Olivetti S.p.A has restructured its UK and Ireland operation, closely aligning it with its pan-European business model. Print IT Reseller spoke to Dave Goswell, Managing Director of the newly established Olivetti Agency, to find out more about the new approach.
Effective from 1st January, Olivetti S.p.A has established a direct ‘manufacturer-dealer’ relationship with channel partners in the UK and Ireland. Henceforth, Olivetti dealers will sign contracts directly with the parent company in Italy, which will process all orders and invoicing.
In the UK, Olivetti S.p.A will work in partnership with the Olivetti Agency. Staffed by ex-Olivetti UK personnel, this new entity will represent the Olivetti brand and manage all channel-related sales, technical and marketing support, including the identification of new dealers and joint management of the UK Distribution Centre in Wellingborough.
Olivetti Agency managing director Dave Goswell told PITRthat the new set-up would streamline operations and simplify matters for partners with large multi-site, multi-national contracts. He said: “The ability to negotiate pricing and consistent SLAs on a pan-European level directly with the manufacturer will be a real value-add to partners. A direct relationship will also remove a lot of duplication in the ordering and fulfilment processes.”
Before becoming managing director of Olivetti Agency, Goswell held management positions with Canon, Konica Minolta and Gestetner and spent 14 years running his own Olivetti dealership, Pro-Digital Systems, which in its second year of trading became Olivetti’s UK Dealer of the Year. It remained in the Top 10 almost every year until Goswell sold the business in 2010, with the intention of retiring.
“I always had a goal to retire at 55, so I sold the business and hit the golf course,” he said. “But less than a year later, I knew I needed a new challenge. At the beginning of 2011, Dennis Woods, then Managing Director of Olivetti UK, asked me if I’d join them to work on a series of special projects for a six-month period. Four years later I was still there and loving every minute!” This experience provided Goswell with great insight into Olivetti’s operations and relationships at board level.
“I saw first-hand how they worked on a pan-European level,” he said. “The first Agency was established in Austria nine years ago and this model, where the parent company forges the relationship and the Agency plays a supporting role, facilitating everything required to market and grow the brand in that country, worked so well that Olivetti subsequently rolled it out across the Nordic regions and then across the rest of Europe.
“When we were approached about setting up a similar operation in the UK, I was really keen to get involved,” he said.
The Agency is a brand new business that, unlike Olivetti UK, is not wholly-owned by Olivetti S.p.A., but is instead a cooperative, with a small business mentality.
“We’re working on behalf of the dealers, supporting them and managing the Olivetti brand in the UK, but we’ve got a small business can-do culture,“ said Goswell. “We can take an entrepreneurial approach, which is actually what our dealers want; they are owner-managed businesses themselves, so we’re all on the same page.”
He added: “Our vision is accountability, and in time the Agency will ultimately be owned by the people who work in it. It’s this central ownership and empowerment that will ensure we deliver what is needed.”
For Olivetti dealers, the new arrangement has an important element of continuity and familiarity. “Back-office functions, such as finance for example, have all now been transferred to Italy, but the customer-facing positions still exist and many of the people our dealers know have moved over with us,” explained Goswell.
Olivetti UK’s legacy warehousing has also been retained so that adequate stock can be held locally. “We’ve retained our existing facilities and share the employment of the local management between the Agency and Olivetti S.p.A.,” explained Goswell.
Olivetti Agency has moved to new offices in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and both it and Olivetti S.p.A. have invested in IT infrastructure to support the new operation.
“We will shortly unveil a new website that will provide online ordering for the very first time,” explained Goswell. “We’ve invested in CRM functionality, so that we can provider dealers with a slick, in-tune and responsive technical support service, and we’ve made some changes to internal systems, making our own business processes and workflows more efficient.”
Olivetti’s Key Partner Programme will continue to run through Olivetti S.p.A, along with the ‘Best for Colour’ and ‘Best for Solutions’ accreditation programmes. The company will reveal further details of its plans at its Dealer Conference taking place on February 4 at the Belfry.