On the Road: Top 10 Quotes from BTA East 2015



Carl Schell



The early signs of fall foliage on my drive from New Jersey to the home of Paul Revere and the Red Sox were a fitting metaphor for the BTA East 2015 event: Like the New England leaves, dealers’ “colors” need to adapt to the changing seasons.


In this, the fourth of five shows put on by the Business Technology Association this year, reps from 35 dealers and 39 exhibitors gathered in the Back Bay to take in several presentations and talk about all things document imaging. InfoTrends President Jeff Hayes delivered the keynote address, immediately setting a crisp tone via his data-driven hour on technology trends, business models and customer engagement. Moderated by Sally Brause, director of human resources consulting for GreatAmerica Financial Services, the dealer panel eschewed technology altogether to focus on company culture and how it can affect “the bottom line”—this was both energetic and inspiring conversation.


Friday’s menu included “Future-Proofing Your Dealership,” a managed services workshop hosted by Mitch Morgan and Chris Ryne of Growth Acquisition Partners (download the free chart of accounts and key metrics here, or check out this article by Ryne); an overarching look at 3D printing through the eyes of Keith Kmetz, IDC’s vice president of hardcopy solutions and services program; a session on increasing the value of your dealership while simultaneously formulating your exit strategy, as presented by Jim Kahrs, president of Prosperity Plus Management Consulting; and “Preparing the Way for Digital Information Management Systems Organizations,” from Stephen Rolla, senior partner at Pros Elite Group.


While there was a surplus of worthwhile quotes over the two days, here are 10 of our favorites—they should get you thinking about many facets of not only the industry but, more specifically, with the current state of your dealership and its future:


Jeff Hayes from InfoTrends

1) “There are over 1.5 trillion pages printed in the United States per year. At the very high end, a lot of pages continue to flow from offset presses onto digital printing systems—and will continue to through higher quality, faster running speeds and improvements on substrate handling.”


2) “Business inkjet is starting to play a bigger role in the marketplace. It’s still pretty small, less than 5 percent of the office market, but in four or five years, as PageWide Array models and other devices come along, with faster speeds and more products, which are certainly competitive in terms of quality…these should have a cumulative effect as they move upmarket.”


3) “Wide-format devices and digital presses are approaching saturation phase, so their growth rates that were double digits five years ago are now slowing down to 2 or 3 percent. In the Competitive Turbulence area, managed services, security, automation solutions—there are a lot of players and we’re starting to see some acquisitions and consolidation of the marketplace. Moving down to Rapid Growth, a lot’s going on with mobile and cloud, and beyond that you’re looking at things like quantum computing.” (part of his description of the classic S curve as it pertains to document imaging)


4) “Technology disrupts, recessions clarify.”


Dave Johnson, vice president of sales/branch operations for EO Johnson Business Technologies (dealer panel)

5) “We looked at our core values and we wanted to define them a little more, not only internally but also externally to our customers. I mean, you have to look at it both ways. It’s so important to the growth of an organization, and there are so many benefits to creating a great culture.”


Chris Taylor, CEO of Fisher’s Technology (dealer panel)

6) “We want to make sure our company culture is consistent, but at the same time there are different local cultures. So we allow some cultural flexibility and empower the leaders in those branches to create their own sense of local culture and community.”


Dave Barrows, corporate director of sales for Gobin’s (dealer panel)

7) “We are very open with our employees. We have an annual call about financials and then we have regular reports that go out to them. Not necessarily a full set, but we make it easy for them to see the trends and how they’re doing.”


Keith Kmetz from IDC

8) “With 3D printing, it’s ironic that we’re talking about one of the hottest markets in IT today that has something to do with print. Over the years we’ve seen that we’re fighting market maturity, we’re trying to boost profits, revenues and margins, and now we’ve got what we call an ‘innovation accelerator.’ Every once in a while, we identify a list of these things that can change the market—and we see 3D printing as one of those accelerators.”


9) “Think about any person, particularly a child who’s still growing, who needs a prosthetic. Six months from now, they’re going to need another one. So printing another prosthetic is another way to provide for that need rather than going through the traditional ordering and manufacturing process. And there are some 3D printing companies that specialize in the digital dentistry market, for the quicker creation of crowns and bridges and at a cost that’s beneficial to all.”


Jim Kahrs from Prosperity Plus Management Consulting

10) “The whole doom-and-gloom in the industry and will small dealers go away? You go back 15, 20 years, everybody was in a panic because the paperless office was coming…well, it hasn’t happened. I personally think you’re always going to have that mix of dealers, though it might move toward more big dealers and fewer small dealers. Then again, in one recent case, a dealer started out four years ago with no money and is now at $7 million.”



“Collectively, the feedback received from the dealers attending the recent BTA East event has been very positive,” said BTA Executive Director Brent Hoskins. “Attendees benefited from the insight and guidance provided in the educational sessions, enjoyed both the hotel and Boston and, of course, welcomed the opportunity to spend time with their fellow dealers during a memorable evening at Fenway Park as the Orioles took on the Red Sox.”


Said Chris Taylor of Fisher’s: “The BTA conference was valuable for me in numerous ways. I learned about some new offerings that will benefit my business, such as a lease return logistics product from a company called OnePak. I also picked up some thought-provoking concepts on leadership and thoroughly enjoyed the valuable and entertaining engagement with other BTA members.”


The leaves will continue changing during the ”Fall Colors Retreat” in Asheville, North Carolina, the final BTA event of the year. And stay tuned for more details about the BTA’s 90th anniversary celebration next year in Kansas City, Missouri!