As your customers shut down their offices and send their people home to work, it is very possible that they may actually be increasing your sales as they do.
Imagine that a workgroup of 25 people shares a multi-function device that scans, faxes, and prints across their network. Then they get word that the office is being closed to save on rent and physical plant overhead so they’ll be working from home. This is greeted by mixed reactions among the team, but what is front-of-mind for you as their print provider is the fact that each team member will now need an easy-to-use, networked multi-function device to use at home.
Your customer will also need to tie their team members more closely together through communications and process automation. Every team member will want to be able to print documents from wherever they are working. This includes both their home office, other office locations, and the ability to easily print documents from mobile devices in the field.
Workflow Automation Enables Virtual Teams
Should this workgroup be part of a supply chain operation, their workflow will need to be enabled through process automation. Sales orders or purchase orders that used to be walked down the hall for signatures or processing will now need to be produced wherever the authorizing party is located. They’ll then need to be able to easily scan and send it to the warehouse operation for further processing. Those supply chain operators using Electronic Document Interface (EDI) will need to produce Bills of Lading and other required documents at the warehouse.
Distributed Print Management
Many things change when a company goes “virtual” – having most or all of their employees work from home. Beyond needing to equip each employee with a fully operational worksite, new strategies will need to be developed for managing business processes that previously took place in-house. Among the most common are billing and invoicing, financial reports, HR forms and files, legal signatures, printed emails, purchasing approvals and marketing materials. Channel partners can help customers streamline these workflows and make them accessible to all customers, on-site or off, with a strong managed print program.
Most managers worry about how they will assure top productivity from their employees. In many cases, they discover they enjoy increased productivity thanks to reduced commute and increased scheduling flexibility.
You’ll likely find that most of your customers will not necessarily want to have their employees carrying sole responsibility for their new remote work environment. Managing print, for example, is something you’ll want to encourage them to transfer to you. Monitoring supply consumption and providing new supplies before they are needed avoids sudden outages that can disrupt productivity. Performance monitoring and preventative maintenance are also better managed by channel partners than by the employees themselves, and your assistance shouldn’t stop there.
Centralizing Major Print Production
For customers who regularly produce print jobs that require binding or special processing (such as proposals, presentations, documentation, and other key documents), your customer may prefer to have those jobs routed to a specialized production center operation, or to you. This strategy assures higher quality production and avoids the need to provide significant multiple investments in specialized production equipment, tools, and supplies.
Distribution & Centralization
No longer are distribution and centralization two opposing strategies. Instead, they are now complementary strategies that work better together. Help your customer identify those capabilities that are more economically feasible and more productive when centralized, as opposed to those which truly benefit from being distributed. As you do this, you architect their new environment and help them achieve new economies of scale they never thought possible before.
With more employees working remotely than ever before, a huge opportunity exists for channel partners to guide their customers through this transition. Your expertise in everything from placing and managing the right devices to streamlining workflows and enabling mobility can help your customers lead the charge in what is rapidly becoming the new way to work, positioning you as a trusted advisor, and enabling growth for all.
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