In an interaction with Imaging Solution magazine, Mr. Navaratan Baid, Director, Vijex Vyapaar Pvt Ltd, shares about the current market trends in the imaging aftermarket, their company policy, and future outlook. Vijex has three decades of successful presence in the imaging market as a leading Importer and Distributor of compatible toners for copiers and printers catering to both consumer and industrial segments. The company through its partners has a wide supply network and presence pan India. Vijex provides toner powders in bulk (unbranded) and also in their own brand name KT. Vijex signed up as Premier Partner for HP A3 Laserjet Copiers in 2019 and has moved to a swanky experience zone for these copiers in Darya Ganj, New Delhi (which also includes their office).
Talking about their selling points, Mr. Navaratan Baid comments, “We import toners, for printers and copiers, only from reputed quality-proven providers from Japan which is the main strength and ensures the confidence of our dealers and customers in our products. We do not compromise on quality. Work From Home and Learn From Home increased the sale of printers in the home segment, but has a little positive effect on the business of compatible consumables and copier machines. Freight charges on imports and also delays in import deliveries have increased significantly, so it has become difficult to plan our availability and domestic supplies. The prices of all the toners increased leading to a drop in profit margins. Now we have reached about 50% of the pre-lockdown levels. Starting from Sep 2021, the demand for copier machines and toners has started picking up, but until the schools, colleges, and offices start working full-time, we cannot expect significant growth and reach the pre-lockdown level of sales. In 2022, we expect the growth will pick up. We also expect a significant increase in color toner usage in the coming years. Quality is our main selling point and we sell mainly in bulk without brand. We have a pan-India customer base with a major portion of our business coming from North India.”
The pandemic which started in March 2020 and the following lockdowns and restrictions and adversely affected the imaging consumables industry in the same way it affected many other sectors. Revenues of most businesses in the imaging industry dipped below their pre-lockdown levels. Sales of copier machines and copier consumables are still very low as most segments where these products are used are inoperative.
Regarding major developments in the market and the suggestions he wants to give to improve the industry operations, Mr. Navaratan Baid briefs, “Earlier, copiers were limited to offices segment, now schools, colleges, and coaching centers have become major consumers of photocopiers and copier consumables; and the laser and inkjet printers are becoming household items. Today’s business is not just box-selling but should be backed by effective service. Next, today’s copiers and printers are not just hardware units but also have software parts in them. Unfortunately, there is no formal and structured training system in the industry servicing professionals of photocopiers and printers. They learn most of the work through experience and trial and error. What we need in the future is comprehensive training programs for the servicing professionals based on structured education. Next, customers also should be educated on how low-cost cheap-quality consumables, besides giving poor quality prints, can harm the printer and copier machines.”
Mr. Navratan Baid concludes, “The HP A3 Laserjet Copiers had been selling well until Mar 2020, before the first lockdown. After lockdown, there has been a dip in the business both for copiers and consumables and the dip continues till today. Today, all big companies and corporates want service-attached printer solutions, not just products. So we are focusing more on attaching service with our product offerings. Partners should focus on providing quality and give complete clarity to the users about the quality and output; there should be no misrepresentations or misleading while providing information to the end-users. Imagingmedia and imaging trade associations should focus on educating the partners and the users how to focus on good quality, avoid purchasing dupe products and avoid being too price-sensitive. We want to wait until Covid comes under complete control and markets start opening up, before making new plans.”