IN THE BEGINNING

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

10 years ago, FUSION Office Automation partnered with a brand with a long history in South Africa since Ricoh used to be Gestetner and had been in South Africa since 1923. Jason Van Der Walt and Andrew Gardner are both directors and the two founding partners of Fusion Office Automation.

FUSION has taken on the established players in the Eastern Cape Province, and have beaten them with better customer service and a quality product. They have now extended that model through the franchise opportunity.

Fusion Office Automation is a value added reseller (VAR) of Ricoh’s copiers, printers, multifunction printers (MFP), production printing presses, document management software, and document and imaging software solutions and the business has subsequently grown over 10 years to where it currently generates around R50m in annual revenues and retains over 3 500 customers.

MOVING ON UP

WHERE ARE WE NOW

Fusion Office Automation, a home grown East London business based on being a Ricoh SA Premium Business Partner for the entire Eastern Cape Province, has moved to larger premises that have become the headquarters of its expanding operation grown by acquisition and franchise. The company’s new, custom designed headquarters are located at 6 Pine Park, Vincent, East London.

David Hallas, director of Indirect Channel Operations at Ricoh SA, says: “Fusion was a small partner of ours 10 years ago and has grown into a significant force in the Border-Kei region. Their competitors, derogatory about their initial attempts, have since realised their potential as they have employed more people, expanded their product portfolio to include our full range, and achieved our highest levels of certification while continually expanding their customer base. Our recognition of their achievements is exemplified by giving them greater responsibility in the full Eastern Cape region through the Port Elizabeth branch.”

THE FUTURE

WHERE TO FROM HERE

Fusion Office Automation began developing its franchise model two years ago when it established the Transkei franchise in Umtata. Dylan Cloete was a long-standing employee who wanted to further his career so he bought the first franchise, which has paid off handsomely due to his commitment and experience.

The second franchise resulted in the Eastern Cape’s very first 100% black owned and Level 1 B-BBEE office automation company, Fusion Eastern Cape. Fusion Eastern Cape is independently owned and run by the extremely talented Sabelo Jela and Mawonga Simelani.

Fusion Office Automation also recently acquired Ricoh SA’s Port Elizabeth branch and has franchised it to Wimpie van der Nest. All branch employees remain and transfer to the new business and will continue to service customers, who collectively operate about 700 imaging devices, without disruption.

Van Der Nests’s experience in the Port Elizabeth market is essential since the PE market differs markedly from that around East London in the Border-Kei region. The market in and around East London tends toward smaller, directly owned companies, many of them family businesses, while many in Port Elizabeth are branch operations of national and international corporations and manufacturers.

Fusion Office Automation intends in the near future expanding its franchise model to additional South African provinces and discussions are already underway with potential franchisees in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

FUSION & RICOH

OUR PARTNERSHIP

Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2015, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,231 billion yen (approx. 18.5 billion USD).

The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialised industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

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