Re: To many SB's

From: Marshall Burns (
Date: Fri May 29 1998 - 04:55:25 EEST

#bacx2 (Bruce Christie) wrote:

> The Kinko's example actually demonstrates my point pretty well. Kinko's
> (and other chains like Mailboxes etc.) are displacing the mom-and-pop
> shops. So even though there are many storefronts, there are few actual
> corporations.

    Well, let's take a look at some numbers. "Service Industries USA," 3rd
edition, lists data for SIC code 7334: Photocopying and duplicating services,
for 1992. (Let's call them "copy shops.") Kinko's of course is at the top of
the list with $130 million in sales. The top 50 copy shop companies in the
country range in sales from $130 million down to $2 million and account for a
total of $676 million in sales. The data do not include the total number of
copy shop companies, but it does give the number of establishments: 4,949.
(An establishment is a single operating location. A chain is a company of
many establishments.) Furthermore, the total sales for all copy shops is $3.5
billion, indicating that the top 50 companies account for only 20% of the
total copy shop business in the country. Put another way, 80% of the copy
shop business is done by companies with less than $2 million in sales. Since
the average sales per establishment is $700,000, none of these companies is
likely to have more than three locations and the vast majority of them are
probably single-shop, i.e., mom-and-pop companies.

    Conclusion: Kinko's and similar chains command a very small portion of
the total copy shop market. The market is owned by thousands of very small

> The granularity of the overall business will differ from the copy centers
> (fewer, larger firms) as long as there is a higher requirement for
> capital and skilled personnel to run the machines. Your typical minimum
> wage employee could never run an SLA, but can be quite competent with a
> copier. In addition, customers for RP services are different, and are

    The 3-D Kinko's of the future we are talking about will not operate SLAs.
They will use clean, office-friendly, and easy-to-use fabricators. These
machine will take no more effort or training to run than a photocopier. Even
large, high-capacity fabbers will be clean and easy-to-use, just like the
large format plotters run by Kinko's subsidiary, Absolute Graphics.

> more likely to be comfortable with the "You email me a file - I'll FedEx
> you a part" style of the fabricator shops. This lends itself to
> centralization to save cost on facilities.

    Nope. FedEx is great when cost requires the centralization you refer to,
as it does today. But tomorrow's fab shop customers will much prefer to go
down the street and sit and wait for the model to be done, which will take an
hour or less, instead of waiting overnight for FedEx.

> The main point I was trying to get across is that there is nothing
> romantically different about the RP service business. The same market
> forces that cause contractions and consolidations in other industries
> will occur here. Those who insist that their industry is special, and
> immune from these effects, will be dissapointed.

    I agree fully with that.

Marshall Burns

***************************************************************** ***** ENNEX(TM) CORPORATION ***** Fabbing the Future(TM) ***************************************************************** ***** 10911 Weyburn Avenue, Suite 332, Los Angeles, U.S.A. 90024 ***** Phone: +1 (310) 824-8700. Fax: +1 (310) 824-5185 ***** E-mail: Web site: *****************************************************************

For more information about the rp-ml, see

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jun 05 2001 - 22:45:45 EEST