A new partnership has been formed to launch a value-added ecosystem for smaller print solutions channel partners. The end result will see Tarsus Distribution and Technology Corporate Management (TCM) provide the skills and resources to help the channel significantly increase sales volumes by getting their printing products and services to market faster.
“The work-from-home needs of employees due to COVID-19 has driven big changes in how a print ecosystem and MFPs are sold and serviced,” says Bernice Hynard, GM, Print Solutions at Tarsus Distribution. “With more than 30% of employees now working from home, technicians are required to provide services across the country. As a large IT company with a nationwide presence in cities and peri-urban areas, TCM has a footprint that enables deployment of specialised skills nationwide and provides solutions and uptime services to clients 24/7. Its technical services offering complements our vendor distribution relationships and logistics services, and means that we can offer SMEs the opportunity to leverage our combined networks to grow and empower themselves. This is critical at a time when economies everywhere have been pummelled by the pandemic.”
Frank Cornelli, Head of MPS at TCM, agrees. “We are ready to help resellers to morph from a transactional role to a contractual one where their customers sign up for services, giving them peace of mind when it comes to their printing needs, as well as the best the industry has to offer as a total solution, at the best pricing. It means that SMEs can play nationally as well as regionally. We can send out one of our engineers to an end-user’s address, within an hour of a service call, almost anywhere in South Africa.”
The partners describe the scenario as a win-win for all involved: the customer gets best-of-breed solutions and services, the resellers get moved up the value chain and gain access to revenue generation mechanisms they would never have had access to before and Tarsus Distribution and TCM benefit from increased exposure in the marketplace.
Although resellers may not have been enthusiastic to take up such opportunities pre-COVID-19, circumstances have changed, and many are keen to team up with impartial distributors and technical service providers who represent a number of different vendors. SMEs in the channel are looking to the future and seeing the value of being part of a bigger, widespread print ecosystem that covers every part of the country.
Print ecosystem: The rise of device as a service (DaaS)
The work-from-home movement is proving to be a big boost for DaaS adoption in the future and is less about the device and more about the services associated with the device. With DaaS, customers pay less upfront but could spend more over time for the overall package of devices and integrated services and support. Hardware resellers that aren't filling these demands in the future will find business more challenging.
“There’s an opportunity to do this proactively,” Cornelli explains. “Our larger customers – like banks – use the devices until they are done with them; TCM gets them back, refurbishes them and then provides them to new users maximising our return on investment, while also giving smaller customers the benefits of reduced costs.
“We keep control of the devices and add on services and capabilities each time. Hardware margins are thin, but with DaaS you ‘sell’ the hardware over and over, enabling customers to take printer costs off the balance sheet and turn these into an operational expense. It’s an exciting trend and one that is allowing us to pass on cost savings down the line.”
Hynard points out that resellers will continue to contract with Tarsus Distribution, while TCM will provide support in the background. “Our channel will share in revenue over and above the margin on the hardware; they will also make a margin on the supplies and consumables. These types of partnerships can create value for all involved for many years to come and bring much more volume into the market, which benefits us all.”