By Melissa Donovan
Instead of working directly with a wide format printer manufacturer, print service providers (PSPs) may find it beneficial to work with a distributor. While there are advantages to both options, a distributor offers unique benefits. These value-added dealers are positioned to serve a PSP with a vast amount of knowledge on range of products.
Working with the Distributor
There are a number of reasons why a PSP would consider doing business with a distributor versus directly with a manufacturer. For one, they often sell products from other manufacturers, and they can provide a range of options that are the best for a business. In addition, a distributor may be able to offer pricing deals, packages, and warranties not available elsewhere. Most also have multiple locations, so shipping will not take as long nor will service calls.
With multiple product lines from different vendors, distributors are able to offer a variety of options at excellent prices. “The advantage of buying through a distributor is that they are able to bundle multiple pieces of equipment, media, service, and software into a package, or roll existing leases into a single payment. Distributors many times leverage with multiple manufacturers and use their buying power to advocate for PSPs to reduce investments on a larger scale,” says Tara Lamb, president, Global Imaging, Inc.
“Distributors can provide creative product offerings that combine synergistic products from different manufacturers that are attractively priced with options for extended service and support contracts,” agrees Randy Geesman, president, Paradigm Imaging Group, Inc.
Jason Bartusick, president, Media One, says that while the general perception is that pricing is less when buying from a manufacturer directly, distributors offer other factors that present value to a PSP. This includes the ability to consolidate multiple product lines from various manufacturers for shipping and quick turnaround of inventory, translating to fast shipping, so the product is set up and running on the shop floor immediately.
The availability of more locations across the country also benefits a PSP when it comes time for a service call. “Having access to local service when your machine experiences downtime is a must. We have many customers who make the decision to buy from us—sometimes consciously spending more with us than the competition—because they know they will be able to leverage excellent and timely service that will keep their printer up and running and keep their business profitable,” admits Tracey Schaub, sales manager, TyrrellTech, Inc.
“Distributors often do the servicing for the equipment they sell. If they don’t do the servicing, they will still advocate on behalf of their customers. The distributor often eliminates any finger pointing when something goes wrong, as they own that whole experience for the PSP and will work to resolve the issue,” adds Lamb.
The PSP Profile
PSPs of numerous shapes and sizes work with wide format printer distributors.
For Agfa Graphics, the ideal PSP is one looking to grow their business. “They already have a good handle on their operating costs whether a small, mid-level, or a large national PSP. They may be looking to expand their inkjet offerings, or they may be interested in new ways to reduce costs and improve profitability,” suggests Michael Ciaramella, VP of sales, Agfa.
A PSP considering a long-term partnership is ideal. “Our philosophy on partnering with a quality distributor rather than a manufacturer is that the distributor can become an extension of the PSP’s staff and a partner who is involved consistently rather than only occasionally,” shares Lamb.
According to Geesman, PSPs who recognize the advantages of working with a distributor are those looking for integrated solutions and assistance with optimizing production workflows that address their particular needs. “Many PSPs are involved in selling equipment and solutions in addition to their internal production needs, so partnering with a distributor can fulfill both purposes,” he adds.
Operations for Consideration
Here we provide a background on some wide format printer distributors in the U.S.
Advanced Color Solutions has two locations, one in Corona, CA and the other in the Midwest. The company sells printers from Mutoh America, Inc. and Roland DGA Corporation. It offers sublimation packages that bundle printers with heat presses to provide an end-to-end solution.
Advantage Sign & Graphic Solutions’ corporate headquarters is located in Hudsonville, MI. It has several branches throughout the U.S. to serve customers nationwide, including AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, MN, PA, TX, VA, and WA. Over 90 employees serve the sign and graphics industry. Printer manufacturers represented include Epson, Gerber Technology, and HP, Inc.
Agfa is unique in that it is both a manufacturer and distributor. With 18 locations coast to coast, it delivers solutions within 24 to 48 hours. A staff size of 530 provides product expertise in inkjet equipment, ink, media, applications, and color management. Printer brands offered include Agfa, Epson, and HP.
Big Systems, LLC, based in Menomonee Falls, WI, is a value-added printer dealer and system integrator. It works with PSPs throughout the Midwest and the U.S. The company offers printers from Epson, Graphics One, HP, and Mimaki USA, Inc.
Denco Sales is headquartered in Denver, CO. It has eight locations throughout the Western U.S., with branches in CO, ID, NM, OR, and WA, plus three in CA. It offers top products for visual communication providers in addition to installation and training. Denco distributes printers from Gerber, HP, and Roland.
Global Imaging hosts a corporate office in Louisville, CO, with remote locations that include sales staff and warehousing from coast to coast. 35 employees offer product expertise in both Canada and the U.S. from knowledge on grand format, fabric, and UV to large format 3D. Printer brands offered include Durst Image Technology US LLC, Massivit 3D, Novus Imaging, Inc., and PrinterEvolution.
Grimco, Inc. is a national company with locations coast to coast serving the sign industry. With its main location in Fenton, MO, it offers printers from Epson and HP.
GSG Inc. has locations in LA, OH, OK, and TX; with its main office in Dallas, TX. It not only sells digital printers, but through its equipment services division provides maintenance and repair of equipment. Digital printers offered include Epson, HP, and Roland.
LexJet Corporation’s corporate headquarters is based in Sarasota, FL. Additional locations are placed strategically throughout the U.S. to serve PSPs nationwide, guaranteeing customers get what they need quickly. These locations include GA, IL, NV, PA, TX, and ON, Canada. The company distributes printers from Canon USA, Inc., Epson, HP, and Oki Data Americas.
Media One is split between four locations, with its headquarters in Garden Grove, CA. A staff of 35 help service PSPs with printers from d.gen, HP, Mimaki, MJet, and Oki Data. Its product expertise is textile manufacturing. The company serves clients nationwide.
NuSign Supply offers warehouse and service centers in both Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX. It distributes equipment from DGI, Epson, HP, Massivit 3D, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland.
Paradigm Imaging Group is located in Costa Mesa, CA. It provides printer hardware from manufacturers like Mutoh and SID Signs. With an expertise in large format scanning and printing, it offers products to the sign, AEC, fine art, GIS, and manufacturing markets through a reseller network of over 150 partners throughout North America.
TyrrellTech has three locations in FL, MD, and NJ, serving areas up and down the East Coast. Its staff of 23 include service-trained sales representatives to ensure PSPs speak to a technical salesperson when they have questions about products. The distributor offers printers from Epson, Mimaki, and Roland.
The Value of a Distributor
Conducting business with distributors presents advantages including quick service and a number of hardware options. If nothing else, they are a good resource. “One of the greatest benefits of partnering with a distributor is the broad scope of knowledge and product portfolio they offer. By building a strong relationship with a distributor, PSPs can count on them as a source of information,” recommends Lamb. Consider working with a distributor to purchase your next wide format printer.
May2017, Digital Output