Grow in Tight Competition

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COMPETITION in the business of office equipment should not be taken lightly. Regardless the few players, the competition stays tight. Among players in the business, PT Datascrip is a fairly senior player. The company positions as supplier as well as distributor involved in retail sales.

Established in 1969, PT Datascrip has quite of extensive experience. Besides furniture, its strategic business units vary from computer peripherals, stationery and office machines, CAD and survey system, multimedia presentation system to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution.

Datascrip is not the only company in the business of office equipment. There are among others PT Bostinco, Vinoti, Vilato, PT Indovickers, Olympics, PT Elite Permai Metal Works, PT Lion Metal Work, PT Tritanu, PT Samafitro, PT Asaba, PT Intisar Primula, PT Chitose Manufacturing Indonesia, PT Pagoda Jaya Perkasa, PT Sahabat Utama TraCo, and many more.

Stationary business grows in line with the revival of economic situation indicated by establishment of new businesses. In order to support daily activities, those businesses certainly need office facilities.

Not only stationery, various office equipment are also on demand. Those include electronic equipment such as computer, notebook, presentation apparatus, server, facsimile machines, fotocopy machines, scanner, paper shredder to attendance machines. And non-electronic equipment are such as desks, chairs, partitions, office doors, safes and others. In short, as a business opportunity, this business of office equipment is quite promising and provide opportunity for business people who seeks to obtain high revenue.

Of course, the promising business of office equipment attracts new players. Some join manufacturing, while others focus in distribution. In result, the market gets more dynamic. Moreover, lately more products from China with cheaper prices also heats up the competition.

The types of office apparatus is quite extensive, and the segment also quite vary. But it is worth noted that high end products with international brands dominate most categories of products office apparatus in Indonesia. Products for video conference, to mention an instance. Shopisticated devices are on high demand among big companies for this long-distance communication, and the products are commonly import ones.

Based on an investigation of SWA magazine, the market of this business is divided into two, old players mostly from Europe, Japan as well as local player and products from China. These products from China has low price strategy. For certain products, the prices can hit 60% lower than those of products of the old players.

Furthermore, in further investigation, office equipment companies tend not only to rely on the pattern of conventional sales in marketing their products. Previously, sales was more handed to the sales team (direct sales) and retailers, but currently new sales channels serve as alternatives. In short, now the flow of goods from factory does not necessarily comes down through retailers or distributors, but can go straight to end users and through retail channels.

From these two channels, the modern retail channel (particularly hypermarket) and corporate marketing channel (plus institution) are being intensively worked on. As a matter of fact, some companies have particularly formed marketing division assigned to target these segments. Thus, there are divisions of retail sales, corporate sales, and so on.

It is understandable that, taking into account the vast market — specific management is required – thus methods of marketing and approaches need specific techniques and styles. The decision making process to purchasing of corporate and institution buyers differ from those of individuals. To work on this corporate market more intensive business to business (B2B) approach is required.

But it can clearly be stated, that regardless the types of products, most players realize the importance of after sales service. Not few of them have established service centers. The availability of after sales service is essential and proven to become comsumers’ primary consideration prior to making decision on purchasing.

Actually, after sales service nowadays does not always have to be attached to the office apparatus suppliers, and may serve as a business of its own. In fact in many cases players are succesful in this field, specially in maintenance and service.

Like other commodities, the development of technology in office apparatus grows fast. Digitalization, that is the trend growing lately, from data storage media (such as flash disks), office space easily and electronically adjustable, attendance machine, electronic white board to video conference media. With this digitalization, office apparatus gets more complete, compact and cheaper. Other trend, many more products have multifunction features. For example, small-size photocopy machines with facsimile facility, also serve as printer and scanner.

Other development is that the vendors no longer position themselves as mere producers or sales, but also solution providers. That is why they educate their marketing teams to be more clever in approaching the clients, not only in terms of product knowledge, but also integrated service. Business office apparatus keeps growing indeed, but the competition gets thigher! (Danu Kuntoaji)

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