Samsung's new UK printer boss has acknowledged the vendor's recent struggle with staff attrition issues as he talked up his B2B expansion plans.
Mark Ash joined Samsung from Xerox in December with the stated aim of expanding the Korean vendor's B2B printer business in the UK and Ireland.
Samsung's UK print business is currently split equally between B2B and B2C but Ash told CRN the aim is have 77 per cent of revenue coming from B2B by the end of the year.
Managed print services (MPS) and mobile print will be two particular areas of focus, he said.
CRN's initial story on Ash's appointment prompted a flurry of comments from resellers irritated by the high turnover of staff at the vendor in recent months and what they saw as a lack of focus.
Ash claimed that Samsung now had a handle on this as he reshapes the strategy.
"The attrition rate in the past has been too high and we have had that feedback from a number of channel partners," he said. "But that is one of the reasons I'm here – I have been brought in to build a business that is focused on the channel."
Ash has already enlisted two lieutenants in the shape of Emma Whitehouse, who had been at Xerox for seven years, and Jamie Brothwell, who served a 10-year stint at distributor Midwich.
Serial job swappers need not apply for the few posts that have yet to be filled, he said.
"The feedback from partners is they are looking for [Samsung] people who have a long track record in B2B. I am picking people with a stable history. There is a tendency for people to move roles quickly in our industry but I am looking for people who have had typically six or seven years' [experience] and above."
While Brothwell is helming a revamped channel sales team, Whitehouse's unit will focus on creating demand for Samsung's MPS services before passing leads to resellers.
Ash said Samsung is approaching MPS differently from rivals including his former firm Xerox, which he said operates a "prescriptive" model where resellers are forced to dance to the vendor's tune.
In contrast, Samsung is in the process of launching a modular MPS model that will allow resellers to pick and choose only the elements of MPS they need. A consumables supplier may only need help with the nationwide services element of MPS, while – on the flip side – a service provider may just need a consumables partner, Ash said.
"Speaking solely for Xerox, it is a prescriptive model. You have to meet its Ts and Cs and there are a number of partners that would like to use its one print management software," he said. "With us, there are no barriers to entry."
Resellers have two other MPS options, he added. If they have the resources in-house, they can provide a bespoke service based on Samsung's products and supplies. Thirdly, they have the option of working with Samsung global alliance partner Getronics, an option Ash said was in line with its competitors' MPS offerings.
"The benefit of MPS is that it gives our resellers a level of comfort and a forecastable revenue stream," he added.
Although Samsung's position in its core A4 laser printing market swtiches between second and third, both in the UK and globally, Ash said the goal is to become number one.
"Samsung is now the [world's] ninth most-valuable brand [according to a recent survey by Interbrand]," he said. "Our brand recognition is very, very high and the challenge is now to link print to the brand.
"This year we will keep the B2C business we have but will really push forward into the B2B space."
Samsung rationalised its print distribution line-up at the end of last year by terminating its agreement with Ingram Micro.
Alex Ward, commercial director at Midwich – one of the four remaining distributors alongside Micro-P, Westcoast and Computer 2000 – was upbeat about Samsung's prospects in the print market.
"A lot of the time it's about getting the right people in place and I think they have now done that," he said.
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