Julien Guerrand – Community Manager IMPSGA : Bruno, could you quickly present Audiré ?
Bruno Chaillou – Owner Audiré: I created Audiré Caraïbes in 2006, addressing initially the business in French West Indies and French Guyana.
Our offering is simple: to create and market innovative printing solutions for businesses.
We have been a member of the IMPSGA alliance since the early days.
JG : How would you characterize the French West Indies market place ? How different is it from the Mainland French market?
BC: The business sectors are less varied over here. There are hardly any large-scale manufacturing or services companies. Our business is oriented towards very small and micro businesses, the tourism industry and the public sector. Addressing such a market place, we cannot afford to work like our mainland counterparts who work with large accounts. For us, an entry customer prints 500 pages per month!
JG : Indeed this is quite a low level, compared to what we see elsewhere in France or Europe.
BC : We were able penetrate this market segment, starting from a simple assumption. I started my career selling compatible supplies in Guadeloupe. For an equivalent printed page, the cost of consumables per page can vary from 1 to 10! Audiré was created to offer a sensible price to companies who were paying too much. Their options were limited by the type of equipment they owned.
This is why, I have 4 objectives that I always keep in sight:
– no dependency on distribution networks
– reduce expenses through process automation
– offer 3 service levels print management / document management / information management
– be very advanced i.e. a kind of R&D lab in Software
JG: What are Audiré business fundamentals? Is it different from the other Alliance members?
BC: Yes and quite so. We buy the equipment and keep ownership through its lifetime, to offer flexibility to our clients. We take care of maintenance, so the user can focus on using the equipment. We apply to the printing market the way that other sectors work, such as Telco Operators or the car leasing industry. We cover the whole printing requirements of our clients with an all-inclusive fee ranging from 36 to 60 months. We can demonstrate that this is a powerful proposition, enabling growth and profitability.
JG: How do you convince these clients? How do you make them change their habits?
BC: By keeping our promise to make their life simple! As this is really one stop shopping, we take care of everything from finance to paper delivery. We work a lot on the customer experience. For example we developed in-house ERP software. This enables clients to work real time on their printing, to have clear and up-to-date reports of their consumption and how this fits within their contract.
Of course, there is also an important factor, prices. We put pressure on our providers, thanks to our volumes and our fleet rationalisation. The core idea is to offer one single model per device type. So we purchase a substantial quantity of it until the manufacturer renews this model. We then organise a new benchmark with every competitor having a chance again. The client wins …big time.
JG: 2 important points in the equation indeed. Our usual question to Alliance members: How do you see the market in 2020…i.e. only 3 years away … Jean-Louis de La Salle, the Alliance co-chairman, joins the meeting for these exchanges.
BC: I will start with a point on which all agree, because this movement is already underway. Market consolidation. Large resellers are buying the smaller ones.
JLS: I can only agree with Bruno on this point. The market is consolidating for a purely physical reason. Printed page volumes are going down 2% each year. But I also see a positive signal for our members. Manufacturers like HP or Canon have realised that selling direct is an expensive proposition and mobilises a lot of resources to achieve less than what was expected. The channel will therefore have access to a greater share of these manufacturers’ business, as they focus more on indirect sales.
BC: What we can forecast too, and we will certainly agree with Jean-Louis on this, is the required diversification smaller players need to undergo….. Bigger players have already moved a few years ago towards IT services offering cloud services, archiving, etc. In short, value added services.
JLS: Quite true! Let us note that it is difficult for an MPS specialist to go towards IT. Competition has not waited and is already providing these services. I believe there is room for interesting partnerships between the two worlds.
JG: Bruno was mentioning his specific financial structure. What should one think of that?
JLS: I am on the same line. Within IMPSGA, each company has its own ways, based on country and company culture but the 3 largest members are very advanced, when it comes to fleet financing. Hexapage and M2 both have their own private financing company.
BC: Our vision is really to make printing a simple single line in the accounts, nothing more complex. We are considering diminishing the role banks play in our clients’ financing ecosystem, using alternative techniques
JLS: With this example, Bruno shows us that volume or price are not any more the only fundamental aspects. I think that reducing expenses through new ideas and automating processes are major contributors to our future.
JG: Thank you to both for these exchanges