this article originally appeared in the Print IT Reseller Spring 2019 edition.
Within its printing and scan divisions, Midwich provides an extensive range of additional services over and above the supply of equipment, designed to support its customers to win in the public sector. In 2018, the technology distributor worked in conjunction with its reseller partners to place in excess of 5,000 printers into public sector end-user environments. This success is mirrored with the scan division; around one-quarter of deals completed are within the public sector.
Mark Wysocki, Product Manager, Print, said that Midwich’s print division is structured to provide the highest level of support to resellers looking to navigate the red tape and compete on a level playing field in order to win deals in this price-sensitive and competitive market.
“The team includes two external account managers who work within both the print and scan divisions, supported by a team of internal account managers, each of whom look after a number of customer accounts,” he said. “The services on offer are comprehensive – from identifying opportunities and working with partners to drive the solutions through distribution to providing training, helping resellers work on tenders, as well as ensuring easy access to vendors’ public sector pricing,” he added.
Many vendors offer special public sector pricing, but often resellers aren’t aware of which manufacturers do this and what the deals are. “Education is a key part of our print team’s focus,” said Wysocki. “Some resellers are tied into public sector framework agreements and source their products via Midwich as they know they can get the special pricing from us. However in other cases we will make our customers aware of which vendors are offering special pricing and provide them with a secure pricing list so they can prepare the bid,” he continued, adding: “But there are also instances where sign off is required from the manufacturer on a case-by-case basis and that’s where we can step in to help make this process as seamless as possible.”
The specialist print team’s focus is heavily weighted on scoping opportunities. Wysocki said: “Each tender has different requirements, so we work closely with partners ensuring we put forward the right brand, and ensuring that all of the boxes are ticked – whether that’s price, TCO, functionality or energy efficiency, for example.” The team also helps its customers wrap solutions around the hardware offer to address end-users’ requirements for print management software or secure print release.
Midwich has relationships with many leading OEMs including Kyocera, Ricoh, Lexmark, OKI, Canon and Brother. When supporting resellers, the distie also works closely with the vendors’ in-house channel teams. “Our end goal is to ensure our customers are successful and so we engage with the OEMs early on in the process, make them aware of opportunities and secure their support too,” Wysocki explained. There are also occasions when Midwich works with the OEMs’ end-user teams. Some of the more complex deals may require integration with software solutions, or bespoke tweaks, or there might be a specific technical issue the end-user is looking to resolve, that’s when we enlist the OEMs’ support,” he explained. “Often our OEM partners are looking to increase their partner portfolio and we are in a strong position to make introductions and assist our customers in becoming authorised resellers and building their business,” Wysocki added.
Midwich extends beyond the traditional distribution model of ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’. It also offers flexible credit terms, helping its customers achieve the very best credit terms – a huge value-add in the current economic climate. And, according to Wysocki, Midwich has opened up a section of its warehouse to customers, holding stock on their behalf and shipping out as and when required. “That’s a service we can look at on a case-by-case basis,” he said. He continued: “We also offer PDI, delivery and installation services, which opens up more public sector opportunities to resellers who don’t have the in-house technical capability to do this.”
With digital transformation highly relevant within public sector agencies and departments, it comes as no surprise that the scanning sector is buoyant. Matt Smith, Product Manager, Scan, said: “The scan sector currently sits at around £20 million at distribution sale price; £5 million would be a conservative estimate of public sector distribution business on scanners.” Smith argues that the hardware is just the tip of the iceberg. “The scan division is set up to provide the channel with a really broad offer,” he said. Midwich is a distributor of all leading brands including Brother, Canon, Epson, Alaris, Fujitsu, Panasonic and Visioneer. It also offers software solutions such as Kofax and Alaris Capture Pro, and alongside that can facilitate service plans, providing a true one-stop shop for its resellers. “Another string to our bow is a number of complementary smaller brands such as Silex who provide network converter boxes for document scanners, as well as a tie-up with Wicks and Wilson for large format scanning and industrial applications,” Smith said.
As with the print division, document scanning is an area of specialisation for Midwich. External sales specialists complement the in-house account management team, providing a range of additional services such as co-attending end-user sites to assist in specifying a solution, providing training and liaising between the manufacturer and reseller to define and refine bids and tenders. “Winning in the public sector can often be a time consuming and at times frustrating process,” Smith said, adding: It’s important for our resellers to know they can count on us to provide them with specialist support. Smith cited the usual practice of public sector tenders requiring three quotes. “There have been times when our customers have spent lots of time specifying and designing a solution, trialling at an end-user's site, even providing training, and then at the eleventh hour, the potential customer goes to tender and it’s clear that the end decision will be made on price. We don’t want our customers to lose out and we will do everything we can to support them, ensuring they secure public sector pricing, and get the solutions and technical support they need to win,” he said.
As with the print OEMs, the distie has also forged strong relationships with its scanner manufacturer partners. Close collaboration with its vendor partners, according to Smith, delivers added value to its resellers every day. One great example is an opportunity one of its resellers recently had to provide a document scanning solution to a public sector agency.
“This was a big opportunity and one that came with a number of unique challenges,” Smith explained. “Essentially the end-customer required an imprinter to be installed on the scanners and the length of documents it was looking to scan could not be accommodated via a regular ADF.” Midwich worked with the manufacturer to come up with a solution that would address the potential customer’s requirements and one that ensured its reseller won the deal. “We were able to support our reseller by facilitating the pre-install of the ancillary part on the scanner. So the imprinter was installed prior to delivery to the end-customer, meaning that the scanners could be smoothly deployed and up and running from day one. Our technical specialists also collaborated with the OEM to spec a small tweak to the ADF which would enable the customer to scan the longer-sized documents,” Smith explained.
With a wide range of technologies on offer to the channel, Midwich is also helping its resellers to upsell and cross-sell complementary products. Smith said: “We are looking at creative ways to partner up technologies. For example, within the education sector, we are bundling up book scanners with interactive screens and presenting it as a solution for teachers to digitise pupils’ work and then monitor progress throughout the year.” Midwich is essentially a one-stop shop for hardware, solutions, consumables and spare parts throughout the life of each product. The trade-only company is committed to ensuring that its customers receive the highest standards of service, and offers a large stockholding, public sector pricing and the ability to direct ship to end-users.
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