Kyocera grows in a challenging economic climate

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Patience and strategy pay off for the Japanese company

In a climate where other vendors have “lost the plot” Kyocera has been growing.

However, the channel is facing challenges stemming from new technology, the company’s sales director, Graham Cox told ChannelBiz today.

Over the last three years, Kyocera has grown from £38 million to £65 million in the UK. Mr Cox said this year alone the Japanese company had grown 20 percent on the previous year’s performance.

However, it’s not always been a bed of roses.

“Three years ago we weren’t performing well,” Mr Cox told ChannelBiz.

“However, in a currently hard economy we’re now growing.”

The company puts its success down to a patient wait and years of work.

“There’s a few things that have contributed to [our success],” Mr Cox said.

“Some of it is timing, another is the strong message around our product line up. Eight years ago when I joined the company I saw this line up as being key. We also had a strong message around TCO and in the dealership space we offered a low cost of ownership.

“Eight years ago this wasn’t a popular idea but we had already seen strength in this.

“We were at the time breaking barriers down in spasmodic areas but it wasn’t going well until three years ago when this trend became popular and all our hard work fell into place.”

However, timing isn’t everything. Mr Cox explained that the way Kyocera deals with its channel customers was another one “key driver.

“We’re exclusively channel aligned and don’t sell direct so this gives our clients a safety net. Vendors that wear both hats often conflict,” he told ChannelBiz.

“We also look at how we can add value to our channels.”

According to Mr Cox the company looks at three key areas. Firstly the service and dealer arena where companies offer services on cost per click. The second is the IT reseller.

“This was the traditional transaction arena but in the past few years we’re trying to educate clients about managed services,” he said.

Then there’s the system integrator channel, which has seen Kyocera form partnerships with the likes of BT and Fujitsu, and eventually it hopes to offer its services to them.

However,  the flagging economy has taken its toll on the channel.
“There are challenges because of the economy,” Mr Cox said.

“Margins are being squeezed and as technology changes the channel needs new skill sets to manage this. These, of course, cost and don’t go hand in hand with squeezed margins.

“Dealerships are seeing margins erode and becoming more technology led but some don’t have the investment required to keep up to date with these new changes so have to sell their business on.

“Everyone has lost the plot out there. There’s less money to be had and this means most vendors don’t want to spend their money.

“We’re different. It’s not rocket science to get success right and we don’t want our channel partners to have hassle.

“If you offer a reasonable price, reasonable product and a good relationship, then it all works,” Mr Cox added.

He said that the company had a team of professional services which reached out to help with these problems.

“We’re also mindful of loyalty,” he continued.

“If we can help keep the costs down then we know we can help our partners.”

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