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Are document costs costing smes?

How many small to medium sized (SMEs) businesses are aware of the true cost of document management to the business? Depending on print scale and volume, a company’s document costs can equate to as much as 10% of the total company spend. Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA) Digital Product Specialist, Andrew Griffith says many SMEs look at internal document production as a pure commodity. “The devices selected to print, copy or fax are seen as a means to an end rather than devices or solutions to optimize their business communication processes,” he says. While the purchase price in a retail outlet for an entry level fax, laser printer, colour inkjet may seem less expensive, businesses need to consider whether they are presenting the business optimally. Are the documents of a high quality? Are documents in black and white or colour? What documents should be in colour? What is being outsourced? Are the devices being used productively? How long does it take to print multiple copies of the same document? What is the cost of printer, toner and other spares? Does the company have competent back-up service? “How else do you present your business if not through documents, business plans, marketing materials, invoices?” says Griffith. “It is also important to consider the long-term productivity, workflow and cost to business.” And then there’s assimilation gap, which Griffith explains as the disparity between rapid technological introduction and the market’s inability to absorb those changes at the same rate.
“It is in this arena that companies like KMSA can offer services and technology to help clients bridge the gap. Someone running an SME can draw on our expertise to understand what is on offer and what is best for the business,” says Griffith. With a major shift from the sale of standalone devices to a focus on multi functional devices and their ability to be integrated with existing and new IT infrastructures, there is a lot more to consider for any business. In addition, software bundling has been introduced to add incremental value to companies document solutions. Today, Griffith says, the focus is moving towards process and workflow, where product is secondary to services. “This stage is all about value-add based on knowledge with the aim of making significant financial gains and improving efficiencies for our clients. Our model puts subject matter expertise, incorporating solution design and implementation, at the core of what we offer our clients,” says Griffith. Whatever companies save goes straight onto the bottom line.
“Many SMEs are growth driven and effective document management can help them become more profitable. It is a matter of evaluating the total cost of ownership, not only capital spend. As print volumes increase, the total spend will go up. KMSA BestSourcing division combines a customised print policy with a technology sourcing concept that minimises companies total cost of ownership by leveraging their existing hardware and software. The result is improved internal governance with mechanisms in place to measure and control paper and print consumption, which results in a reduction in print costs, as well as paper and consumable usage. Most products sold in retail outlets do not have comprehensive nationwide back-up. KMSA has a national footprint with 14 branches and 46 dealers around the country. Its Professional Services division is made up of specialist engineers – network specialists, application software specialists, colour specialists – who form teams to assess and address the wide range of client requirements relating to document solutions.

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