Sharp, a leading player in digital printers, has woken up to the Indian
opportunity. Sharp Business Systems CEO Sunil K Sinha outlines the Sharpdesk
strategy. Sharp Business Systems India, a 74:26 JV between Sharp Corporation
Japan and Larsen & Toubro India is all set to gain more than a toe-hold in
the HP-dominated print management solutions market. Sinha believes that the time
for pushing digital printers/copiers in India has come. He outlines the company’s
strategy in an interview with Nandita Singh of CyberMedia News Service.
What’s so unique about the Sharp Digital Imager?
At 33 paisa per page in gray scale, it makes for an ideal cost cutting
solution in an organization. Also, it is an ideal option when one’s objective
is to have control over the workflow, or confidentiality. We have created a
suite of fully networked, user-friendly solutions for our imager line of digital
multifunction products. It gives users the ability to copy, print, scan and fax
information from one single device. The integrated software Sharpdesk mimics the
workflow in an organization, making it easy for users to manage document
workflow, monitor print conditions and activities, and track printing usage for
accounting purposes–all from the convenience of one’s desktop. With this
device, users can generate, duplicate, integrate and disseminate information
quickly and seamlessly.
In one of its latest models, Sharp has included an ImageSEND
feature, with which users can fax or e-mail scanned documents in a single step
at an incredible speed–a fax takes just two seconds. When fully connected, it
becomes an input device that allows users to convert a hard copy document into
digital information that can be e-mailed, converted to other formats, and shared
across networks or the Internet.
How is Sharp positioned in the Indian digital
Sharp has been the pioneer in the digital imaging market. It is true that HP
has the stronghold in the copier/printer and there are other players too. But if
it’s digital, nobody gives you as much value as Sharp does. And going by the
market forecast, 80% of the copier market will be digital by 2005. This is a
huge opportunity. For digital imaging we have started marketing at New Delhi and
Kolkata and will be extending the initiative to other major cities as well. We
have 10 sales and 15 service offices across the country, along with a strong
distribution network of 330 dealers.
What marketing strategy is Sharp adopting to step up
Our marketing effort is largely direct and personalized. We go to the client’s
place, which usually is a corporate-sector large enterprise, give a demo and
even leave the machine there for a few days for them to have a feel. Most often,
they don’t like us to take it back. One realizes that the usage cost comes
down dramatically as does the cost of consumables, and seamless information flow
is integrated in the business processes.
How have you involved your dealer network in the marketing
We are looking at strengthening our distribution network and may appoint
more dealers. However, we are not looking at catering to old-for-new exchange
schemes or even replacement demand. We provide value to the customer and will
not be adopting mass marketing tactics. Sharp stands for value and remains so.
We are conducting product demos across the major cities. I would say, since the
launch of the product in July 2003, it has done satisfactorily. As the IT
infrastructure-spend rises, the market for our product will also pick up. With a
price range beginning from Rs 39,000, there is a value proposition for an
organization of every size. It is just that there is not enough awareness about
our product in the market. We are looking at how to change that. Our product
will sell on its integrated office automation feature value, which can be scaled
up as the organization grows.
NANDITA SINGH /CNS in Hyderabad