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Richer Value with Personalized Service: OKI Offers Dealers Greater Success in 2OO8

26 Feb, 2008 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Richer Value with Personalized Service: OKI Offers Dealers Greater Success in 2OO8

OKI Data Americas, one of the leading printer manufacturers in the United
States, has developed a credible and well-respected relationship with BTA
Dealers for more than 17 years. The company continues to design innovative
digital color and monochrome printers, color and monochrome multifunction
products and serial impact dot matrix (SIDM) printers. As business printing and
MFP solutions specialists, OKI Data Americas provides world-class printing
technology and real-world solutions designed to help manage workflow, reduce
cost and optimize business performance. Its growth achieved to date has made OKI
Data an astounding success story.

Interested in what to expect from OKI Data Americas for 2008, imageSource
interviewed Mike Garofola, Senior Marketing Manager, Color Products, to get a
birdseye view of the company at the close of 2007, as well as its business
forecast for 2008:

imageSource: What are OKI Data Americas’ strengths in the office
equipment space today and how would you characterize your differentiation versus
other vendors in the office equipment industry?

Mike Garofola: With such extensive experience in the BTA Dealer
Channel, OKI Data Americas knows what makes our partners successful, so we pride
ourselves on designing innovative printing and MFP solutions to meet their needs
and the needs of their customers. Our exclusive line of color MFP products for
the BTA Channel is the direct result of our understanding of industry trends and
partner needs.

As most are aware, OKI Data Americas has a select, nationwide dealer network
that limits direct head-to-head competition among our partners. More
importantly, we do not have branch locations and do not sell direct to the end
user, as some other vendors in the industry do. Our industry-leading,
unsurpassed warranty protects our dealers during the life of the product.

Within the office equipment industry, OKI Data Americas has established a
leadership position with a reputation for products that are notably
feature-rich, productive and reliable – all priced to support and maximize the
dealer’s profit margins. This reputation has enabled us to form long-standing
dealer partnerships.

IS: What is the leading factor that has allowed OKI Data Americas to
be successful and maintain a wide-base of dealers?

MG: Our overall success stems from OKI Data Americas’ ability to
provide business MFP and printing solutions that can be tailored to each
customer’s need. We do this by owning our color technology and keeping it
in-house. Unlike most other manufacturers, we have dedicated support and
engineering teams in the U.S. and Japan that work on each individual customer
account to develop a solution that addresses their individual needs.

IS: Which products have been significant to OKI Data Americas’
business this year and what is the company planning for the future?

MG: In 2007, OKI Data Americas revamped its entire A4 color and
monochrome MFP portfolio. We are now one of only two vendors that offer a full
technology line. We have focused on the SMB segment, launching several new color
MFPs, including the C3530n MFP, C5550n MFP, and CX2032 MFP - all offering space
savings and device consolidation opportunities so businesses can enhance
productivity and  streamline workflow.

Our color products have a great reputation for outstanding output,
productivity and value, underscored by our strong customer support. They have
received recognition from top industry publications this year, including PC
Magazine, whose readers selected OKI Data Americas as the leading color printer
manufacturer in the market, and VARBusiness who recognized OKI Data Americas as
a 2007 Tech Innovator Company of the Year for its C8800 Series wide-format color
printers in the Printing & Imaging category. The recently-launched C8800 Series
of A3 Medium Workgroup Color Printers was a breakthrough product for us, as well
as the printing industry. It brought A3 color printing to the desktop and
dramatically reduces the cost, complexity and space requirements for wide-format
printing with a machine that has a footprint up to 38% smaller than other
products in its class.

Looking ahead, we will expand and improve our color MFP product line in
concert with our growing BTA network in order to maximize our dealers’ profit
margins, and deliver products to end users that offer unparalleled output
quality, features and versatility.

Specifically, we will officially launch the CX3641 MFP at ITEX 2008 in Las
Vegas in February ’08, bringing a new level of innovation to the industry. We
listened to our partners’ and customers’ needs and have designed a device that
will compete in the business color space, but also boast incredible color output
quality. Featuring embedded EFI SendMe feature and a new Fiery System 8e
controller, the new CX3641 MFP will allow users to easily advance their
electronic document management processes while improving the look and quality of
their documents.

IS: What kind of feedback/trends do you hear from customers that you
feel dealers need to pay attention to? Specifically, where do they see the
market’s largest opportunities?

MG: The biggest trend we see with dealers is the move towards document
management solutions. Customers are looking for a way to change their
paper-based systems to digital-based processes, improving office efficiency,
productivity and workflow. The MFP is becoming the logical front-end of the
digital workflow process, providing a unique opportunity for dealers for
incremental service revenue. It will be critical for dealers to work with their
vendor partners to provide consultative services to their customers and help
them streamline workflow.

Device consolidation and tech migration have also become a hot button. MFPs
continue to be an area of enormous opportunity, as businesses look to save
space, costs and increase efficiencies. Many businesses are moving to printer
vs. copier-based devices, as they typically deliver better quality and are more
reliable than most copier-based devices. These trends will continue to support
business workflow improvement and serve as a way to share information easily and
improve productivity.

We see the continued growth of color usage in the office as more customers
discover the benefits of color and learn how to control color costs through
software tools. Once they use color, they find new applications for it in-house,
especially as average selling prices and running costs of color devices continue
to decline. With this, customers have become much more color centric and
critical of color output. We expect to see businesses care more about color
output quality and increased performance in the future.

IS: What is OKI Data Americas’ advice for dealers to succeed in
today’s market? Where are the growth opportunities in 2008?

MG: OKI Data Americas sees several growth opportunities for dealers in
2008 – many in the MFP market. Dealers should focus on the technology migration
and device consolidation trends, from mono MFPs to color MFPs, as well as
changing from stand-alone fax to multifunction devices. By capitalizing on the
following areas and industry trends, dealers can form the foundation of a
professional services portfolio that will drive new business opportunities and
greater profitability:

-- Managed services

-- Device consolidation

-- On-demand printing

-- Dot matrix migration to LED/laser

-- Custom print and imaging solutions

IS: Discuss your vertical market strategy and the opportunities it

MG: OKI Data Americas has dedicated resources and unique solutions for
several key vertical markets. There are tons of opportunities, especially in the
markets such as retail, manufacturing, transportation, and logistics and Public
Sector (Government and Education), where output devices can be customized to
improve business processes. We have the expertise and understanding of what is
required within these targeted markets and of the applications needed. For
example, by making changes to the firmware/drivers of a color printer to expand
media flexibility, customers can now have a signage solution that saves money,
time and resources by bringing signage printing capabilities in-house and
eliminating their need for outsourcing this work.

IS: What are OKI Data Americas’ plans for the upcoming ITEX 2008

MG: At ITEX 2008, OKI Data Americas’ spotlight will focus intimately
on our customers’ businesses and we will show them how our products and services
can benefit not only their productivity and performance, but also dealers’
profitability. Again, ITEX 2008 will mark the launch of OKI Data Americas’ new
CX3641 MFP, a device that intends to set a new standard in the business color
MFP segment by bringing advanced document management and workflow innovation to
our customers.

As we have a strong, on-going commitment to dealers, OKI Data Americas also
has a commitment to the community and will bring its philanthropic program to
ITEX for the first time. OKI Data Americas launched its Color Me OKI breast
cancer program in 2007 after its employees elected to support the breast cancer
cause. The program utilizes the “Twin Sister” 1955 Pink Cadillac matching the
one Elvis gave to his mother to help raise money for the breast cancer cause at
almost 20 breast cancer events last year.

IS: What can dealers expect to see from OKI Data Americas in 2008?

MG: In 2008, we plan to launch several new A3 color MFP products,
broadening our portfolio and providing our customers with top solutions. For OKI
Data Americas, it is all about strengthening customer relationships and building
customer loyalty. The value we bring with a new product launch is through
partnership. We look through the service lens when working with our customers -
and because we are dedicated we are able to anticipate their future solution
needs and customize each solution to meet those needs. These new solutions will
capitalize on the industry trends and offer dealers more ways to be profitable.
Of course we will also continue to expand our marketplaces and will have a focus
on recruiting new BTA partners to serve these new areas.

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