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ISM Article

“Advance” Dealer Grows All-Around Services

28 Jul, 2011 By: Editorial Staff

“Advance” Dealer Grows All-Around Services

Advance – The Document Specialists is an independent dealer serving the Baltimore-metropolitan area for more than 47 years.  Since its inception in 1964, Advance has grown to become a staple in the marketplace as the top dealer for Canon, Ricoh/Savin, Konica Minolta, KIP, Panasonic, DocuWare, Kyocera, and Muratec.  Initially known for their copiers, Advance has remained ahead of the curve with technological advancements in the industry, quickly leading the pack in the advent of industry changes, such as color machines, network connectivity and more recently, document management and managed print services.

Evolution of the brand, products, and services
In 2009, Advance recognized the need for a change in the presentation of their offerings to better showcase the expansion of business lines for their customers. First to evolve was the name, from Advance Business Systems, to a more appropriate and explanatory name, Advance – The Document Specialists.

 “We affectionately say that we dropped the BS,” says Jeff Elkin, COO of Advance. With the addition of print fleet offerings, document management, and network services, customers were not always aware of all the products and services Advance had to offer, so they evolved the brand. In creating sub brands, Advance simplified the messaging for each product and service, showcasing the ability to use one, or all of the services independently or collectively. The sub brands were identified as Hardware Solutions for the well-known copier and MFP arm of the business; Document Management for electronic workflow, archival, and storage; and Managed Print Services, highlighting Advance’s ability to manage and optimize a fleet of printers and MFPs for optimum efficiency.

Keeping in tune with the needs of customers, Advance’s Document Management division, founded 10 years ago, has been quickly adopted by customers in the small to mid-sized market. Through online initiatives and in-house workshops, Advance has successfully educated their core customers and prospects on the full capabilities and benefits of document management, showcasing the cost savings and advanced training provided by the Advance training and integration team. The key to the success of the DM division is the methodologies practiced when helping customers uncover the unknown pain associated with a manual paper process. “Each approach is customized and each solution we provide is unique,” says the head of the Document Management division, John Shea. “Our team is able to dissect the customer’s problems and show the inefficiencies, which leads to the overall process improvement and increased efficiencies.”

Keeping staff up to date on the latest in MFPs and services offered is vital to Advance’s success. An in-house training manager and product expert enables Advance’s internal team to be up to date on all the latest products and software available to integrate into their customer’s businesses. An additional benefit to their customers is the advent of their new Onsite & Online program from the Network Services team.

As the first independent dealer in the country to offer this service, Advance has presented the concept, details, and success rates to other dealers across the country. It’s virtually a plug and play service for customer’s new equipment, arriving pre-configured for the least amount of MPF downtime. The service side of the business is one of the most efficient in the business. It is the foundation on which Alan and Lois Elkin built the company and rings true today through every service and product they offer.

Throughout the course of their history, Advance has been a branding powerhouse, capturing top brand recognition in Baltimore with their memorable commercials, and more recently, their online approach. “It’s a new day when it comes to reaching your target market,” states Jeff Elkin. “We have found by having an online presence, we’re reaching our customers and potential customers in a space where they’re actually going out and seeking information. Our online content is focused on how we can simplify their business processes and free up more time for them to grow their businesses, while we handle the behind the scenes details for them.”

Two years ago, Advance joined the conversations happening in the social sphere, increasing the touch points with customers and creating online conversations. The integrated approach to their core message rings as true today as it did in 1964. They mean it when they say “we live and breathe this stuff®.”

Presented an imageSource Perfect Image Award at ITEX 2011 (Outstanding Use of Website) that ultimately showcases their effective all around services, you can learn more by visiting www.advancestuff.com  and dm.advancestuff.com, or blog at www.advancestuff.com/blog, or join their social communities on Twitter (@advancestuff), Facebook (www.facebook.com/advanceTDS), LinkedIn, and YouTube (www.youtube.com/advanceTDS).

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