Ricoh turns to Tech Data Canada

Ricoh Canada has turned to Tech Data Canada for its first distribution agreement in the Canadian market, but the document solutions company says it probably won’t be its last.

The partnership with Tech Data Canada sees Ricoh Canada’s line of monochrome and colour laser printers, facsimile, options and consumables for the enterprise market added to Tech Data’s peripherals line card, rather than be sourced through Ricoh directly.

Anders Bygden, manager, printing solutions with Ricoh Canada, says Ricoh will continue to run its own distribution centre for large digital copier configuration and fulfillment.

“We’re looking for expansion and we’re looking for increased service with a limited group of products,” said Bygden. “We’re just looking for an improvement in services and an increase in meeting the expectation levels of our dealer channel.”

Ricoh’s dealer community has been growing strongly in Canada, as has Ricoh itself, says Bygden, noting that over the last year the vendor has expanded from 700 to 900 employees to meet market demand. That increasing business, he says, has put pressure on Ricoh’s distribution and dealer channel.

“We needed to find a new way to continue with high levels of service,” said Bygden. “This (agreement with Tech Data) also offers us an opportunity to see if we can increase our market expansion and assist the dealers in reaching more of the Canadian customer base.”

Bygden says Ricoh talked to all of the Canadian distributors and each had its strong-suits, but it was Tech Data’s strong National Master Standing Offer (NMSO) management experience, selling to the federal government, that won the day.

“We saw it as a great fit to align ourselves with Tech Data, who are probably the strongest NMSO distributor in Canada,” says Bygden.That said, while Ricoh is only working with Tech Data for now, Bygden says he won’t rule-out agreements with other distributors in the future.

“We’re keeping our go-forward planning open. There’s other market segments that we may wish to enter where we could find strength with the other distributors,” said Bygden.While Ricoh is strong in the enterprise segment of digital imaging, Bygden says there’s a strong VAR community serving SMB customers in highly-integrated or networked environments that holds promise.

“As we expand our product line we may have more that fits both in the price range and the capabilities to meet that market,” said Bygden.

Greg Meyers, vice-president, marketing with Tech Data Canada, says Ricoh has been gaining a lot of momentum in the Canadian market over the last few years, becoming one of the leading providers in the document management space and building a loyal dealer base.

Ricoh has never utilized the IT distribution channel in Canada before, notes Meyers, adding Ricoh has been focused in the office products channel and Tech Data in the IT distribution channel. There’s a convergence happening there, he says. On the IT side managed print services is in its infancy, but it’s a model that’s entrenched on the office products side. And on the office products side, he says, there’s increased interest in the network and networking digital devices.

“I really think that forces the office products dealer to extend their value-proposition and understand their customers from an IT perspective rather than simply an office services perspective,” said Meyers.

There’s benefits to be gained at that intersection point, says Meyers, noting just 50 per cent of the Ricoh dealer base does business with Tech Data currently.

“The benefit to the Ricoh partners is they’ll have access now to the thousands of products available from the (other) vendors we represent here at Tech Data Canada,” said Meyers, adding it also opens up new markets for Tech Data.

In addition to Tech Data’s broad catalogue of products, Meyers says Ricoh dealers will also gain access to Web search tools to assist in sourcing product, credit support, shipping options, bid support, and Tech Data’s configuration service centres in Richmond, B.C. and Mississauga, Ont.

“We can take a laser printer and its options, open up the packaging, install the options, and ship that product through our private-label delivery service directly to the end-user,” said Meyers, “And it doesn’t reference Tech Data on any of the shipping documents, only the Ricoh dealer.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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