Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Xerox® Versant™ 2100

We are excited to announce the new 
Xerox® Versant™ 2100!

The Xerox® Versant™ 2100 is a revolutionary new product that gives you the amazing color control and automation tools found on the Xerox 800 and 1000 but with a modular design that allows a much smaller footprint.

The Xerox® Versant™ 2100 Press can help streamline your operation and make you more competitive and indispensable in a number of ways:
  • Less waste—print in exact quantities
  • Less downtime—Xerox® Connect Advantage means more press availability
  • Improved efficiency—fewer steps and less operator intervention
  • Reduced turnaround times—less trial and error means jobs are produced and in your customers’ hands more quickly
  • Automated workflow—reduced labor costs and more accurate output

Automation is key!

When you tap into this burgeoning demand for short runs, quick turnarounds and personalized print, and have the hundreds of jobs you need to print in a day to get a return on your investment, the sobering truth can settle in.  Fifty to 100 or more jobs in a day simply can’t be produced using the same processes and equipment as in the past.

The Xerox® Versant™ 2100 Press brings together automation from beginning to end to make it possible—and productive—to produce the greater number of smaller jobs that now characterize the print marketplace.
  • Automation that makes job setup faster
  • Automation that makes it easier to get outstanding, consistent color
  • Automation that opens up new areas of finishing versatility
For a demonstration of the new addition to the Xerox product line, let us know:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How Non-Profits and Corporations Collaborate to Do Good By Sachin Shenolikar

"Once upon a time, it was common for non-profit organizations to be run by a couple of people with an extreme passion for a cause. They would be grassroots efforts — family and friends were often recruited to help out. Corporations would be approached for financial support but not much else. While the mission had a lot of heart, there often wasn’t a strong game plan in place that could lead to massive success.

Things are vastly different today. As the nature of business has transformed over the past decade, it has impacted the way non-profits are run. Many — even small ones — are complex, structured, and hyper-organized. The mentality of for-profit corporations has shifted as well. They have realized that social responsibility is not just about throwing money at causes. Being engaged in those causes is an important factor in the success of their business.

Simply put, non-profits and corporations have become intertwined in the ways they operate. Real Business spoke with leaders from both sides to learn more about how they work together."

Read More about the collaboration between Non-Profits and Corporations:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From The New Hire Perspective

“I had an amazing opportunity in getting this job right after college, and I think that speaks a lot about the company in general.  Within these doors, there’s such a unique environment, a mix of tenured folks, who really bring so much knowledge and experience to the table, and the fresh faces, eager to start and flourish in their professional lives.  Instead of there being any sort of hierarchy or selfishness, what really stood out to me the most was how much these experienced reps wanted to help out.  The biggest emphasis in their advice was the importance of relationships and that people buy from people. After being here for a year and a half, that’s exactly how I look at it.
If the bottom line for any sales position isn’t to help people out, you won’t be successful. As most would agree, I think the world of “sales” comes with a certain stigma and that’s something that can’t really be avoided.  But what I have noticed is the people that are the most successful and tenured became that way because they were able to create those relationships and trust with these companies.  If I ever lost my vision in that, I’d walk away.  What I enjoy the most about being a part of CTX and the entire Northwest Group is that they created an environment where I felt that anything less was unacceptable.”

We are always looking for energetic, positive and outstanding individuals to join our team!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Introducing Technology Change

Congratulations!  Your business is investing in new technology.  You’re eagerly anticipating cries of joy from your team members when they use that shiny hardware, dazzling software, or brilliant process. 
Sadly, users often greet new technology with dismay instead of joy.  Faced with an abrupt change and the need to learn a new process, people can panic and resist.  To decrease panic and increase satisfaction, you need a training plan.  QBSI has helped organizations of all sizes deal with everything from minor adjustments to sweeping business process change.  Here’s what we’ve found works.

1.     Introduce the change.  Tell your team that new technology is coming, when it will arrive, and why the decision was made.  In my role as trainer for QBSI, I’ve heard a lot of variations of “It just showed up one day” and “why do we have to do this?”  We don’t want the users to perceive the new technology as an alien invasion – violent and disruptive.  We want it to be more like a cool new coworker that everyone is looking forward to meeting.
2.     Explain when training will be scheduled.  If training isn’t possible right away, most people will muddle through their basic tasks if they know more instruction is coming.  We’ve found it very helpful to post a “Questions?” sheet in a public place.  Ask users to think about their typical work and what they know they will need the new system to do.
3.     Put resources somewhere accessible.  Many products have electronic documentation and help databases.  Place links to those on a website or in a shared folder, and send an email to tell users where to find them. Physical manuals or “how to” posters can be placed with new hardware.
4.     Identify key users.  Most organizations have either official support staff, or an unofficial technology guru.  Plan additional training for those key users, with the goal that they will be a resource for their coworkers. 
5.     Train on the basics, plus a little bit.  An initial training can introduce the main features and tools. Ideally, aim to cover the basics that all users need, plus a couple of cool and helpful additional features to add excitement about your new technology and keep your more confident users interested.  Don’t try to cover everything.
6.     Plan follow up training for complex projects and needs. These should be smaller sessions that address specific users. For example, for a document management system, some users will need to know how to manage import or archiving.  For document production and printing, identify complex packets or materials.
The goal of this introduction process is for your users to become confident about exploring the capabilities and benefits of their new technology.  Help it be a friend, not an invader.
By Melinda Morrow
Product Support Specialist

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stories from the Field

“Great customer service.” What does that phrase mean to you? I hear it nearly every day, and yet I wonder how different people interpret this concept. A wholly intangible idea, this can be difficult to define.

For our customers, the experience begins as soon as they pick up the phone to contact us. While our Field Service Technicians are the face of a customer’s experience with the Northwest Group (CTX and QBSI), our Dispatchers in the Customer Care Center are the voice. If a customer experiences long hold times, unclear communication, or the feeling their concerns are not being addressed, then an opportunity to provide great customer service has already been missed. However, if a customer has a prompt, concise and attentive conversation when calling the Northwest Group, the tone has been set for a great overall experience. But great customer service doesn’t end there.

As important as effective communication is to our Customer Call Center, it is equally imperative to our Service Department. At the Northwest Group, we ask that all of our technicians contact our customers within one hour of receiving their service call to provide an estimated time of arrival. This allows a customer to understand where they fall in our technician’s schedule. Since not all copier repairs go as expected, not every ETA can be achieved, which is why follow-up communication is absolutely critical. If a technician knows they cannot meet an ETA, it is of the utmost importance that they communicate with their customer to update them as soon as possible. Additionally, if a machine is in need of parts that must be ordered from our manufacturers, and the part arrival is delayed, step one is to contact our customer to update them of the situation, and offer alternative solutions, if possible. 

What does this all mean? Communication is the key!

So, what does great customer service mean to me? That our customers immediately know the expectations, are communicated with if there is any delay, and what the plan is if there are any hurdles that our Service Department needs to overcome. Now that’s great customer service.

Jim Wadsworth 
Field Service Manager

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Knowing is Half the Battle

I’m a kid of the ‘80s.

I left my Flock of Seagulls hair in 1984. I left my mullet in 1985. I then left my Bon Jovi locks behind in 1986. Don’t ask me about my Living Color shaved head/dreadlocks from 1988 to 1990. I have successfully “misplaced” the remaining pictures/evidence of that fiasco. When it comes to hair, I learned what not to do in the ‘80s.

However, one thing that I still haven’t moved on from is G.I. Joe. No, I don’t have action figures throughout my office (nor at home). I still subscribe to their tagline, “Knowing is half the battle.” I am a firm believer of “I don’t know what I don’t know”, so when something comes along that causes me to shift my thinking – a paradigm shift – I am open to it. I don’t assume I know everything about even the very industry I specialize in – Managed Print Services.

This open thinking has allowed us at CTX to move into areas we previously have not offered service. At first, we only serviced HP, Xerox, and Kyocera printers but over time, we created a business model that allowed us to take on virtually every make and every model of desktop laser printers. This has opened up so many doors for us. We found a way to meet a need in the market – manage any laser printer out there because our potential customers may have ANY laser printer out there. And we haven’t stopped adjusting our business model as needed.

Now let me turn this back on you and your organization. How much do you know about your energy cost in kilowatt hours? Maybe you don’t know personally, but I am positive you or someone in your organization can look that up easily or call someone at PGE (or some other provider) and find out. Knowing this number gives you opportunities to make smart business decisions around that number.

Can you negotiate it down with your current vendor? Are there better opportunities through other service providers to negotiate that number down? Are there new or emerging competitors that offer different services that can provide the same end result (or better)?

Can you communicate the need to reduce energy consumption to your employees? If you were to create an incentive to do so, how much money could you budget to award employees while still maintaining a net reduction in expenses?

Are you able to pinpoint where your energy goes? If so, can you isolate the “worst offenders” and change business practices and habits so that these offenders use less energy? Are there other assets that could replace these “energy hogs” that will create an attractive ROI?

OK, maybe knowing in this case isn’t “half” the battle – it’s more like 10%. As you can see, there is more work to be done after you are in the know. I gave you an easy example. Oregon (and nearly every other state) has initiatives and incentives revolving around energy. There are rebate programs for putting your company’s personal computers on a power management program (please see me if you have any questions – we have a great solution around this). Let’s move on to one area I’m positive into which you have little visibility – printing.

How much do you spend on generating a single page document?

Don’t know? Well, you really should. I can say that because I have seen through my work that knowing this number has allowed companies large and small to reduce their real expenses around printing in a manner similar to reducing their expenses around energy.

Maybe you think that you could do some simple math to determine your cost per print. You know that Staples charges $149.99 per toner and the manufacturer boasts an output of 6,000 pages for that toner. That seems to work out to $0.025 (rounded) per page. Now, as you walk through the office and you see a stack of papers go uncollected on the printer, you know that is approximately $1.45 (for example) wasted. Multiply that out for a year and that number grows. Are you beginning to see the direction I’m going here? This is a great place to START, but don’t stop there.

How much did the printer cost? How old is it? How much……wait.

I’ll save you the many more questions you should be asking. $0.025 is only the tip of the iceberg for calculating your cost per print.

I highly encourage you to request an assessment from CTX (Oregon and SW Washington) or QBSI (Washington). We specialize in working with your administration and IT staff to determine your true cost per print. Once you know that….well, that’s half the battle. What you do with it at that point is up to you. You can continue to watch money sit wasted on the printer or you can take the next step.

What is that step? Well, we can help with that too. Give us a call today.

Daniel Alexander has been the Director of Managed Print Services for CTX since 2010. He has personally helped hundreds of businesses get their arms around what is known in the industry as one of the last unaudited expenses – print management. He can be reached directly at 503-968-0365.