By: Rich Cucco
During my thirty years of owning and operating office equipment dealerships in Chicago, Indiana and Wisconsin, my organizations have helped thousands of small and mid-sized clients acquire the right office equipment for their company’s unique requirements. New technologies have changed the way we look at how documents are stored, moved and printed. Hence, charting a successful course when buying digital office equipment for your company, has become more difficult.
Let’s review the top 5 qualities to look for when searching for a reliable Office Equipment Dealer
- Local management: This is the single most important aspect of choosing the right office equipment dealer for your organization. Your relationship can not be with just the sales representative you gave the order to, it is important to know the IT support manager, service manager, CFO, and inside sales manager and if your needs are great the President of the organization. These are the individuals that will determine a positive day to day experience and whether or not you will get a return on your office equipment investment
- Best of Breed Offering: In the world of office technology there is no one manufacturer that has the magic bullet and the answer to all of your company’s document solution needs. When I consult successful companies on their office product needs I stress that they must choose a provider that has relationships with the top global office equipment. Seek out a company that has these relationships and services many brands, giving you more options, which in turn brings better value to the solution you choose. Stay away from a “one size (brand) fits all”.
- Referrals and history of success dealing in your industry: In the office equipment business past dealings are a good predictor of future satisfaction. Demand referrals from your future provider from other companies and see how their “multidimensional” support has been. My suggestion is that it would even be better if that relationship was in the same business as your company. Satisfaction after the sale is your goal.
- Flexibility: There is nothing that you manage in your office that is static. As a matter of fact, during these tough economic times when you are managing your business with too little sleep and staff, require that your office equipment provider is flexible. Flexibility should be available for your leasing programs, delivery, pricing, service hours and those unique requirements that only your office seems to ask for. To ensure your satisfaction over the term, discuss conflicts from your present provider, and have the new provider show how they will improve upon these. You will find that the large, locally owned office products dealer can provide you with the most flexibility. Direct branches do not have local management, so any corporate policies and procedures will trump any promises made locally.
- Acquisition programs: What’s the next step after you’ve found your “best of breed” solution and a local dealer to provide service and support? Acquiring the products. Long after the excitement over a good price has vanished, the true value will be in your return on investment. Determine what your total cost of ownership is over the contract term. Remember this includes all of the components such as the equipment, supplies, on-going training and service. Talk to your accountant, but with a depreciating asset, leasing seems to be the acquisition method of choice for the equipment. I like to recommend keeping the acquisition of the equipment separate from the supply and service contract. In the future you may decide to change servicing providers which is next to impossible if you put everything in one “easy” monthly payment.
Remembering these top qualities when looking for an Office Equipment Dealer will guarantee long term satisfaction for you and your employees, as it is one of the few areas that affect the efficiency and productivity of every employee.