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View from the channel

Simon Chapman, Managing Director, Temple Knight

Q: How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?

A: A few months before the pandemic, we’d recruited a whole new sales team. From day one, they were making a profit, whilst still offering our loyal customer base solutions at a very competitive price. If COVID-19 had not taken place it would have been easy to forecast a growth in sales of over 50 per cent.

However, the pandemic has happened. With a 34 year heritage, it’s fair to say that we have the knowledge and experience to sail the most difficult waters. We see the current climate as no different.

As lockdown eases, we’re quietly confident for the future, and believe our unique approach to adapting and grasping new sales and maintenance opportunities as they arise, makes us well positioned for continued business success.

Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

A: Customer solutions play a large role in our growth strategy, however, so does understanding the needs of the post-pandemic sales market. We are looking to make a further investment into a larger sales team with the focus on offering both new and existing customers the best technology available at the sharpest possible deal.

Additionally, with any economic downturn, there are always dealers who do not survive. Temple Knight are past masters in supporting customers who have existing office kit that can no longer be supported by their provider. Over the coming months, I believe there will be a great number of customers who will require our maintenance services.

Q: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?

A: Temple Knight has a long history of a maintenance-based service business, however in order to offer a more targeted approach to the MPS market, we have already invested in a very experienced sales team, which in the coming months we wish to build on. This will help to offer Temple Knight greater opportunities in what is an ever changing and diverse marketplace.

It is also important for us to remember our roots as a maintenance business, and we believe the service side will grow, as not every customer will be looking to upgrade their existing kit.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?

A: The biggest challenge will be in understanding the changing marketplace between office workers and a model based on more employees working from home.

Q: Could vendors and distributors do more to help you overcome them? And if so, what?

A:We have a loyal and trusted network of approved suppliers, many of whom have worked with us for some considerable time. That said, there does seem to be several suppliers, including leasing companies who are using the post pandemic landscape to increase pricing and lease rates for little reason other than their own gain.

This type of practice will be short lived and only breaks down trust between supplier and customer.

In turn, Temple Knight will look to spend money with trusted suppliers who offer a level playing field and only increase prices as market forces dictate.

Q: If you could change one aspect of your job what would it be and why?

A:We have a talented team of individuals that are part of the Temple Knight team. To deliver a responsive service, we have a network of engineers across the country, who spend their time on the road visiting customers’ offices for maintenance and installation. Due to location and workload, this does mean that we don’t often all get together for team meetings. I’d like to have more time to meet with the whole team face to face, and continue to welcome such experienced, enthusiastic team members to Temple Knight.