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Awards. Every industry has them.
But, as I have been writing about here on LinkedIn, this is a new industry for me, so the vendor-earned awards given out here are also totally new to me.
The good news is that I’m getting a lot of exposure to office technology and copier/multifunction printer awards, because, well, Sharp’s been winning more than our fair share of them.
In my first week on the job, I was lucky enough to attend The Cannata Report's 33rd Annual Awards & Charities Dinner. Sitting through the award presentation was exciting, and as the press release states, “Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America dominated by taking home four trophies…”
Dominated? Wow. (Not a bad fourth day on the job.)
Now, other vendors won some awards that day as well, but Sharp took home the "Best A3 Manufacturer" and “Best-in-Class Manufacturer” among others.
Best in class. Nice.
But, I suppose industry cynics could argue over the value of dealer-voted awards. From my time in the industry thus far, it’s clear that Sharp has truly prioritized dealer / channel relationships and engagement at all levels and strives to offer open communications, executive access, and friendly, dedicated field personnel who truly care about our dealers' success.
Perhaps dealers voted for Sharp as a by-product of our great channel engagement and prioritization. I presumed it could be possible. I was four days into my new role. What did I know?
But then something else happened. Keypoint Intelligence – Buyer’s Lab (BLI) finalized its annual Buyers Lab award process. This process was different. Dealers were very interested in the outcome, but they had no say in the process.
That process, I have come to learn, is a rigorous set of in-depth (I won’t say “torture," but) tests that stress machines to their limit.
And guess what, we... well... BLI didn't say "dominated," but... we did pretty darn well.
Again, many vendors can win individual “Pick” awards for a specific product, or product area, but there’s one award that is top dog, the “Line of the Year."
Sharp, as you might have guessed by now, won the 2019 Copier MFP Line of the Year award.
Hot damn. After dealers voted us, “Best-in-Class” now the industry leading laboratory testing proved we had the Line of the Year. Not too shabby.
In a quest to learn more, I’ve met with many of our dealers at the Sharp Dealer Advisory Council, field visits and currently on our 2019 Momentum Dealer Roadshow that is happening across the country, and I am getting direct feedback about what they like – and yes, what they don’t. In general, as the Cannata Report award suggested, they are a happy bunch.
However, I also wanted to learn more about Keypoint Intelligence and Buyers Lab, so when their executives offered to deliver our awards in person (aside from the Line of the Year, there were about a dozen others we won during our testing!), I invited them to educate me on the process.
Since I have been using LinkedIn to publish my office products' learning curve, I also asked them if we could let the cameras roll for at least part of the discussion and the two videos below are some insight into what I learned. Now, they are not exactly “snackable” content, but hopefully worth a total investment of about 16 minutes of time for anyone selling, buying or even trying to compete with these winning products.
In this first of the two videos, Keypoint Intelligence’s Randy Dazo, Group Director, Office Document Technology and Deanna Flanick, Chief Revenue Officer, join me to talk about their organization, what makes Keypoint Intelligence unique, how vendors work and the background of the BLI Awards.
Then, Keypoint Intelligence’s George Mikolay, Associate Director, Copiers/Product, and Pete Emory, Director of Research and Lab Services, US/Asia, join me to get into more detail about the testing process, how it works, what they found when testing Sharp MFPs and working with Sharp as a company.
Sharp is undoubtedly proud of these awards, and I hope that in some way these videos help show why. Of course, we were proud that Dealers rated us Best in Class, but to also have it proven in the lab is something special indeed.
I know it's easy to think "a copier is a copier," right? (C'mon, you were JUST thinking that before reading this!)
But guess what: the experts are saying there's one product line that is a step ahead of the rest.