Inside the Global/Xerox Channel with Gordy Opitz
UNIONTOWN, OH, JULY 17, 2012 --
It might be an exaggeration to say nobody does it better than ComDoc, but if they weren’t doing it better and doing it well, then it’s unlikely that Global Imaging Systems (GIS) would have acquired them in February 2009 and allow them to run their business as usual. And after Global was acquired by Xerox, that business model remains in place to this day as ComDoc continues to operate with the same value system and culture, while taking advantage of all the offerings from Global and Xerox. Global’s overall philosophy is to acquire strong organizations and allow them to keep their identity and entrepreneurial spirit while improving them with best practices and the Xerox brand.
This month we sit down with ComDoc President Gordy Opitz, an industry veteran and a successful dealer who talks about ComDoc, the industry and what it’s like to be part of the Global/Xerox family.
Opitz: Very good. We were acquired in February of 2009. After working through all the nuances of the acquisition we had record revenue years in 2010 and 2011, and we certainly look forward to 2012 being a very good year as well.
What’s going right?
Opitz: There are many areas that are doing well. We have great pride in our legacy and while things have changed, our values and culture remain in place. We believe in a developmental culture helping people become the best they can be, both individually and collectively and we work hard at training and development. The key to our business is making sure we have effective manpower, effective solutions, and that we continue to bring solutions to the customer that help make their business more effective and efficient. We approach our clients with the goal of looking at their workflow and providing a roadmap / blueprint to help them meet their company’s initiatives. We are working everyday at becoming more of a consulting business that helps our customers achieve their goals and objectives. If we continue to develop our people and make them better every day, we will remain a very strong organization.
What product categories and solutions areas are doing well for you right now?
Opitz: Our managed print services business has grown over the past eight years from 3,000 printers in the field to over 45,000 printers in the field under contract. For the first time, we now have more printers in our base than we do MFP’s.
We do very well with high volume. Xerox makes incredible high-volume and color products and we’ve really found a niche there. Also, we have invested in a Customer Care Center to help serve our customers better. We are able to provide an immediate phone resolution to over 20 percent of our customers and this will only continue to increase as we build and grow our Care Center.
Have you been finding those opportunities since the acquisition or have you been doing well with that segment before?
Opitz: We were always strong in major accounts. The Xerox brand is synonymous with excellence and when you get upstream with Xerox product it’s just absolutely incredible and helps open doors for you that might not otherwise have been opened.
I figure a good portion of your 29 years was spent selling against Xerox. Has that been a big culture change going from selling against Xerox to selling Xerox?
Opitz: Not necessarily. We remind our people of this all the time. Our product is really our people. They’re the ones to get in front of our customers, tell the ComDoc/Global/Xerox story and then deliver on the commitments they make. People also are the ones that build teams and organizations, and companies want to do business with organizations that can help make their business better. Our goal and objective is to build relationships that last and stand the test of time. If you think about how the foundation of our company was built on 3M, and 3M became Harris/3M, and it became Lanier, and along the way we picked up Toshiba, the Sharp product line, and we’ve been with Ricoh since 1981. What we remind our people—since the acquisition three years ago, many of these customers chose ComDoc/Xerox because at the end of the day who are they buying? They’re buying our people, our service department, our effectiveness, and they’re buying ComDoc. And ComDoc is simply 670 partners working together to bring a great value to the customer.
Who are your customers and has that changed much since the acquisition?
Opitz: We’ve always been heavily concentrated on mid-majors and major accounts—that’s still the majority of our business. We still have a good up and down the street business and every customer is important to us, and this won’t change.
Why do they like doing business with ComDoc?
Opitz: Part of it is, we have a great tenure of people who have been here a long time and there’s a consistency in the way we do business with people, being fair and equitable. We bring a simple methodology; we service our customers exceedingly well, we’re flexible and quick to market—and most importantly we care about our customer relationships. We try to do all “the right things everyday” for a great customer experience.
What was the biggest benefit of being acquired by Global in 2009?
Opitz: We’re one of about 30 cores that comprise the Global entity of Xerox. At the end of 2012 we’ll be about $1.8 billion dollars of Xerox. And there’s about 30 cores there that make up that $1.8 billion and one of the things is you get best practices methodology. We learn from each other. If somebody is struggling in one specific area, you can get on the phone with someone who does exceedingly well and figure out a better methodology to improve in that area. Global does a fantastic job of promoting this area of excellence.
Did that change the way you do business in any significant way or has it still been business as usual?
Opitz: It’s still business as usual although we are a different organization than we were three years ago. But aren’t all organizations different than they were three years ago? As we’ve said to our people, change has been part of our culture forever. When I think about what we’ve done in the past 15 years we’ve gone through three evolutions, from analog to digital, to color, and now managed print services. That happened in a short period of time and companies that weren’t changing at the end of the day are going to be the ones that fall behind.
Tell me the origins of your PRINT responsibly approach; is it more of a managed print services approach?
Opitz: The way we look at it, it’s an assessment methodology. It’s a multi-source approach that delivers a snapshot of where the customer is today and provides a clear roadmap of where we want to get them to. The origins began several years ago and we understood the overlap of print and MFP, and followed our mission of “empowering all organizations to Print Responsibly.”
Was that conceived internally?
Opitz: We created that about four years ago. The tenets that come off of that we call LCMS—Learn, Choose, Manage, and Share—which again is the core area we try to go through with the customer to help them understand and learn their business. The Learning part is the assessment piece, trying to understand where they’re at with their environment, visuals of operations with walk-through, etc.; Choose is helping them choose the right solution; Manage is ensuring we’re doing reviews on a timely basis through our automated tracking tools that allow them to maximize their effectiveness; and Share is externally and internally trying to share best practices within their organization.
Are there certain types of customers that are more responsive to this message?
Opitz: It covers all boundaries, and we aren’t attempting to be product-centric. We are approaching our customers with the concept of trying to understand and diagnose their business and help make it more effective and efficient….and better.
There’s a lot of talk of late in the industry about managed network services, what’s the ComDoc take on that?
Opitz: We are beginning to investigate the opportunity. There are a few Global technology cores that are doing very well in this space so we are encouraged to pursue that opportunity.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth in the next three to five years?
Opitz: We still believe managed print services is an incredibly significant growth opportunity for ComDoc. We’ve grown 20 percent a year and I know Global has grown at similar levels over the past several years, yet this is still a great growth opportunity. Additionally, solutions sales and software, (Fiery, DocuWare, DocuShare) will play an even greater role in the future. Outside of product, providing services that make a great “Customer Experience” will allow companies to differentiate themselves.
You’ve been with ComDoc for nearly 30 years, could you have imagined when you first joined the company in 1983 that you’d still be here today?
Opitz: It is crazy to think I’ve been doing this for so long. It’s amazing that you are involved with so many people every day and you get into an environment where you have fun, you enjoy the people you work with, you’re growing and changing all the time, and the next thing you know it’s been almost three decades. When you’re creating an environment where people are excited and you’re learning and growing every day, the culture just becomes part of your DNA.
Being in the industry as long as you have, you’ve seen a lot of technology evolutions, what would you say has been the most challenging transition for ComDoc—analog to digital, connectivity, solutions selling, etc.?
Opitz: We were fortunate to always be building our culture for change, and these significant evolutions were just part of the business process and getting prepared for what is next. A comparison would be the Internet. With the Internet you had people who adopted it immediately, people who adopted more slowly and people who took several years to acclimate. Ultimately, that’s the wave and you’ve got to get on it and ride it. I wouldn’t say our company is necessarily cutting edge with technology, but we certainly understand where the trends are going and you have to make sure you put a plan together and execute it with precision.
Are you still having a good time?
Opitz: I love it. I’m fortunate enough to work with a great group of people and most of our leadership has been here 15 - 25 years and we continue to enjoy building the business, and work well as a team. It is still an unbelievably exciting business, maybe more exciting because of the technology that’s now involved. We can make a difference in the way our customers operate and earn their loyalty and trust for a long time.
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Original article by Scott Cullen for ENX Magazine
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