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Lisa Brown

Sharp Outlines Dealer Opportunities at the 2022 Roadshow

Sharp holds five regional strategic events to showcase its range of technologies

Oct 17, 2022 12:22:28 PM


It’s been nearly three years since the last Sharp dealer event and, by the looks of it, you wouldn’t necessarily know that Sharp weathered a global pandemic that brought unprecedented headwinds to the office technology and print industries.


Sharp is amid a five-city dealer road show (Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Anaheim, and Philadelphia) designed to serve as touchpoints for the company to personally meet with its channel partners across the US. This is the first time Sharp’s team has met as a group with its dealer community since its last dealer conference in Las Vegas in 2019.


Along with representatives from roughly 30 of the company’s small and medium-size dealers based in the Midwest, Sharp invited select analysts and press to attend the Chicago event, which was held at the Westin Hotel and served as the second stop on the tour. The show was more intimate than one of Sharp’s major dealer conferences (intentional by design) and was centered on the theme of educating dealers on diversification opportunities leveraging Sharp technology, solutions, and services, as well as the range of resources to help support their businesses. Although Sharp did not launch any new products or release any company announcements, it did have a modest business technology area (primarily featuring MFPs, displays, and Dynabook laptops), allowing dealers to directly engage with Sharp’s offerings and product experts. 



During the event (which was split over two half days), Sharp reviewed its financials, inventory and supply chain status, technology portfolio (including an A3/A4 future product roadmap), and dealer marketing and educational tools. Mixed in with the business content, Sharp arranged a fun evening outing by renting out the Chicago Sports Museum for the group (a venue that was conveniently a five-minute walk from the hotel).


Business Overview
John Sheehan, Sharp’s Senior Vice President of Channel Sales, served as emcee and opened the general session by outlining Sharp’s agenda for the event. He also personally introduced Sharp’s executive team and other key personnel who were in attendance—encouraging dealers to connect with them and share any and all feedback on how Sharp is doing. Sharp emphasized that they can only get better as a company if they understand the good and the bad of what’s impacting dealers.

The opening session—delivered by Mike Marusic, President and CEO of Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America—reviewed Sharp’s financials and market share positioning, which confirmed that Sharp fared well amid the pandemic volatility. Key takeaways included:

  • Sharp generated stable sales and profit over the last two years largely driven by its wide range of consumer and business-to-business (B2B) categories (e.g., home appliances and office technology, respectively). Even sales and profit within Sharp’s 8K Ecosystem unit (Sharp’s MFP and document solutions business) remained steady over the last year.
  • Sharp globally took a risk to maintain high inventory levels during the pandemic when most other OEMs sold off most on-hand stock—thereby benefiting Sharp, its partners, and customers in the long run.
  • Sharp experienced consistent market share growth over the last four years with US A3 MFP unit share reaching roughly 10% in 2021.
  • With respect to chip shortages, Sharp expects that the MFP market will be the last to recover as other technology products and industries will be prioritized in the supply chain, projecting to be in late 2023, before we see a full market recovery.


Mike Marusic, President and CEO of Sharp
Imaging and Information Company of America.


Portfolio Highlights
While Sharp boasts a comprehensive print portfolio that’s helped the company grow US market share, the event enabled channel partners to learn the benefits of selling Sharp’s AV products and Dynabook laptops to diversify their revenue stream. Sharp views Dynabook as a unique offering, with the company differentiated as the only manufacturer to design, test, and manufacture its own products. Compared to other B2B laptop brands, Dynabook reportedly provides the lowest failure rate in the industry of below 1% (vs. around 7% for others, on average) and a robust 3- and 4-year warranty, among other features that deliver a strong value proposition for Sharp dealers.


The Sharp/NEC relationship provides dealers with the broadest range of AV products that complement a dealer’s business and installed base across vertical markets. At the event, dealers were presented with several opportunities to enhance their talk tracks with customers as a way to deepen the sales relationship and their positioning as an office solutions provider.


Product/Service portfolio.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
A focus for Sharp is to serve as a dealer-centric company, which was evident at the event. Although Sharp has its own direct sales organization (which it noted is a very profitable operation for the company), it is strategically focused on supporting its channel partners and dedicated to helping them grow their businesses. With dealers accounting for approximately 80% of Sharp’s hardware unit sales in the US, the dealer roadshow is a critical platform for Sharp to connect with its dealers and hear direct feedback on their strategies.


Surprisingly, you didn’t hear a lot of commentary on supply chain issues or dealer complaints of lengthy order wait times as Sharp’s supply chain management in the last year has translated to virtually no backlog to speak of. Sharp noted that all backlogged hardware products have been cleared apart from some printers. Not to say that Sharp wasn’t impacted by supply chain shortages and manufacturing issues, but the company made some proactive data-based decisions (aided in part by its parent company, Foxconn) that positively changed its trajectory.


Overall, Sharp shared a balanced mix of product information and company details at the Chicago roadshow and was very transparent about the company’s strategy. Although no new products were announced at the event, Sharp did reveal that its national dealer conference is slated for April 2023 in Las Vegas, when the company may have some bigger announcements to share in front of a larger audience.


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