LMI – Growth, Growth and More Growth6 Jan, 2015 By: David C Ramos
LMI Solutions has won numerous awards, including those from the BTA for “Best Remanufactured Cartridges” for years, along with their recognition by the MPSA for “Best MPS Program” and North America’s number one “MPS Infrastructure.” Therefore, the announcement in July that it had acquired printer hardware remanufacturer Printersdirect, should not have come as too much of a surprise.
Printersdirect remanufactures premium quality business printers based in Atlanta, Georgia. Their clients include the leading distributors of imaging supplies and parts in North America, and sells under the MPS Ready® brand. The Printersdirect acquisition came just a month after LMI’s acquisition of Global Printer Services (GPS). Founded in 1996, GPS also refurbishes and distributes HP and Lexmark laser printers and MFPs along with certain parts and accessories. These two moves clearly demonstrate LMI’s continued commitment to providing the imaging channel with a full line-card of OEM alternative consumables, hardware and related print solutions.
Solutions to Excel
Most are keenly aware that the key to winning in the market today is by excelling in tailoring one’s offerings to the specific needs of each customer while still maintaining low costs and competitive prices. LMI has grown consistently, year on year, since Gary Willert purchased the company in 1997 with just that strategy. By simply listening to their customers, and responding with investments like the two recent acquisitions, LMI gives its clients another valued advantage over their competition, which can pay dividends by helping their customers grow revenues and profits.
LMI’s growth started when copier dealers began to get into the managed print/CPP business and they began to uncover the challenges that the dealer community was facing on the street. LMI recognized that many dealers needed assistance with areas of the MPS business such as MPS sales training, vertical marketing communications, analytical and remote monitoring tools, website development, and more. LMI then invested in producing the tools and solutions that filled the gaps in dealers’ infrastructure.
I spoke with Christian Pepper, formally of Printersdirect, and he explained: “When I joined LMI, it became clear to me that the secret of LMI’s success is, wired into its DNA, is the great American trait of ‘paying it forward.’ LMI’s team works hard to help their customers succeed, and as they do, in turn, customers place more business with LMI. It is a refreshing approach in what is often a cut-throat industry.” Pepper continues, “I’ve listened to our team speak to a new prospect and unlike many of our competitors that are focused on winning a dealer’s existing spend, our people adopt a consultative approach of uncovering areas in the business that the dealer feels is holding them back from growing. Usually LMI has a solution that can be applied to help the dealer succeed, and this upfront investment in the relationship binds LMI to the dealer as a trusted partner.
What’s next for LMI?
Christian Pepper explained that solutions resellers (independent dealers) are looking for alternatives to new devices as a result of competitive pressures and high priced OEM consumables. Remanufactured hardware coupled with LMI’s core of affordable and sustainable cartridges allows dealers to achieve a more competitive CPP/TCO price point while hitting the all-important industry benchmarks for profit.
In a competitive market place, product suppliers of all types and various industries are caused to improve their products for fear of losing customers to competitors. When you are in the aftermarket business of consumable supply cartridges, even with a quality product, it still makes for a short value proposition to clients and prospects. Each supplier in the market place maintains a watch on what other competitors do. If one supplier improves their product, the innovation creates only a temporary advantage. Key to LMI’s growth was their recognition of value added services that equips dealers with award winning MPS Sales Training, MPS Marketing, and their exclusive LMI PageTrac program.
In 1997, LMI was a cartridge remanufacturer with seven employees, producing fewer than 1,000 cartridges and servicing 10 customers per month. Today, as a partner to the independent dealer community, they employ more than 500 staff and provide industry leading programs to over 700 dealers. If history is the predictor of future behavior and results, LMI will not suddenly hit the pause button with its latest acquisitions. They will continue with new product development; new programs and software solutions that help their dealers grow. And don’t be shocked if more acquisitions are in order as well.