In the span of three weeks there have been three separate meetings involving dealers throughout the U.S. regarding office equipment and insight into the industry. The first meeting was the Canon National Dealer Conference held in Las Vegas. The focus of this meeting was to engage the top 200 independent dealerships in Canon’s results for 2012 and the forecast for 2013.
The takeaway from this meeting reinforces the thinking that the actual hardware or box is still part of the solution but surrounding the copier, hardware, and service are the solutions and expanded services. The dealer of the future will not just provide the equipment but must be able to assist the customer with solutions and services that are value-added to the offering.
These value-added areas include Digital Production, Business Process Outsourcing, IT Management Services, Healthcare Solutions, Input and Output, Security Solutions, and Photo Printing. The message was very clear in that a dealer who is either not in these valued-added areas or does not plan to implement these areas will not be able to provide a total solution to the end user.
The approach to the customer becomes more consultative as the dealer must analyze and understand the customer’s workflow. It is only through this understanding of how and where documents are created and then following how they move through the organization can best practices be incorporated into the technology and related equipment recommendations. The companies that do not encourage this from the dealer will find that the acquired products will eventually not meet their needs nor will they be in a position to expand as the company grows.
This is a word of caution to not only the customer but also the dealer in that there must be mutual understanding of the desirable outcomes in a business world which is constantly changing at a more rapid pace. This requires tremendous foresight and flexibility so brace yourself for the associated CHANGE!