Westcoast, the largest print hardware distributor in the UK&I, has signed up as a Gold Sponsor of the PrintIT Awards. Michelle Ryder spoke to Print Director Ryan Mitchell, to find out more about the firm’s focus on print
Mitchell opened the conversation reinforcing the fact that print is very much in Westcoast’s DNA and has been since 1984, when Chairman Joe Hemani signed an exclusive contract with Canon to supply its printers in the UK.
Whilst the climate has radically changed since those days, most notably in light of the current COVID-19 crisis, Mitchell said that one thing that hasn’t changed is a focus on making life easier for channel partners by offering a range of added-value services.
“In March, we saw an unprecedented surge in sales of home and small office printers and thankfully due to our strong inventory holding and planning, we were able to manage this demand. Whilst this is a core expectation of distribution, this is something that our resellers knew we could deliver on with ease, especially important, as many of our customers have moved out of their own warehouses and rely heavily on ours.”
He continued: “We are currently looking at what the print world will look like post-crisis and whilst commercial print revenues were heavily impacted as office workers moved to working from home, we believe that this revenue will recover quickly, but in what form of device? Will the traditional copier vendors see a decline in demand for large A3 estates? Possibly, but as always, our print experts will be on hand to help our partners navigate this potential changing landscape as we have done many times before.”
To support resellers in the UK and Ireland, Westcoast has a 15-strong support team that includes product managers, sales specialists and dedicated managed print sales team which supports MPS resellers from the largest to the smallest.
The range of added-value services on offer to resellers include fleet design, product recommendations, cost-per page analysis, tender support and joint end-user meetings. Post-sale support services include final mile delivery, supplies ordering automation, software and hardware PDI, training and complex installs.
“We have a number of ongoing relationships with many OEMs but our main focus is on Lexmark, HP and Epson,” Mitchell explained, adding: “Each brand has a distinct offer, Lexmark provides robust and extremely reliable products with excellent CPP (cost per copy) and has a loyal network of BSD partners; the environmental messaging around Epson and its EcoTank and RIPS range in particular has been a game-changer for many; while HP is undoubtedly a leading brand and a partner we have had a long-standing relationship with.” Westcoast is the sole distributor of HP’s A3 technology and the OEM’s Partner Managed Print Service (PMPS) and Print at your Service (PAYS) offering are available exclusively through Westcoast.
The distie also supplies scanners from Fujitsu, HP large-format printers and helps support its sister company Art Systems, with specialist large-format products and HP 3D printers.
Long overdue initiative
Speaking about the forthcoming PrintIT Awards and the decision to get involved as a Gold Sponsor, Mitchell said it is an initiative that’s long overdue. “We operate in a multi-billion pound sector and yet we never seem to get the recognition we deserve. Print has always been an afterthought or bolt-on to other awards programmes, we very much welcome the launch of this new dedicated awards programme, it’s well overdue and much needed, which is why we came on board at the very early stages.
“This industry is relationship-driven and the awards reinforce that, as a case in point, nearly everyone I’ve approached to invite to join us at the event has already booked to attend! We are all very much looking forward to the event in October and hopefully to winning an award or two!” he concluded.