LOCATION: 2238 Bluemound Road, Suite B, Waukesha, WI 53186
Year founded: 1973
Product or service offered: Konica Minolta, NEC and OKI Digital Multifunctional Office Systems, managed laser printer services, office equipment service, supplies, and repair. We support a variety of copiers, fax systems, laser printers, and other office equipment with a highly trained field service force. We sell and install and provide user training for many varieties of new digtial multifunctional printer/copier/scanner/fax systems. We offer managed laser printer services, helping offices optimize their office laser printing equipment and driving down associated operational costs. We help offices manage their paper and electronic documents, and integrate their MFPs into their office paper workflow.
Projected 2009 revenue: $4 million to $5 million
CEO, President/Owner(s): Art Flater, president; Christopher Rosecky, principal and vice president
Leadership team: Andy Navarro, vice president-technical services; Deb Arena, controller; Perry Bartkiewicz, logistics manager
Target clientele: Small to medium business with less than 2,500 employees and local decision making capabilities. Government/educational/medical and non profit with local decision making. All organizations that appear “fun to do business with,” which is kind of a subjective criteria, but we know them when we see them.
Business organization memberships: Waukesha Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, West Suburban Chamber of Commerce,E Automate User’s Group, Bryant & Stratton Advisory Board, NEC Document Solutions Dealer’s Group, Managed Printer Services Group, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Group, Document Imagine Network Executives, Milwaukee Online CEOs, Production Print Professionals
What has fueled your company’s growth?
Our approach to local service and support is a key differentiator. Our organization has its own local warehouse and distribution center, with parts, supplies and equipment right here. Many competitors have reduced these capabilities locally. Our main competitors have large sales offices with high turnover, and small technical support groups. We have excellent support capabilities locally. Our attitude of being an “assistant to the client” is also a large differentiator. We actually answer our phones with people, not an automated attendant. Our entire organization is focused on making our client’s lives easier when it comes to their office equipment. Finally, we have been able to attract highly competent and customer focused team members. Our team members drive our organization to perform at the highest levels. Capabilities, attitude, and people have fueled our growth.
What is the biggest obstacle to your company’s growth?
The current economy has slowed office equipment purchases in our marketplace. In 2007, according to industry statistics, there were 550 transactions monthly in this market. Now we estimate there are about 375 monthly transactions. Our sales force has managed to increase the number of transactions we are invloved in monthly, so our sales have actually increased. We know that this is not true for many competitors. As equipment wears out and is replaced in this market, we anticipate our marketshare to increase monthly.
Do you plan any changes in your company in the upcoming months?
We have launched a major initiative to help organizations reduce their laser printer supply and operational costs. This is an area that most organizations do not manage well, and our new proprietary Managed Laser Printer Services program will help them address this weakness.
Who are the business people, locally or nationally, whom you admire? And what traits do those people exhibit that make you admire them?
Three traits I admire: honesty, results oriented, sense of humor.
What is the outlook for the business conditions of your industry over the next several months?
Our business outlook is stronger than our industry outlook. Our industry is down between 30-35 percent this year. We have adapted from the traditional “copier company” model that most of our competitors are mired in. Our changes in approach to handle all of an organization’s paper output gives us the ability to support laser printers and scanners, which are being used more and more in offices. By approaching the entire account, and offering a solution that doesn’t just deal with the copier, we reduce costs, consolidate paper volumes under one contract, and help companies lower operational expenses, without selling new equipment or creating new costs.
What is your company’s key strategy for rising out of the recession?
In a bike race or a marathon, the lead rarely changes hands on the flat surfaces. The lead changes hands in the hills, where stronger, better competitors pull away from the pack. We are in an economy of hills right now, and Central Office Systems is using this opportunity to pull away from our mediocre competitors. When we get out of the hills, the lead will have changed in our favor.
Congratulations from the strategic partner behind Central Office Systems.
Benefit Networks, Inc.
Bernard R. Hertel, CLU, ChFC,