This Week in Imaging: Solutions Vs. Hardware Sales; 3D Printing to Shore up HP?


Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Remember when newsletter such as this were full of news about new printers, copiers, and MFPs? While there’s still lots of news about new printers and MFPs – this week from Xerox, Fuji Xerox, Konica Minolta, and OKI – this week’s office-imaging news provides an interesting snapshot of just where the office-imaging is today and where it’s headed.

The non-printing news this week from office-imaging vendors included: new standalone document scanners (Panasonic), new standalone document-scanner distribution deal (Toshiba and Kodak Alaris), new IT-infrastructure monitoring service (Ricoh), new 3D printer (HP Inc.), new solutions for automating healthcare business processes (Lexmark International), and new solutions for automating document scanning and processing (Xerox).

It’s clear that, while in the past, office-imaging primarily consisted of converting information stored on PC hard drives and network servers into paper form – and then perhaps copying it onto paper – it’s now shifted toward converting that information back into digital form – and making it easier to access, and extract from, that digital form.

For office-equipment resellers and dealers, customers are by no means paperless yet, but they are looking at how to convert to digital format the most efficiently, and we see that as a continuing opportunity for dealers.

However, efforts to expand from the lease, purchase, service contract, supply-sale revenue stream have been difficult for dealers, even though their copier vendors have been urging them to sell solutions for over a decade.

There is no easy transition, however, because the traditional cash flow generated by the sales and service of $10,000+ A3 color MFPs is not easily replaced, nor is it clear that the sales of workflows and services are profitable as, unlike copier sales, there’s little or no after sales income. Moreover, a whole different brand of sales executives and troubleshooters are necessary to successfully make the transition, even though the profit potential is murky.

We suspect that there will be further consolidation within the dealer channel as dealers continue to survive by acquiring other dealers in lieu of growth, and that the best dealers are slowly building their workflow services upon revenues derived from the copier market.

HP has been talking up 3D printing for years now, and this week it’s finally taking orders for the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Printer that’s intended for industrial 3D-printing applications.

At the same time, with its PC unit flying high, in spite of a nearly 6-percent decline in worldwide shipments, HP continues to make headway in its efforts to overtake Lenovo as the world’s largest PC vendor. While the strength of the PC unit is promising, hardware sales for HP’s printing division have been weak for quite some time.

3D printing, however, could greatly improve HP’s lagging supplies sales. For example, the sales of thermoplastic filament alone is forecast to become a nearly $7 billion market in the next 10 years. That said, the range of other materials used in 3D-printing applications appear endless and the overall revenue possibilities boundless. This means that HP’s success in the commercial 3D-printing market could solidly shore up its entire printing division.

Office-Imaging News

  • New Xerox Phaser 6515 Color A4 MFP with Tablet-Like Touch Screen, Mobile Connectivity, and $439 SRP – Read more here.
  • New Xerox Web Capture Service Said to Eliminate ‘Pain Points’ of Document Scanning and Processing – Read more here.
  • Fuji Xerox Rolls Out 16 New Copier/MFPs that Feature Cloud Connectivity, ‘Smart Work Gateway’ Concept – Read more here.
  • New Panasonic Document Scanners, KV-S8127, KV-S8147, Can Scan up to 100,000 Pages per Day – Read more here.
  • Toshiba Resellers to Sell Kodak Alaris Document Scanners – Read more here.
  • Clover Imaging’s Appeal to Dealers: Avoid Consumables’ Price Hike with Clover Remanufactured Supplies – Read more here.
  • Lexmark Adds New Solutions to its Healthcare Software and Solutions Portfolio – Read more here.
  • Konica Minolta Rolls Out ‘Smarter’ A3 MFPs with NFC Touch Area, Apps, Cloud Connectivity, More – Read more here.
  • OKI Updates Color-Printer Family with Five New Models for Bringing Color Printing In-House – Read more here.
  • Ricoh’s New IT Infrastructure Monitoring Said to Ensure Optimum Uptime of Servers, Apps, More – Read more here.

3D-Printing News

  • HP Now Taking Orders for its First 3D Printer, First Public Demo at formnext  – Read more here.

People News

  • Sharp Electronics Appoints Mike Marusic COO, Moonsun Park to VP – Read more here.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News

  • New Fiery Controllers for Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series C7500 Light-Production Systems – Read more here.


  • Office-Equipment Dealer Loffler Acquires Copier Business Solutions – Read more here.

Legal Proceedings

Other News

  • Epson, Bent on Inkjet Domination, Opens New Factory – Read more here.

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November 2016

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