Honing your skills in a dynamic, changing printer and peripherals market
By Allan Knoetze, chief print officer at Drive Control Corporation (DCC)
The worldwide hardcopy peripherals market continues to expand. According to a new report from research giant IDC, the marketplace has grown for a fourth quarter in a row (in the second quarter of 2021), indicating 13.4% year-on-year growth and reaching nearly 22.9 million units.
Notably, the inkjet vendors recorded high shipments to cater to ongoing demand and to fill order backlogs, while the laser market also saw year-over-year growth.
The above statistic undoubtedly solidifies the pandemic’s continued impact on how we work and its role on key productivity marketplaces such as printer and peripherals. Importantly, the growth of both inkjets and laser devices show there is continued demand for printers and peripherals in both the WFH and office environments.
In the coming weeks, we will look into and highlight some key contributing verticals that have adopted a particular approach. The who, the why and the desired outcome as seen by SME and enterprise end-users.
Where does this leave the channel? For one, gone are the days where a distributor is sent an order from a retail or channel partner for a plethora of printers as determined by the end-user.
Now, more than ever, distributors must employ experienced human capital to assist its channel partner with the customer-facing engagements. This should include developing device deployment strategies that align with the medium-term operational objectives of a business.
It is no longer practical to only consider the business type to arrive at a value proposition. Today, we must intrinsically unpack what the requirements are to find a cost-effective and functional print policy that talks to the requirements down to an end-user level.
For example, at DCC, we have seen a massive uptake in desktop multifunctional printers, all with the capability to print, copy, fax and scan; however, data suggests that only 25% of the functionality is being utilised, thus overcapitalising on the assets.
Conversely, OEMs are constantly building and improving on mobile applications that assist with functions such as document duplication (copy) and digitisation (scanning). Both functions do not require a traditional device with a document feeder. This means a SFP device will suffice. It requires less maintenance, is smaller, uses less energy and is, by default, more productive.
The channel needs to work together with IT leaders to make decisions based on this ever-evolving landscape. They can do this by simply highlighting technology advancements and market trends to ensure consistent information share, thus aiding in the decision-making process.
Those channel partners who actively participate in this behavioural change will undoubtedly see a continued uptake in unit sales and, more importantly, market share. DCC, for example, has invested in contract print specialists that understand this landscape, and together with the channel, consult end-users to find fit-for-purpose solutions.
This consultative approach (that DCC has adopted) will stand the company in good stead and undoubtedly realise a competitive advantage. Distributors with end-user centric, solutions-orientated practice will outperform those that simply continue to move boxes.