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Looking for a few good VARs

Looking for a few good VARs

Interested in selling Kyocera printers? Happen to play in the corporate and government marketplaces? Experienced in network connectivity issues? Perhaps sold printers from HP and Lexmark in the past?

Then David Finn is looking for you. Kyocera's new managing director is keen to build his company's dealer channel from around 15 dealers to over 30.

And the good news is, he says he's doing it to meet today's demand, not demand that is yet to be generated.

"They're all doing very well," says Finn of his current crop of VARs, "but they're at maximum capacity. So to increase the sales, I need to find other players that can lift the overall penetration and service the business. Because wherever we go we get the business, but now we're running out of dealers to support the business we're generating."

Finn believes Kyocera is winning that business for two reasons. The first is: "We have a superior product, features versus dollars we knock off HP and Lexmark all the time." The second is total cost of ownership. "Wherever we hit that argument we always get the business, because there's no competition in that area."

Indeed, Finn takes great delight in quoting figures from IRB (International Research Bureau) of significant savings over three years through using Kyocera printers as opposed to those from Hewlett-Packard. For example, the running cost of an HP LaserJet 4V at 5000 pages per month rises from a purchase price of $3985 to a total cost of $11,411, as opposed to a Kyocera FS-3700, which starts at $3803 and rises to only $5803 over the same period. Similarly, Finn points to the cost of running an HP LaserJet 5 at 10,000 pages per month as rising from a purchase cost of $2328 to a total cost of $13,517, compared to a similar Kyocera FS-1700, which rises from a purchase price of $2938 to only $7877.

But apart from firmly believing in the sale- ability of his product, Finn feels dealers will also be swayed to Kyocera by a more basic principal - money.

"We know the average dealer is still only making between five and 10 points margin on HP, or even less on Lexmark," says Finn. "Whilst we can't guarantee to give them more margin, the way our pricing structure is set up, even if they match an HP or a Lexmark product, they'll retain more real dollars in their pocket. So we're offering them more profitability for selling a comparable product to a comparable market, and they'll retain margin."

Hip pocket argument

And because Kyocera intends to restrict the number of resellers dealing in its product, Finn doesn't believe there will be a slew of resellers looking to undercut each other.

For those resellers he does have, Finn is looking for long-term relationships. This isn't surprising, coming from a company that's corporate motto is to "respect the divine and love people". "We want that philosophy all the way through. Dealers are people, they want to harmonise," said Finn.

To make this become a reality Finn realises he needs to understand what the dealer channel wants, especially as they are the ones working with the end users. "The dealer has all these problems on a day-to-day basis, so how can I come into that and say I have a great program for you? And because each dealership is very unique in its own business, we have to be flexible to be able to meet each at their level, because what's good for one dealer is not necessarily going to work at all for another dealer."

Kyocera will soon make a number of announcements regarding its expanded channels and marketing staff. Until then Finn is keeping quiet on changes to the partner model. "Without the right people in place it's pretty futile trying to put the programs in place, otherwise it falls flat."

What he will say is this: "We're going to give them better support, better marketing tools, better selling tools. So we're going to improve what we do to make their life easier.

"I don't want a huge dealer base, because firstly we can't manage it from a logistics point of view, secondly we can't give it good service, and we can't have the relationships. And that's what I'm going for."

What Finn isn't going for is the budget printing solution. "We're the value add-solution, and sometimes price isn't the answer. If you're in a corporate environment, just dropping the price to get the business can sometimes roll you out of the business, because it's not necessarily what they're looking for.

"It's support, it's backup, it's functionality, it's knowing someone's going to be there in three years or five years time from now. So price in the corporate environment is not the deciding criteria.

"In the SOHO market, price is everything, and we're not in that market."

However, Kyocera will release a product for the entry level business market later this year. Recognising that this is probably not the standard product for his VARs, Finn is currently recruiting a raft of local distributors to help supply the marketplace. First cab off the rank is IT&PC in Queensland.

"There's lots of little deals there, and that's going to be catered for through distribution. Once you're getting over 10ppm, our next break then is 18ppm, and that's a different market altogether."

Kyocera

Tel (02) 9906 8075

Fax (02) 9906 8153


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