Oki sees benefit in personal approach

Oki sees benefit in personal approach

A renewed focus on its IT channel strategy is paying off for Oki Printing Solutions this year, with local sales of its colour printers doubling. General manager, Graham Harman, said the vendor had been doing consistent business through traditional copier/printer dealers for years, but felt it needed a more personal approach to the IT channel. He recently completed a tour of regional resellers promoting the business.

"Oki has always had a dealer channel, but the appeal of selling a $20,000 laser printer 20 years ago is different to selling a $500 laser printer today," he said. "In October last year we made a conscious decision to broaden our distribution in the sub-$3000 price point by concentrating on IT resellers rather than the copier dealers we've always been doing business with."

The results of this shift were immediately apparent, Harman said. A sales spike in January and February came in part from the IT channel focus. Resellers such as Office National and integrators such as Fujitsu were helping to fuel the rapid growth, he said.

"We wanted to get in there, press the flesh and train IT resellers on a one-to-one basis," Harman said. "Maybe it's a bit old-fashioned, but I don't think that sort of thing happens as much as it used to. Now it seems that new product comes out and vendors just send along the price list."

He claimed several vendors in the low-margin hardware market had also turned their back on the channel, giving Oki an easier entry point.

Harman said there was a lot more education to be done, particularly with regard to raising its profile and making resellers aware of its depth of range. "We need to stay front of mind with them - whether that's through training, providing access to our showroom or offering demo stock - so we don't slip off the radar," he said.

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