By Andy Slawetsky – As part of my work for Canon, I spent some time in the NYC area and stopped by to visit with one of their dealers, LDI, a major imaging dealer with locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California. LDI opened their doors in 1999 and now has over 250 employees. They offer a full line of office equipment, color graphics products, wide format printers and high-end production equipment from brands like Canon and others. After a tour of their beautiful office located in the heart of Times Square, I sat down with LDI CEO Jerry Blaine and his team to find out What’s Happenin’ with LDI.
Jerry has a long history in this industry, working for Frank Cannata in the early 1970s (the most profound influence on his career, according to Jerry). Before LDI, Jerry worked for a dealer, Leslie Supply, which was bought by Danka. Frank moved on to Canon in 1975, which was just starting to build their US dealer network, and convinced Jerry and Leslie Supply to pick up the Canon line. Years later, when Jerry had the opportunity to start his own company, it was pretty clear what direction the company was going to take for a strategic manufacturer partnership. “Canon was our first choice,” said Jerry. Since then, LDI has grown and now offers a variety of brands, but Canon is still their main line.
LDI began LDI Connect a few years ago, moving into managed services. They also have a strong AV program called Pro AV, a successful managed print services operation. They also have taken on 3D printing and are doing well with it. Color management was another reason they chose Canon at that time and it’s still a big part of their business, catering to the most sophisticated graphics designers in NYC and beyond.
In 2014, LDI worked with the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut and opened KÔTA, a Mohegan LDI Enterprise. President Tod Pike has been running KÔTA for just over two years and they’ve been incredibly successful. And, they recently opened a second location. With Mohegan ownership, the company qualifies as a bona fide Minority Business Enterprise, something that has opened a lot of opportunities for KÔTA.
Outside of print, LDI is very focused on the community and has many causes and charities they support. One of the organizations that LDI has supported for a number of years is The Corporate Source, a group that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Corporate Source bids on contracts in the government and private sectors – providing janitorial, mail room operations and maintenance at facilities like the Federal Courthouse in Islip, NY and the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.
Some of the nucleus of LDI’s Sales, Service and Administration have been working together for more than 25 years and have already had family members and friends join the organization. Employees are treated well, like family, and they stick around.
Having tenured staff enables the dealership to empower people to really take care of the customer. There’s not a lot of back and forth with managers. Assigned Service Techs have direct communications with customers and can make time-saving decisions in the field.
Customer service is an ongoing process at LDI. Customers are routinely surveyed to make sure they’re happy. LDI measures customer satisfaction at the time of installation, key
performance indicators, employee performance and more. LDI is all about the customer, using data and communication to find opportunities to improve and evolve.
We chatted about Canon and what makes them such a strong partner for LDI. Let’s face it, LDI has many brands they offer, but Canon is their number one. Brand recognition is a strong selling point and Jerry talked about how the name opens doors. He also mentioned their dealer support. “Pound for pound, Canon provides amazing dealer support,” he told me. LDI’s growth over 18 years in possibly the most competitive market in the country has been impressive. Their vision to successfully expand into other areas like 3D printing, minority owned enterprises, and managed services has made and kept them a leading dealer. LDI and Canon are one of the great partnerships in this business.
It was an eye-opening visit with LDI. They have a great operation and arguably the best view from their offices that I’ve ever seen. At the time I was preparing this article, a week after my visit, LDI was hosting a Tech 360 Expo with event info and partner logos appearing on the Reuters and NASDAQ signs in Times Square. Very cool! It was a nice afternoon with LDI; I appreciate the opportunity Canon provided me to sit down with such great people!