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The Adventures of Michel and Santeena - Week 3

Posted by Michel Salsaa and Santeena Eskharia on 31 May 2017

The Adventures of Michel and Santeena...a tale of Co-op work at Tri-County Copiers Plus - Xerox

Hello! Welcome back to our blog. Thanks to Victoria Day, we had a longer weekend which allowed a little break and gave us more time to spend with friends and family. An extra day off makes it a little difficult to get back into the same routine we've been in. Coming back to work on Tuesday meant setting the pace for the rest of the week. Luckily, we're given a thorough plan for the days ahead. Last week, we spent more time making cold calls together and delivering feedback to each other. Ultimately within the Co-op placement, it's more about working independently and finding our own strengths and weaknesses, but it's always good to have input and support from a peer.

Market Research: Qualification Round

One of the main projects for this co-op placement, is that we'll be working on the Market Research Project. Its goal is to help us learn more about how businesses operate, relating to their office technology and the potential impact of brand loyalty on the purchasing decisions. This week, we began the process of qualifying which accounts will meet our criteria. This process is comprised of mainly three questions which help us differentiate businesses from each other and allow us to determine which businesses would be a best fit to our program.

The first question we ask the businesses is how much paper they use in a month. The ideal answer is 5000 or more pages, showing us they are more paper-based than digitized. It also tells us there are ways we can help them save money on paper and toner. Asking how much paper they go through in a month helps us understand their type of business, and their current operations. For example, if they are a dental office they are required to keep paper documents of their clients, such as x-rays and medical forms.

The second question would be, "how many employees work in the office?". The ideal answer for this question is 3-10 employees. The more employees that work in the office, the more paper and toner that they are going to more than likely consume. It also makes you think that there's more being done, than in a office with only 1 or 2 people.

The third question that we ask relates to their main office equipment. It's important to know if they currently lease or own a multifunctional printer, and what brand it is. In this question, there is no ideal answer. We would just like to know if they are currently using another device to meet their needs, or if we can save them money if they start using a Xerox device.

After we qualify these business for our market research project, we will expect to follow up with them and schedule a meeting. At that time, we'll be asking more thorough questions which will help us learn more about their business, we may be able to identify opportunities where we can help and understand brand loyalty and purchasing decisions.

WORD OF THE WEEK

The word of the week is...

Industry Research.

As business students, completing industry research is a part of this learning process. Out goal is to understand competitors in the sense of their products, processes, prices and services. Through this, we can understand the complexity of how Xerox, as a global company and how Tri County Copiers Plus Xerox, as a local distributor stay in the game.

Many business courses teach us about understanding the market and ways to familiarize oneself with pure competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and pure monopoly. One way we have learned to understand the market is through Porter's Five Forces. The five forces are competitive rivalry, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, the threat of new entrants, and the threat of substitute products or services. Tri County Copiers Plus Xerox is one of the top competitors in the local area. Promotions and advertising are techniques the company uses as an advantage to other local suppliers, such as Canon and HP. Many businesses in the local area are in need of high-end products and quality, just as Xerox offers.

We will apply Porter's Five Forces separately to develop a better understanding of what they mean.

  1. Competitive rivalry determines the companies in which are leading the market. By leading the market, they compete through pricing, advertising, and product innovations.
  2. Bargaining power of suppliers is the presence of powerful suppliers who reduce the potential product of an industry. Suppliers can increase competition for industries by increasing prices immensely and reducing the quality and service of their shipments. Suppliers with unique products eventually establish brand recognition, giving them more bargaining power than suppliers with generic products. From a perspective of office equipment, manufacturers and suppliers make the decisions based around their prices. If they want to demand more profit for themselves, they will increase their prices on the pieces of equipment.
  3. Bargaining power of buyers reflects the presence of powerful buyers who also reduce the potential profit of an industry. Buyers can increase competition for industries by forcing down prices, demanding better quality and service, and making competitors head-to-head rivals. As discussed in the competitive rivalry section, Xerox has many competitors. This niche market is defined as a perfect competition. Potential buyers have the choice to determine how much they are willing to spend. If a buyer demands lower prices, they may fall back on a competitor whose quality is subpar.
  4. Threat of substitute products or services determines the intensity of competition in the industry. Companies feel threatened when they are forced to compete against another company producing alternatives. In the office equipment industry, some substitutes may include the promotion of digitization. If you refer back to our week 1 blog, this was one of our main topics. Xerox is offering ways for companies to save money on paper by going paperless! Isn't it funny how a company who specializes in paper and printing documents wants businesses to go paperless? Going paperless means businesses won't be spending much on actual paper. Most businesses are willing to scan their documents instead of printing them, which saves them money on paper.
  5. Threat of new entrants means new competitors pose a threat to existing competitors from their product offerings, prices, quality and services. In order for a new entrant to stay relevant, there products must offer unique characteristics. For office equipment, this can include the user interface, security measures, productivity and convenience. Xerox has launched their latest ConnectKey Technology that deliver easy to use interface, McAfee embedded security, faster productivity and ease of use.

Over the next few months, we will be applying our education to our co-op experience as much as possible. Thank you for reading our blog! We hope you are learning along the way just as we are.

Thanks for reading our blog!
Michel & Santeena

Author: Michel Salsaa and Santeena Eskharia
About: Welcome to Michel Salsaa & Santeena Eskharia’s blog based on their experiences in the co-op program working with Tri-County Copiers Plus Xerox.They are undergraduate Business students from the University of Windsor. And both students are local residents to the city of Windsor. Michel is in his 2nd year of University, and hoping to concentrate in Marketing. After completing his Undergraduate degree, Michel wants to find a career in Windsor and stay close to his family. Santeena hopes to complete her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a concentration in Finance. After completing her Master’s degree in Business, she hopes to attend law school at the University of Toronto. She would like to travel the world and experience new cultures. The students are looking forward to this co-op program, and sharing their experiences and new knowledge with you.
Tags: University of Windsor Co-Op

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