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Smile Business Products looks to boost network services

NNBW staff

As copiers and printers become low-margin commodity products, Smile Business Products Inc. steadily moves upstream into management of business networks.

The Sacramento-based company entered the northern Nevada market last summer with the acquisition of Reno’s Machabee Business Equipment from Gary and Scott Machabee.

Smile Business Products now is launching a nearly 9,000-square-foot showroom, office and service facility at 50 E. Greg St. It’s home to eight employees.

While the new showroom includes space to demonstrate the capabilities of copiers and printers from manufacturers such as Sharp and Lexmark, the company’s focus has grown much wider than sales and service of devices, says Matt Pearce, sales manager of Smile’s operations in northern Nevada.

A key element of the new focus, he says, is managed network services oversight and service of a client’s computer and server networks for a fixed monthly subscription.

“Reno is really hungry for that,” says Pearce.

Smile Business Products provides network management remotely through use of Kaseya IT Management Suite, which identifies weaknesses such as low disk space on a computer. IT professionals provide fixes after business hours.

The network-management service is a natural extension of Smile’s business lines.

Launched in 1997 as a supplier of office printers and copiers along with supplies the company developed an online help desk to complement its staff of technicians in the field.

That, in turn, led to creation of managed printer services remote monitoring of printer operation and regular reviews by technical staff to ensure that equipment continues to meet clients’ needs. The average business spends 1 percent to 3 percent of its annual revenue on document output, says Pearce, quoting a study by the Gartner Group.

Extension of the remote monitoring of printers to include the rest of an office network was a logical step, Pearce says.

The company also looks for growth in document-management services, in which its staff provides analysis of document workflow and helps clients determine the best ways to store and protect document files.

“Our business more and more is based on how information moves through offices,” says Pearce, noting that the sale of printer and copier hardware and suppliers is an increasingly competitive business in which potential clients view products as a commodity.

As it’s staffed up in northern Nevada, Smile Business Products has looked beyond the office-products business to hire sales staff with a variety of professional backgrounds, Pearce says. That, he says, gives them a head start on understanding the document- and network-management needs of clients.