Copier dealers can be divided into two categories – there are the national operations, all owned and controlled by manufacturers; and there are local independent dealers. Manufacturers have one goal with their subsidiaries – maintain their market share; they know if they are not the market leader in a product, the local dealer will not sell it. Independent dealers tend to offer a better level of service and equivalent or better prices, as their structure is tailored to meet the needs of local businesses and the local owner is present to ensure the reputation of his/her company is protected in the market place where he/she resides.
Independent dealers can also be subdivided into two categories. One category is considered the old guard, and focuses on selling a copier and fixing it. The second category is comprised of younger, more innovative owners who have embraced the digital age. This group offers comprehensive solutions rather than copiers, and they have created a subset of the industry known as the Office Products & Workflow Solutions group. They offer a broader range of products usually encompassing all equipment utilized in an office environment; and complement those products with software, technical support, and focused consulting services. They have made a significant and ongoing investment in their business to differentiate themselves.
In 2008, the office imaging industry benchmarking co-authors and execution experts, PROs Elite Group, began the process of identifying the top independent dealers in the 100 major market segments in the United States based on their elite services benchmarking model. They targeted the Office Products & Workflow Solutions group as the future of the industry.
The independent dealer who in the opinion of these industry experts at PROs Elite Group benchmarked best in any market was extended the offer to be selected for certification to the PROs Elite 100. The PROs Elite 100 certification process demanded that the selected dealer and their staff participate in rigorous training, execute specific action plans, achieve the PROs Elite Group’s over 150 benchmarks, and allow themselves to be audited on an ongoing basis for performance against these critical benchmarks. Certification would have to be earned every year. Dealers who achieved this certification, in the opinion of PROs Elite Group, are the best servicing dealers in the United States.
All of the other awards are either based on initial satisfaction, or offered based on sales growth or purchases made from the manufacturer. Every dealer is eligible for those awards and in some cases those awards can be purchased.
The PROs Elite 100 award is based on ongoing demonstrated servicing excellence. After considering other dealerships, our dealership was selected because we possessed all of the initial criteria of an Independent dealer and at the same time, allowed PROs Elite Group, the industry benchmarking experts, to assess our performance against the elite servicing benchmarks. We then had specific action plans developed to close the gaps in any areas where we did not benchmark against the elite. We then agreed to have our ongoing performance monitored and audited to continuously earn the right to be a member of this Elite 100 organization.
Typically 3-5 dealers in any market were considered by the PROs Executive team. The Pros Executive team has been in and out of hundreds of dealerships throughout the United States. Their vast Industry experience has positioned them to have a thorough understanding of the Office Imaging Dealer network. Some dealers, after being made aware of the Certification Process and investment required to achieve it, simply chose not to participate. Others simply did not meet the stringent criteria and were unlikely to reach it even with support and input from the PROs Executive team.
The Pros Executive team is made up of former Independent Dealer executives who served as Vice Presidents of Service or Company Presidents at Xerox, Global Imaging Systems and Ikon Office Solutions companies. One of the Executives is the co-author of the Service Benchmarking model with Tom Johnson – the founder of Global Imaging Systems. The PROs executive team has been inside of over 200 Independent dealers raising the productivity and execution capabilities of those Dealerships. They are considered the Experts in Service Management training and execution.
Among the many considerations we had to make as we entered into the selection process was the investment we would need to make in the training of our Executive Team, and our Sales, Service and Administrative employees. Much like any formal education, we made a significant financial investment in the education process.
We also made a significant financial investment in having the PROs executive team conduct a thorough on site analysis of our procedures, processes and policies that led to our results. We then made further investments to have the PROs executive team help us execute the action plans they developed for us.
Each month all of our benchmark criteria data is submitted to and reviewed by PROs Elite Group and feedback is provided to help Core Business Solutions in its quest for continuous improvement.
We have to earn certification every year. The PROs audit process allows them to monitor our performance and continuously coach us if we should drift from their benchmarks. We have committed internally to retain this certification.
Yes it can. A primary requirement of the certification is that our operations are always at or consistently trending to the PROs benchmarks. As a result, we must always remain in their audit process. In addition, we must always retain the initial criteria of being an independent dealer to retain our PROs Elite 100 certification.