Partners form the backbone of Canon

By VARINDIA - 2013-06-24

Partners form the backbone of Canon

Dr. Alok Bharadwaj
Executive Vice-President Canon India Pvt. Ltd

Without a speck of doubt, can we confirm that Canon’s footprint in the technology domain is very high. And the company attributes its success, to a large extent, to its partners. The IT industry has two very basic requirements – understanding the technology and customer requirements. Thus, in the IT industry the partners play a very big role.  One of their roles is to define technology to the consumers. Also, the partners help the vendor in understanding the consumer requirements. Customers also, in turn, are dependent on partners as they form the final touch point. The fact that Canon has about180 partners in 100 cities bears a testimony to this.

“IT is a very service-oriented category and partner establishments are crucial. Canon has 25% of market share in the copier market. One fundamental area that the channel partners address is that they provide regular feedback to the company on evolving consumer preferences and applications. Based on that, we work on the development of the product. This leads to a two-way interactive relationship. That is why partners are very important for Canon. Almost 80% of our business is handled by our partners in India,” explains Alok Bharadwaj, Executive Vice- President, Canon India Pvt. Ltd.

 

He further says that in the office automation category there are about 120 partners spread across 100 cities. This product category is very service oriented. Thus, Canon cannot do business in these 100 cities without the help of these partners for establishing a strong service network. Also to the end-customers, the quality of the product and the service quality are two  sides of the same coin. Thus, Canon brand is dependent entirely on the service delivery of the partners. This is an enormous value add that the partners bring to Canon.

 

Partner Base in the country

Canon already has 100 Canon Image Square (CIS) outlets and plans to establish another 300 in the next three years. The total Channel Partner base of Canon accounts for close-to 450 and 150 in automation, 150 in printers, 150 in cameras and 150 in commercial printing. The existing partner base of Canon is continuously expanding. Canon’s new partner appointment is speeding rapidly as new markets are emerging and gaining momentum due to modern retail.

 

Channel Partner Programmes

There are innumerous programmes for Canon partners. “For primary partners (premium partners), who are the top distributors, there is a flagship programme where top 50 partners along with their spouses are taken out on a five-day tour outside India. For the top 150 partners we organize the leadership Summit. There is one annual trip for top 25 performers in each category of printers, camera and copiers. In the copier or the office automation category, there are 120 partners with 300 sales people. Canon conducts a three-day programme in the countries like Thailand, Hong Kong, etc for top 50 partners. For the CIS partners, we organize programmes to develop the ambience and create knowledge accreditation programmes,” confirms Alok Bharadwaj.

 

He further asserts, “We don’t want our relationship with our partners to stay as a mere business relationship. Canon is a very relationship-oriented organization and we understand that our destinies are intertwined. The glittery brigade of top 50 partners with whom we work actually forms a mini Canon.”

 

Distribution Network 

Canon has a wide distribution network. It has the direct retailers and CIS and every state has multiple distributors. Canon also has several system integrators.  The company has a huge presence online and has established good reach through TV channels.

 

Future Plans 

Alok Bharadwaj points out that the last two to three years have been complex due to bad economic environment. He adds, “Given this, business expansion is becoming more challenging. It has become important to understand consumer sentiments and investments. Canon has always grown at a high rate, but this year, the industry is shrinking. The IT industry is shrinking at about 10%. I do see this as a very challenging year. Now, the focus is mainly on making sure that we work towards keeping the motivational level of the partners high and we want the relationship to be strong.”

Canon’s focus now is to retain customers and continue to have loyalty with them. And as soon as the winds of change blow across the economic landscape, the company would gear up for more programmes, more expansion and all that more which it has always been known for. 

 PARTNERS SPEAK

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Anup Kanodia
Director, Capital Photo Services Pvt. Ltd

 

“We have been associated with Canon since 2003. We have expanded our distribution business across eastern India and our retail business across the country. Our business with Canon has enabled us to make appropriate investments in human resources, IT infrastructure and in creating a national retail brand. Canon has always been supportive in investing in innovative localized schemes and promotions for developing business with its partners. The world is changing rapidly and so are technologies and opportunities in business. I believe we should look beyond today and invest in tomorrow. Our investment in knowledge is our key differentiator which will help Canon grow with us in the years ahead.” 

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Vaidyanathan.G
Director, Unicom Infotel Pvt Ltd.

 

“We are with Canon for almost ten years now. Canon has given us recognition in the market of Office Automation and customer retention with quality after-sales revenue. Our journey with Canon in terms of support and incentive programme has been the best in the industry. Association with Canon is what any channel could look upon and blindly depend on. The robust systems of the company ensure timely support in all fronts like training, incentives and also any kind of payouts . Our core strength in helping Canon to grow further is with high reach in the market and by ensuring customer loyalty and providing excellent customer support to maintain the brand name in the market.” 

 

 

moumita@varindia.com 


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