(In this ongoing series, The Cannata Report’s Editor-in-Chief Scott Cullen or President & CEO CJ Cannata check in with a different dealer each week to find out what’s going on at their dealership, what’s hot, what’s not, and whatever else is on their mind.)
For this installment of “Dealer Check-in,” CJ Cannata connected with Doug Pitassi, president of Pacific Office Automation (POA) in Beaverton, OR, prior to the company’s annual weekend sales extravaganza earlier this month. POA sells technology from a broad range of vendors, including Canon, HP, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Sharp. Doug is also a member of The Cannata Report’s Dealer Advisory Board. Here’s what Doug has to say about the latest happenings at POA.
CR: What was the best thing that happened to POA in 2019?
Pitassi: MPS and fleet management. We grew $5 million in service revenue in MPS and our MPS grew 21%. Capturing printers under contract is what it is. Why I think it’s awesome is if [a customer has] 4-5 printers and we are at 1.3 to one A3, and we grew, there’s a lot of runway left where we can grow more print. I’m very happy about MPS. Print is still alive and well. I’m excited about that because it’s our foundation.
CR: What do you think are the best opportunities for you to diversify your offerings?
Pitassi: We are in the infancy as an industry in terms of services. And POA is no different. We are set up to continue to grow. POA has over 34,000 customers, and if we not only sell print and copy to them but UC (unified communications) and IT are big growth opportunities. Under UC, we are killing it in cloud phones. We’re only a $29-million IT company. But it’s the biggest growth opportunity. We sell security cameras, we are looking at video conferencing equipment, software, SaaS, and production. We want to sell multiple services to existing customers as well as new businesses and keep score and track it.
CR: What’s going on in the industry that has you most concerned?
Pitassi: A couple of things, will the manufacturers of traditional A3 products truly transition with the technology and make sure the products and services they sell meet the traditional dealer model? Whatever products and services we sell have to fit the model in terms of pricing and profit margin.
The cloud. We have to transition the way we look at financing. There’s no hardware. With cloud services you have to think differently about how you comp your sales force on cloud services. Long term the cloud is going to be great for all of us.
CR: What segments of your business are poised to grow in 2020?
Pitassi: MPS and services. I want to grow at a rate on services to offset any threat of print flatlining. When you give a customer all these services you’re building a deeper loyalty so they can depend on you for more than just traditional copy and print. But we’d better build our infrastructure [to support it]. You can’t just sell it, you better have the people to fix it.
CR: What’s your dealership’s resolution for 2020?
Pitassi: Our theme this year is “Take the Leap.” What that means to us is to get out of your comfort zone. We’ve all talked about transformation. For us, it is a transformation in all our departments and understanding the opportunities. After reaching $365 million in revenue last year, how cool would it be to reach $400 million this year? Developing people’s knowledge skills and attitude is our way to scale and our way to grow.
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