Steve Andrew, group production director of Xeretec, has a tough job. He has to persuade companies to buy Xerox production equipment and software which they might easily buy directly from the manufacturer or another dealer.
It means that Xeretec has to add tangible value to the relationship with its customer, perhaps as a top restaurant adds value to a burger that might be offered by a fast food chain. For one, it is about through presentation, accompaniments and experience of food. And for Xeretec the secret sauce is the scope of its business.
All manner of print businesses have tasted the Xeretec experience, from inplant operations through independent family owned companies, to some of the largest printers in the country. DG3 fits the latter category. Xeretec has supplied, and importantly looks after, its fleet of iGens and most recently, its investment in a Trivor inkjet continuous feed press.
Xeretec clearly delivers more than for these businesses than they might gain by working directly with Xerox and that comes down to the service and other products that it can offer.
“DG3 wanted to buy it through Xeretec,” says Andrew. “We manage the account for Xerox and do the same for at least three or four other large Xerox customers. And others, with iGens, Colour 1000s and more, have approached us to take over the management of their account.”
Xeretec has come to production printing from office equipment and through acquisition of other UK distributors. This involved growing through a range of inplants with more sophisticated demands and then on to commercial printers becoming an £80 million business as a result.
It is not the first to take this route. Danwood, for example, emerged from the corporate world before imploding. Xeretec has been more cautious and has worked closely with Xerox rather than a spread of competing suppliers.
The list of large companies and organisations that Xeretec invoices is a veritable run through the great and the good. These are operations demanding IT support from their printer supplier, networking, business analysis, cloud services and more.
“At the same time as we talk to the print department, we are also speaking to their marketing people, so we understand the requirements that they have,” says Andrew. “The average print sales person does not know how to reach these marketing people, they are always price led. So we think that there’s a gap in the market: bringing together the marketer's demands with print companies. We have the knowledge, contacts and expertise on how to bridge that gap.
“We will be putting together group seminars to bring in printers to look at software technology and then we can explain about how to talk to the marketing people.
“Printers say they want to sell added value, but they do not really understand what this means.”
A key differentiator between the concessionaire and manufacturer is in support. Xerox has a call centre in India as its first line of support. While efficient for Xerox, this is not always the case for the user. Xeretec has its own front line call desk. “We are responding within 15 minutes and we are much better at communicating with customers and keeping them informed about what’s happening,” Andrew explains.
“The customer will understand that. It’s not so much that they have a problem with the machine. It’s more important to know what’s being done about it. It’s about keeping the customer fully informed. We are much more than a machine sales company. Our added value is the people and service. And it’s the corporate infrastructure we have that lies behind this to manage the accounts.”
The machines continue to be looked after by Xerox engineers, trained on the technological refinements and latest equipment; there is little point in duplicating the Xerox network, he adds.
There is, however, something to be gained from printers dealing with Xeretec earlier in the process. “We are about managing expectations and making sure that the technology will deliver to their specific needs. We look at the profile of work they are producing and how to upskill the press operators to ensure that they can deliver the higher quality of work that is needed today. Many could not have got that from Xerox,” says Andrew.
The hands on approach is looking beyond the machine to the infrastructure around it, the finishing, the workflow and value add options as well as educating sales people on how to take a consultancy led approach to sales. “We have seen how HP has used Dscoop and want to do something similar to educate print business and sales people about the applications that they can deliver.”