Brother Strengthens Mid-Market Play With New Scanners

Brother Industries is taking aim at mid-market enterprises with a new line of scanners in an effort to gain on such competitors as Fujitsu, Cannon and Epsom.

The company known for its printers has been moving into the scanner space over the last three years according to Steve Feldstein, Brother’s product marketing director, with a revitalized channel focus that has included new programs, training and products.

Dean Bellone, CEO of CompSource, a Cleveland-based hardware reseller, said he does business with Brother because "they have great reseller programs and amazing support staff, as well as a product to back it all up.

[Related: Brother's Channel Push Sees Results]

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Bellone said Brother has quickly jumped from being nearly unknown to him to being the second most popular printer vendor whose products he sells.

"We have seen Brother take over the printer market in the last eight months," he said. "They are now manufacturing products that are very functional, reliable and easy to use."

Its most recent releases include seven new scanners: four ADS, or workgroup, scanners built for in-office use by a group of workers, and three PDS, or professional document, scanners that are built for individual, dedicated use for jobs that require higher speeds for scanning up to 6,000 pages a day.

These new scanners will be competitive in the mid-market space, or companies of about 50 to 500 employees, Feldstein said.

"You don’t have to be a scanning wizard to see the value that we bring to the market," Feldstein said. "We are bringing these features and functionality at a fraction of the price that [our partners] are used to paying."

Partners will be saving, on average, 15 to 30 percent, Feldstein said, the same that regular customers are already seeing with "street level" pricing.

For instance, Brother's new "base model," the ADS 2400, currently priced at $349 on the shelf, is, on average, 25 percent cheaper than other comparable models from other vendors such as Fujitsu, Cannon and Epsom, he said.

However, he said that because of special deals and partner promotions, he couldn’t point to an exact price difference partners will see.

Brother released the ADS - 2400N, 2800W, 3000N and the 3600W, which are capable of scanning 30 (for the 2400 and 2800W) or 50 (for the 3000N and 3600W) documents an hour.

The 3600W and 2800W scanners come with a 3.7-inch, color touchscreen display that allows the scanner access to universally accessible destinations such as OneDrive, Google Apps and Dropbox.

The W series scanners are also able to connect with Brother's Brother Solution Interface (BSI), an application development platform that, through a third-party developer, can help businesses access applications that can expand availability of more documents to teams working together in the cloud.

The ADS 3600W includes all the operations of the other workgroup scanners as well as a new safety feature, an integrated near-field communication (NFC) card reader for increased security with office workflow.

Brother's professional series, which includes the PDS 5000, 5000F and 6000, all scan faster and at heavier volumes. Each requires a USB connection for work with a dedicated user.

These professional models can scan 60 to 80 pages a minute, and are Brother’s fastest-ever scanners. They include a 100-page document feeder and are designed to scan up to 6,000 pages a day.

All three models, along with the ADS-2400N and 3000N, are limited distribution models, and available only to its business to business resellers, distributors and channel partners enrolled in Brother's partner organization, the "BAPP," which sweetens the pot for those involved in Brother's partner program by not making the products available to consumers through large retailers that sell to both consumers and businesses.

"It always helps us when the 800-pound [gorillas] can't get their hands in the mix," Bellone said. "It allows us to sell the product on a value add rather than price alone."

"I believe Brother has always been competitive," he added. "They still have their competitive edge they are now manufacturing products that are very functional, reliable and easy to use."