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UTAX celebrates success with partners

UTAX hosted over 100 partners at its annual partner conference which took place on September 13 at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire

Shaun Wilkinson, now in his 10th year as Managing Director, opened the conference by thanking delegates for continuing to support the company.

Utax Sake ceremony
Utax Sake ceremony

As PITR reported in an earlier issue, UTAX recorded a turnover of just over £15 million in the financial year ending March 2016, representing growth of over 10 per cent for the sixth consecutive year. Direct Services which encompasses service, installation and solutions support, continues to go from strength to strength and now accounts for approximately 25 per cent of UTAX’s total UK business.

Wilkinson said: “Our numbers in all areas of the business continue to outgrow the market and this growth can only be achieved with the continued support and hard work of all our partners, and I sincerely thank you all for your immense contribution to our success.”

During his address, he highlighted some of the key findings from Quocirca’s latest report on the state of the MPS market in the UK and Ireland.

Commenting on the survey results, he said: “These figures show that 30 per cent of the respondents are still looking for cost savings, while 70 per cent have seen the benefits of MPS and are now looking to consolidate or increase their spend. It shows that although saving costs is one of the three biggest drivers in deciding on an MPS partner it’s also about getting the right return on investment combined with predictability of cost and document and printer security.

“Customers want to single source, and put all of their costs under one central contract to reduce the administrative and IT burden,” he added.

Utax Partners enjoying the trick golf show on the Heythrop Park lawn
Utax Partners enjoying the trick golf show on the Heythrop Park lawn

88 per cent of those polled believe that MPS is important to digital transformation. “They recognise that an MFP is not just a print engine, but with the right software and solutions expertise, it becomes an integral part of their business,” Wilkinson continued, adding that with 22 per cent thinking they are fully leveraging the functionality of their existing deployments: “There are massive opportunities for us to engage with our customers and by selling the right advice and solution, we can become an integral part of their business solution.”

In summary, he acknowledged that price is, and will remain very important to customers, but in his opinion the biggest thing they are looking for is a supplier with the flexibility, expertise and reputation to really make a positive impact on their business. “They want suppliers who can identity and solve real-life business issues,” he said.

Pointing to the fact that some manufacturers are in the process of splitting their services and hardware businesses into separate entities, he argued that by looking at the evidence from the Quocirca analysis, this is exactly what customers do not want to see happening. “I believe this creates great opportunities for those suppliers who can offer their customers a complete one stop shop solution,” he said.

Shaun Wilkinson, MD, Utax
Shaun Wilkinson, MD, Utax

Market analysis

Using research supplied by IDC, Steve Lucas, from the product marketing team, presented the latest market data and competitor analysis of the UK market over the last four years, to the end of the company’s 2016 fiscal year.

Lucas reported that over the last four years, the total size of the market has remained the same, with total unit sales set at just under half a million units. “There has been a steady increase in both A3 and A4 colour MFP units, although colour A4 printers have remained static, the colour A4 MFP market has almost doubled over the four-year period,” he said.

He referenced the fact that UTAX has made headway in Ireland. Five years ago, the company didn’t have a reported market share for the data analysts to comment on, and it is now ranked number four in the whole of Ireland based on total volume of unit sales, Lucas attributed this success to the incredible work of its small number of committed Irish dealers.

John Cahill, Managing Director, EMS Copiers, Dublin, winner of 1,000 Club, Solutions Club and Partner of the Year awards said: “Our success is really down to the fact that we have a very good working relationship with UTAX, it’s a real partnership and we’ve managed to get the results between us. The sector is huge in Ireland, very competitive and price sensitive and we have to find the edge. That’s where UTAX come in, they are quick to respond and help us get the business. Our UTAX sales have grown seven-fold in the last five years. We’re also delighted to see the launch of more solutions, it’s just what we need as every sale involves a solution now.”

Steve Lucas, Utax Product Manager with Fergus Moore of Copymoore
Steve Lucas, Utax Product Manager with Fergus Moore of Copymoore

“As you can see the market landscape is changing. Colour is becoming the norm and a clear shift towards MFPs means single function devices are less important,” Lucas continued. “With the introduction of new product concepts such as our A4 console devices (the 300, 350 and 400ci) the market opens up further. Previous installations, based on volume and copy cost, but not paper size, are no longer bound to offering A3 devices. This broadening of the market, alongside the increase in colour unit sales we expect to see continuing well into the next financial year and beyond offers you, our partners, more potential than ever.”

In conclusion, Lucas said that combining hardware and software in a more managed print approach, which is no longer just about demonstrating cost savings but driving business process efficiency, will become a key factor in the continuing development of the office equipment industry.
New products

UTAX announced a number of new product launches at the conference. First up was the introduction of its new Vertical Market Solutions Packs, verticals covered include health, legal, education and civil engineering, which it has designed to give specific end-users affordable, complementary software solutions that work alongside their hardware and professional services.

Masafumi Yoda, President, TA Triumph-Adler
Masafumi Yoda, President, TA Triumph-Adler

Solutions Manager Brian Young said that UTAX is uniquely placed to be at the heart of the issues, pulling together both hardware and software, enabling its partners to offer anything from a simple, time saving application on one MFP, to a large MPS installation across multiple sites and devices.

“We have specifically designed an innovative way of approaching the market to ascertain their requirements, identify areas that they may not have previously considered and jointly devise a sustainable, holistic approach to software solutions,”
he said.

UTAX also unveiled a new range of five mid to large volume colour A3 MFPs which feature a number of improvements including newly developed toner offering improved colour and increased print resolution, upgraded paper handling options including SRA3 and 300gsm direct from cassettes, reduced footprint for device and options, improved energy credentials and increased functionalities including 9-inch touch panel, 320GB hard disk and direct Wi-Fi.

After the business sessions, partners were treated to an entertaining demonstration by golf trick show artist, Rob Brown. In keeping with this year’s marketing theme, ‘First Past the Post’, the dinner that followed included a race night and horse racing simulators with guests raising £345 for the blood cancer charity, Bloodwise, in memory of UTAX’s friend and colleague, Tracy Lawrance. The following morning, partners enjoyed a round of golf or a clay pigeon shooting experience.

UTAX Partner Awards

The Annual UTAX Partner Awards were presented by Wilkinson and Masafumi Yoda, President of parent company, TA Triumph-Adler GmbH. The awards were made for sales achievements for the last financial year – 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016.

100 Club (100 or more devices FY2016)

100 Club
100 Club

Simple Digital Solutions Ltd
Midrepro Ltd

150 Club (150 or more devices FY2016)
Office Friends Systems Ltd
A-Stat Office Technology Ltd
Copymark (Sales) Limited
ABC Digital Solutions Ltd
AFP Digital Limited

250 Club (250 or more devices FY2016)
Orchard Business Systems Ltd
Direct-tec UK Ltd
Document Data Solutions Ltd

750 Club (750 or more devices FY2016)

Highest grown 2016
Highest grown 2016

Copymoore Limited

1,000 Club (1,000 or more devices FY2016)
EMS Copier (Services) Ltd
Partner of the Year
EMS Copier (Services) Ltd

Solutions Club (FY2016)
Document Data Solutions Ltd
EMS Copier (Services) Ltd
Inplant Print Supplies Ltd

Solutions Partner of the Year (Highest Sales FY2016)
Document Data Solutions Ltd

The company also introduced a number of new award categories this year. Exsel Group was named New Partner of the Year, Green Office Technologies Ltd scooped the award for Highest Growth 2016, and the Flame Award winner (in recognition of a partner which has won a single customer or order of significant value) was Gemini Office Solutions Ltd





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