Print in the Channel - issue #16


Issue #16

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Health and efficiency For small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), times have been tough and becoming more efficient is imperative, but printers and scanners can play a vital role in making that happen and helping to boost a business’ bottom line.

For SMBs in many sectors, these past few years haven’t been easy, whether it has been the effects of COVID, supply chain shortages, the cost of living crisis, recession or any other problem they have had thrown at them. What it has meant is that SMBs are looking for ways to become more efficient and save money as margins are often tight, and this is where the print channel comes in. For instance, how businesses manage their documents can make a big difference. Digitalising records can make processes more efficient, and there is a range of print and scan technology on the market that is geared towards SMBs – be that through price, size or functionality – and resellers have an important role to ensure customers get the right solution. Read more on p28.

and hospitality are increasingly demanding speed, efficiency and convenience from PoS systems – as well as mobile systems and ways to harness data generated for business improvement – and manufacturers are providing this. Read more on p33. Elsewhere in this issue, we have an interview with two of the team charged with bringing Fujifilm printers to UK resellers and end users. While Fujifilm might be a new name to the UK printer market, it is the number one printer brand in the Asia Pacific region and has more than 60 years of technological development behind it. Now, Fujifilm is expanding into the UK, and wants to build a network of resellers across the country to make this a success. Find out more on p14. The common thread through these articles

Dan Parton

In a similar vein, digitalisation is something that SMBs have been looking at doing to help increase efficiency and maintain competitiveness in recent years. But some are put off by the perceived barriers to doing this, including cost and lack of expertise. But these barriers can be overcome by resellers in the print channel, who can point to devices such as MFPs that can help businesses on that journey towards digitalisation. See more on p30. Technology in point of sale (PoS) systems is also helping retail and hospitality businesses, many of which are SMBs. Customers in retail

is that printing and scanning equipment is vital in helping businesses – SMBs or larger – to modernise and stay competitive. Print resellers need to emphasise this to SMBs and help them to make the right investments in print and scan equipment that will help to improve their business, boost sales and the bottom line. As always, I hope you enjoy the issue. If there are any topics that you would like to see covered in a future issue – or you have an opinion piece you would like to submit or a press release – please get in touch with me at


Support your Channel Distributors and Resellers by using the new FREE Stock in the Channel functionality: “Authorised Distributors”. Click here to learn more

00 03


News You should know p6 Fujifilm UK Launch

Fujifilm UK Launch – p14

Paper – p22

Decades of experience p14

The past few years have been volatile in the paper sector but now, with the return to the office and an increasing focus on sustainability, there is positivity and increasing opportunities for resellers.

Product Launch Brother compact scanners p20 Product Launch Konica Minolta bizhub i-Series p21 Paper Sustainability opportunities p22 Sharp Change & growth p25 Document Management Digitalisation p28 Digital Transformation Embracing printers p30 PoS in... Retail & Hospitality p33 Earth Day Collaborate p37 Printer Security Hiding in plain sight p38

Fujifilm has recently launched a range of office printers in the UK. But while the name might be new to the UK, the company has decades of experience in manufacturing printers behind it – and Fujifilm is now looking to channel partners to help spread this message.

Digital Transformation – p30

Many smaller businesses are still at an early stage of their digital transformation journey. But printers, especially MFPs, can be a vital step as businesses look to embrace digital practices.

Product Launch: Brother – p20

PoS in Retail & Hospitality – p33

Customer expectations for their point of sale systems are changing, with greater desire for mobile solutions and increasing amounts of usable data – and this provides opportunities for resellers.

People News On the move p41 HP Looking up p44

Brother UK has launched a new line-up of compact scanners to help resellers tap into category growth and to support customers’ decentralised workforces.

Vending Kiosks Driving recycling p46 Cloud-Based Labelling The benefits p50



Cloud-Based Labelling – p50

Businesses in the supply chain need to take a modern approach to labelling processes or risk falling behind their rivals, and many businesses are turning to cloud- based solutions to do this, as Paul Vogt, Loftware VP Partner Strategies, explains.

Editorial Dan Parton 07941 979 845 dan@ Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 martin@ Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 justin@

Printer Security – p38

Despite threats from cybercriminals increasing, many businesses are still overlooking the vulnerability of printers to be subjects of attack – and this needs to change, says Faki Saadi, regional director, UK at SOTI.

Product Launch: Konica Minolta– p21

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has announced 21 new bizhub i-Series devices, which place security and ease of use to the fore.

Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of Print in the Channel can be reproduced. © 2024 In the Channel Media Ltd.

HP – p44

Vending Kiosks – p46

Jay Kim, managing director, BIXOLON Europe, discusses how return vending kiosks, in conjunction with kiosk printing technology, can contribute to recycling and waste reduction efforts for consumers and retailers within the retail industry.

Neil MacDonald, HP’s channel director for the UK and Ireland, believes this is an exciting time for the industry, with plenty of opportunities for sales for the print channel thanks to several factors.

Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1B 4DA In conjunction with:



Exertis raises £125,000 for Mental Health UK

Exertis has announced it has raised £125,000 for Mental Health UK, bringing its FY24 partnership with the charity to a close. This brings opportunity for Exertis to fundraise for new charities for FY25. For this financial year, instead of supporting one charity, the employees of Exertis voted in favour of selecting local charities to raise money for. This means that eight charities will be receiving Exertis’s fundraising monies, including six hospices, one homeless charity and one teenage cancer charity. The full list comprises: St Michael’s Hospice in Basingstoke, East Lancashire Hospice in Burnley, Overgate Hospice in Elland, St Clare Hospice in Harlow, Prospect Hospice for Hypertec, Teens Unite for MTR, The Big Issue in Snetterton and DougieMac in Stoke. “We are committed to supporting the local communities around our offices in the UK,” said Michaela DeGale, charity and

volunteering lead at Exertis UK. “This year, we are excited to be supporting smaller, local charities through a variety of fundraising efforts. Our employees are dedicated to finding innovative ways to fundraise and volunteer, and we believe that by working together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of those around us.” Last year, colleagues from Exertis found multiple ways to raise money for Mental Health UK, from golf days, bake sales, dress- down days, raffles and tech sales. “We really cannot thank the people of Exertis enough for their dedication, passion and desire to improve the lives of people affected by poor mental health,” said Rob Harding, partnerships manager at Mental Health UK. “Thank you so much for having been our charity partner and for continuing to make mental health a priority within Exertis.”

Konica Minolta receives EcoVadis Gold Medal sustainability rating for 2024

Konica Minolta, Inc. has announced that it is in the top 5% of companies rated by EcoVadis in all industries. The company has received a Gold Medal – its ninth in succession – in recognition of its sustainability achievement, placing it in the top of companies assessed by EcoVadis over the past 12 months. EcoVadis provides a solution for monitoring sustainability in

Sustainability Assessment Report states that: “The company demonstrates an advanced sustainability management system that covers

all four themes under review.” Olaf Jonas, general manager

environmental social governance, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, said: “Receiving a medal from EcoVadis

for nine consecutive years is testament to our company- wide global commitment to make a positive environmental and social impact, through our own company initiatives and frameworks as

global supply chains. By reliably assessing sustainability performance, EcoVadis provides comprehensive feedback,

Olaf Jonas general manager environmental social governance

well as supporting the goals of international

programmes.” Tackling global environmental challenges, helping society to evolve and grow, and being a good corporate

benchmarking and tools that enable companies to embark upon a journey of continuous improvement. The EcoVadis rating process

citizen are the cornerstones of Konica Minolta’s environmental, social and governance policies, which are guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

assesses corporate social responsibility in four key areas: environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Konica Minolta’s EcoVadis



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Brother International Europe and Cool Earth celebrate 15-year partnership

Brother International Europe is celebrating 15 years since first joining forces with rainforest conservation charity Cool Earth, becoming their longest-serving commercial partner. Since the partnership began in 2009, Brother has been supporting seven communities across the Amazon and New Guinea forest, protecting 32 million trees across 78,000 hectares, which store more than 50 million tonnes of carbon and are crucial in combatting climate change. As a result, this has enabled communities to flourish and helped Cool Earth protect some of the world’s most endangered plants and wildlife. “We are proud to have worked with Cool Earth for such a long time,” said Hisashi Ota, managing director of Brother International Europe. “Our ‘At your side’ vision is always to provide our customers with exceptional products and service, whilst also doing what we can to limit our impact on the planet, and through Cool Earth we are able to support vital work being conducted across the globe.” Some of the activities have included improving water, sanitation and hygiene access for more than 2,500 people in Papua New Guinea, and the launch of Cool Earth's

Rainforest Lab in Peru providing access to Wi-Fi, technology and mapping tools so communities can protect their territories from threats. “We are immensely proud of the achievements we have made working with Brother Europe, which not only support the conservation of the rainforest but also provide social and economic impacts, ranging from sustaining livelihoods to providing income and food security for Indigenous communities,” said Matthew Owen, director of Cool Earth. An initiative that supports this partnership is the return of used Brother ink and toner cartridges – one of Europe’s largest and most successful remanufacturing programmes. Customers are asked to return their used cartridges free of charge, and Brother remanufactures or recycles 100% of all cartridges sent back and has done since 2013, with nothing going to landfill. “Without the added support of our customers, this partnership would not have been so successful, so we also want to extend a huge thank you to them,” said Hisashi. “To date, we have remanufactured over 40 million toner cartridges, saving 1,500 tonnes of plastic waste from ending up in landfill every year. An achievement we are all incredibly proud of.”

Hisashi Ota managing director Brother International Europe

Cloud print services adoption accelerates but security concerns remain

The rate at which organisations are adopting cloud print services has surged over the past year, with 69% of respondents now using a cloud print management solution, up from 55% in 2023, according to Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services 2024 Landscape 2024 study. However, the study also shows that businesses are not fully committed to a cloud-only print environment, with print server

print will be fully managed in the cloud by 2026 l Despite the cloud transition, 58% of organisations plan to install more print servers in the coming year. This figure rises to 68% of those operating a multivendor fleet l Data protection concerns are the top barrier to cloud print adoption (cited by 32%), followed by functionality (25%) and cost (24%). “Right now there is a paradox in the cloud print environment,” said Louella Fernandes, CEO, Quocirca. “Despite accelerating adoption, we are also seeing more print servers being deployed and continuing concerns about security. It seems that

deployment continuing to increase. Key findings from the study include:

l 74% of respondents are taking a hybrid approach to print management using a mix of on-premise and cloud l Only 4% currently manage their print environment fully in the cloud; 16% believe



providers are not positioning cloud-based solutions strongly enough and are failing to articulate the significant administrative and cost benefits cloud print management delivers.” Despite 58% planning to deploy more print servers, customers are aware of the difficulties surrounding traditional on-premise print management. In addition, 49% say the IT administrative burden of managing print drivers is a top challenge, 42% cite the complexity of print driver deployment, and 38% note risks around outdated print drivers. “Cloud print management solutions can address all these challenges, and providers should be leveraging this to deliver more cloud print solutions,” adds Louella. “For distributed working environments that need to be both agile and closely monitored, cloud print management makes a lot of sense.” Protecting company data remains the top barrier to cloud print management adoption,

although it has dropped from 36% in 2023 to 32% in 2024. A quarter of respondents are concerned about the perceived loss of functionality when switching to cloud print solutions, and this rises to 28% for the largest companies. Cost is a key concern for 24% of organisations, rising to 32% for smaller businesses. The same proportion is worried about performance, consistency across multi-vendor fleets and data governance/ sovereignty concerns. “Cloud print service providers must focus on addressing these areas of customer concern and articulating the cost, efficiency and agility advantages of moving print management to the cloud,” said Louella. “Many earlier concerns have been resolved through, for example, advances in universal print driver sophistication and improvements in cloud print functionality, but there is still work to be done to convince buyers.”

Louella Fernandes ceo

Apogee volunteers spend a day at Whisby Nature Park

On April 11, a team of Apogee volunteers, led by supply chain, logistics and procurement director, Darren Powell, headed to Whisby Education Centre in Lincolnshire to tackle a day of environmental restoration. Based just a short distance from Apogee’s National Operations Centre, Whisby Education Centre and Nature Park is managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and has been designed to balance nature conservation, countryside recreation and environmental education. The day started with a mindful moment, where the group were invited to take a deep breath, pause and consider how they were feeling. By taking their minds off the daily hustle and bustle of life, the group were able to reconnect and fully prepare for a day in nature. After a brief presentation on the Trust’s mission and values, which emphasised the importance of rekindling our relationship with

the natural world, the team were briefed on their task for the day: the construction of a dead hedge fence! More than just a boundary for the site, the dead hedge fence would provide shelter for wildlife, creating safe havens for various creatures to thrive. The team quickly got to work with their tools: helping to clear debris from the site, making stakes for the fence posts, and moving all the dead hedges to construct the fence. “Our time at Whisby Nature Park was really rewarding. It was an excellent project to be involved in – from creating a safe space for nature to thrive, to supporting our local community, and of course spending quality time with the team out of the office,” said Darren. “I'd encourage everyone to consider volunteering whenever they get a chance.” But even with the fence successfully built, the team’s work wasn’t quite complete, they turned their attention to clearing brambles on the nature reserve’s pathways – which are currently growing a metre a week. In just one day, the team helped to clear a large area of the reserve and build a safe space for wildlife. It was also an opportunity to connect – with each other, and with nature – while making a real impact on the local community.

Darren Powell supply chain, logistics and procurement direcrtor



Kodak Alaris partners with ASL

Kodak Alaris has formed a new partnership with ASL, one of the largest managed office services suppliers in the UK. The alliance will see ASL extend its extensive multi-vendor technology solutions offering to include award-winning scanners and software solutions from Kodak Alaris, backed by

desktop devices, to high-volume production models. Scanners from Kodak Alaris have easy-to- use batch scanning, barcode and indexing capabilities built-in and include advanced features such as Smart Touch technology, which enables end-users to scan and send information with one-touch ease. These features, combined with professional services support will meet the majority of ASL’s customer requirements. For clients with more complex capture requirements, ASL will also offer adjacent solutions from Kodak Alaris, including KODAK Capture Pro Software, which is engineered to work with any document scanner. “Kodak Alaris is a dedicated scanner hardware and digital transformation software specialist – that’s their core business and area of specialism,” said Simon Whapshott, marketing and business development officer at ASL. “This partnership will enable us to open up new conversations around document management and help our customers fast- track their digital transformation, automate critical processes, and deliver customised workflows for business optimisation.” Mark Davies, Northern cluster sales manager, Kodak Alaris, added: “We are delighted to partner with ASL and look forward to supporting the team as they help customers eliminate manual processes, build digital workflows, reduce costs, and achieve critical efficiency gains across their organisations.”

professional services and support. Following an uptick in demand from

customers looking to convert stacks of paper into actionable digital information to drive productivity and efficiency, ASL conducted a review of the data capture market, evaluating several vendor offerings across hardware, software and professional services. “This assessment phase is a key component of our partner selection and onboarding process,” said Mark Asbridge, solutions sales manager at ASL. “We’re committed to delivering best-in-class solutions and services to our customers, and as such we need to ensure that a potential partner has both a strong product offering and the ability to deliver consistent excellence in terms of support and professional services. Kodak Alaris clearly showcased its commitment to helping partners succeed through a combination of its comprehensive hardware and software solutions offering, deep technical expertise, pre- and post-sales support across project scoping and delivery, and ongoing after-sales service.” ASL will now offer customers a range of document scanners from Kodak Alaris, spanning standalone wireless and networked

Mark Asbridge solutions sales manager

Mayday Office Equipment acquires Norfolk Copiers built a strong reputation in the Norfolk area for more than 35 years.

Mayday Office Equipment has acquired Norfolk Copiers for an undisclosed sum. Mayday has provided photocopier and managed IT services across Norfolk and beyond for more than 40 years. It specialises in supplying the latest technology and offering impartial advice and consultations focussing on delivering efficiency’s and managing costs for its customers. Over the years, Mayday has forged strong IT/multifunctional Print support relationships with companies ranging from small family run businesses to multinational clients. Norfolk Copiers also provides office, printing, and photocopying services, having

The acquisition leaves Mayday primed to continue to build on its services and continuing to offer a wealth of engineering experience and a wide range of brands and products to customers. Mayday was advised by law firm Birketts, with a team led by Greg Allan (partner, corporate). “Mayday has cemented itself as the leading organisation in the provision of office machinery” said Greg. “This acquisition provides a superb opportunity for further growth.”



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New name, decades of experience Fujifilm has recently launched a range of office printers in the UK. But while the name might be new to the UK, the company has decades of experience in manufacturing printers behind it – and Fujifilm is now looking to channel partners to help spread this message.

The partnership lasted until 2019 when Fujifilm acquired Xerox’s stake in Fuji Xerox. In 2020, Fujifilm announced it would not renew its technology agreement with Xerox, effectively ending the joint venture. In the following April, Fuji Xerox rebranded as Fujifilm Business Innovation. Now, the company is expanding into Europe with the Apeos range. “A key strength is this isn’t something that’s just suddenly happened,” says Hiro. “Fujifilm is an established player in the market evolving expanding its reach and they’re ahead of all the competition.” Apeos Gary Organ, head of device technology sales UK at Fujifilm, adds that the name – it is Latin for open office system – is apposite as it is descriptive of the company’s approach to sales. “We have technology that will allow us to embed other applications and be very open to the market, perhaps more so than other vendors,” he says. “The logo that sits next to the Apeos brand is to represent a bridge, which represents a bridge to the goal for us and for our partners. And showing us the way to the shared goal. Those things combined is about us assisting and supporting our customers and partners towards their goal, being that trusted advisor and having an open approach in doing that.” Gary adds there are three key highlights to the Apeos range. The first is reliability. “We’ve got market leading technology, which has been proven over a significant period of time,” he says. They also have an intuitive user interface. “It’s a user-friendly interface and operation, which is consistent across the entire platform. They’re responsive and operate quickly, which makes them really easy to use.” Sustainability is also an important consideration, he adds. “It’s got smart power saving, low temperature toner technology,

April saw the entry of a new name into the UK office printer market – Fujifilm. The Japanese company – more famous here for its camera film – has launched its Apeos series of multifunction office printers (MFPs) in Europe for the first time. The UK launch is part of a wider introduction into Western European markets, including Italy – where the range also launched in April – France and Spain over the coming months. Fujifilm Business Innovation is the number one supplier of A3 MFPs in the Asia Pacific region, with Fujifilm technology powering millions of office printers across the globe. But none of these devices had been available under the Fujifilm brand except in the Asia Pacific region until now. The Apeos series is built on Fujifilm’s decades of print and imaging expertise, and designed for the modern workplace, including remote/mobile printing capabilities, superior security features and exceptional sustainability credentials. Apeos has also been designed to support digital transformation (see box out). Long history While Fujifilm is a new name to the UK printer market, as Hiro Matsui, Fujifilm Europe manager explains, in other parts of the world it is a long-established and well-respected name in printer manufacturing. “We have more than 60 years of history in printers,” he says. “While we’re newcomers to the UK, we’re not newcomers in other ways; we’ve got a long heritage in developing this technology.” Fujifilm’s history goes back to 1962, when a joint venture between Fujifoto Film and Rank Xerox established Fuji Xerox. Using Xerox’s position as a leader in the copier market, it enabled the company to establish a foothold in the office printer market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hiro Matsui Fujifilm UK manager

While we're newcomers to the UK, we're not newcomers in other ways; we've got a long heritage in developing this technology.



which means the fusing temperature can be reduced, and circular production system technology. We’re really focusing on ensuring that the tech and our approach to the market minimises our impact on the environment.” The final highlight is device security. “Asia Pacific is a quite challenging region politically," he says. “A lot of countries distrust with one another in that region. To be able to crack that market, you must be extremely secure. The devices need to have multiple layers of security to give you the best offences possible in that market. “The devices work with the likes of Papercut, YSoft, Kofax (now Tungsten), Vasion and MyQ, as well as various Scan technologies too, because we have those relationships in Asia Pacific. We’re going to develop further the developer kit so that we can have a broader platform technology on board, but we’re going to integrate with the existing market leaders as well.” Ways to sell Gary adds that the Apeos printers are aimed at the office market. “It can fulfil a purpose in the office as a departmental device where people require high quality printing functions, or they might need a hub device. But equally, it can also be used as a light production machine in the creative space. “The print resolution is market leading with 1,200x2,400dpi all the way up to 70 pages per minute. That’s because the technology has been taken from our production devices. “This means that the printers can do banner printing with these printers, which could be ideal for those in educational spaces or SMEs that might want to do their own graphics in- house.” No direct sales As a new entrant to the UK market, Fujifilm don’t have any intention to sell directly to customers, preferring to develop relationships with channel partners, including the servicing of devices, according to Hiro. “This will be core in the beginning,” he says. In addition, Hiro says there will be some synergy with the existing Fujifilm sales entity in the UK, which has been here for nearly 50 years. “We will utilise Fujifilm’s existing

sales entities also to organise our product distribution,” he says. He adds that there will be a brand awareness campaign in the UK in the coming months. “Our mission is to be considered by our partners in every opportunity,” he says. “We want to be the manufacturer that everybody wants to lead with. We want our partners to give Fujifilm a chance in every opportunity that they go into. That’s a big ask, but this is a mission, it’s an aspirational goal. “But if we’re working to the level that we believe we can, we hope that can be achieved. Our go-to-market approach is a channel-only business model. We are focused on recruitment, initially, of traditional partners with a service capability. We’re building a business from scratch. As we don’t have a direct operation in the UK, is we need to ensure that we build a self-sufficiency model. “We are building a model where we can deliver training capabilities to our partners for them to be self-sufficient in the market. That helps our partners because that delivers an ability for them to leverage their capabilities in the market and they can commercially develop that to make more money from the technology as well.” Hiro adds that Fujifilm intend to have a balance of nationwide, regional and small partners. “We intend to have some partners that can cover the whole or most of the country, some partners that might be regional – covering the Northwest, Northeast or just London, then there’ll be smaller partners

Gary Organ head of device technology sales UK



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that operate only in Cornwall or Devon, for instance,” he says. “We need to have a mixture because in some regions small businesses only deal with local people and they will have a much better connexion rate in that SME space. The regional businesses typically operate in the high-end SME, maybe low corporate, and they have a better reach in that space. “Then you have the nationwide partners that are going for large tenders, etc. It’s to give us a balance, but a good geographical split to give us a reach across the entire country and ensure that we’ve got service coverage nationally too. We also want to target various vertical markets based on different partners’ capabilities.” Hiro adds that this onboarding of partners will be completed in the coming months. He adds that partners will have a direct relationship with Fujifilm for hardware purchases, while suppliers will go through distribution. “This is just because of the number of moving parts in the supplier’s business, and these distributors do that on a regular basis, working with the partners, that’s what they do, so it makes life a lot easier for us,” he says. “We’re going to build a channel team that will cover sales, service, support and marketing. And that’s our mission for 2024 to 2026.” Honesty, integrity, trust But as well as the quality of the printers and back-up that Fujifilm offers, Hiro says it is the values of the company that they will look to sell to partners and end users. “Our focus is on honesty, integrity and trust,” he says. “We want to be the partner that you can depend upon. We want our partners to feel like they can trust us, work with us and grow with us. Overall, it is about being reliable. We want to be seen as the reliable brand. “It isn’t just about reliability of the products, but reliability for our channel partners and to develop a business model that allows mutual growth. Our partners need to be able to grow with us and there needs to be capacity to grow. We want to do that through innovation, through expansion in the market and by opening new avenues for our partners.” Partner programme Gary adds that Fujifilm will focus on its core products and solutions initially, and giving channel partners the tools and the assets that they are going to need to be able to sell successfully to the marketplace. “That’s things

like partner portals to give partners access to all the materials they need. That’s already live and running,” he says. “We’ve already developed a partner programme that will launch in July to give a structure and an infrastructure to the way in which we transact with our partners, which will include benefits and rewards, as well as targets and accreditation levels that they have to achieve. This will give reassurance to end users that they can choose a partner of a certain level of credibility and capability. In terms of channel engagement, we’ll be looking to do engagement through social media on different platforms, as well as through the sector media. “We are going to gradually expand in line with our resource, but equally, we’ve got really strong growth ambitions, so we need to act quickly. Phase one is traditional print partners. Phase two, we will look to look at IT resellers, MSPs and the like. “Once the partner programme has launched, we’ll start to onboard further partners. We’ll have conversations with partners in due course, with more gradual, organic onboarding of partners from October, November onwards. “We’ll be looking to appoint people to channel marketing and product marketing roles in due course too.”

We've already developed a partner programme that “

will launch in July to give a

structure and an infrastructure to the way in which we transact with our partners, which will include benefits and rewards, as well as targets and accreditation levels that they have to achieve.

First partner Fujifilm has already announced its first nationwide partner, Aurora. “We are partnering with Aurora because their core values align with ours,” says Hiro. “They focus on honesty, integrity, customer focus, innovation and partnership. Those were the key standout reasons in our decision to partner with them. “They’ve got a nationwide business and service coverage, which gives us the reassurance that they can manage opportunities for us from day one across the UK, and they’ve already got their service engineers trained up. We’ve gone through that process, and so they’ve got trained service capability nationwide. And we’ve already gone through a training process with their sales community as well, so they are ready to go live. “Aurora is a leading player in the market, with turnover of about £50 million and they have got growth ambitions to grow that, through 2024 and beyond.”






Get involved Hiro adds that Fujifilm are looking for partners and encourages businesses in the channel to reach out to them – although they are looking for those that fulfil certain criteria. “In the initial phase, we are looking for traditional partners with service capability because we don’t have the direct service capability ourselves,” he says. “That’s key because we’re trying to avoid potential partners talking to us and being disappointed. We’ve got some initial conversations for the coming weeks and months; our ambition is to have a significant pipeline of partners.” Gary adds that, speaking from his years of experience in the channel, if you create a business model that gives the partners the capability to have self-sufficiency, they can commercialise that self-sufficiency. “They can add their USP around their local understanding of the area, and their capability to do local delivery of technology and servicing with the support of a global brand,” he says. Key messages Gary and Hiro are both enthusiastic about the potential for Fujifilm, and its partners in the channel, to grow and make major inroads into the UK market. They believe that with the technology they provide – backed up by the company’s 60 years of heritage in the sector – customers will be willing to buy their products and buy into their ethos. “The key thing is to get that message out to partners and end users as there will be some out there that are not familiar with Fujifilm and its heritage and being the number one brand in Asia Pacific,” says Hiro. “They’re the key messages for us that we need to promote. Because once customers understand that, it’s a lot easier for to take the leap of faith, as it will feel like a company that they’ve always known, perhaps just under a different banner. “Fujifilm is a global brand with the ability to expand our reach further than Asia Pacific. We’ve already done that in Mexico, South Africa and India with great success and now we’re expanding into Europe. “Japanese companies always intend to have long-term relationships with their partners, and we want to being that commitment to the UK.”


Quality l Class leading print resolution of 1200x2400dpi l IReCT, digital image adjustment technology, minimises colour mis- registration l Versatile media handling capabilities with speed ranging from 20-70 pages per minute. Security l BLI Security validation (Keypoint Intelligence) l Unauthorised user protection l Robust data protection l Protection against unauthorised access. Usability/reliability l Accelerated operations with no wait time l Flexibility in office layout l Seamless connectivity with mobile devices l Easy navigation with simple UI and Attention Light Sustainability l Adopted IH fusing technologies that reduce energy consumption l Equipped the LED printhead that enables energy saving design l Developed Super EA-Eco toner that contribute to reduce power consumption achieved low-temperature fusing. Supports digital transformation l Work from anywhere/hybrid working capability l Seamless integration promoting cloud connectivity l Print with printing solution regardless time and location l Advanced scanning functions supports digitalisation process with features including searchable OCR, automatic orientation of scanned page to upright position and correcting the skewed page or removing blank pages.

If you create a business model that gives the partners the capability to have self-sufficiency, they can commercialise that self-sufficiency. “ ”


Apeos is more than just an office printer. Featuring a high resolution LED printhead, it’s capable of delivering incredible quality. Duplex scanning with automated page orientation improves your efficiency while advanced finishing units allow you to produce tri-fold printouts directly from the printer. And with uncompromising data security built-in as standard, Apeos brings multi-talented, exceptional performance directly into your workplace. Print, protect and perform with Asia Pacific’s #1 colour A3 multi-function printer. * Say hello to your new office workers. Multi-talented and exceptional performers.

*Source: IDC WW HCP Tracker, 2022 Q4, Share by Company A3 Color Laser Shipping units, Year: CY2022



Brother UK launches scanners for home workers Brother UK has launched a new line-up of compact scanners to help resellers tap into category growth and to support customers’ decentralised workforces.

connectivity to Brother Web Connect, Barcode Utility and Tungsten Automation’s suite of software to automatically save digital copies of documents in set locations, saving time and improving workflow no matter where users are working. Models are available with an additional output tray delivered in-box, making devices easier to pack away for users operating in a compact home or small office environment. “Set-ups in home and small offices are becoming more advanced, as users seek out the same benefits delivered by large work group devices, but at a fraction of the size and cost,” said Terry Caulfield, chief commercial officer at Brother UK. “The new range delivers on those needs, with faster scan speeds, reduced size and better connectivity to help users moving between home and the office. “Businesses are investing in this tech because they recognise the productivity gains on offer. This represents an opportunity for resellers to help their customers with this goal, and it applies across the whole document management landscape.” The launch of the new scanning range comes after Brother introduced a revamped line-up of laser devices, with 36 new models that are the quietest available on the market and more compact.

With employees increasingly working in hybrid or fully home-working arrangements, they need a level of equipment in their home set-up that enables them to work as effectively as if they were in the office – and this is where Brother’s new compact scanner range is aimed. The new scanning range comprises the ADS-1300 and the ADS-1800W, which replace the ADS-1200 and ADS-1700W respectively. The range has been launched as analysts forecast the document scanner category is set to grow by 28% over the next five years, as more staff require workgroup-grade devices in the home office. The upgraded models feature a new chargeable power bank making Brother’s desktop scanners portable for the first time, supporting mobile users working around offices or the home. Devices can also be powered by USB type-C directly from laptops, with no need for additional power cables. The ADS-1800W is the first model on the home scanner market to feature a 7.1” LCD touchscreen, designed to enhance user operability. The models are more compact than their previous generation, while scanning 20% faster at 30 pages per minute. The range is also compatible and bundled with a range of solutions. For example,

Terry Caufield chief commercial officer



Konica Minolta launches 21 new bizhub i-Series devices Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has announced 21 new bizhub i-Series devices, which place security and ease of use to the fore.

Available now, the range of MFPs (multifunctional printers) and SFPs (single- function printers) includes seven colour A3, five colour A4, six black and white A3 and three black and white A4 devices. The new bizhub i-Series features an advanced firmware upgrade that delivers even greater protection against malicious activity. A new Authentication Attack Detection function blocks brute force attacks that are increasingly used by cybercriminals to attempt to crack passwords and other access data. Customers can also select BitDefender anti- virus protection to deliver additional layers of security, which prevent the spread of malware to other networked devices. End users can see the status of the device’s anti-virus via the home screen, and should a threat be detected, the IT administrator is immediately notified with information about the type and origin of the threat. Ease of use has been improved with a more intuitive user interface. Applications can now be grouped into folders by theme or by frequency of use, and accessed via drag and drop, which will be familiar to smartphone users. This facilitates quick access, especially when there are many applications available. In addition, often-used functions are now preinstalled as standard for greater convenience. Simplification is also extended to the login process, for organisations using Microsoft Azure (Microsoft Entra ID) or Google Workspace, with the new models making it possible to connect to files or folders with the use of single sign-on. There are also improvements in operational efficiency, with the option to increase paper capacity with the addition of four trays, or a maximum of three optional trays for the A4 devices. This ensures a wider range of media can be processed in one print job as well as reducing the frequency with which it needs to be replenished. An improved Automatic Media Detection function is available as

standard on a selection of A3 devices (bizhub C451i, bizhub C551i, bizhub C651i and bizhub C751i) and is an option for other devices in the range. It uses ultrasonic (for envelopes) and optical sensors (based on the amount of the transmitted and reflected light) to automatically detect the type of paper (plain, thin, thick, envelope, recycled, coated, index and coloured) that is being printed on, resulting in a smooth paper feed. “The array of new features and functionality available within the line-up of 21 next- generation bizhub i-Series devices prioritise performance, productivity and reliability within a secure workplace environment,” said Philip John, category manager - office at Konica Minolta Business Solutions. The new devices available are: A3 colour: bizhub C251i, bizhub C301i, bizhub C361i, bizhub C451i, bizhub C551i, bizhub C651i, bizhub C751i A3 BW: bizhub 301i, bizhub 361i, bizhub 451i, bizhub 551i, bizhub 651i, bizhub 751i A4 colour: bizhub C3301i, bizhub C3321i, bizhub C3351i, bizhub C4001i, bizhub C4051i, A4 BW: bizhub 4051i, bizhub 4701i, bizhub 4751i

Philip John category manager – office



Paper chase The past few years have been volatile in the paper sector but now, with the return to the office and an increasing focus on sustainability, there is positivity and increasing opportunities for resellers in this market.

It has been a volatile time for the paper sector in recent years, with price rises and material shortages just two of the challenges presented to manufacturers and sellers. As Dr Liz Wilks from APP notes: “Since 2020, paper prices have almost doubled, with commodity shortages, energy prices, Brexit and surging freight costs feeding into rising prices,” says. “At the same time, significant growth in e-commerce – driven by the COVID lockdowns – brought an overwhelming increase in home deliveries. As demand soared, the price of paper did too.” This rise in price was further driven by a strike at Finnish paper mills, which led to a brief shortage of paper at one point in 2022. “When we had the shortages, paper prices went up, but to a point where they should be, if the truth be told, where everyone in the chain was making a fair margin,” says Steve Carter from Advantia. “Because prior to a couple of years ago, it was just a race to the bottom. You were selling paper for the same price that you sold it 15 years ago. In some instances, people would give it away just to get in the door because you were always judged on how much your paper cost, which is not the right thing to do.” Liz adds that paper and packing

manufacturers are now starting to stabilise, as are costs. “Though high costs, supply chain challenges, and economic uncertainty may mean the benefit is not felt until the second half of the year,” she says. Premium print As mentioned, COVID changed the sector, and, as Paul Savill from Antalis notes, the mass digitisation during the pandemic negatively impacted paper volumes overall, but it has had other effects that present opportunities to sellers. “The documents that are being printed now have greater importance and impact, placing a stronger emphasis on the substrate used to produce the completed document,” he says. “Elements such as weight, whiteness and smoothness add to the tactile qualities of the printed document and play an important role in the overall quality of the document and how a document is perceived by the individual.” Industry shift Another aspect of the sector that is growing is the shift to paper and paper packaging with the focus on alternatives to plastics. “This has meant a flood of demand for paper products,” says Liz. “However, with the rise of the circular

Dr Liz Wilks

Elements such as weight, whiteness and “

smoothness add to the tactile qualities

of the printed document and

play an important role in the overall quality of the document and how a document is perceived by the individual.


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