OKI is ramping up its presence in South Africa and Africa, with its range of specialty LED printers proving to be cost-effective, fit-for-purpose and kind to the environment.

Mathias Militzer, vice-president: Middle East, India, Turkey & Africa (MEITA) region and MD of OKI Europe Ltd Middle East.

Mathias Militzer, vice-president: Middle East, India, Turkey & Africa (MEITA) region and MD of OKI Europe Ltd Middle East, tells Channelwise that the company is adding distributors in the region as it reaches into new geographic and vertical markets.

“A few years ago we moved away from producing typical office printers into industrial vertical markets,” he says. “The result is that today we offer solutions from office equipment to medical imaging, from label to banners.”

Hennie Crous, who is heading up the OKI office in South Africa and English-speaking Africa, plans to make the brand a household name.

“Our go-to-market is channel-only,” he explains. “And we plan to grow our presence in the region.”

In South Africa, Tarsus and Drive Control are still the tier-one distributors, with specialist sub-distributors looking after vertical markets like medical, labels, cosmetics and more.

“Instead of having a one-size-fits-all approach to the market, we are adopting a distribution approach that addresses each market segment with a specialist partner,” Crous says.

Militzer points out that the OKI technology is gaining in popularity as companies seek more sustainable solutions.

“LED uses less energy than laser because it generates less heat,” he explains. “And this also allows us to print on a wider range of media: we can go from full packaging solutions to the smallest sachets, and everything inbetween.”

Hennie Crous, head of the OKI office in South Africa and English-speaking Africa.

While the overall printing industry is experiencing flat or even negative growth, he says OKI is still seeing healthy demand. “Yes, the office printing industry as a whole is shrinking, but we are seeing more opportunities than ever before in areas like customisation, labelling, specialised printing and more.

“The industry is now branching off in different directions, and we have the product range that can adapt.”

OKI manufactures a full range of LED printers that run the gamut from small offices to rackable office printers, to branch offices, banks and retailers, corporate departments, print shops, medical practices, promotional printing and more.

Not only does OKI offer the widest range of printing solution, it also has a compelling story to tell when it comes to total cost of ownership (TCO).

“The price of the machine is just one part of the TCO,” Militzer explains. “It could be that the OKI printers are not the cheapest in the market, but overall – adding the cost of consumables and accessories – we offer what is arguably the best value for money.”

Crous adds that this is possible because the machine is designed with few or no moving parts. “In addition, 40% of the parts are steel rather than plastic, so there is less maintenance and the product is robust. And, because drum and toner are separate, the printers are able to reliably print more copies per month.”

Some customers are still happily running fleets of OKI printers bought eight years ago and more, he adds, which is testament to how competitive the products are.

OKI is spearheading its focus on the African market with partners in 18 countries across the continent. Some of these partners are distributors, others specialist channel partners focusing on a specific vertical opportunity.

Resellers can count on support from Crous in South Africa, and from the head office in Dubai.

Partners are trained and certified, so they are customers’ first level of technical expertise and support. “Resellers can count on support from our head office in Dubai, but this is the second point of contact,” Crous explains. “When we appoint partners, they have to have technical knowledge to specify, install and support the OKI solutions. If there is something they can’t do, then we can escalate to Dubai.

“This ensures that customers get the solution they need, and peace of mind in knowing that the machine will do what it says it will.”