In a competitive global marketplace, what makes a customer choose you over your rivals isn’t just the quality of your equipment. Equally important is how you can add value to their business. Konica Minolta combined a thorough understanding of their clients’ needs and their strong partnership with DLL to develop a flexible solution that is benefitting all concerned.
Konica Minolta facts
40 countries worldwide
Makes DLL the document imaging & printing industry’s #1 non-manufacturer owned end-user finance source.
20 years of partnership
The strength and scale of our office technology makes us market leader among independent financial service companies.
Global framework agreement
In the US alone, we’ve introduced over 15,000 customers to paperless invoicing. And that’s quite a few trees.
Challenge of coordination
Konica Minolta is a leading supplier of office products & services in over 40 countries worldwide. For many of their multinational customers, coordinating equipment and services across geographies and business lines is a massive challenge.
“Global sourcing is an increasingly important way for these customers to lower expenditure, increase efficiencies, maximize IT investments and drive value throughout their global community,” explains Fred Winckler, Konica Minolta’s Director of Operations, Global Major Accounts. “Our role at Konica Minolta is to help customers realize these benefits by offering not only innovative technologies, but also innovative solutions.”
Global footprint? Global solution!
One such solution is in the area of leasing products and services. In the past, Konica Minolta arranged leasing on a local basis. But for customers with a global footprint in particular, this local approach often resulted in poorer coordination, higher spend and unnecessary inefficiencies. Among other things, using multiple suppliers makes standardization very difficult for IT departments.
So Konica Minolta and DLL as their financial solutions partner put their heads together and came up with the idea of a global framework agreement to offer Konica Minolta customers as an alternative financing option. These are leasing agreements settled at a local level but customized to each of Konica Minolta’s global customer’s specific needs and circumstances.
A single leasing portfolio makes it easier for the customer and Konica Minolta to manage the customer’s assets and reduce bureaucracy. But anyone who thinks that providing such a global agreement is simply a matter of drafting a contract for customers to sign should think again.
Big but flexible
“Global relationships create opportunities but also challenges for Konica Minolta and DLL,” says Fred. “They test our infrastructure, engagement practices, internal governance, KPIs, and administrative and support capabilities.”
Because each customer has their own specific requirements and circumstances, Fred knew it was also important for Konica Minolta that their financial solutions partner could adapt to each customer individually. “With their flexible approach, DLL has the ability to create global financing agreements that can be tailored to the needs of individual customers. Plus DLL’s leasing program is truly global. So rather than having different country managers trying to deal with our various needs at the local level, a single global account manager acts as a central point of contact, coordinating the development of formal agreements anywhere in the world.”
The benefits of this global strategy are huge for both Konica Minolta and its customers. First, the simplified financial solution creates happier customers, increasing the chance of agreement renewals without having to retender. Secondly, office equipment can be consolidated across markets, lowering operating costs. Thirdly, standardizing equipment with one manufacturer and a select number of devices means IT departments have far simpler systems to manage in terms of network traffic, drivers and data reporting. And finally, DLL is flexible enough to customize payment terms, for example by letting Konica Minolta invoice and collect themselves, or adjusting billing cycles from monthly to quarterly to further streamline processes.
Offering customized arrangements to your most important clients is one thing. But as Fred points out, knowing that your partner will deliver on them is another. “DLL and Konica Minolta have been working together for over 20 years. Our partnership has grown from local country relationships, driven primarily by the people involved. Through reciprocal respect, we’ve developed a mutually beneficial global partnership that creates value for all involved, including our shared customers. Today we view DLL as our financial consultant, with the business acumen, financial expertise and in depth industry knowledge that allows us to collaborate to offer even better value to customers.”
So, for example, Konica Minolta recently asked DLL to help one of their large global clients address the intricate invoicing and global procurement requirements of its European operations. Drawing on their global experience and expertise, DLL’s people found a solution that benefitted the customer and Konica Minolta.
Fred firmly believes that just like a good marriage, maintaining a strong business partnership over two decades requires hard work. “Partners talk. Partners collaborate. Partners make each other better at what they do individually, and what they can do collectively for their mutual customers. I’ve always said that this is the true value of our global partnership. Fortunately the depth of Konica Minolta’s relationship with DLL gives both of us the impetus to improve our processes, deepening our relationships with our customers.”
And you’ll find those customers everywhere you turn, from offices to hospitals to planetariums. So when Konica Minolta and DLL’s partnership helps organisations to do what they do more effectively and more efficiently, it’s not only Konica Minolta’s customers who benefit.
VP Global Account Management, DLL Financial Services
“Working with Konica Minolta is always great. In my experience their local guys are as committed as we are to getting the right result for the customer. And the fact that they apply that same customer focus at the strategic level, for example the way they worked with DLL to develop the Global Framework, means all that on-the-ground enthusiasm gets converted into real gains for Konica Minolta’s end-users.”