Working smart for 35 years: How Sandham Office Services has moved with the times, providing customers with all-in-one networked super-efficient technology.
2017 is a big year for Terry Jarman and the team at Sandham Office Services in Sandown. Terry’s come a long way in 35 years, from starting out as a fledgling repair firm, to today where the business employs eight people and supplies a wide range of Island businesses from large scale to start-ups.
Sandham Office Services first opened its doors in April 1982. “It was just me,” Terry explains, “in a lock-up unit with an up-and-over door. I didn’t start out by selling, I started out by fixing and I think that’s been the key to the business as I moved forward. I’ve always been focused on service.”
In that pre-digital age Terry moved from repairing office machines to supplying typewriters and photocopiers. Technology has evolved and the business today is all about ‘multifunctional devices’ or MFDs, capable of scanning, printing, copying, emailing and faxing.
“Our main focus was originally on electronic typewriters, then it was word processors and PC’s,” Terry explains. “By the early 1990’s we were helping Island businesses to reproduce and distribute their paper documents via printers and copiers. The biggest game changer was transferring from black and white to high quality colour. Not everything has changed though. When I worked for Olivetti in the 1970s they were talking about the paperless office. The irony is that what Olivetti predicted hasn’t happened – and I can’t see paper being replaced any time soon.”
Today Sandham Office Services’ team of four engineers has an impressive combined working knowledge of more than 90 years in the industry. It’s a committed team too. Paul Wiltshire and Robert Froud both started working for the company in 1991. Fellow service engineer Jonathan Proctor joined the business in 1996, the same year as IT manager Richard Wakeman. General /sales manager Julie Davey also joined in 1991 and Terry’s son Richard has been employed at Sandham since 2000, providing customer training and software support. It’s a loyal team and for Terry customer loyalty is just as important.
“Our customers stay with us because they know who we are – we give them continuity of service with each one knowing our engineers and knowing we are always accessible. Working on the Isle of Wight in a small community, we value getting to know all our customers well. They expect the highest level of support and expertise wherever they are based, so maintaining that service is the key component.
“People definitely buy from people. Our customers really want a trouble-free life and we take the hassle out of their day to day work. People on the Island do tend to be very loyal. It can be a double edged sword though because it’s often difficult to get customers away from other businesses that they are already loyal to!”
Today, the MFD market is all about software. Devices are monitored in real time, so the team can deliver any required service quickly. The sector is evolving rapidly, with smartcards, fingerprint technology, passwords and user codes bringing new options for businesses.
“Manufacturers only work five years ahead, and today the MFD market is already very sophisticated with embedded software,” Terry says. “The technology means the device can communicate with us 24/7 as to what is required – it logs service calls, tells us if the toner is running out or if a part is inching towards end of life. These machines keep us constantly informed to offer maximum efficiency for businesses. It’s also important for Isle of Wight businesses to know they are safeguarded against security challenges, and to know where in their organisation their print is generated.”
Sandham is partnered with three leading manufacturers, Canon, Ricoh and Kyocera – carving out a niche as the only registered Ricoh Gold accredited business partner on the Isle of Wight. To achieve this the team are put through a strict audit and vetting process. The business has changed a lot in 35 years but Terry still remembers his roots.
“We have customers across many different industries including law practices, solicitors and estate agents. But we were a start-up business once and I remember what it is like to have no credit history – so we like to offer start-ups flexible renting plans to support their growth in the early days.”
Terry knows that he does business by working closely with other businesses. Networking and being part of the supply chain is vital for Sandham Office Services so Terry values his longstanding Chamber membership, which has been in place for more than three decades.
“I’m extremely proud of the company,” Terry says. “The industry is constantly changing and we’ve always been able to adapt. 35 years is definitely an achievement! Our business is all built on service and support, reassuring people that their technology will continue to work for them. It’s not that difficult if you do it right and do it well. I want us to keep on doing what we’ve always done. It’s worked for us up to now!”