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Altron Document Solutions disrupts legacy model as businesses digitise

Altron Document Solutions has announced how the company plans to disrupt the legacy office automation model and overhaul its managed print services offering in response to the growing need to digitise operations.

“The shift to work-from-home (WFH) and remote working operations due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements and lockdown regulations has accelerated the transition to a less paper-intensive workplace,” explains Jonathan Osbourne, Executive Head – Intelligent Work Space Services at Altron Document Solutions (ADS).

Remote workforces need to securely access, edit and approve documents digitally. And while digital transformation was already high on the agenda before the pandemic, many businesses opted for a top-down digitisation approach.

“Top-down digital enablement is a capital-intensive process and can limit the pace and scale of digital transformation. This hampered pre-lockdown pivots to seamless WFH models. The need to rip-and-replace legacy enterprise solutions and write-off sunk costs in on-premises systems also makes digital strategies unpalatable amid the current economic crunch,” continues Osbourne.

Instead, Osbourne suggests that a bottom-up approach that allows companies to sweat assets and capitalise on existing hardware can create a self-funding and more responsive digitalisation model.

“Companies can realise incremental cost savings and unlock greater operational efficiencies by implementing our new Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS) solution. The business can then reinvest these savings or unlock working capital to fund broader strategic digitalisation initiatives.”

Importantly, the IWS solution addresses a major impediment to realising digitisation-based cost efficiencies – fixed-term contract lock-ins for office automation solutions.

“The legacy office automation model ties customers into a fixed-cost hardware contract for on-premises printers as part of the traditional capital recovery mechanism. Issues arise when companies accelerate their digitisation initiatives because they retain the hardware and the associated costs,” elaborates Osbourne.

It is these constraints that Altron Document Solutions aims to address with its innovative Xerox IWS offering. “The need to create a new go-to-market strategy that effectively disrupted our legacy business model was clear,” adds Osbourne.

Through its Xerox IWS consultancy programme, Altron Document Solutions will apply operational best practices and methodologies to assess a workplace environment and its infrastructure footprint to identify areas of inefficiency.

“Once we understand a company’s necessity for print, we can begin the transition from traditional managed services to digitisation initiatives that can optimise this environment and drive cost savings.”

Altron Document Solutions digitises a company’s environment using comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software to stop the paper onboarding process and automate paper-intensive processes to seamlessly capture, store and integrate information into back-end systems.

This process includes a concurrent effort to back-scan, digitise and onboard historical paper-based data and documents based on a company’s specific requirements around data storage, content management and regulatory compliance.

“Companies must decide how far back to go because, beyond a certain point, digitisation efforts will deliver diminishing returns,” explains Osbourne.

It is at this point when the process should switch to a second-tier archiving exercise as it may become more cost-effective to store older documents in hard copy format.

“While these capabilities will suppress printing requirements, a need for paper will remain to some degree during the transition to a paperless environment. As such, we will still supply hardware at no additional costs, until it is no longer required,” explains Osbourne.

This approach allows Altron ADS to reduce a company’s hardware footprint in step with the pace of its digitisation roll-out.

Once all documents and data are digitised and hosted in a cloud environment, companies can begin to unlock operational efficiencies by automating workflows, enabling secure, seamless access for remote workers. The Xerox IWS solution can also restrict access to specific documents or elements within documents to ensure data integrity while meeting compliance requirements with audit trails.

“Beyond the immediate efficiency and cost benefits, an IWS-centric digitisation programme creates opportunities to advance to full digitalisation,” adds Osbourne.

And Altron Document Solutions is uniquely positioned to leverage expertise within the Altron Group to deliver next-generation capabilities such as end-to-end cloud-enablement, robotic process automation, big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Ultimately, a bottom-up IWS-led digitalisation strategy will automate manual tasks and processes to save time and lower costs. The solution also improves compliance, and easily integrates with enterprise applications and third-party systems to effectively redefine the way workers collaborate and interact with content,” concludes Osbourne.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

Xerox

Xerox Holdings Corporation (NYSE: XRX) makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, Ethernet, the laser printer or more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com.

Constrained economic conditions require bottom-up digitalisation approach

By Jonathon Osbourne, Executive Head – Intelligent Workspace Services at Altron Document Solutions

Social distancing and lockdown measures have accelerated the digital transformation agenda as companies shift to work-from-home and remote working models.

This has revealed the fundamental need for businesses to integrate work and personal devices with back-end systems and digitise workflows and processes to enable remote access to documents, with digital editing and approval capabilities to maintain business continuity.

However, the costs associated with top-down digital enablement can limit the pace and scale of the digital transformation process. The need to rip-and-replace legacy enterprise solutions or write-off sunk costs in on-premises systems can make digital strategies unpalatable amid the economic crunch.

Prohibitive costs? Change the model

But costs need not constrain a company’s digitalisation strategy. A bottom-up approach can leverage a self-funding digitalisation model where realising incremental cost savings and greater efficiencies effectively increases an organisation’s buying power.

This model allows companies to sweat assets and capitalise on existing hardware, while reinvesting saved operational expenses and working capital to fund strategic digitalisation initiatives.

In this regard, the foundation for a bottom-up digitalisation plan starts with Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS), which bridges the gap between paper-intensive processes and a workplace environment that uses less paper.

In essence, IWS uses comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software to unlock automation and build seamless processes across paper and digital platforms to enhance collaboration, increase productivity and deliver a better work experience.

Legacy paper processes limit document access and workforce mobility. Traditional IWS management and office automation services applied best practices and methodologies to assess a workplace environment and its infrastructure footprint to identify areas of paper-based inefficiencies and optimise processes to drive print suppression.

However, the current circumstances require a new model. The challenges posed by COVID-19 and the lockdown require mobile and remote workforce enablement, with seamless and efficient access to information through a secure mechanism, and the ability to work on documents and collaborate.

Faced with the challenge of a decentralised workforce, print avoidance and process digitisation have become the key objectives. This strategy begins with back-scanning to digitise mission-critical documents and information.

To optimise this process, businesses must determine a break-even point by prioritising the most pertinent information and documentation from a process and regulatory compliance perspective.

Companies must also decide how far back to go. Beyond a certain point, digitisation efforts will deliver diminishing returns, which is when the process should switch to a second tier archiving exercise. At this point, it may become more cost-effective to store older documents in hard copy format.

Once all documents and data are digitised and hosted in a cloud environment, companies can begin to unlock operational efficiencies by automating workflows and elevating the user experience.

For example, many organisations still operate with silos of buried information, with the average worker spending 2.5 hours per day searching for the information they need to do their job. An interactive IWS interface improves accessibility and enhances searchability and retrieval.

And solutions that leverage open APIs ensure services providers can customise applications that link into back-end systems and leverage existing enterprise applications where possible to contain costs and minimise workplace disruption.

Business will also benefit from these capabilities without sacrificing security and information integrity, as IWS can restrict access to specific documents or certain elements within documents, while meeting compliance requirements with audit trails.

And the enhanced user experience also extends to the customer. IWS can streamline onboarding or application processes via a digital portal, and empowers businesses to engage and communicate quickly and effectively using accurate and relevant customer information.

Beyond the immediate efficiency and cost benefits, an IWS-centric digitisation programme driven from a predominantly print environment creates opportunities to advance to full digitalisation. Companies can then begin to leverage next-generation technologies such as robotic process automation, big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

In addition, once in the cloud, businesses can process documents on hosted platform and start applying analytics and intelligence to this data to create a more connected and intelligent workplace.

For instance, leveraging powerful AI and machine learning enables businesses to automatically capture and validate information from paper or digital mediums, and any source to feed important data directly into the processes that need it.

New opportunities will also emerge around security and data protection, such as proactive risk analyses that can pinpoint security risks and reveal vulnerabilities before a breach occurs.

Ultimately, a bottom-up IWS-led digitalisation strategy will redefine the way a business interacts with content. Managing content in this manner can help organisations automate manual tasks and processes to save time and lower costs, improve compliance through auditable workflows, and more easily integrate with appropriate ERP, CRM and third-party systems.

More importantly, IWS can enhance collaboration with access to content from anywhere and at any time, and speed up decision-making by making data securely accessible at the point of need. These capabilities create the type of nimble, agile organisation that can respond to the dynamic and challenging market environment in which we currently find ourselves.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

New Minuteman Press store invests in Xerox Versant 180

Minuteman Press, a digital print and copy store based in Rosslyn, Pretoria, has completed the installation of a new Xerox Versant 180 to supplement its production capacity, supplied by Altron Document Solutions and facilitated by Compleo, a concessionaire of Xerox South Africa. Minuteman Press is the number one printing and marketing franchise on the planet, with nearly 1 000 stores globally.

From left: Helene Labuschagne, Linda du Preez and Duncan Diesel, Minuteman Press

From left: Helene Labuschagne, Linda du Preez and Duncan Diesel, Minuteman Press

“Xerox equipment is state of the art and features high quality, speed and productivity, which helps increase the capacity of what you can do in your store,” said Duncan Diesel, area manager for South Africa, Minuteman Press. “The support from Xerox is great, we have good relationships with all of the branch managers, and the head office looks after us as a national account. The training provided was also good and is ongoing. It is a partnership that keeps evolving and developing in an ever-changing print environment.”

The Xerox Versant 180 offers automation and quality in a compact footprint, and delivers on speed and productivity, at 80ppm in full colour. It prints on a variety of media types, including coated and uncoated papers, bright papers, labels, glossy brochures, window decals, durable and synthetic papers, tabs, embossed, polyesters, it also prints on a variety of print products such as business cards, greeting cards and lots more, and it supports mixed-media jobs. The press offers variable data printing and can print on NCR (no carbon required) paper for invoice books.

Without replacing their presses, Xerox Versant 180 owners can now offer print pieces that grab even more attention with the Xerox Adaptive CMYK+ Kits. The kits add shiny metallics, bold whites and glowing fluorescent colours to a Xerox Versant 180 press, extending the user’s palette to more than a million colours using 11 new toners. That means more opportunity to bring ideas to life, and more ways to get printed pieces noticed. This opens the door to the fast-growing, high margin specialty ‘Beyond CMYK’ printing market and sets businesses apart from the competition.

“There are enhancements available that will allow Minuteman Press to do special effects and 12-colour printing with these adaptive kits,” said Richard Attwell, Director of Compleo. “It is not necessarily an investment in a new press, but rather you can use your existing press. Some business owners have two Xerox presses, so now they can have one specialised press, and one that is not specialised running together.”

“You have a really awesome product that offers high-definition printing with integrated automation and combined with excellent national support and service,” said John De Beer, National Account Manager, Altron Document Solutions. “If there are any issues, the technicians are very responsive. You need a partner who is going to help you continue printing, because if you are not printing, you are not making money, and that is what Xerox understands. Minuteman Press is not a customer, we are in partnership with them.”

“I first engaged with Minuteman Press two years ago about owning a store,” said Minuteman Press Rosslyn owner Linda du Preez, who left the car rental industry after 19 years to venture into the printing industry. “With COVID-19 retrenchments, the rental company I had worked for offered severance packages and I thought that it was the right opportunity and time to open the store. The support from Minuteman Press has been amazing throughout the whole set-up. I’m sure with their support, this business will go far.”

From left: John De Beer, Altron BDS, with Duncan Diesel, Linda du Preez and Helene Labuschagne, Minuteman Press

From left: John De Beer, Altron BDS, with Duncan Diesel, Linda du Preez and Helene Labuschagne, Minuteman Press Minute

Minuteman Press store owners encourage and support each other, as shown by two other Minuteman Press store owners from Pretoria who were at the Rosslyn branch pre-launch to show their support and welcome Du Preez and her team to the area. Minuteman Press creates a supportive environment for store owners, as well as a networking community. This includes a WhatsApp group, where questions are answered daily, and the launch of ‘lunchtime learning’, starting this week, where store owners get together on Zoom and discuss what has worked, what hasn’t, and new ideas for marketing going forward.

“We have a dedicated research and development team in America, which benefits our store owners, who are buying into tried and tested equipment and ideas,” said Diesel. “We are a very flexible franchise – owners can make their own decisions, they are not forced to buy from anyone, and they can sell whatever products they want. Our owners deal directly with our suppliers.”

One of the initiatives Minuteman Press launched during COVID-19 was Bounce Back South Africa, which helped local businesses ‘bounce back’ by giving them a place to list their businesses for free in local communities, and to supply them with free COVID-19 information posters for their place of business.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

Xerox

Xerox Holdings Corporation makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, the ethernet, the laser printer or more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com

Editorial contacts
Altron Document Solutions
Amanda Hetherington
(011) 928 9111

 

New possibilities for Camera Press with the Xerox Iridesse

Camera Press is a commercial printing company based in Johannesburg and a specialist provider of one to one customer communications. It’s been servicing the direct marketing industry since the business started with three multi-colour litho presses and has now taken personalisation to the next level with the Xerox Iridesse Production Press.

Camera Press’ relationship with Xerox started 10 years ago when the company first purchased the Xerox X5000, which was followed by a Xerox X1000 four years later.

Camera Press was looking for a digital printer that could produce quality prints in a short time, using specialty inks and on a variety of substrates especially folders.

“Digital print production has continued to improve, and we are excited about what we can achieve with the Xerox Iridesse”

“We had the opportunity to research the market before making our decision and looked at multiple brands”, says Kevin Hellyer, co-owner of Camera Press.

“After extensive research and in-depth comparisons, we migrated to the Xerox Iridesse Production Press. It was a natural progression for us to upgrade to the latest technology – Xerox is ingrained in us and the Iridesse is a show-stopper. Digital print production has continued to improve, and we are excited about what we can achieve with the Xerox Iridesse.

“This, combined with the level of service that we receive from Altron Bytes Documents Solutions and Xerox distributor, Digilogix, helped us make our decision,” remarked Kevin.

40 years

Two old school friends, Gavin Stapleton and Hellyer, founded Camera Press in January 1980. The two school mates were both motorsport enthusiasts who spent most of their free time at racing circuits. Kevin raced motorcycles while Gavin loved taking photographs, which later became the inspiration behind the name Camera Press. Gavin’s photographic background led him to the business in lithography, and 40 years later is one of the biggest names in the commercial printing industry.

David Stapleton, Gavin’s younger brother, soon joined the business and has remained an integral part of the company since then. Sadly, Gavin passed away in 2008, leaving Kevin and David to run the business. In celebration of Camera Press’s 40th birthday, the company held an open house where the Xerox Iridesse was officially unveiled.

“It took a lot of hard work, realistic expectations and extreme sacrifice to get to 40 years. We have been self-funded from the beginning. We have never splashed out on material things that were not essential to the business. For the first five years in this business, we did not even draw any salaries. We have always tried to remain innovative and adapt to industry trends. That is why we have stayed relevant and successful for so long”, said Kevin.

Both Kevin and David see the Xerox relationship as a true partnership, and they have never looked back since beginning their journey with the Xerox brand.

We are quite impressed with the Iridesse. The beauty of the Iridesse is that it produces great quality work. Once customers understand and see the Iridesse’s capabilities, it’s limitless because we’ve been able to do larger brochures and short runs, which opens up enormous marketing capability. Things in the printing industry have changed a great deal — customers no longer ask what day they can get it, it has become ‘what time?’” explains David.

Range of features

The Xerox Iridesse offers a range of features that make it the perfect choice for Camera Press. One of the biggest attractions is the option to use specialty dry inks such as gold, silver, metallic and clear. The press can take a maximum paper weight of 400gsm, which is important to Camera Press’s business as they print a large number of business cards.

It also takes a variety of substrates, which can be coated, uncoated, textured or dark stocks, labels, business cards, window decals, durable/synthetic papers, greeting cards, tabs, embossed, polyesters and custom solutions. Another important offering the press has is the fact that it can also print on long sheets which allows Camera Press to maximise its use of the machine as the company is now enabled to print folders more efficiently.

The new press has opened new revenue streams for Camera Press and facilitated its entry into the print-on-demand market. The company is looking at ways to offer its customers a faster turnover including same-day deliveries depending on the time the order was placed. “The speed of the machine is just incredible. We got a job approved for 100 copies of a 108-page book in the morning and by the afternoon it was done and ready for delivery. This will definitely help us on the short-run side,” David continues.

“Print is a great industry to work in, according to Kevin and David. There is always something new and exciting happening. The industry has proved itself to be able to adapt to all kinds of challenges especially working with new and different technologies.

“The Xerox service and support has been excellent. They have helped take our business to a new level and allowed us to offer our customers exceptional image quality and jaw-dropping embellishment effects, making it easier to achieve remarkably brilliant results, “concludes David.

About Altron Bytes Document Solutions
Altron Bytes Document Solutions is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ABDS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

Altron Bytes Document Solutions announces appointment of Warren Mande to MD of Altron Arrow

Altron Bytes Document Solutions (ABDS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sales Divisional Executive, Warren Mande to Managing Director of Altron Arrow, effective 1 March 2020.

Both operating companies are subsidiaries of JSE-listed technology company Altron.

Mande has enjoyed a rewarding career at Xerox and Altron – in both the UK and SA for over 17 years. He joined the company as a graduate trainee before being promoted to the position of commercial manager. He moved on to spend seven years at Bytes UK as sales director before returning to SA to take up the position of Sales Divisional Executive at Altron BDS.

Mande is currently responsible for the leadership success of the Xerox’s office sales operations across the country – taking Xerox’s full portfolio of product offerings to the market. He has a proven track record of consistently driving revenue and profitable growth.

“Warren has always been passionate about sales, and a highly skilled and professional leader who takes great pride in all that he does. He has always promoted a very strong culture of quality, fairness, proactivity, and accountability and encouraged colleagues and employees to strive for excellence. The support, assistance and encouragement he has shown to his colleagues in respect of operational and strategic business matters have been unwavering,” says Johan Basson, MD of Altron BDS.

“While we are sad to see him leave ABDS, this is an exciting growth opportunity for him, and a well-deserved appointment and promotion. I am proud of him and exceptionally pleased that he will remain within the group.

“We would like to thank Warren for his incredible contribution to our business and wish him every success in his new endeavour. I am very confident that with Warren’s leadership, Altron Arrow will also deliver great value, support, service and innovation to their customers,” concludes Basson.

Editorial contacts
Altron Bytes Document SolutionsTanya Moodley(011) 928 9111Tanya.moodley@bdsol.co.za