Xerox is still a name to reckon with, when it comes to printers and managed printing services. But a few years ago, the company tried many things which did not augur well for the company. As a result, it lost considerably to the market forces and competition. However, the company is trying to rise from its ashes with renewed vigor and market strategy. Dataquest had a chat with Ashraf ElArman, Managing Director of Xerox India regarding the company’s roadmap for India.
It is no hidden truth that Xerox has been through rough waters for quite sometime. But how will you summerize the Xerox story in India in simple words?
In my view, fluctuations in the market especially in the currency had a negative impact on us as Xerox is a 100% import-based business. In addition, our cost of doing business was very high. These factors limited our growth in India for about 3-4 years. But now we have started taking corrective actions and are optimizing our cost of business as well as the supply chain. We are looking at strengthening our channel presence so that Xerox appears more strong in the regions. In order to stay competitive, we have done price adjustments in our products and offerings. We have a vast range of offerings that cater all kinds of customers. We have a strong presence in the enterprise space through our MPS business. Further, we have extended our portfolio into the inkjet space. We are soon launching in India Xerox Impika inkjet printers.
What are your plans with regards to MPS business?
Our managed print services business has been a bright spot. Xerox is one of the first vendors to offer XPPS to extend the benefits of MPS to all (MPS through partners for Mid-market and SMEs). With MPS standards, Xerox is able to deliver to the customers, savings upto 30% on the costs over the life-cycle of the project. We have also launched next generation MPS for our customers in India where the customers are able to integrate our MPS products and solutions into their IT infrastructure. We have simplified the automation process with our new MPS range.
How optimistic are you about the Indian market especially when you look at the printer segment?
India is a huge as well as a growing market. Compared with the rest of the world, India stands out with its sheer size and positive growth statistics. We believe that a great opportunity lies in the regions where we have started increasing our presence. Corporates and SMEs are our customers in different parts of the country. We are becoming more active in all regions so that customers can trust us, be with us for a long time. We have also revised prices to compete against the competition. We have improved our support network. Our channel network plays a key role in taking our products to the consumers. We have added more partners.
What sort of challenges do perturb you from the competition or the market scenario?
Challenges continue to be there. Indian market is very competitive and price sensitive. This is the reason that we reach out to large customers and corporates with our next generation MPS solutions. It helps them to improve their productivity and reduce costs. Xerox is a brand that gives customers outstanding value for money – not only at the acquisition stage but throughout the product lifecycle.
For SMEs, we are expanding our channel reach in India and enhancing our office automation solutions. We are becoming more aggressive in the market.
What are your plans with regards to Graphic Communication (Digital Printing)?
Xerox is a pioneer and technology leader in the GC market and has the largest product portfolio providing the customer the right product to fit their requirement with the option of scalability and upgradeability and allowing them to start with a relatively small investment and then scale it up as business grows. Xerox leads from the front with innovative and versatile offerings that deliver outstanding image quality with excellent productivity saving both time and money for its customers enabling them to do more with less. Xerox is the benchmark for service for its production equipment
Where do you import your products from? Do you have plans to manufacture in India?
We import Xerox products from our central hub Netherlands. Undoubtedly the imports from Netherlands put pressure on us as our competitors are importing it from APAC. We try that there is no impact on the pricing structure in the Indian market. We have done changes in the supply chain so that the cost is contained. We have moved our main warehouse from Bangalore to Mumbai. We have also done changes in the distribution network to accommodate to the new facility.
What would be road ahead for Xerox after it is about to split from its outsourcing business?
The market reality has changed since the company acquired the business. I would not comment much on this as document business and BPO businesses are different in nature. Moving forward, I would say that the split will help both the groups to grow in their areas. As the global headquarters have already announced, the split will happen by the end of 2016. It will also simplify the organizational structure.