12 months ago, PrintIT Reseller featured a new start-up that had secured exclusive distribution rights for Sindoh printers and MFPs and was looking to onboard new channel partners. Michelle Ryder caught up with Sindoh UK Managing Director Andrew Ellis, to find out more about the first year in business
It’s fair to say that Sindoh is not a familiar brand within the print industry – and one which most endusers won’t have heard of – but that’s all set to change. The OEM has a long heritage manufacturing on behalf of Konica Minolta, Develop and Olivetti at its plants in Korea and China and for the past 12 months, through Sindoh UK & Ireland, has launched its own brand range of A3 and A4 MFPs.
PrintIT Reseller (PITR): How’s business? And how confident are you about the future?
Andrew Ellis (AE): Business is really good as everything is new growth for Sindoh UK. 12 months ago, we were facing the unknown, offering a new brand and we had no idea what the response would be. We spent the first year literally takings things a step at a time, we didn’t have a huge budget behind us and had to be mindful of inventory control etc. It was very much a case of ‘gauge the reaction.’ But I’m delighted to say that we have exceeded our and indeed Sindoh’s expectations and have now created a firm foundation from which we can build for the future. By incorporating new product areas, we are anticipating an aggressive growth during 2020/21.
PITR: When we last spoke, you were actively recruiting resellers looking to add an additional printer line to their portfolio. What progress have you made?
AE: We appointed 24 Sindoh dealer partners in the UK and Ireland in the first 12 months and this is developing month by month. In fact we had around 40 to 50 dealerships approach us after the first article appeared and we have attracted a high calibre of partners that we actually didn’t think we would appeal to. So overall we are delighted with the level of interest. I believe that if we had products at the high-end, the brand appeal would have been even greater.
PITR: What does the current productline-up look like now? Has Sindoh developed its product portfolio to include colour devices? And what’s the roadmap for 2020 and beyond?
AE: We currently offer two colour A3 MFPs at 22 and 28 ppm as well as mono A3 devices in speeds from 22 to 45 ppm. In A4 we have a 47 ppm MFP and printer. Looking ahead to 2020, we will be focusing on industrial 3D products and launching new mono and colour A3 and A4 MFP and printer ranges.
PITR: Sindoh offers very competitive price points on hardware alongside aggressive supplies pricing how has that been received by the channel?
AE: It has been very well received. Our product line-up is limited but we offer a unique manufacturing brand at a highly competitive price and it is clear that dealers are looking for something new to sell. It’s not our intention to sell to every dealer on every street corner. We are looking for commitments and in return we ring fence areas for dealers to give brand exclusivity and show reciprocal loyalty. During the past two quarters in 2019 we received new dealer enquires every week, which shows the level of interest. For sure, our achilles heel has been our limited range, but this will change later this year when we launch new products and diversify into A4 colour and high-margin industrial Sindoh 3D products that will require service, maintenance and support, from our authorised Sindoh partners.
PITR: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today? What are you doing to help?
AE: The biggest challenge is a contracting industry with supplier margins being squeezed each year. During the next five years, I strongly believe a lot of smaller brands will disappear or will be put through a distribution type model like ours. You can already see results from some of the largest brands in our industry and they are losing money year on year. They are making large scale redundancies, which shows the service and support to the smaller and medium sized dealers is slowly eroding. From our unique brand offering, we can offer profitable solutions, brand loyalty and diversity into future 3D print industries.