An Interview with the RSA
Commercial Capital Company interviewed RSA Board Members, Michael Shaw/RSA Treasurer and Bruce Gandelman/Product & Services Committee Chair. Michael and Bruce share their own interesting histories, facts about the RSA and examples of how and why the RSA continues to be an integral part of building long term business success.
The RSA Looking Forward and Moving Forward
Commercial Capital Company has been a supporter of and vendor for the RSA (Reprographic Services Association) for several years now. Recently we were fortunate enough to get the chance to interview two RSA Board Members, Michael Shaw/RSA Treasurer and Bruce Gandelman/Product & Services Committee Chair. Michael and Bruce share their own interesting histories, facts about the RSA and examples of how and why the RSA continues to be an integral part of building long term business success.
CCCKC: Tell us a Little About Yourself, Your Own Businesses and Your Current RSA Board Member Roles.
MICHAEL: My business Central Blue Print, located in the New York area, has been around since 1962. The company was started by my father and was strictly a blue print shop at that time. Over the years Central Blue Print’s services have grown and adapted to serving the AEC market. We began to support narrow, small and wide format printing as well as full color printing. I started working for Central Blue Print in the mid 80’s and am now the CEO of our family business.
For the last 3 years I have held the Treasurer role in the RSA. I am also currently the President of Eastern Reprographics Association.
BRUCE: My Company,California Survey & Drafting Supply (CSDS), has been in business since 1986. We are California’s largest distributor of wide-format document management and output solutions, media, and inks. We are also a leading provider of surveying, GPS mapping and construction solutions. Most recently CSDS has introduced digital signage solutions and digital document archiving solutions to its product offering.
I have been The RSA Product & Services Committee Chair for the last 2 years.
CCCKC: How Have Your Own Businesses Benefited by Being Members of the RSA?
MICHAEL: Central Blue Print joined the RSA in the early 2000’s and we have had a very positive experience ever since. The RSA provides many benefits to businesses. One of the biggest, most obvious perks is “Buying Power”. The volume purchasing power of the RSA means preferred pricing and rebates on hardware, software, supplies and service for RSA Members. Central Blue Print’s RSA membership costs are quickly recouped through the volume buying power/savings we receive on purchases.
BRUCE: I agree, volume “Buying Power” is definitely one of the biggest advantages of being a part of the RSA. Additionally easier access to new vendor relationships and innovative product is another benefit. Developing long term relationships with manufacturers would be, in some cases, almost impossible without the “buying power” leverage of the RSA. The RSA also provides a network of preferred vendors for its members. Commercial Capital Company is a good example of a preferred vendor, you have been a staunch supporter of RSA providing innovative and competitive finance solutions for our members. Like Commercial Capital, all of our preferred vendors are not driven by profit alone but rather the desire to build a long term relationships with RSA members.
CCCKC: How do RSA Members Benefit Each Other?
MICHAEL: As a whole the RSA provides a network of resources for its members. Although each member represents a specific region, together members can provide customers with nationwide solutions for just about anything. If one of Central Blue Prints construction customers has a need for some hardware support on the West coast I know I can call on Bruce or another Western region RSA Member to take good care of our client.
BRUCE: RSA builds trusted relationships within its organization and that benefits everyone. Members can count on each other, helping one another to increase sales and provide exceptional customer service, nationwide. The fact that only one RSA Member can operate within a particular market segment eliminates the mistrust that is typically associated with competing businesses. Currently the RSA consists of 121 members/market regions located within 40 states.
CCCKC: What Types of New Activity Have You Seen Going On In the Industry? (Historically RSA Has Serviced AEC: Architects, Engineers and Construction)? Are There New Market Segments You See Emerging?
MICHAEL: There are constantly new and emerging markets on our radar. We are seeing growth in the allied health fields, the legal community, graphic arts, the trade show industry (both organizers and participants), real estate, non-profits, and the list goes on and on.
RSA Members, who realize the potential of expanding their business models, products and services to support emerging markets, can successfully compete and increase their overall revenue. All members should take full advantage of the RSA’s “Buying Power” and the competitive edge they can gain through educational resources, training and the RSA’s trusted nationwide support system.
BRUCE: Continuously growing and adapting to new market segments is a must for any business owner today. You can’t become complacent; eventually you will see your market share drop off and revenue decline. It is really important to continue to innovate and offer your customers new technology. For example California Survey & Drafting Supply has continuously reevaluated its product and service mix over the years. We’ve added sales, service, education and support for the newest and best technology on the market. GPS mapping, document scanning/archiving, 3D laser scanning, digital signage and mobile workstation solutions are just a few examples of the newest technology CSDS offers.
Paying attention to new technology and how it can support emerging markets has given us the edge over our competition. CSDS recently provided consulting to Sacramento Construction Company on the Trimble TX5 3D Laser Scanner. CSDS helped the construction company evaluate the scanner and determine whether or not it would be a wise investment. Ultimately the decision was made to purchase the scanner from CSDS. Having the opportunity to provide clients with cutting edge innovation, ongoing support and service feels great. Read More
CCCKC: Michael, How is the Reprographics Industry Doing Overall?
MICHAEL: In 2008 the economy tanked like never before. The AEC market was hit hard by the downturn in housing and government bail outs and more technology advancements emerged. This wreaked havoc on the reprographics industry especially businesses focused on the AEC market.
The industry is still feeling the negative effects of the economy and the aggressive pace of technology advancements but RSA Members have been better able to weather the storm. The RSA’s buying power has allowed its members to adapt to and offer new technology faster.
Currently 83% of RSA Members are benefiting from hardware sales! The reprographics industry is now supporting the consumer level segment more and more.
Although the reprographics industry has seen a decline in print volume we have offset that with equipment sales and support to the broader market place (this was driven by the manufacturers’ desire to broaden their own markets).
It is constant work trying to stay out in front, find new market share and retain valuable relationships with customers but the industry is doing it and the RSA just makes it that much easier for businesses to succeed like never before.
CCCKC: Bruce, the RSA Encourages Ongoing Education. What Educational Seminars Can Members Look Forward to at the Upcoming October Shareholders Meeting in Orlando?
BRUCE: The October 23- 26th Shareholders Meeting in Orlando will include:
- Education on Scanning, Archiving & Document Management (in conjunction with SGIA)
- Color Revenue & Opportunities
- Hardware “Fill the Construction Trailer” (hosted by Synnex)
- Avanti Print Management Software Education
We are really looking forward to a productive year!
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