On June 7, Lexmark held its 2023 dealer meeting at its headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. It was attended by many of the company’s Top 50 BSD (Business Solution Dealer) partners. The one-plus-day event was jam-packed with presentations, product demonstrations, networking opportunities, and a significant announcement. I have attended numerous Lexmark dealer meetings over the years and am always impressed by the amount of relevant content presented in a single six-and-a-half-hour meeting. These are just a few of the highlights from this year’s meeting:
1. A Major Announcement
Greg Chavers sets the stage for Lexmark’s big announcement which would be revealed in one of the upcoming presentations.
This was the biggest takeaway from the meeting. It was stated in one of the presentations that Lexmark has never shared new product information this early before. As Greg Chavers, vice president, North America channel sales, told dealers, “Keep an open mind as we boldly go where we have not gone before.” At the moment, this announcement is so top secret that everyone in attendance had to sign an NDA. What I can say is that when this announcement is finally made, likely early next year, it will be a game-changer for Lexmark and its dealers.
2. Dealer Appreciation
Lexmark dealers love Clark Bugg, and he loves Lexmark dealers. Clark served as emcee for the meeting, a task he handled well.
For as long as I have attended Lexmark events, the emphasis on the importance of its dealers to the company’s success has always been stressed. Yes, it’s a claim most other OEMs make too, but from what we continue to hear from dealers, Lexmark truly does care, and Lexmark does listen. As Chavers noted, “You all have been and will continue to be important to Lexmark’s future.” Those words were underscored by Clark Bugg, director, North America channel sales, who added, “We are focused on winning in the marketplace, and we are focused on winning with you.”
3. Lexmark’s Strategy for Success
The strategy, outlined by Lexmark President & CEO Allen Waugerman, encompasses: a.) Continuing to lead the printing and imaging industry by advancing its sustainable long-life products, growing partnerships, expanding its small and medium business offerings, and leading the industry in user experience b.) Enhancing its print services to better serve its customers and partners through predictive support and interactive analytics, cloud services, smart refresh lifecycle management, security services, and providing support for evolving hybrid work scenarios. c.) Expanding beyond print to bring new value to the marketplace by growing IoT solutions, expanding technology and intellectual property, and continuing to innovate beyond its core business.
4. Embracing Emerging Technologies
Waugerman pointed out that Lexmark has been embracing emerging technologies from the very beginning, referencing the cloud, IoT, and AI as it looks to advance its services and solutions offerings. “It’s part of our DNA, leveraging these emerging technologies,” he said.
5. Print Remains Important to Lexmark, but Outcomes are What Matter
Allen Waugerman discussed the importance of print to Lexmark and outlined points of differentiation between Lexmark and its competitors.
“Print although it is declining, is going to be incredibly important for years to come and we are well positioned to continue to lead in that marketplace,” observed Waugerman. “We are unique versus some of our competitors. We have been focused on industry expertise.” Much of that industry expertise is focused on vertical markets such as healthcare and retail, for example. “We developed that expertise, and our devices aren’t just focused on print but making sure of the outcomes,” added Waugerman. Indeed, data is critical, especially for customers who expect outcomes not just print. Lexmark has been in IoT for more than 20 years, and one area where this helps differentiate the company is in its MPS business. “We take that data and turn it into insights,” observed Waugerman. “You can’t take action without that data.”
6. Simplifying Service by Design
One of the highlights of the technology fair was a demonstration showing ease of access to the device’s components so service can be performed in 15 minutes or less.
Lexmark is proud of how its products are designed for easy access by service techs to critical machine components so that they can be serviced in 15 minutes or less. This was emphasized during the presentations and demonstrations in the technology fair. It was easy to see how important this was to dealers by how closely they paid attention to the demo at the technology fair.
7. Looking to Grow
According to Waugerman, Lexmark is underrepresented in the independent dealer channel, particularly around small and medium businesses. In the enterprise, he said, the company is extremely strong. “Our intent is to continue to leverage partners and expand,” he said.
8. The Importance of AI and Data Analytics
Vishal Gupta describes Lexmark’s AI initiatives.
Vishal Gupta, Lexmark’s CTO & CIO, SVP connected technology, provided a deep dive into Lexmark’s initiatives around AI, data analytics, IoT, and cloud. “When you are thinking of partnering with Lexmark when it comes to cloud services, whether it’s cloud fleet management, cloud print management, cloud scan management, translation management…these can create a nice business for you,” said Gupta.
He added, “If you’re trying to be the dealer of the future and grow in double digits for a long time, you may want to embrace AI and data analytics.” An example of how Lexmark is currently leveraging AI is its Optra edge platform, a hardware and software solution that as described on the company’s website is for creating and deploying remote applications at scale. “A lot of the work we’re doing with the Optra platform is IoT but it is really edge technology with AI running in it,” said Gupta. “We think it’s a massive opportunity to drive great outcomes and great profits.”
Gupta also described Lexmark’s plans to use descriptive and predictive algorithms to increase uptime and insights. “When applied to print, AI can enhance predictive maintenance, offer anomaly detection, initiative smart refresh and toner replenishment, among other things,” said Gupta. “My call to action to you is that if you want to be the dealer of the future, partner with us.”
Those eight highlights only scratch the surface of what was presented at the meeting. I barely touched on the hardware, including the new products introduced in April, but as noted above, print is still important to Lexmark. As a result, expect to see the company continue to introduce new hardware that leverages the cloud, IoT, data analytics, AI, and more.
Overall, it was a terrific meeting and Lexmark dealers have a lot to work with, especially now that supply chain issues are correcting themselves. And of course, dealers also have much to look forward to, especially after hearing about that exciting upcoming announcement.
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.