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Kyocera: In tough times, get closer to your suppliers

Print and document management player advises the channel to deepen relationships, while elsewhere, Canon puts more products into the hands of partners

Kyocera has reacted to the recent government insolvency service figures for last year by talking about its commitment to helping partners weather tough economic conditions.

The government’s insolvency service indicated that the number of businesses that failed last year rose by 14%, with increased interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis fuelling that increase.

Rod Tonna-Barthet, CEO at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, said the figures had given the vendor some pause for thought about how it could help its channel.

“One crucial lesson that we should take away from the increased insolvency numbers is that relationships are important,” he said. “It’s more crucial now than ever to build and maintain strong connections with current and potential partners, as we are more likely to weather storms like this one if we work together.”

Tonna-Barthet accepted that partners were looking for solid relationships with vendors and advised them to keep lines of communication open.

“Take steps to engage more closely with your suppliers, check in on how they are doing, and foster a culture of openness and transparency where all parties are comfortable discussing their challenges,” he said. “After all, every company in the supply chain is heavily dependent on the others for long-term success.”

Although partners would be keen to seal deals, Tonna-Barthet advised a longer-term view, with relationships taking time to build and develop.

Practical steps

The firm is advising its channel to take some practical steps to improve the chances of gaining vendor support and insights. “Regular meetings are essential for building lasting relationships with suppliers and ensuring resilience in the supply chain,” said Tonna-Barthet.

“Training is also vital for equipping your partners to be as successful as possible, especially for channel partners who are reselling your products and solutions,” he added. “This builds loyalty, makes your partners brand champions, and ensures productive and supportive long-term relationships. All of your partners should receive consistent guidance on how to deal with tough times and should be kept in the loop about any new products or plans in your pipeline.

“There’s never been a better time for organisations and their partners to form closer bonds, re-evaluate their relationships and figure out new ways to support one another. Put the work in now, and the entire supply chain will become more resilient, both during tough times and the calmer periods to come.”

Another factor in smoothing relationships between vendors and partners is for the latter to arm its channel with the right products and technologies to take to market.

Elsewhere in the print world, Canon is following that approach, and has increased the products its channel partners can pitch with the expansion of its i-SENSYS range.

The vendor is releasing six updated A4 devices that will be available to its partners, with the products including more security features, a strong sustainability pitch and performance improvements.

Stuart Miller, director of channel partners at Canon UK, said it was important to keep putting a wide variety of hardware, software and solutions options into the hands of the channel. “With the addition of the newly refreshed i-SENSYS and i-SENSYS X products, we are further strengthening our portfolio, offering a range of strong security credentials and premium quality printing output, which fits into many types of end customer businesses,” he said.

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