Above: VIDEO – John Sheehan of Sharp and Mark Miller of Eakes Office Solutions, who serves as the president of the Sharp Dealer Advisory Council, share insights about the council’s recent meeting held during the Sharp National Dealer Meeting last week in Las Vegas.
We attended the 2023 Sharp national dealer meeting at the Wynn in Las Vegas, from April 18-20. With 1,000 people in attendance, it was reminiscent of pre-pandemic events. From the welcoming reception to the awards banquet, it was well done.
The opening general session was all about how well Sharp had done during the worst of times. John Sheehan did a first-class job as MC and helped by adding some levity to the presentations. Much of the discussion after John’s opening was all about market share growth and the expansion of Sharp’s distribution network. It all began when John introduced Mike Marusic, Sharp’s president & CEO.
Marusic informed the audience that from 2014 to 2019, Sharp had increased its market share by 10.1%. Sharp also expanded its distribution during the pandemic. Marusic referred to the dealers as pieces of a puzzle. His job was to lead in a manner that brought them all together to focus on execution. The theme of the meeting was “Opportunity Meets Execution.”
In one of the better presentations, Marusic graphically stated how Sharp would achieve sustainability. “I cannot change the wind, but I can adjust my sails,” he said. It was all about diversification.
Sharp was able to gain market share through the increased sales of A3 and A4. Marusic emphasized that A4 outperformed A3 regarding the increase in unit sales. He used that slide to talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and referred to ChatGPT as a vehicle to leverage AI. After Marusic referenced AI, he changed the direction of his presentation by stating, “We are a document company.” He also reminded the audience, “Our services are what separates us.”
The Diversification Message at the 2023 Sharp Dealer Meeting
Marusic then discussed diversification and another means to bring the completed puzzle to new levels of performance. Laptops, displays, and AV were the primary vehicles for accomplishing this.
The speakers, including dealers, throughout the General Session, supported the effectiveness of the diversification of their respective businesses. All delivered the same message, diversification increased revenue and profitability and expands the relationship with the client.
After the General Session, we were anxious to walk through the product fair again. Typically, the manufacturer gives the press a preview of the exhibition hall. This is done prior to the opening reception. Mike Marusic set me up to introduce something we thought we would never see at a Sharp event, production print. He invited me to open a fabric wall with a large knife. I was astounded by what I had uncovered.
After aggressively cutting open a doorway, I could not believe my eyes. There were two production print devices in the room. We got a quick overview of the product, and to say we were impressed would be a vast understatement.
After the demo, we realized we had seen these machines before. They were designed and manufactured by Fuji and sold by Xerox. This was the best possible way for Sharp to enter the production space. Sharp has an extraordinarily strong and loyal distribution that is anxiously aware that the absence of production products was limiting their ability to diversify their business in the best possible manner.
For several of the Sharp dealers at the meeting, the addition of Fuji’s production print products was a real bonus. We are speaking of Sharp dealers currently selling those same machines under the Xerox label. The launch of these products will begin in the fourth quarter.
Moderating a Dealer Council Meeting
An added feature for CJ and me was the request for us to moderate the dealer council meeting. I moderated, and CJ took notes. It was a rare opportunity, and we deeply appreciated it. Thanks to Sharp Dealer Council President Mark Miller of Eakes Office Solutions in Grand Island, Nebraska, we experienced an important meeting that addressed several issues that these dealers believe are challenging them. We cannot share what we learned.
However, these dealers’ concerns were not radically different from what competitive dealers shared during our numerous dealer tour visits. The significant difference was Sharp’s performance during the pandemic, which had far less of a broken supply chain than the other manufacturers. This enabled Sharp to continue to deliver products in sufficient quantities to maintain and even grow the business.
Catching Up with An Old Friend at the 2023 Sharp Dealer Meeting
At the opening event, we ran into so many old friends, both figuratively and age-wise. To my great surprise, we ran into Nick Lioce Sr., like me, who is 89 years old. We recanted old times and recalled old friends no longer with us.
The best part of the conversation was Nick telling us how proud he was of his son. “Frank, I turned the business over to him (The Lioce Group, Huntsville, Alabama) and it was only doing $1.5 million, he said excitedly. “The business reached $25 million last year.” He did not need to say anymore, however, he did. “I am so damn proud of him.”
The business Nick turned over to his son was a start-up after selling his business to Alco Standard. Nick believed they did not honor their agreement to include Nick Jr. on the management team of the organization going forward. Because of that, Nick and his wife Louise started another dealership to give their son a decent shot at accomplishing what they had done. As we noted, Nick Jr. did not disappoint. As a footnote, The Lioce Group LLC. received one of the awards that were given out at the closing event.
More 2023 Sharp Dealer Meeting Coverage to Come
Scott will add his observations to our coverage of this successful dealer meeting within the next few days. Meanwhile, we are back on the road attending the American Coop meeting in St. Lucia later this week.
We are deeply appreciative of how Sharp took care of those of us in the press. We cannot thank them enough.
To become a subscriber, visit https://thecannatareport.com/register or contact email@example.com directly. Bulk subscription rates are also available upon request and included in our media kit.