Should my organization seek to acquire printer devices directly from a manufacturer or through a locally-based dealership?
As many large companies or organizations near the end of their printer device lease agreements or need to replace older models, it’s not usual for representatives from various device manufacturers to reach out. There are many perceived perks to such a direct relationship with printer manufacturers. On the other hand, there are many advantages to seeking device agreements with locally-based dealerships. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Direct Relationships With Printer Manufacturer Companies
Pros of Agreements Directly with Printer Manufacturers
- Direct access: Rubbing elbows with a device manufacturer can have many benefits for larger entities. Some of these companies may receive exclusive offers or hardware only offered to clients deemed to be of greater importance.
- Added prestige: There’s a certain amount of panache that comes with being a customer of a technology manufacturer without intermediaries. Though largely regarded as an indication of success, such arrangements may be deemed mutually beneficial.
- Consistent support for widespread locations: Larger organizations or entities likely have various locations scattered across several cities or even countries. Attaining support from a device manufacturer as opposed to a locale-based dealer allows for consistent support, invoicing, and other cooperation across various geographic locations.
Cons of Agreements Directly with Printer Manufacturers
- Decreased flexibility: Though having a business relationship with a major printer manufacturer sounds rosy, such a deal may come at the cost of flexibility. Due to the prestige inherent in the arrangement, said manufacturers might be less willing to bend to the needs of the client company if it could potentially injure their brand image. This may be even more likely among manufacturers with specific brand images—such as luxury or high-tech image.
- Poorer customer service: Perhaps the most glaring downside to dealing directly with a potentially unapproachable printer manufacturer is service. Being that the headquarters for the manufacturer may not be in the same city, let alone country, this geographic expanse can slow down customer service times. Instead of simply calling out a nearby technician to remedy a device issue, your organization may be stuck on hold with 1-800-WHO-CARES.
Relationships With Locally-Based Printer Dealerships
Pros of Printer Agreements with Dealerships
- Local point of contact: For those who value shaking hands (or touching elbows) with a local human regarding their printer devices, dealerships may be preferred. Not only are you more likely to quickly get a representative on the phone, but it’s very likely to be the same representative each time.
- Local service: When it comes to device service, there’s an advantage to having a team of technicians down the street. This significantly shortens any projected downtime due to a printer device issue.
- Flexibility: Local dealerships are competing for your business with other dealerships in the area. This smaller pool of clients gives them the incentive to accommodate the needs of your business better. This is especially helpful when negotiating and renegotiating printer agreements.
- Supporting local businesses: Choosing to do business with an entity down the street is a great way to not only keep tax dollars close to home but also to support the local businesses that, in turn, support vital community programs.
Cons of Printer Agreements with Dealerships
- Disconnect from manufacturer leadership: Though dealerships have much of the same power to represent their associated brand as manufacturers, some larger companies may have unique scenarios in need of running up the flagpole.
- Geographically anchored: Most printer dealerships have a geographic region they serve. While many larger entities may only be positioned within these boundaries, companies with locations in many different cities, states, or even countries may not be able to reap the full service benefits of a geographically isolated dealership.
The Verdict: A Lot to Consider
Larger companies who are on the fence between seeking printer device services from a local dealership or directly through the manufacturer have a lot to consider. To simplify the decision, it pays for your company to determine your unique circumstances, must-haves, and deal-breakers before speaking with either printer manufacturers or dealerships.
- Do you need 24-hour turnaround service?
- Do you have locations in multiple states or countries?
- Is it important for your company to have a singular point of contact?
- Have you been burned before, and if so, how?
Amassing your wants, needs, and deal-breakers will go a long way toward narrowing down the decision to go with a printer dealership or directly with a manufacturer.