Keeping things simple is helping Gloucester firm stay ahead of the game
By James Young | 7th August 2019
Keeping things simple is helping Gloucester-based photocopier and printer suppliers Elmrep stay ahead of the pack.
Elmrep have been selling copiers to the businesses of Gloucestershire for 35 years from their base on Eastern Avenue.
Managing director Lee Summers has been with the firm for 25 years, the last eight of which have been in the hot seat and he knows that the recipe for success is to keep things simple.
"A lot of companies are concentrating on things like office furniture and throwing things like copier side of the company to the dogs, but we haven't done that," Mr Summers said.
"They don't want the headache of the printers and copiers, of providing support, the need to have someone on site to be able to sort things, but that is what we are all about.
"We keep things simple so that we are able to provide a reliable service to our customers.
"We see other companies that have engineers working from home who have to travel long distances to visit customers when a problem occurs.
"They then have to get on the phone to order replacement parts. Wait a day for it to arrive at the local depot and then another day to get the time to get back to the customer to fix it.
"With that you can end up with a three-day fix and that's of no use to anyone.
"What we've got at Elmrep is the base here in Gloucester, all the parts and all the experts working out of the GL4 postcode.
"We've got everything we need on one site, so when something does go wrong, we can sort it."
Allied to that strong base in the city is Elmrep's commitment to keeping things simple in terms of the machines they work with.
Mr Summers knows that stocking a wide range of manufacturers is nonsensical due to the vast amount of knowledge and spare parts needed to do the job right.
So, they maintain their relationship with Sharp, who they have worked with since forming in 1984.
That means a team of staff who know the machines inside out and, crucially, a well-stocked store of spares to allow quick and easy fixes.
Elmrep are trusted by an ever-widening list of customers who are at the heart of Gloucester business, from Gillman's and Bennett's coaches to Randall & Payne and the Warners Group.
All of those customers know that if the worst happens a locally-based and trusted company will be on site quick sharp in order to get the problem fixed.
In many of those cases the sight of an Elmrep engineer arriving on site is the first sign of a problem due to the fact that the machines are fitted with software that tell Elmrep HQ if there is a problem.
"With us, the beauty is the simplicity," Mr Summers said,.
"Our staff have to know about one manufacturer in Sharp, one range of parts, one range of consumables, one range of problems and one range of fixes.
"Other companies might be sending someone who is an expert in Canon machines out to fix a Xerox machine and hasn't got a clue what to do.
"We're not diluting our knowledge. We haven't got to fill our stockrooms with large numbers of parts. We keep it simple.
"Every machine we sell, I have spare parts on the shelves of our warehouse so we can guarantee that same service to every one of our customers, no matter what.
"So, when a new machine is launched, we spend £2-3,000 on new parts as well.
"If we did that for a new manufacturer, we would have to stock the same spare parts to offer the service we pride ourselves on.
"Downtime in any line of business is a bad thing and we strive to make sure that doesn't happen.
"A lot of our customers are similar to us in terms of the level of service we offer. We work with Gillman's a lot and they appreciate just that.
"They know that someone will just turn up and get the job done. Even if that's just delivering a toner cartridge, but they know that the job gets done.
"We have that personal touch. We have a Gloucester phone number which you will ring and get a person on the end of the phone answering, it's a basic thing but it's the right thing."
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