machine, train users in how to use it and provide a service plan as well. The crane drop meanwhile will take place in the company’s own car park, where the winner will watch as their old machine drops into a waste container from a locally rented crane.

The event is related to Administrative Professionals’ Day, or “Secretary’s’ Day”, which also falls on 22 April. Admin professionals need to submit their entry to the company before 17 April. The winner will be chosen and notified by 20 April, with the “copier drop” and installation of the new Sharp machine taking place on 22 April.

Any admin professional working in the Michigan counties of Wayne, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw or Livingston in a business with 10 to 100 staff can enter the competition, and you can read more about the competition at www.copiercrush.com.

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Sharp could cut 10 percent of global workforce

March 25, 2015

Sharp logoThe OEM is considering cutting around 5,000 jobs worldwide to “slash fixed costs”.

Japan Times reported on rumours from “informed sources” that Sharp may cut around 10 percent of its global workforce, or 5,000 jobs. In turn, the OEM is said to be considering “reducing salaries in Japan” in an effort to “slash fixed costs”.

These latest developments follow years of financial struggles for Sharp, with employee wages reduced by 10 percent in September 2012 and 11,000 jobs cut in October 2012. Japan Times noted that these latest plans to downsize “will likely subject Sharp’s management to criticism” for failing to meet the job cut objectives from 2012. The OEM cited “delays in divesting overseas operations” as its excuse for missing the goal of cutting down on spending.

The cuts also come after the OEM reported in January 2014 that its turnaround was “about 90 percent done”, and it is set to receive ¥200 billion ($1.67 billion/€1.52 billion) in “financial assistance” from debt-equity swap arrangements with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Banks, its main creditors. In March 2013, it registered a consolidated net loss of ¥545.3 billion ($4.5 billion/€4.1 billion) attributed to “massive losses on investments” in its LCD business.

The job cuts planned will see 3,000 of 24,000 employees lose their jobs in Japan under voluntary early retirement programmes, while the 2,000 other jobs will be removed “mainly via restructuring”. Sharp plans to close its television manufacturing plant in Mexico as well, and these latest cuts are predicted to cost the OEM ¥30 billion ($250 million/€228 million) in “additional restructuring charges”.

Japan Times also stated that the cuts will “be included in a business rehabilitation plan” set to be released after talks with creditors. Company President Kozo Takahashi met with creditor executives in early March to “seek support” for the plans, with the creditors “demanding more aggressive turnaround steps”. The 2012 cuts saw 2,900 employees lose their jobs, and cost Sharp ¥25 billion ($208 million/€190 million) in “retirement-related expenses”, and the OEM is set to report a group net loss of around ¥200 billion ($1.67 billion/€1.52 billion) for the last financial year.

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Supplies Wholesalers opens third distribution centre

March 25, 2015

The importer and wholesaler’s newest centre is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Supplies Wholesaler's US distribution network

Supplies Wholesaler’s US distribution network

The company, which opened its second centre in Reno, Nevada last August, has announced the opening of a third centre in Harrisburg, from which it can ship to 90 percent of the US “in one to two days”. The company utilises shipping companies UPS and OnTrac Ground for its product deliveries, and the new centre will service the 15 north-east states in the USA.

The Harrisburg site opened last week and has 2,000 pallets worth of capacity, meaning it can fulfil “thousands of orders daily”. As a result of the centre’s opening, Supplies Wholesalers reported that it can now stock nearly one million compatible and remanufactured printer cartridges across the USA as a result of the centre’s opening. The centre joins the aforementioned Reno site, which covers 11 western states, and the company’s initial Memphis, Tennessee base, covering the southern and eastern states.

Bob Willmes, Founder and CEO of Suppliers Wholesalers, commented that “the $10 million (€9.1 million) investment in inventory spread among our three strategically-located [distribution centres] allows SW to provide a compelling solution to resellers throughout the USA”.

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Canon opens new Las Vegas base

March 23, 2015

800px-Las_Vegas_stripThe OEM opened a new site in the city in order to “contribute to the expansive growth of businesses” throughout the region.

My Print Resource reported on the opening of Canon Solutions America’s new Las Vegas office, which will offer printing, document and information management and business services to businesses “of all sizes” in the city and the state of Nevada.

At a grand opening event, the OEM stated that the office will help its “continued effort[s] to support businesses of all sizes in Las Vegas”, with the new office based at 731 Pilot Road. The site includes a “state-of-the-art” showroom featuring Canon products, and staff will help customers understand ways the OEM can help “reduce costs and increase productivity with advanced solutions and service capabilities”.

Peter Kowalczuk, Senior Vice President of Sales for Canon Solutions Americas’ Enterprise Services and Solutions division, commented: “We’re committed to providing best-in-class industry support and services throughout Las Vegas and reinforcing our dedication to providing our customers with elite technology. Las Vegas customers should know that with Canon Solutions America, they have a team of professionals ready and willing to take their business to the next level.”

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Fresh wave of redundancies at MKIC

March 20, 2015

MKIC_office webThe remanufacturing supplier’s US-based subsidiary Future Graphics is losing more staff.

Staff from the California headquarters and Virginia division have been let go by the company, and The Recycler understands that MKIC will now be outsourcing their logistics to a third-party logistics provider. The news follows an announcement in December 2014,  reporting that 28 staff were made redundant, including its Vice President of Sales, Thomas Spicker, and International Sales Director for South America, Manny Matamoros. On that occasion, six were from the Virginia facility and 20 from its Mexican division.

“This restructuring was an extremely tough decision that will allow MKIC to remain competitive over the coming years,” said Steve Yagi, President and CEO of MKIC. “We are committed to be the world leader in aftermarket supplies and will continue to sell only the finest quality products while providing outstanding service to our customers.”

Future Graphics merged with MKIC, its then parent company, in 2010.

 

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