I am also thinking of a trip to Essen next year.
21 November 2009
I bumped into a bunch of people at Paradigm Infinitium last night. Cedric, Colin and two other people were playing 'Dominion' and its expansion 'Dominion: Intrigue'. I was told that it was a non-collectible card game much akin to 'Magic: The Gathering' where everyone constructed their own decks. Hand management was, of course, paramount. Meanwhile, Gerard and several others were playing 'Thunderstone', a game that according to Gerard, was similiar in mechanics to 'Dominion'. Hmm..
20 November 2009
I am fascinated by Victorian era protected cruisers of the different classes and armoured cruisers (sometimes classified as second class battleships). I have been reading up on them. I am also interested in the sloops, gunboats and frigates that were used in colonial policing duties, trade protection and commerce raiding when it came to war. Heh. I have been reading up on them over the years. Do you have an interest in this area like I do?
The company had acquired a Fuji-Xerox multi-function copier from a third party dealer. The machine had lasted over a decade, being temperamental towards the end. The company had spent a considerable amount on repairs and the dealer had undoubtedly made a tidy sum. The sales people from the dealer, no doubt, being driven by a commission based system, was aggressive and had advised the company to purchase a brand new high-end device. These sales people had made little effort in understanding the needs of the company, which, really, was quite limited in volume in terms of copies and faxes. Each time, the dealer would play on the fears that there would be no more spare parts for the machine when in reality, there was. Finally, it did come a day when the spares ran out. At this point, the dealer reluctantly refused another service contract.
Given my previous experience with the sales people from the dealer, I saw little need in contacting the dealer for a new device. I decided to approach the companies that manufactured them, namely, Ricoh, Fuji-Xerox and Canon. The differences in approach of the sales teams was considerable for the latter two principals.
I found that the turnover in the sales staff of these companies dealing in copier and document imaging was massive. Many of the sales people who visited me were no longer with the company. I had tried calling them with the stack of business cards they gave me when they visited me time and again over the years. These sales people were likely to be under great pressure to achieve a certain level of sales and many had departed on not being able to deliver their quota.
I had also found the majority of the sales pitch of these people wanting with a number of them not appearing to understand their product and the options for leasing, hire-purchase and outright purchase.
I have met up with the sales people from Fuji-Xerox, Canon and Ricoh. I am now waiting for the quotations from them.
I was told by the sales people from the two rival companies that Ricoh devices were significantly less expensive than their machines. And of course, they went on to imply a little more about Ricoh. Nothing outright but the implication was there.
There are three means of acquiring such a device. Firstly, there is leasing, then there is hire purchase and finally, there is outright purchase. In leasing and hire purchase, the costs will be spread over a long period. The sales people were keen to point out that leasing does not incur the normal asset acquisition costs and that one need not depreciate the device over a period in the account books. Of course, there are the financing charges. The sales people went on to speak a little of 'creative accounting' as a sales pitch. Devious.
There is a scheme where the servicing and toners are provided and the sheets are charged by a per copy basis. The industry average is about 1 cent for a black and white and 20 cents for a colour sheet.
I have also decided against purchasing from third parties representing the main distributors. My impression of them is rather poor due to a series of hard sell and poor communication.
I will be checking various sites for customer feedback once the models proposed are known.
19 November 2009
I called a saleswoman from Ricoh over to the office this morning and discussed about photocopiers. She was apparently very new and did not know her products. When questioned about her time in the organisation, I learned that she joined only a month ago. Doh.
I am now looking at the Ricoh Aficio MP171SPF and the MP C2030. I will be calling the Canon and the Fuji-Xerox sales people later to see their offerings.