First Published in Print IT Reseller – March 2014

1st Office is Olivetti’s Elite Dealer in the South-West and one of the region’s largest independent printing services providers. Its head office is in Bath and it has regional offices in Plymouth, Exeter, Barnstaple and Bristol, each of which is staffed with a team of local sales, service and after sales support personnel. Sales and Marketing Director Andrew Jones said that the acquisition of Digital Systems is a significant development in the plans 1st Office has in place to expand its business and will play a key part in its strategy to extend its reach along the M4 corridor into South Wales.

According to Jones, when the opportunity to acquire Digital Systems presented itself, it was an easy decision to make. “Digital Systems was a perfect fit for us. The company works with the same business partners and shares the same commitment to delivering exceptional service that we do at 1st Office.”

Accelerate expansion

“In addition, having a physical office in Caerphilly staffed by an experienced and dedicated team, as well as a significant installed customer base, will enable us to accelerate our expansion plans and increase our presence within South Wales,” he said.

1st Office, which has been trading for three decades, employs 65 people and enjoys an annual turnover of £7m. It has enjoyed continued growth year-on-year, achieved both organically and through acquisition. It acquired Bath-based Clark Business Products in 2005 and Saltash based Crown Copiers in 2008. “We have also purchased a number of smaller dealerships’ machine bases tactically over the years to increase our MIF,” Jones explained.

As to the future, Jones confirmed that they are looking at other acquisitions. He said: “We will make further acquisitions where there is a fit with our business and where we can see a tangible benefit to our expansion plans. The natural progression would be to move east along the M4 corridor towards Reading.”

On the hardware side, 1st Office has partnered with Olivetti, Ricoh and Lexmark, a multi-brand strategy that enables them to offer independent advice on the best equipment to meet individual customers’ business needs. “We enjoy strong relationships with our partners and as all of our technicians are manufacturer trained, our customers also benefit from a first-class maintenance service,” said Jones.

Flexible outsourcing

The company has evolved its offering and now provides customers with flexible outsourcing solutions to meet their changing business needs. Services include proactive management of the entire printer estate through its MPS offering as well as outsourced IT services. In essence, 1st Office can remotely manage and provide all of the support necessary to ensure a client’s IT infrastructure, from its servers through to its printers, are managed, serviced and supported for maximum uptime and business efficiency.

“This is the fastest growing area of our business,” said Jones. “Currently we deliver a fully managed service to around 20% of our client base and we expect that to increase to 50% by the end of this year.

“Our plan is to introduce Digital Systems’ customers to our improved MPS and new IT Services and this is where we see the potential for growth,” he added.

The acquisition ranks 1st Office as the largest Olivetti dealer in the UK providing office copier and print equipment technologies, with a wide range of document and workflow software, for both office and print production environments.

Dennis Woods, Managing Director of Olivetti UK Ltd, said: “We have always been very impressed with the strong business performance of both companies and now that they have merged both businesses, they are a strong force to be reckoned with. I have no doubts that they will continue to deliver an exceptional service performance to their customers.”