Jan (01-04) - Ethics in a cutthroat business

January 17, 2004 Editorial

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Welcome to another year. For those of you used to receiving this by private email, the spam laws have made such broadcasts dangerous, so it may be some time before I'll be able to mass-email this "column".

In November's column there was a mention of a new intra-dealer trade association being formed. It turns out that the President of the leading dealer trade association took it upon himself to register the domain name of the new association, thereby attempting to short-curcuit the attempts of the breakaway. For a trade association which professes to uphold the highest degree of ethics, this surreptitious act by its own president reeks. As the industry has gotten tougher, unethical behavior is much more rampant.

Last year was a very tough year for many in our industry. We were no exception. The pace of activity was unpredictable and disappointing. Sales were down, primarily by way of lower price points rather than a reduction in the number of transactions. The graph below is an interesting story on how internet activity on our site went for the past six months. I only began collecting the statistics in April, but you can extrapolate backwards to get an idea of the trends.

As you can see, the activity level has definitely increased over the past few months (except for the notable period at the end of the year for the winter holidays), but mostly due to "tire kickers" -- those just checking around. I suspect that until the economy starts adding jobs in a big way, that the increases in price points and gross sales will be marginal at best.

We plan to implement some changes which will counter these effects on our business. We plan to:
a) Begin offering other dealers the opportunity to act as sales agents for Argecy. The significance of the relationships built over many years between individual sales representatives and their customers cannot be underestimated. We have initiated relationships with independent sales agents who may re-sell our high quality products and further enhance their relationships while remaining independent. Further, the brand name identity that we have developed over the past 25 years will be helpful to both dealers and their customers.

b) Increase our warranty period from 30 days to 90 days for our end user customers. Our quality standards are very high and the emotional comfort from the offering of longer warranties will, we believe, help.

c) Begin offering service contracts along with the sale of our equipment through selected national and regional maintenance companies. We will only offer service based on the service providers we have carefully vetted.

d) Begin offering a full line of rebuilt fuser units for many popular laser printers

e) Focus on increasing our presence in higher end equipment.

The refurbished equipment market has suffered along with the new equipment business. We remain bullish on the prospects for the future as our economy recovers.

End-users: If you are on our mailing list, look for our new mailers showing up soon. Our new marketing campaign will focus on the core values: Honesty, Quality, Competence, Consistency.

Sweet spots:
IBM 3151, 3472, 3482, 3486, 3487, 3488 terminals - and please check out the CLI et1500, et2000, et3000, and et5000 lines or the I/O TC4000. Also check out the BOS line
IBM 3900-0W1 Venerable printer can be upgraded to the 4000 series.
IBM 4224-201 - you can add internal ethernet to these and they last forever.
IBM 4230-201, 202, 5s3, 5i3 - (check out the internal ethernet for the 4230 family)
IBM 4317-001 yes, we have Ethernets
IBM 4332-001 32ppm workhorse beats all comers for least cost per page
IBM 6262- all models
IBM 6400-010, -012, -015 Units sitting with most features.
IBM 4525 (1125n) -- less than 20 left
IBM 4516 (1116) -- sweet 16ppm
IBM 4247-A00 NEW in box at refurbished prices
IBM 4247-001 NEW in box with coax and parallel.
Lexmark 2480 - fast and durable desktop narrow carriage impact printer
Lexmark Optra T610n, T616n, T620n - We have some GREAT machines
Lexmark Optra 1855s sitting (most with ethernet)
Lexmark Optra 1255s sitting (most with ethernet)
Lexmark Optra 310 -- 8ppm desktop lasers. Cute!
Lexmark Optra W810 35ppm and 11x17 in one solid printer.
Lexmark Multifunction laser printers. They are really quite impressive but unworthy of the staggering list prices attached to them by both Lexmark and IBM. The HP versions are even more overpriced. Ours, of course, are very inexpensive. Long live the secondary market!!
Printek 4503 Great metal printer with multi-tractors for multiple forms
Tally T6050 150 pieces 500LPM with internal ethernet... A home run.
MarkNet N2000 Internal 10/100 Ethernet Fits: Optra T520, T522, T610, T612, T614, T616, T620, T622, M410, M412
MarkNet S Internal 10/100 Ethernet Fits: Optra S1250, S1255, S1620, S1625, S1650, S1855, S2450, S2455, Se3455, SC1275
HP C4224A HP 1100 Laser Printer -- Little desktop 8ppm laser
11k0681 250 sheet drawer
11k0688 500 sheet drawer
11k0722 duplexer
11k0724 mailbox
11k2224 Hard drive card and hard drive
11k2800 Finisher
12L0246 Finisher
28p1842 coax/twinax adapter
28p1983 250 sheet drawer
28p1984 500 sheet drawer
28p1991 stapler/finisher
44h0011 coax/twinax adapter
53p7946 duplexer
43h0382 500 sheet drawer
43h5101 500 sheet drawer

Tighter:
IBM 3153-BGx terminals
IBM 4230 twinax
IBM 4224-1e3 twinax

Check out https:www.argecy.com/Specials.html