2024 Print Leaders Forum: Vincent Nair, SMARTECH Business Systems

Vincent Nair, President & CEO, SMARTECH Business Systems

Financially, 2023 was a very solid year for SMARTECH Business Systems despite the fragility of the global economy. We were also very proud to be awarded Employer of Choice at the 2023 Australian Business Awards. It was a great privilege for us to be recognised as one of the best employers in the country.

2024 is shaping up to be a significant year for us. We recently announced our partnership with Agfa, a global leader in the industrial printing sector, as its exclusive representative in the Oceania region.

Well-known for manufacturing both analogue and digital imaging products and software-based systems, Agfa brings unparalleled expertise to the table. We believe this strategic partnership presents us with tremendous opportunity in the market. Additionally, our newly announced partnership with Canon Production Printing represents a pivotal moment for SMARTECH, notably for Canon’s innovative gel technology offering, the basis for the new Colorado M-Series as we look to deepen our footprint in the printing industry.

Moreover, we will continue to grow our partnership with HP as the largest mid-range sign and display reseller in Australia, with a particular focus on Latex printers, ensuring that we continue to provide cutting-edge solutions tailored to our customers’ evolving needs.

A priority for us this year is to continue to execute our business mission and support our talent. In January of 2021, we introduced our three pillars of change, Transparency, Accountability, and Inclusion. Being transparent with employees with respect to strategic or operational discussions impacting them, holding ourselves accountable for the work we do, and including all employees in discussions relating to matters that involve them so they would feel strongly that they are part of the company.

We have also focused on investing in our people and our leadership team – ensuring we have the right leadership in the right parts of the business. In fact, in the last two and half years we have promoted 33 per cent of our staff, which is a clear demonstration of that belief that we have in our talent. Our executive leadership team today comprises a significant number of individuals who have been promoted internally, reflecting a broader inclusion of talent within the ELT. We are proud to announce that the results of our recent SMARTECH’s employee satisfaction have skyrocketed, with satisfaction rate of 96 per cent and a compliance rate of 95 per cent.

Unlike the common view about the challenges of finding and retaining talent in the industry, I find that if you spend your time creating a beautiful garden, the butterflies will come to you. However, if you spend your time chasing butterflies,they will fly away.

We have also placed a lot of investment in our services and will continue to do so this year. Eighteen months ago, we restructured our service delivery organisation. We changed our KPIs, to include first call fix rate, response times, restore times, and  customer satisfaction surveys to track how customers felt about us. Our service levels and response times today are now well above 80 per cent. Once you get the service side right, and the employees right, then you’re selling improves and your topline becomes responsive.

Looking ahead this year, I believe that we will see further market consolidation. The larger players will continue to acquire the smaller ones because it’s very, very challenging to function as a small business in Australia in today’s fragile economy.

I think one of the main opportunities for the industry is having the right digital strategy. A lot of companies in this industry are yet to embrace digital technology. Over the past two years, we have focused on optimising business growth, and efficiency through substantial investments. Our focus has been on improving customer access to our supplies and consumables. To achieve this, we introduced our online store with the aim of enhancing the shopping experience, making it more convenient and user-friendly for our customers, ensuring hassle-free transactions.

My advice to young leaders in the industry is to set clear goals and commit to continual improvement. It’s very important to commit to improvement, as a business leader, you can’t be afraid of failure. If you have hired someone then you must back that person 150 per cent. The same applies for a business unit, supplier, or customer – you can’t be in two minds about them. In order to succeed, the desire for success must always be greater than your fear of failure.

This first appeared in Australian Printer magazine. Read the original article here.

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