The IPL group was established in 1982 by current managing director Stead Denton, and shortly after its inception it formed an association with Japan's OKI Electric Corp. Late last year Denton launched OKI Products Australia, a 45-employee organisation. Under national sales manager Chris Spring, it has a growing national network of dealers, OEMs and VARs.
Denton said that although IPL has been successfully distributing OKI products for many years, the new division had refocused by cutting in some areas and expanding in others. For instance, the number of distributors has been cut from about 17 last August to seven today.
"And we have rewarded those dealers who have given us a commitment and loyalty over and above the other brands," Spring said. "We have given these people a 'strategic' classification, thereby offering a financial advantage over other dealers, and we have helped them develop a demand for products through marketing and sales activities."
OKI Products Australia markets a range of three products - faxes, phones and printers. While the first two are distributed directly, printers are handled by a number of State distributors, and one national distributor, Tech Pacific, which has had a close association with the group for 11 years.
The State distributors are:
Qld: Queensland Logical Technologies Wholesale and DatamipsVic: MPA and ZitechSA: AtrixWA: Copyfax Each of these State distributors can offer a same-day service," Spring told ARN, "and they also act as service providers for our products."
The company now sells about 15 printer products, seven faxes and eight telephones - the latter embracing both mobile and key telephone systems. Their price ranges are:
Printers: From $442 (retail ex tax) for a nine-pin dot matrix to $3,154 for a 12ppm (pages per minute) for a LED (non-impact) unit, with PostScript and Ethernet built in.
Faxes: The lowest fax-priced unit in this range is a thermal model for $445. The highest-priced one is a plain-paper fax with Broadcast available for $4,571. Both prices in this group are ex tax.
Phones: Bottom of the range - a unit for $452. The top - $1,309. Both prices are ex tax and both units are analogue.
There is only one digital phone from OKI, for $795. It is due for release later this year.
OKI Products Australia has a simple mission - to be the most professional sales organisation in the country and to improve communication between every level of distribution and the end-user.
"The company has placed increased emphasis on strengthening business relationships," Spring says. "It has embraced a relationship style of selling, and we have no intention of diverting from this philosophy."
Denton points to the existence of several advisory services, both staffed and computer-based. A technical support hotline is constantly available, with a 24-hour bulletin board and a free-fax service for interactive technical information.
From the very beginning OKI has been a leading supplier, with printers and facsimiles occupying a top-three position and the company's cellular phones also enjoying significant success. "The birth of OKI Products Australia has further enhanced the brand," Spring claims, "unifying it in the minds of customers. One brandname. One product range. No confusion, no clutter."
"I believe strongly that our biggest advantage is that we are not arrogant. We believe passionately in our products. If we do put up rules, then it is only to make life easier."
OKI Products Australia has enjoyed a 25-30 per cent growth in its first six months of operation. "We've achieved this by sticking to a policy based on three major factors," Spring said. "Good products, a strong strategy and sheer hard work."
Denton also believes that based on the success already achieved, the company will become number two in its markets within the next three to five years. "We've got to be doing something right," he said.
OKI Products Australia
Tel: (02) 698 8211ÊFax: (02) 319 2968