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Being Independent Doesn’t Mean Working Alone

11 Apr, 2001 By: Dealer Profile: Coordinated Business Systems imageSource

Being Independent Doesn’t Mean Working Alone

Five years ago, “industry experts” were saying the days of the independent office equipment dealer were numbered. The megadealers were going to take marketshare away from the independents hand-over-fist, and the independent office equipment dealer would eventually fade away. For one independent dealer in Minnesota, not only have they stayed in the marketplace, but also they have flourished. In fact, in this five-year period they have doubled their annual sales revenue. This company is Coordinated Business Systems.

In 1983, Jim Oricchio, a former concert promoter, along with his wife Donna and two employees started Coordinated Business Systems out of their home. Today, Coordinated Business Systems is a thriving $9 million company with offices in Minneapolis, Red Wing and Rochester, Minnesota.

When asked for his formula for success, Oricchio is quick to say, “It’s been a team effort for 18 years. From day one it was four people working together for a common goal and today it’s 60 people with the same common goal, offering a quality product to our customers backed by service that is unmatched by anyone in the market.”

A Common Goal

Looking back on almost two decades of Coordinated Business Systems’ existence, Oricchio was asked to divulge what has made his independent office equipment dealership successful. “I would have to say staying focused and having the ‘pulse’ on the industry and our customers have been the most important ingredients to our success throughout the years,” commented Oricchio. “While other dealers in the market have tried gimmicks and other ‘quick fix’ programs that were off the mark, we have stayed true to our mission and our customers by, allowing our people to grow and nurture the customer relationships to create a business partnership with them.”

In order to create such long lasting and profitable client partnerships, several fundamental elements needed to be established by Coordinated and their employees. First and foremost is the trust and loyalty that has developed between Coordinated Business Systems and their employees. Oricchio states, “We allow our team members to grow with the company. In fact, we want them to grow as they continue their tenure here. We want them to never be satisfied with status quo. In essence, we always want to be the company that ‘raises the bar’ for excellence in the industry.” With this sense of trust in place, Coordinated has one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry.

Running With A Motto

Another element to developing lasting client partnerships is Coordinated’s ability to meet their sales goals year after year. By accomplishing this on a consistent basis, it has enabled Coordinated to grow in the good times and maintain marketshare in the economic down turns. “We strive to ‘think outside the box’, and that has enabled us to grow even when the economy isn’t doing very well,” said Oricchio. “We want everyone in our organization to see that there is no such thing as problems, only opportunities.”

“Our positioning statement (Better Choice. Better Decision.), is somewhat of a credo I run this business by, and I encourage all the employees to think this way,” said Oricchio. “With all our systems in place to ensure our customers are getting the best quality in products and services, we want our customers to feel and believe they made a better choice – a better decision.”

Coordinated Business Systems calls this approach TeamSourcingsm. This synergistic approach to total customer satisfaction is the very foundation on which Coordinated Business Systems has been built. It starts with listening and responding to the customers’ questions and concerns. After listening, evaluating and analyzing, Coordinated Business Systems provides the customer with the right document imaging solutions backed with the service and support that has made Coordinated Business Systems a two-time recipient of the “Office Dealer” magazine “Top 50 Dealer” award. In 1999, Coordinated received the prestigious “BTA Award of Excellence” by the Business Technology Association. The panel selected Coordinated from more than 4,000 office equipment dealers from the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Part of the judging criteria was based on customer service programs, over all customer satisfaction, longevity of employees and community involvement.

A Step Ahead

What does Oricchio see next for the document imaging industry? “I believe that the digital revolution will be here for a while,” states Oricchio. “With continuing development of driver and software applications, I see the transition from analog to digital to be very exciting from an independent dealer standpoint and the industry itself. It will be a challenge to stay ahead of the technology curve and to educate our customers about the technology available.”

Part of staying ahead of the changing times means research not only in the market, but from a technological standpoint as well. “It’s kind of like being a fortune teller,” said Oricchio. “Trying to anticipate the changes in the market, that’s the fun part of the business. Staying a step ahead of the customer and their needs is something that can be difficult at times, but if you do your homework it is feasible.”

Recognized for their technical expertise by Mita (now Kyocera Mita) in the 1990’s, Oricchio promises more of the same thing to come. We invest time and money in our service technicians,” remarks Oricchio. “We pay for their technical training and keep them updated on the latest information coming from the manufacturers and the network side of it as well.”

Knowing Whom To Invest In

Investing in their people is what Oricchio feels this is a big advantage that independent dealers have over the megadealers. While megadealers have to answer to shareholders and make short-term profit margins look good, independent dealers have less “red tape” to wade through when dealing with expenditures or investments. “As part of allowing our people to grow, there needs to be some sort of investment into them on behalf of the company,” comments Oricchio. “I see this as not only a wise investment into the company, but also an investment into the particular person.”

A Kyocera Mita (formerly Mita) dealer for 18 years, Oricchio has had and still does have opportunities to switch to or sign on with another manufacturer. When asked why do you stay with a particular manufacturer for so long? Oricchio quickly replies, “Loyalty. They put out a good product and we have developed a business partnership with them, so there is no reason to switch. It’s part of having a good business partnership with companies you can trust and rely on.”

When asked to play “fortune teller” and look into his crystal ball and tell us where he sees Coordinated Business Systems in 5 years from now, Oricchio pauses for a second then replies with a smile, “I see us as an $18 million company and being on the forefront of technology and service. But most of all, I still want to have fun. When it stops being fun, I’ll move on knowing that I’ve been very fortunate to do something I enjoy and having the opportunity to meet and work with some incredible people throughout the years.”

As he was walking away, Oricchio smiles and says, “Being an independent dealer doesn’t mean you are working alone.”


Coordinated Business Systems is one of the largest independent office equipment dealers in Minnesota. An authorized Kyocera Mita dealer, Coordinated Business Systems is headquarted in Minneapolis, with offices in Red Wing and Rochester, Minnesota. For more information about Coordinated Business Systems, call (952) 894.9460 or log on to www.coordinated.com.

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