Brother’s Response to the Pandemic
Partnerships Highlighted During Annual Analyst B2B Briefing
Last week, we tuned (virtually) into Brother USA’s annual B2B briefing by Dan Waldinger’s Team and got a glimpse of their results and activities the past year. For the financial year ending March 2020, Brother USA reported 9% YOY hardware growth in their B2B business, which included expanding out their contractual MPS business through the Value Print Program and their non-retail channels. The greatest success has been achieved through new channel revenue via the office equipment reseller community that some refer to as the copier legacy channel.
|Brother USA Revenue by Reseller Type|
|Source: Brother USA|
To help support the B2B channel, Brother introduced us to the Partner Relationship Management Portal (PRM), a new centralized source designed to simplify resellers access to functions available from their supplier such as incentives, learning, sales enablement, and post-sales. We heard that, during the COVID-19 crisis, the learning part of the PRM (Brother’s Knowledge Centre) saw a 20% increase in activity as resellers used their WFH time to expand knowledge.
Positioning themselves as dedicated to the “sub-1K segment,” Brother explained how they have long been explicitly and primarily targeting small and home office environments. They believe this history makes them well-positioned for these current times with so many people now working from home.
Brother says the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated their Balanced Deployment approach, which aims to deliver accurate and realistic numbers and types of devices to workgroups—as well as place those devices in locations nearest to the workers who actually use them. Brother claims that this acceleration is being driven by a number of factors, including fewer users per device, a shift from A3 to A4, and the need for printer pods that get devices closer to the workforce. Brother is also focusing on reduced device contact through badge printing, mobile device printing, and solutions that can initiate document workflows with minimal machine contact.
In partnership with Toshiba, Brother has created a Work from Home Kit for their resellers that provides them with information they need to do their jobs effectively. As part of this program, Brother/Toshiba offers a collection of all-in-one “work from home printers” with extended warranties that are shipped directly to employees’ homes. These devices include:
- Brother MFC-L5900DW
- Brother MFC-L5800DW
- Brother MFC-L5700DW
- Brother MFC-L8900CDW
Brother has also created pandemic-response materials for their partners to share that center around the future of work in the new “six-foot office space,” their Balanced Deployment approach, and how Brother can help support the return to work.
Brother spoke about their expanded relationship with Kofax. With the release of the Brother Unified Client for Kofax ControlSuite, the solution will work across Brother’s A4 & A3 print/MFC lines. Kofax ControlSuite is the amalgamation of Kofax’s AutoStore (capture/process/route), Equitrac (print management), and Output Manager (manage, monitor, secure, and control document imaging environments) solutions.
Kofax ControlSuite provides channel partners with a great way to grow revenue and retain customers. The solution can differentiate dealers from their competition, and the embedded capabilities that come with the solution puts dealers in a position to provide customers with different services as their needs change. The solution also helps dealers augment their support and professional services offerings and simplify their portfolio.
Brother also spoke briefly about Microsoft Universal Print. At the moment, the company is working on integrating select Brother devices that allow customers to manage their print infrastructure through cloud services with Microsoft. More specifically, customers will be able to monitor printer status, configurations, and availability; see who’s using Brother printers and how often; and configure what users can do with these printers. We can expect products to be available in January 2021.
We were very thankful to be invited to the event. For a 90-minute meeting, Brother covered a lot of ground—far too much for us to recap in this short blog. So, make sure that you keep an eye out for our expanded coverage of the meeting for our Advisory Service clients (coming soon to InfoCenter). Check out here to see what we wrote this time last year.