Kyocera is set to turn the printing and copying industries on their heads, remodelling its channel strategy to bridge the traditional divide between the two sectors.
With the launch of its two entry-level copier/printer devices - the KM-1510 and KM-1810 - the company has done away with the service contracts typically associated with the purchase of a copier and opted for a 12-month warranty.
For the first time Kyocera will offer a recommended retail price on its copier range, a move previously unheard of in the market. The move is part of a strategy to bring the printing and copying dealers under the one banner - as reflected in Kyocera's acquisition of Mita Industrial last year.
"We are breaking a lot of taboos and boundaries here," said Kyocera Mita Australia managing director David Finn. "We have produced an RRP so dealers know where the playing field is at.
The idea is to begin bridging the divide that has historically defined the margins of printing versus photocopying. But as technologies converge, the lines between the two sectors are becoming increasingly unclear. This month, the vendor remodelled its entire channel to erase those lines.
"In the past there has been a gulf that wide between the two that you would need a battleship to cross it," Finn said. "We have tried to create a synergistic effect to totally integrate the channel into a seamless group."
Kyocera will also sell an extended warranty for onsite service on the new products.
"We are now one company that sells document management solutions. All our printer dealers now have access to the copier side of the business and vice versa. It gives dealers enormous depth because they can now access a product range that varies from $199 machines through to multifunctional devices, and in between is the bulk market."
Nevertheless, the road has not been smooth.
"It's been a huge learning curve," Finn admits. "But the interface for the company is now very solid. Everyone is now singing off the same song sheet."
The key is not to confuse the term service, he said.
"The people who provide services are the people who own the network," he said, explaining that management services were very different to mechanical services.
"That service industry is no different to a fridge. We all think service is this big bubble, but it is not. Many big customers won't let third parties into their systems."