Canon Looks to Maintain Base with Eye Towards the Future, Dex Imaging Opening Canon Only Branches?

I could have very well titled this “Industry Consolidation and the Ripple Effects” given the nature of the chess match being played out between two industry titans. Canon in one corner, looking to regain momentum (objectively speaking, they took a serious market share hit with the IKON Office Solutions acquisition by Ricoh and the CBS Direct Operations have delivered mixed results) and in the other corner, Konica Minolta, the current King of the independent dealer community. Ask an independent dealer owner about what they like about partnering with Konica Minolta and why they have made such a surge in revenue and units, and the first answer is Rick Taylor and his leadership, what follows next from their mouths varies but it is typically like an evangelist giving testimony at a revival.

For those that do not know, Dex Imaging is one of the largest independent dealers in the United States with annual revenues approaching $150M (it’s probably safe to say will have superseded that mark by the close of 2013).  Their plan is to reach $250 million in annual revenue by 2016 and they have 26 locations in Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, Alabama and Mississippi.  They made two acquisitions in the Florida market, both announced in May of this year.  In the May press release announcing the acquisitions, Dex Imaging called itself the single largest- and fastest-growing independent dealer of Konica Minolta and Kyocera document imaging equipment in the U.S.

Dex Imaging Acquisitions 2013

1. TonerType, LLC
2. U.S. Imaging Solutions

The second acquisition is the where the Canon vs. KMBS chess match begins.  U.S. Imaging was co-founded by Sean Guerin and Britt Sikes and was an authorized sales and service provider for Canon, Hewlett Packard, Konica Minolta, Lexmark and Muratec with annual revenues of $12M in 2012.  Sean Guerin is now President of PrintCounts. PrintCounts is the managed print services program originated by DEX imaging and they boast the largest MPS program in the Southeast.  The Canon only branches initiative for Dex Imaging is being headed up by Britt Sikes.  With Zeno Office Solutions being acquired by Global Imaging Systems in April, this move for Canon is one part defensive and one part betting on a horse at the track.  For Canon there are endless possibilities for future growth in equipment sales in a partner like Dex Imaging.  Dex Imaging is a very, very well-run company.  While other independent dealers struggle with hitting current industry benchmarks of 16% operating income, Dex is above 20% and showing no signs of losing pace.

So what’s next?  With Konica Minolta announcing this week the acquisition of CopySource, the verdict is in as to one reason they made the move. To send a very strong message to current partners and competitors alike about maintaining their momentum not only in Florida but also the country.

If you are looking to expand in any of these categories, Agent, Distributor, Graphic Arts Dealer, Independent OE Dealer, IT Reseller, MSP, OEM Dealer, Office Supplies Dealer, Paper Merchant, Print Service Provider, Repro/Micrographics Dealer, VAR – Imaging, VAR – IT/Systems Integrator, Wide Format Equipment Reseller, Florida is prime ground for acquisitions in 2014 and beyond.  This trend, in my opinion, will pick up momentum as increased industry disruption in a crowded space forces firms to take defensive positions and search for growth.

David Ramos is the Director of Channel Strategy Service for InfoTrends.  David is responsible for managing custom consulting projects, providing forecast analysis, developing market sizing estimates, and marketing channel strategy services to independent companies in the office equipment and IT services space. He can be reached via email at david.ramos@infotrends.com or by phone at 781-616-2151.

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