In 2011, Epson set up office in Nairobi, appointing Mukesh Bector as Regional Sales Manager. He was tasked with leading the firm’s efforts to carve itself a share of the Kenyan and regional ICT market. The effort has paid off with International Data Corporation (IDC) now ranking Epson third in the printer business regionally, with Epson topping the dot matrix segment mostly used in financial institutions. While in the projector sector, Futuresource ranks Epson as market leader in the region.
“Epson has proved that Kenyans are willing to pay a premium for quality. From the start, we made a deliberate attempt not to compete on price. Epson instead focused on real business concerns, which we established as how to ensure cost savings and how to incentivise productivity. We have consistently guaranteed the lowest cost of printing in the market, without compromising on quality. We also provide the businesses with reliable and innovative collaborative technologies, such as interactive projectors, that help to improve employee’s efficiency,” says Mukesh.
He was speaking at an event held for its end users in Nairobi. The event sought to bring IT professionals and business people who use printing and visual equipment (projectors), with an aim of collecting feedback from the market and improving relations with customers.
Epson’s strong history of innovation has directly contributed to its success in the Kenyan market. The firm spends approximately US $1.3 million each day in research and development. Emerging countries have been a key focus for Epson, with a research arm wholly dedicated to innovations that cater to business solutions not in these countries. The result has been a product range uniquely suited to the businesses and operating environments in these countries.
Many businesses in the past preferred to refill printer cartridges by injecting ink into the cartridges, in an effort to cut down on costs. This resulted to poor printing quality. For this reason Epson did away with cartridges, and developed printers that have ink tanks, separate for each colour. These printers are easily refillable through ink bottles.
The Ink Tank System printers have been a massive success in countries from Indonesia to Kenya, with Epson now introducing them to developed markets including the United States and Western Europe. Only introduced in 2010, Epson shipped 4 million Ink Tank System printers globally in 2014 and is set to ship more than 5 million such printers in the current year ending March 2016.
Epson’s projectors have been especially popular with schools due to their brightness in daylight use, and collaborative features such as pen and finger-touch technology. Finger-touch enables lessons to be inclusive and interactive, with students directly participating in the teaching by “writing” on the board. Epson is anticipating further growth in the business segment this year. The right workplace technologies can enable huge increases in efficiency. Presentations, on-the-job training could become more engaging and with interactive projectors colleagues can instantly share content and edit information with team members even remotely.
“Customers are increasingly aware of what they want when it comes to their purchasing decision when looking for a printer, scanner or projector. Through innovation, Epson strives to ensure that it is meeting the needs of small and medium enterprises as well as corporations and schools in Kenya,” added Mukesh.