Orlando, FL—Wanting to leverage the magic offered by a city known for sparking the imagination of children and adults alike, Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions (TGCS) united to host the annual 2017 LEAD (Learn, Engage, Act, Deliver) reseller and end user event held May 2-5 at the Swan and Dolphin Resort.
The event drew upwards of 1,350 Toshiba end users, resellers, business partners, media and analysts, who were treated to several technology unveilings, including the debut of Toshiba’s Elevate, an embedded platform engineered for use with the company’s e-STUDIO multifunction printers. Elevate is a customized user interface that simplifies user operation and helps optimize workflow, security, accounting and end-user productivity.
During the opening keynote address to dealers, Scott Maccabe, president and CEO of TABS and TGCS, maintained that while the Toshiba, Japan, parent has been in the news recently with the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of its Westinghouse nuclear division, it has no bearing on TABS, TGCS or the two Toshiba business units’ parent company, Toshiba Tec Corp. In fact, Toshiba Tec’s stock price has risen 29 percent in the last 12 months while many competitors have witnessed much smaller increases or even declines.
Maccabe transitioned to the expansion of Toshiba’s managed print services and the goal of increasing the customer conversion from black and white to color. To that end, the company launched 23 MFPs and other new products during 2016. Maccabe noted that demand was underestimated, as Toshiba grew its A3 color unit sales 7.3 percent year over year during the past six months. Meanwhile, A4 unit sales jumped 14.4 percent during that same period.
Managed print services is experiencing a boon for Toshiba despite the decline in page volumes, with 14 percent year-over-year growth. This was attained by putting more e-STUDIO MFPs and customer-owned printers under contract and delivering the managed print value proposition to more customers. Market gains were realized in a number of other areas, including thermal barcode printers, professional services and the Ellumina digital signage line.
“The bottom line is, we’re committed to helping you, our valued resellers,” Maccabe said. “We want you to compete in all areas of our portfolio, from document sales to digital signage.”
Following Toshiba’s dealer awards presentation, the company rolled out three product introductions of note: the Elevate MFP user interface, the eco-friendly MFP e-STUDIO 4508LP and the v360 vertical sales education program. In their own ways, all three are designed to enable a better user experience.
Noting that each market has its own workflow, language and business applications, Bill Melo, chief marketing executive for TABS, stressed that Elevate can transform a garden-variety MFP into a completely customizable solution that speaks to user-friendly needs. Toshiba has created eight industry-specific interfaces for many dealer sweet spots—retail, legal, health care, education, government, logistics and manufacturing, finance and houses of worship—featuring simplified operations for industry-specific tasks.
“Elevate is a game changer,” Melo said. “It allows you to create a completely customized user interface, unlocking the power of the MFP and its companion apps to deliver workflow, accounting, security and print management solutions to you right from the box.”
The challenge with traditional MFPs, Melo added, is that common tasks are too difficult to execute and sophisticated MFP tasks essentially go unused.
The e-STUDIO 4508LP features a hybrid design, prints at 45 ppm in monochrome or eco mode with erasable blue toner and the ability to reuse paper. The unit can be configured with any number of options, including finishing, and should be available in June, according to Joe Contreras, vice president of products and solutions marketing.
Contreras also provided details regarding the v360 program, which takes a holistic approach to building a sales rep’s competencies and expertise. It provides comprehensive sets of sales enablement materials that help reps focus on selling, bolstered by four key elements: education (with insights across eight key verticals), industry solutions, incentives and demand generation.
“The v360 program will empower your sales teams to pursue opportunities outside their comfort zone and do so by providing best-in-class education so that they’re well-versed in the industries that they’re pursuing,” Contreras remarked.
During the course of the next two days, attendees were treated to an itinerary that featured 18 educational sessions, touching on topics ranging from the new Toshiba releases to managed print services, document workflows and strategies, fulfillment and expanding MFP capabilities. The influx of new products issued in 2016, along with the trio of major unveilings in Orlando, indicate Toshiba is not only bullish on the future of the dealer channel, but is also looking to bridge the knowledge gap for end users. That only increases the dealer’s value proposition in the end user’s eyes.