Executive Corner With Jim D'Emidio

The president of Muratec America Inc. talks challenges, opportunities and the future of the industry.

 

What is your current state of mind?
Positive. Our industry is changing immensely; however, there is always opportunity in change.

What is the greatest challenge you face today?
The document imaging industry is in decline, and we’re starting to see some negative trends in regard to print volumes. As new technologies have emerged (tablets and cloud-based document workflow) and a younger, less paper-centric workforce has entered the workplace, we’re challenged with keeping print accessible and relevant.

What do you see as your biggest opportunity?
Helping office equipment dealers transition from hardware-centric sales into services-led sales. Growth in our services offerings in 2012 was exceptional, and we’re finding that more dealers are willing to engage in the conversation about services.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Our greatest accomplishment is being named “Top Secondary Manufacturer” by the Business Technology Association nine out of the last 10 years. This award is voted on by the dealers and is a testament to our dealer-centric policies and strong customer support.

If your customers were to describe your company in three words, what would they be?
Loyal, outstanding support.

Managed print services or managed services?
I believe managed services. Managed services enables dealers to get involved with all aspects of a company’s business operations — IT services, document workflow, telephony, MPS, etc. The more areas within a business you touch/control, the harder it becomes to be replaced within that account.

Where are you investing the most within your company this year?
We’re going to great lengths to improve our managed IT services and document management solutions. We believe that both of these programs are critical to both short- and long-term growth, and we need to make sure we’re ready to capitalize on the current market
opportunities.

What is your greatest concern for this industry?
As the industry continues to mature, margins will increase their rate of decline and force many dealers to re-evaluate their future in this industry. Our distribution strategy is focused 100 percent on the independent office equipment dealer, so if they exit the market, our survival will be in question.

How would your employees and co-workers describe you?
Loyal, honest and laser-focused on providing exceptional customer support.

Who are your favorite writers?
John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“And so on and so forth.”
 
Do trends exist in this industry?
Absolutely. Our legacy is in the fax market, and we saw how the fax market consolidated and changed back in the mid-to-late 1990s. We’re seeing a very similar trend in today’s market with the transition from hard-copy imaging to digital document workflow.

Who is your next hire?
We’re looking to hire more IT services consultants that can help our dealers make the transition into service providers.

Why do you hold your current business position today?
Everyone else left the company. Traditionally my position was held by a representative from our parent company in Japan. In 2008 our parent company decided that our North American management team had successfully transitioned the company from a fax supplier into a true secondary product line manufacturer and that we could continue to grow the company. At that point I was promoted from vice president of sales into my current role of president.

What qualities do you look for when making key hires?
Muratec has a strong culture that revolves around doing what’s right for the customer (our dealers). I look for people that demonstrate strong customer service skills and have a certain element of creativity about them. Our products are never top-of-mind within the dealerships we serve, so our people have to get sales reps to think differently about our products and solutions.

What is your favorite quote?
“The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing conditions” – Charles Darwin

This article originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of The Imaging Channel.

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