Exertis Cybersecurity to Host Event on Managed Detection and Response for MSPs and MSSPs

Exertis Cybersecurity, a leading distributor of cybersecurity solutions, is hosting an event on Managed Detection and Response (MDR) for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) at The Ivy Restaurant in Dublin on December 6th.
MDR is the fastest-growing cybersecurity segment with a CAGR of 48%, driven by skills shortages, budget constraints, alert fatigue, detection efficiency, and the rise in sophisticated attacks on global organizations. By 2025, it is estimated that 50% of global organisations will be using an MDR service for threat monitoring, detection, and response functions.
The event will feature presentations from Exertis Cybersecurity experts on the benefits of MDR and how to implement an MDR solution in your business. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with other MSPs and MSSPs and learn more about the latest solutions from SonicWall and eSentire.
“In a world where threats evolve, unity becomes our strongest defence. We’re hosting an event in which we’re bringing along two of our Cybersecurity vendors, SonicWall and eSentire, to showcase their unique potentials in the market. We are keen to highlight the importance of SonicWall’s Next Generation Firewalls and eSentire’s MDR solutions and how they navigate the digital landscape, fortifying defences and embracing the future of cyber protection.”
Matthew Swindail, Commercial Manager – UK & Europe at Exertis Cybersecurity
Event Details:
Date: December 6th
Time: 12:30 – 16:30
Location: The Ivy Restaurant, Dublin
To register, please visit https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=eQgWhQ8JsUWZ5ToTADqHSZ8eswk-UQ9FloIwNqppdZ5UNFZJQ0EyUUxRTUxSTUswSUFKTTc5T05QRS4u
About Exertis Cybersecurity
Exertis Cybersecurity is a leading distributor of cybersecurity solutions with a global network of over 1,000 partners. We provide our partners with the resources and support they need to sell and deliver security solutions to their customers.
About SonicWall
SonicWall is a cybersecurity forerunner with more than 30 years of expertise and is recognized as the leading partner-first company. With the ability to build, scale and manage security across the cloud, hybrid and traditional environments in real-time, SonicWall provides seamless protection against the most evasive cyberattacks across endless exposure points for increasingly remote, mobile and cloud-enabled users. With its own threat research centre, SonicWall can quickly and economically provide purpose-built security solutions to enable any organization—enterprise, government agencies and SMBs—around the world.
About eSentire
eSentire is a leading provider of MDR services such as eSentire’s 24x7x365 Managed Service. eSentire’s open XDR technology provides a comprehensive threat intelligence engine and automated incident response capabilities.
Contact: stoke.sales@exertis.co.uk
The Exertis Cybersecurity Team look forward to see you there!


Managed cloud service

International POS hardware solutions provider Star Micronics has announced the live launch of its managed cloud service, StarPrinter.Online, which allows businesses to print directly from a web server, web page, web client app/PWA, native app or even via email, as well as benefit from device management of the entire POS printer estate.
StarPrinter.Online is available on Star’s range of CloudPRNT printers. The service allows the receipt, label or order printer to be connected to the online ordering system within minutes. With no restrictions imposed by cabling and local networks, or limited Bluetooth ranges, StarPrinter.Online provides businesses worldwide with a central point to receive and manage orders anywhere with internet access from customers using any kind of device in any location.

For enhanced online visibility of connectivity and print jobs over an entire printer estate, the service offers device management via an online dashboard. This provides businesses with an overview of all devices and activity including reliable tracking of print jobs with notification of device status changes, barcode scans, new device connections to a group, etc. Additional printers and peripherals can simply be added without the need for server upgrades, further enhancing the versatility of the service.


Improving efficiency

Shrewsbury-based United-UK Technology Limited provides MPS, IT support, and cyber security consultancy services, to SMBs nationwide. With a goal to improve internal efficiency and streamline and improve critical business workflows, the company worked with Business I.T. Systems’ (BITS), to customise its flagship MPS solution to support the business’ specific requirements.

United-UK Technology has used BITS’ OneStop MPS Portal for over ten years. Managing Director Paul Clarke said that the company initially leveraged the platform’s ability to automatically collect meter readings and consumable levels from devices under contract, to enable accurate invoicing and proactive supplies replenishment.
“OneStop MPS Portal sat in the background, we received the data, then we sent that information to our accounting software in order to raise invoices, and it worked really well
for us,” he explained. “However, we completed an acquisition a few years back which significantly increased our MIF. And the administrative side of contract management became more complex because the company we acquired were using three separate MPS management and billing platforms (including OneStop MPS Portal).”
There were multiple pain points around using three disparate systems. Clarke continued: “The biggest challenge was that the systems didn’t talk to each other, and that meant we had
to manually transfer and export data between the platforms so we could invoice our clients.
“The whole workflow was time- intensive, inefficient and prone to human error. In fact, it typically took us three to four days to complete the invoicing process each month. We really needed to have the ability to generate an invoice from the same platform that received the device data. So, we took the decision to review our technology stack to enable us to streamline and improve critical business workflows.”
Improving contract management
United-UK Technology worked with BITS to enable some customisation that would support its specific requirements, in particular around managing different types of contracts as well as streamlining and automating the billing process.

BITS is committed to listening to customer needs and creating and adapting solutions to suit where required. For United-UK Technology one issue was the fact that in addition to traditional MPS agreements, it runs TVP (Total Volume Plan) contracts which cover printer hire and service charges as well as a cost per print, for an agreed number of prints, over the lifetime of the contract.
“We needed some customisation to the platform to support that and BITS were really happy to accommodate us. There are also instances where a customer has only printed a few pages for example, and raising an invoice for a nominal amount is cost-prohibitive and counter-intuitive. BITS built functionality whereby data streams with anomalies are highlighted in different colourways so we can check them before generating a bill,” Clarke explained.
Automated billing
OneStop MPS Portal uses the data it collects to generate periodic billing – a bi-directional link means all data captured by OneStop MPS Portal is available to export and be used by accounting systems, such as Sage or Xero. “What makes OneStop MPS Portal stand out is that it also enables contracts to be created and holds all of the contract information. The DCA links to a contract, collects the meter reading and generates the monetary amount, that then gets pushed to our accounting system which creates the customer invoice –
all of which makes for a much more streamlined process. It’s the only solution that does all of that,” Clarke said.

Ease of use
One of the biggest business benefits has been ease of use. “The legacy system was so complex that we only had one person in the business who knew how to do the invoice run, and that meant we needed a workaround if they were on holiday. The OneStop MPS Portal is so intuitive that anyone can use it, which is a huge value-add,” he added.
“What’s more, the platform can be completely hands-off, so whilst for now I like to check the monetary value in OneStop before pushing the data to our accounting system, I can set it up so that invoices are automatically generated on the last day of the month without any manual intervention whatsoever.”
United-UK Technology plans to make use of additional features within the platform in the coming months, including stock management and job ticketing.
The company will also leverage the platform to gain control over consumables and parts stock levels held across multiple locations. Bi- directional feeds connect dealers and their suppliers, providing a live feed of current stock prices and levels, meaning inventories are always up-to-date.
Once the job ticketing functionality is switched on, United-UK Technology will be able to calculate the overall profitability of individual contracts leveraging data that drills down to the device level. “We are excited about that, it will open up opportunities to re-engage with customers and provide them with solutions to rationalise and optimise their print fleets, as well as secure new and more profitable revenue for United-UK Technology moving forward,” Clarke concluded.


Exertis National Distribution Centre: In the fast lane

Massive investment in its National Distribution Centre in Burnley Bridge is enabling Exertis to offer retailers, resellers and vendors an expanded range of services including dropship direct to end user customers
Next-day delivery is one of the wonders of modern life that it is all too easy to take for granted. In fact, many different processes – supported by a great deal of investment – are involved from the moment the customer goes online and clicks buy to the point the courier places the package in their hands the following day.
Exertis, the UK brand of technology distributor DCC Technology, one of three divisions of the £22 billion turnover DCC Group, has made multi-million-pound investments in a new SAP system, an e-commerce platform and warehouse automation to enable it to deliver items to end user customers on behalf of its clients, with a successful e-commerce next-day delivery rate of 99.56%.
What it calls dropship currently makes up around 10% of the 17 million units shipped annually through the NDC, with 1.8 million dropship orders to 1.3 million homes, generating £212 million in revenue. This part of the business has been growing at 25%, but that rate is expected to double in 2024 as Exertis forms new partnerships with vendors and retailers.
Changing expectations
Next day ‘dropship’ to the end user customers of partners such as AO, Argos, The Very Group, Ebuyer, Microsoft Store and John Lewis & Partners is just one of the services provided by the company’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Burnley Bridge, alongside bulk deliveries to resellers/retailers’ own distribution centres (DCs) and fulfilment centres (FCs), as well as third party logistics (3PL) services like returns processing for vendors and resellers (including a used device collection and resale service for large estate technology upgrades).
There is also a Vendor Flex option, which allows Amazon, for example, to run its own warehouse operation within the NDC to shorten its supply chain and accelerate time to market for products acquired through Exertis.
While dropship might be a small part of the distributor’s existing business it is a good example of how the company is investing in and expanding its operations in response to changes in the way people buy and sell products, epitomised by the rise of stock-less e-tailers with extended product portfolios and growing demand from vendors to be able to reach customers through direct-to-consumer platforms.
These demands clearly require very different capabilities than the traditional distribution model in which a distributor takes a vendor’s product and ships it to resellers/retailers who then service the end user.
So that it can continue to provide ‘reach, simplification and leverage’ for partners in this new distribution landscape, Exertis has invested £5 million in a self-serve e-commerce platform with better integration, ease of use, pricing and product breadth. The platform is already being used by 40% of Exertis’s B2B customers and is enjoying sales growth of 400%.
The technology behind the platform also empowers vendors to sell directly to end user customers, with dropship carried out by Exertis. Exertis UK Chief Executive Tim Griffin points out that as well as better serving the needs of customers, this enables vendors to discover more about their customers.
“One of the challenges that vendors have in a world where they are disintermediated, either through a retailer or through an e-commerce platform, is that they don’t know who their end user customers are. Enabling them to have their own direct-to-consumer websites lets us feed back data on their customers, which they then own.”
To make the most of its new systems and services and to provide capacity for future growth, Exertis has invested £25 million in automation at its Burnley Bridge NDC, including a four-storey Pick Tower for the faster picking and packing of orders.
Described by Griffin as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of its £90 million distribution centre, the Pick Tower gives retailers and resellers the ability to consolidate multiple items, including hardware and software products, in the same package and, in doing so, differentiate themselves in a competitive market through the dynamic bundling of products.
Referencing Exertis Ztorm, a digital distributor of gaming and software online and via gift cards, Chief Portfolio Officer Phil Turner adds: “We have the asset base and the portfolio base within our business to enables us to put hardware and software together. That’s key for us. We are about to go live with a digital bundle with Microsoft which they’ve been pushing for some time, and our digital bundling capability allows us to do that.”
Of the 1.8 million dropship orders to date, involving 19,000 different products from 250 brands, 157,000 have been bundles.
Exertis NDC
By any measure, the NDC at Burnley Bridge is an impressive facility.
Opened seven years ago as the primary distribution centre for Exertis’s Retail and B2B businesses, it replaced the company’s existing campus in the area, which at its peak had seven warehouses, with one enormous space offering state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated security, including automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) and biometric access control, plus additional capacity to support future growth and efficiencies.
Only last month, Exertis opened a consultation period to consider a proposal to close its warehouse and distribution facility in Raunds and move operations to Burnley Bridge.
Exertis also has warehouses in Elland, Leeds (Supplies), Lambourn (Hypertec memory and accessories) and Basingstoke, but Burnley Bridge is comfortably its largest distribution centre in the UK and Exertis is confident that from FY2025 it will be able to warehouse and distribute all stock from that one location.
The 550,000 square foot building took 18 months to build using 20,000 tonnes of concrete and 40,000 tonnes of steel. The actual warehouse has a footprint of 460,000 square foot – the size of five football pitches – with planning permission for a further 200,000 square feet should it be needed.
It rises to a height of 22 metres, with a workable height of 18.8 metres, higher than a stack of four double-decker buses.
Eighteen months ago, Exertis added a 120,000 square foot mezzanine floor within the existing footprint, providing additional working space including 60,000 square feet dedicated to returns processing and manufacturer-accredited testing.
“Within the facility, we have a 7,500 square foot Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) service centre, so we can offer our vendors full test capability in terms of return product. We can also do added value services in terms of asset tagging, memory upgrades, Autopilot and imaging for our customers,” explains Chief Logistics Officer Sion Wineyard.
The warehouse operates seven days a week, on a 24-hour basis from Monday to Friday. It has a permanent workforce of 330, supported by temporary workers who swell the workforce to 650 during the busiest times of the year.
To minimise its carbon footprint, Exertis has installed energy-saving, motion-activated LED lighting; 14 EV chargers for use by Exertis, staff and visitors; and a 65,000 square foot array of 3,000 solar panels on the roof. This generates 40% of the NDC’s annual electricity consumption, enough to power 210 homes for a year, with any excess exported to the national grid. The array reduces Exertis’s carbon emissions by 450 tonnes per year, adding up to 11,000 tonnes over the array’s 25-year lifespan.
Attention to detail
Everything about the NDC is on a very large scale, but its operational excellence is based on attention to the minutest detail.
This includes breaking down its activities – receipt, processing and despatch – into distinct steps. On an average day, these add up to 50,000 individual tasks, giving each worker 130 to complete per shift. Or, as Wineyard put it, “50,000 is the number of steps in our dance”.
The 24-hour day is broken down into three periods of eight hours: Receipt (6am to 2pm); Processing & Despatch (2pm to 10pm); and Stock Replenishment and Retailer Fulfilment (10pm to 6am).
On an average day, 90 articulated lorries will deliver 650 pallets and 550 SKUs to the NDC (rising to 1,300 pallets and 800 SKUs in the October/November peak), followed by 100 collections by Pallex (for pallets) and couriers (for packages).
The 32 aisles of warehouse racking, each 100 metres long and 16 metres high, can accommodate 31,000 pallets. Workers pick stock using 42 low-level order pickers and 16 VNA (very narrow aisle) trucks that can reach items on the top tiers of racking.
Pick Tower
The size of the NDC warehouse brings its own inefficiencies – just think of those five football pitches. Hence the Pick Tower investment.
Essentially, a giant cage with 51,500 storage locations and 72 pick zones spread across four levels and 25,000 square feet, this secure, restricted facility reduces manual processing and touchpoints, as well as the distance needed to travel when picking stock. This is important as 55% of dropship orders are received in the last hour of the business day, with a final pull-time of 10pm.
The Pick Tower has a shelf pick location, a pallet lane and a carton lane. In the case of the latter, two types of carton (large and small) are barcoded and launched into the Pick Tower on 2.1km of conveyor. This travels past pick points where item(s) are added to the cartons. At the end, they are weighed to make sure they have been packed with the right quantity of the right products, and after the paperwork has been added they proceed to the compactor where the height of the carton is reduced by folding the edges down so that there is a void of less than 8% in any parcel. These folded down edges protect the contents and ensure Exertis is not ‘shipping air’.
Currently, 72% of all SKUs processed by the NDC are Pick Tower-compatible (some are too large) and the plan is to bring more of those items into the facility to enhance Exertis’s ability to consolidate orders and pick to order. Currently, just over one of the four floors is being used, so there is plenty of unused capacity.
“One of the things that you will see over time is us consolidating more and more of the volume that we ship to customers through that particular capability,” explains Griffin.
In addition to its investment in infrastructure, Exertis is making significant advances in two other keys aspects of digitalisation: optimisation and automation, including machine learning/AI; and digital marketing & ecommerce to help create a seamless, Amazon-like experience.
In the last 12 months, Exertis has established a data analytics function from scratch, investing in data scientists, data engineers and data analysts. Headed up by Dr Adeala Zabair, the Data Science & Analytics team derives insights and understanding from datasets to drive efficiencies in procurement and stock management.
“The DNA of our business is becoming a lot more data-driven,” says Turner.
He adds that Exertis is also doing a lot of work in robotic process automation (RPA) to optimise workflows for its own employees and for reseller partners.
“We get thousands of emails on a daily basis from resellers saying ‘Can you quote me on this product? Or can you give me a price for this product?’ and it’s really, really easy with RPA to take that, supply a quote and do it in seconds rather than wait for a salesperson to respond.”
Turner points out that the combination of data analytics and process optimisation also aids sales effectiveness.
“Being able to predict churn, being able to provide cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, being able to provide switch-sell products for some of our vendors, alternative products where we’ve got constrained stock. Getting all those tools into the right people’s hands at the right time delivers value to our customer. And this function is starting to deliver that.”
To stay abreast of changing consumer behaviour and the growing influence of TikTok and YouTube in the procurement process, Exertis is also investing in its digital marketing capabilities to engage directly with influencers and specific consumer profiles on multiple platforms.
“We’ve created a programme where we will start to do the marketing for our reseller partners and drive those end users, those customers into our resellers, so we’re not relying purely on our resellers bringing business to us. We’re doing a lot more for our vendor partners as well, who look to us to provide that leverage and reach.”
As an example, he cites last year’s launch of the PICO VR headset, which Exertis managed and did the marketing for, including pop-up stands in Westfield, France and Germany.
Griffin adds that in the meantime, Exertis will continue to invest in NDC operations to ensure its service offering and product delivery is as effective as its marketing.
“We are constantly evolving the facility – we put in that mezzanine floor 18 months ago – and we’re constantly investing in the facility to develop service capabilities. Services is one of the areas that we will be expanding, with continuing investment in close-to-the-box configuration opportunities, and we will continue to consolidate Pick Tower applicable SKUs into the Pick Tower.”


Latcham, one of the UK’s leading professional print businesses, extends its Ricoh partnership with investment in new technology

Ricoh UK has today announced a new partnership with leading UK professional print business Latcham in a deal which will enable the company to benefit from a 10% increase in ‘uptime’ and productivity.
As the trusted partner to one of the UK’s largest print companies, Ricoh will be providing Latcham with a range of solutions including the new RICOH Pro C9500 (colour), RICOH Pro 8310 MICR (magnetic toner mono) and RICOH Pro 8320 (mono) to enhance operational efficiency and expand Latcham’s revenue streams.
Operating since 2008 and supplying some of the UK’s best-known institutions including over 10 NHS Trusts, The University of Edinburgh, The Royal Horticultural Society and Bristol Airport, Latcham is one of the UK’s biggest players in transactional, graphic arts and CCM services employing over 106 staff and turning over £20m per year.
Mike Hughes, Managing Director at Latcham, said: “Ricoh has been a trusted partner to Latcham for almost a decade. They have always supported the business strategically as well as operationally and investing in Ricoh’s printing technology, particularly the new RICOH 9500, means we will benefit from a wide range of positive impact across our operations, driving innovation and Latcham’s competitiveness in the market.”
Tim Carter, Commercial Print Director at Ricoh Graphic Communications, said: “We’ve built a strong relationship with Latcham over the past few years and worked tirelessly to thoroughly understand their business requirements. Mike Hughes, Latcham’s MD and owner, was part of the customer Q&A panel during our Print Evolution Live event in October, sharing his views on how to develop a business proposition and invest in digital print tech that enables growth. I am delighted that Latcham is one of the first companies to receive our new Pro 9500 following the product demonstration on the day.” Tim added: “During our customer panel, Mike placed great emphasis on the role of customer centricity as his recipe for success. We’re proud to be Latcham’s trusted partner with the shared mindset of customer success and business growth.”
For more information visit https://latcham.co.uk/
For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com


PFU (EMEA) announces series of PC-free updates to ScanSnap Home  

PFU (EMEA) Limited has announced a major update to its mobile application for ScanSnap, ScanSnap Home (for mobile), marking the first step towards achieving seamless PC-free ScanSnap functionality.
This is the first in a series of planned updates, introducing support for individual cloud linkages and email transmission settings for ScanSnap models equipped with a touch screen as well as official support for Chromebook. Previously, such configurations required adjustments using a PC application, and these updates are planned to ensure the effortless use of ScanSnap in a PC-free environment.
“In this fast-moving world, convenience is king. We’re excited to be bringing these updates to our ScanSnap customers to further enhance their scanning experience on the move,” comments Hiroaki Kashiwagi, President, and CEO of PFU (EMEA) Limited. “Our ScanSnap brand continues to see considerable market success around the world and in time, ScanSnap will seamlessly bridge the gap between locations and devices, offering a lifestyle that is both intelligent and comfortable,” continues Kashiwagi.
The following update schedule for ScanSnap Home will be as follows:

From October 31, 2023:

Simple ScanSnap cloud setup

Previously exclusive to the PC version of ScanSnap Home, individual cloud-saving settings for ScanSnap models equipped with a touch screen can now be accessed and configured from the mobile version of ScanSnap Home. This update enables users of ScanSnap equipped with a touch screen (ScanSnap iX1600 or iX1500) to set multiple icons with any cloud service as the destination directly from the mobile app.

Use of ScanSnap on Chromebook

Users can now conveniently use ScanSnap on Chromebook, a device recognized for its quick startup and excellent security. Chromebooks are commonly utilized in educational settings and chosen as a first-time PC for such reasons.

From January 2024:

Automatic orientation correction

A feature that automatically recognizes and corrects the vertical and horizontal orientation of original documents will be available in a mobile environment.

From Spring 2024:

Support for creating searchable PDFs

This feature facilitates keyword searches by recognising text within the document, enabling a swift and efficient document retrieval process.

Support for automatic file name generation

This feature allows the content of the scanned document to be incorporated into the file name, simplifying the identification of the desired file in the list.

Other planned future updates (Date TBC):

Support for front and back merging of bi-folded documents (A3, B4)

The front and back merging function, which combines the front and back sides of a large document such as A3 or B4 when folded in half and scanned, will also be available on smartphones and tablets.

Support for photo correction features

The following photo functions will be available on smartphones and tablets: automatic rotation based on facial recognition, adjustments for optimal brightness and contrast in photos, fading correction for photos degraded by sunlight, and removal of red-eye effect from flash photography.

About the existing mobile apps
The existing mobile apps, ScanSnap Connect Application and ScanSnap Cloud App are scheduled to be discontinued around August 2024.

About PFU
Since its founding in 1960, PFU has been headquartered in Ishikawa, Japan and expanding its business globally. In 2022, PFU joined the Ricoh Group. Based on the technologies cultivated through computer development, we provide a total range of IT-related products and services, including hardware such as image scanners and embedded computers, security and document management software and services, IT infrastructure building, and multi-vendor services in partnership with other companies.
For more information, please visit https://www.pfu.ricoh.com/global/
About Ricoh
Ricoh is a leading provider of integrated digital services and print and imaging solutions designed to support digital transformation of workplaces, workspaces and optimize business performance.
For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com


View from the channel… Matt Bond, Sales Director, First Copy

Q: How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?
A: Our business has grown year on year since 2020. I think that the future is positive, but riddled with immediate challenges, for example, interest rates affecting lease business. As many have said, COVID has accelerated us to the hybrid/different ways of working that were inevitable, and like most, we have adapted well. We have also increased our business delivery in Western Europe. We still manage all device assets via our Cambridge helpdesk utilising Xerox’s direct engineering teams. This makes our cross-border value proposition very attractive.

Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?
A: We have a continued increase in clients requiring solutions that integrate effectively and reliably with cloud solutions such as Office 365 – Universal Print. We have lots of conversations around helping clients reduce IT burden regarding print, so our great analyst team offering specialist advice and ideas is vital. Security is still a popular conversation, although now shadowed by energy efficiency and sustainability credentials.
Q: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?
A: We have organically become very consultancy-led as a business, which seems well received by our clients. Digital marketing has grown in importance since the pandemic and our team offers relevant and interesting news feeds to current and potential clients; this returns many inbound requests for further conversation.
As a business, we have adopted a hybrid working environment, with most staff able to work remotely at some point. I believe that this flexibility has increased productivity without a doubt – and smiley faces, too!
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?
A: We like to constantly look at new ideas and innovations to offer clients; choosing which ones to align precious time to is challenging. As with all businesses, growing the team can be extremely difficult and costly by way of finding the right person. For now, 90 per cent of our business still results in face-to-face meetings, this can be quite alien to some who are at the beginning of their career.

Q: Could vendors and distributors do more to help you overcome them? And if so, what?
A: I think vendors/manufacturers need to be as flexible as possible with the ability to listen and react quickly. Finding ways to say ‘yes’ is always better, although sometimes much more difficult than saying ‘no’. We are fortunate to partner with an industry giant that is a consistent leader in managed print. I think suppliers/manufacturers need to maximise classroom training programs. Whilst expensive, I personally think taking staff away from daily distractions to learn is much better than virtual training, especially for industry newbies.
Q: If you could change one aspect of your job what would it be and why?
A: Whilst it is vital, I would like to spend less time in front of my PC and more time talking directly with customers and staff… I will keep working on that!


Westcoast and Epson Strengthened Partnership

Leading IT distributor Westcoast is thrilled to announce the extension of its partnership with global technology innovator Epson.
Westcoast are excited to announce they are now offering Epson products on an open-channel basis, providing new opportunities for their customers to access innovative print solutions.
With a collective 100 years of experience across its Imaging and Supplies Team, Westcoast’s deep print expertise, alongside its high stock levels and end-to-end services make it the ideal partner for Epson’s UK operations.
Speaking of the renewed partnership, Ryan Mitchell, Print and AV Director, said:
I’m delighted our partnership with Epson has been revitalised. They’re an outstanding brand offering truly innovative, ecological print solutions that we’re proud to bring to our partners.

This enthusiasm was mirrored by Epson’s Emily Blach, Distribution Sales Manager, who commented:
We are excited to get our partnership with Westcoast underway again. Their rich history in print supply and in-depth expertise makes them the ideal partner for supplying our high-quality print products to customers.

Westcoast offer Epson product group solutions including:

To find out more, visit www.westcoast.co.uk


Sustainability in action: Aurora unveils their commitment to a greener future

Aurora, one of the UK’s leading digital print solution providers, that have sustainability at the core of what they do, is delighted to present its 2023 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report and Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan, showcasing remarkable achievements and outlining ambitious objectives for the coming year.
In the fourth year of our ESG journey, Aurora.co.uk continues to set the bar high with stringent corporate governance overseen by our dedicated Board, quality team, and ESG committee. Supported by external audits, our commitment to excellence has earned us prestigious accreditations including Safe Contractor, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, and ISO 14001, reflecting our dedication to quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental management.
Key Achievements in 2023:
Completion of our second Net Zero report

Diverting 100% of waste from landfill, and installation of telematics in all vehicles to capture carbon emissions and mileage data.
Investment of £20,000 in training and development, and £2,400 in employee wellbeing.
Significant reduction in gender pay gap at all levels of the organisation.
Successful accreditation as a Safe Contractor and raising £6,775 for partner charities.
Joining the Science Based Targets Initiative, developing a social value programme, and setting new targets for sustainable growth.

Looking Ahead to 2024:

Signing up for the Science Based Targets Initiative, rolling out environmental awareness training, and investing in energy reduction initiatives.
Establishing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) champions, becoming a Real Living Wage accredited employer, and developing a community engagement strategy.
Launching a Social Value Programme, mapping our tier 2 supply chain, and enhancing stakeholder engagement through materiality assessments.

Aurora.co.uk‘s Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan outlines our strategic approach to slashing
emissions across our value chain. With a commitment to achieve a remarkable 36% reduction in Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2030, and an outstanding 79% overall reduction by 2040, a decade ahead of the UK government’s “Build Back Greener” initiative, we remain steadfast despite a 17% increase in emissions due to business expansion.
Notable Highlights:

Offset of 100% of gas use and installation of telematics in all vehicles.
56% reduction in emissions in scope 3 due to limited business travel and waste reduction efforts.
Continued exploration of alternative fuels, green technologies, and collaborations with suppliers and Sustainable Advantage.

Future Initiatives for 2024:

Identifying high gas consumption sites for energy surveys and capital expenditure opportunities.
Continued investment in new green technologies and driver training for efficient driving.
Collaboration with suppliers to set carbon emissions reduction targets and procurement of energy-efficient products.

Through our multifaceted strategy and dedication to positive change, Aurora.co.uk is committed to preserving the planet for future generations. Our Net Zero Carbon Reduction Plan exemplifies our proactive approach in building a sustainable and environmentally conscious business.
About Aurora Managed Print Services:
Aurora Managed Print Services is a leading provider of comprehensive managed print solutions committed to helping businesses optimise their print environments for efficiency, security and sustainability. With a team of experienced print management professionals, Aurora Managed Services offers an extensive portfolio of solutions to aid your business. The include; managed print assessments, managed document solutions, data protection and GDPR compliance as well as eco-friendly print initiatives. The company is dedicated to delivering tailored print management solutions that empower businesses to achieve seamless and cost-effective printing processes.


Step back in time… with Tony Lomax, EMEA Product Marketing Manager, at Lexmark

who spoke to Michelle Ryder about the changes both in terms of technology and customer needs, he’s witnessed over the past ten years.

Lomax had a technical role in the army and had reached a career point where he had enough experience to leave with and take elsewhere or stay in for the entire term. So, in 1989, he changed tack and entered the print sector. “I had a relative who worked for (Rank) Xerox who persuaded me to join them as a salesperson rather than an engineer – more money and more fun, he said! What appealed to me was the opportunity to be rewarded for hard work. Aside from that, and looking back, I genuinely enjoyed meeting and building relationships with new customers,” he explained.

His first job was as a copier salesperson, based in Clifton in Bristol. “I actually worked round the corner from where my son is about to go to university! My days were spent canvassing, i.e., knocking on estate agents’ and solicitors’ doors, etc., on any given high street in the southwest, gathering compliment slips from business parks,” he said, adding that it wasn’t the fun he was promised. “It was toughening, and I still carry the scar tissue.”
Lomax recalls that back then, there were no laptops or CRMs, just a desk phone, a file with customers to call and anything gained from canvassing. “One of the advantages of working in the industry then was the time and investment given to comprehensive sales training. I’ve carried that with me throughout my career, even when transitioning from a sales role to a product marketing role in 2003 with Lexmark,” he noted.
Digital transformation
Ten years ago, Lexmark UK moved from what can only be described as a (fondly remembered) stately home in Marlow to a modern office building in Maidenhead. “This placed us in a better environment to help our customers digitally transform – connecting core and point-of-need processes with hard copy workflow – and learning how to enable our partners to have the same engagement with their customers,” Lomax explained.
“As a result, we were able to provide more focus on having the right partners with the appropriate capabilities and helping those partners who wanted to be in this position through education and support.”
Back then, as-a-service meant print services, which provided a hardware platform to build workflow solutions. Lexmark devices, beyond a decade ago, have had the capability to report back to a central global system and likewise have been able to be remotely deployed and configured, which, Lomax says took Lexmark and its partners beyond a basic print service.

He continued: “What I’m proud of, as we look more towards today’s go- to-market, is the journey we’ve been on with our partners in transforming the engagement they have with their customers through superlative account management, education and awareness programmes, including the Lexmark Industry Advantage (LIA) programme where, not only have we been able to give partners access to our historical and proven industry approach to successfully explore new customer relationships and expand existing ones, but also to provide customer insights into cloud, device IoT, sustainability, security and, from my perspective, a robust way to reach as many partners as possible when communicating product transitions.”
Changing customer needs
Lomax argues that looking at the LIA offering, and the examples of topics covered, the days of dealing with one or two officers in a business are pretty much over. “An account manager needs to be conversant in these topics but only enough to demonstrate their offering can meet, or even exceed, these demands, and then route an SME through to the right contact – and broaden the reach and reputation of their business within the customer’s environment, especially if it’s expressed vertically,” he said.
Looking ahead to the future, Lomax says that the expansion of and access to cloud services is exciting. “And so it should be, but, for me, the integration of AI into any such offering is the next phase. Adding AI to data extraction to route this data to where it needs
to be rather than via scripting, for example, and how this can be added or contracted as a service in itself, is the next big challenge,” he concluded.