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Outstanding Dealership: EO Johnson

27 Sep, 2011

Emery O. (E.O.) Johnson had a dream – to one day own his own business.  On May 1, 1957 that dream came true when he opened the E.O. Johnson Company in Wausau, WI.  He saw an opportunity to sell, service, and support 3M copiers and became a dealer.  His business strategy focused on customer service – treat customers the way he would want to be treated.

Fast forward to 2011 – the company that E.O. started has four offices, 189 employees, and has a stellar reputation in its markets.  Although technology has rocketed forward from the 3M Thermo-fax E.O. sold, many things in his company have held fast.  A Johnson still leads the company and the unswerving commitment to customer service is paramount.

Customer Vision

Honesty, integrity, and respect are the principals that guided E.O. when he lead the company and are integral to every aspect of the company today.  “Do the right thing and the right thing will happen,” is what E.O. stated time and time again, and business discussions today still include the question “What is the right thing to do?”

“Customer Vision” is two famous words at EO Johnson Office Technologies, and any employee can state what it means –seeing things through the customer’s eyes and responding as a team to meet or exceed their expectations.  Customer Vision applies to both external and internal customers, so employees treat their co-works with the same passion that they do EO Johnson customers.

At the Helm

Mary Jo Johnson, daughter of E.O., was named CEO in 1999. Although she recalls working on company mailings as a little girl, she officially joined the company in 1985 after working outside the industry.  She very much worked her way up through the company, working in telemarketing, sales, color, faxes, and training.

14 – 11 – 29.  It’s not the combination of a bike lock – it’s the average tenure of key employee groups at EO Johnson.  Sales representatives at EO Johnson have been with the company on average, 14 years, service technicians have an average tenure of 11 years, and EO Johnson’s senior management group has been with the company for an average of 29 years.  And, employee turnover is an enviable 1 percent.  The benefactors of such impressive employment statistics are the customers who can count on consistency in their relationships and stability in business decisions. Not surprisingly, customer relationships are long term, referrals strong, and loyalty high.

Vendor relationships have likewise been long term and solid.  EO Johnson represents a vast array of vendors – some 12 different hardware vendors and at least as many software vendors.  Although those may be daunting numbers when considering the aspect of servicing each vendor line and the array of products they sell, EO Johnson’s commitment to provide exceptional service is foundational to the company and drives a service operation that is hard to beat.

 In fact, EO Johnson’s service department has a strong history of being recognized by vendors for their excellence.  Plaques acknowledging service excellence are too numerous to count and line the walls of EO Johnson’s facilities.


The industry is changing, and anyone in it knows that.  For years, popular topics at all dealer circles of conversation have included print management and document solutions.  Lately those conversations are retooling to include network services and managed services. 

EO Johnson has never shied away from blazing a trail where the industry is moving.  Its Managed Print Services (MPS) division got its first customer four years ago, has grown significantly year-over-year, and now accounts for 30 percent of the company’s total hardware revenue. 

Vertical markets have been strong.  Although EO Johnson’s list of verticals is long, the commitment by the company to understand the vertical and provide the best solutions is as strong for each niche as if the company had just one.  Vertical markets where EO Johnson has taken a notable lead in include medical, manufacturing, financial, education, and government. 

Dedicating product specialists has proved effective.  EO Johnson has taken this approach in MPS, document management (what the company calls Solutions Sales), managed network services (iTECH Services™), duplicator business, and high volume color and black/white (Production Print). 

In this approach, the specialists work side-by-side with the account sales representatives so the customer relationship stays solid.  A water division was added in 2006 and has positively contributed year-over-year to the bottom line.

As EO Johnson moves forward, focusing on network services and managed services will be a driver. To the company, it is the logical extension of where it has evolved and where they’ve enjoyed success.

Commitment to Community

Any discussion of EO Johnson wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging its commitment to the communities it does business in.  It started with E.O. himself who considered the success his company enjoyed to be a blessing and his strong desire to give back.  His genuine care for the community benefitted many local organizations and set the tone for his company’s own charitable giving. 

The company not only supports financial contributions to a variety of local non-profit organizations, but encourages its employees to be involved, and grants sensible time off from work to do so. Overall, EO Johnson is an outstanding business to work for, and with.

For more information on EO Johnson products, programs and services, visit www.eojohnson.com

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