FP Mailing Solutions Holds National Dealer Summit 2023

FP Mailing Solutions held its annual National Dealer Summit at the JW Marriott Hotel in Chicago, February 5-7. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the parent company, Francotyp-Postalia (FP), the event was attended by almost 100 attendees from 70 dealerships across the United States. About 75% of attendees were from copier dealers, including some of the largest dealers in the country such as Pacific Office Automation, Loffler, All Copy, and more.

FP is one of the top three mailing machine and mailroom solutions companies worldwide, and FP’s North American subsidiary, FP Mailing Solutions, is the fastest-growing mailing solutions provider in the U.S. Providing a wide variety of mailing equipment including postage meters and scales, folder inserters, desktop inserters, printers, pressure sealers, letter openers, and other mailroom accessories, FP Mailing Solutions offers dealers the ability to deliver high-quality mailroom solutions that streamline and optimize mailing workflows of their customers.

Mike Hannon and crew party like it’s 1923.

To kick off the event, a welcome reception with the theme “Party Like It’s 1923” (referring to the year that FP began business) was held in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. Guests were encouraged to dress in the “costumes” of the 1920s. Flappers, gangsters, newsboys, and zoot suits filled the room. Gambling chips were provided by FP, and after drinks and a buffet dinner, guests could partake in some speakeasy gambling at the poker, roulette, and craps tables (along with continuing with the liquid refreshments still available). Winnings could be turned in for coupons to be used to bid on some nice gift packages the company provided.

The following morning, Michael Hannon, managing director, North America and emcee of the event, once again welcomed attendees and started the day by introducing Ralf Spielberger, CFO from FP’s German headquarters, who presented a brief history of the past 100 years of FP and the recent successes and performance of FP as a whole. Hannon, who is responsible for all aspects of FP’s North American regional operations, then took the stage for a keynote that reviewed North America’s performance and his view of the goals to meet to be successful today and in the future. Hannon was followed by Paul Buckley, director of dealer sales, who reviewed what is available to dealers to meet their growth goals as well as FP’s, and how his organization is positioned to support dealers in achieving them.

Attendees could talk to, and receive demonstrations from, sponsors of the Summit in an area just outside the main ballroom. Sponsors included GreatAmerica Financial Services, PowerMPS, AgentDealer (a CRM solution for office equipment dealers), Kingston Training Group, and Prosperity Plus. In this area, dealers could also see FP Mailing equipment like the newly introduced SP1360 Laser Printer (label and envelope printer) and digital solutions like FlexStream Software.

Demo sessions in process.

Breakouts were available for dealers to attend that provided in-depth coverage of specific topics from FP Mailing Solutions and sponsors. Kate Kingston of Kingston Training Group and Jim Kahrs of Prosperity Plus provided keynotes: Kingston covered how mailing is as “recession-proof” as possible and how to use it to prospect for new business (and how her business could help dealers in overall sales training). The presentation from Kahrs focused on understanding the value of a dealership,  whether a dealer is looking to acquire or is looking at exiting and selling their business. Kahrs provided a review of the checklist his business uses when consulting with dealer clients.

Kate Kingston shares her secrets.

After a “Retro Night” of dinner and pinball, video, and “retro” electronic entertainment, the Summit closed on Tuesday with the company reviewing some of their recently introduced products and announcing new programs. The highlight was the debut of the new FPi 6100/7100/8100 series folder inserters. This new series provides high-speed folding and inserting from multiple feed trays and sheet sizes up to 10.5” X 13”. Integrated with FlexStream software, the series can automate folding and inserting processes and give customers complete control over their mailing processes.

A small company (only about 120 employees in the U.S.), FP Mailing Solutions provided an intimate and productive Summit for those that attended. In his keynote, and in speaking with Hannon, it was clear the immediate low-hanging fruit for the company and dealers was the population of IBI (Information-Based Indicia) postage meters that will become obsolete at the end of 2024 when the US Postal Service requires all postage equipment to be IMI (Intelligent Mail Indicia) certified. However, Hannon pointed out the importance of the dealer network in selling complete mailroom solutions that include meters, printers/copiers, folders, inserters, and automated mailing software that “can bring average sale prices up from the $7,000-8,000 mail machine to a mail room system of $80,000 or more.” He cited that the company “had its highest equipment sales year in 2022, all through the dealer channel with average sales per customer up about 28%.”

Many imaging channel dealers have added mailroom equipment and solution sales to their portfolio. For those that haven’t, this area could add steady new sales and recurring revenue streams (consumables and supplies) into their business. FP Mailing’s top verticals are legal, healthcare, accounting, finance, medical, government, and schools, all paper-heavy/paper-dependent environments and the same verticals that have made many imaging channel dealers highly successful in selling print, copy, and document management solutions. In tandem, as these types of customers are still very mail heavy and mail dependent, the need for postage meters and mailroom solutions is still strong. Hannon pointed out that for a copier dealer interested in adding mailing solutions, “The opportunity in their own customer base is endless.”