By Allan Knoetze – Work from home (WFH) has certainly made an impact on the centralised office equipment marketplace, its current adoption and position in the South African channel.  However, one cannot paint it with broad brush strokes; each vertical has been affected differently.

The finance sector, for example, now sees many of its employees working from home whereas segments such as retail and education continue to operate on-premises.   The point is each vertical has its own requirements for centralised office equipment; some significantly more than others.

That said, the unsung heroes of printer market are making a comeback; desktop multifunction printers are now a standard feature in every home office environment. With the exception of few industries, most employees will – at the very least – need a single function printer as opposed to visiting their local print shop or shoot into the office.

Also, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a significant uptake in small office/home office (SOHO) printer supplies which translates into an increase in home print volumes.

Volume and application type are also major WFH purchasing considerations.  Here, the channel needs to align with how original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are positioning their fleets and make recommendations based on specific environments and its needs, not only pricing.

Again, however, this applies to certain verticals and particularly those that have not adopted a digital transformation approach or are compelled (by regulatory requirements) to keep information in hard copy.

Digital transformation is also driven by the OEMs global go to market strategies. We are increasingly seeing MFPs ranges that include “S” models; not “sport” but rather “smart” that drive digital transformation with on-device workflow apps that push content to various business systems and processes.

These devices are now digital data distribution tools that do the work of several outdated and manual processes.

Lastly, in order for the channel to benefit from WFH trends, it needs to actively interact with end users to ensure that devices are placed correctly.  We need to supply fit-for-purpose printers, leading to a channel that deliver devices that optimise WFH workflow and productivity while not overcapitalising on assets.


  • Allan Knoetze is the chief print officer at Drive Control Corporation (DCC)