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Company of the Year (16-50 Employees): Thunder Bay Xerographix Inc.

“If we want to be the best in our business, we have to start wrapping our head around the full customer experience.”

What does a Xerox dealer in Canada look like today with all the changes the photocopying business has seen over the last decade?

In a lot of ways, Thunder Bay Xerographix Inc. (TBXI) is redefining the model. TBXI started in 2006 with just two employees and concentrated on sales of Xerox equipment to the Thunder Bay business market.

Today, it has grown to 27 employees and provides sales and services across northwestern Ontario. Its core business remains Xerox photocopiers, but even that has changed with the growing need for networking and digital documentation solutions.

“Lots of things have changed since 2006, that’s for sure,” said Dave Grady, owner and general manager. “You can’t just be a sales company. Services are becoming the way of the world. They are looking for the whole experience. It’s better for the customer, it’s better for us, and it’s better for the employees.”

At the heart of this change, of course, are changes in the technology itself. Whereas 10 years ago, a photocopier was a photocopier, today TBXI offers solutions including networked integration of hardware and software to provide more options for their customers.

“Selling a copier today is looking at how we can help a business with their workflow,” Grady said. “But to do that, you need expertise, so that’s why we decided to branch out and become an IT company.”

Another major change that TBXI itself prompted was the services arrangement for its copiers. Previously, Xerox’s sales dealerships such as TBXI operated independently, but its service department remained under the corporate umbrella. TBXI became the first independent Xerox dealer to integrate the area’s services division. That made sense in Thunder Bay, Grady said, because customers prefer to deal with local providers.

“When you go into a smaller market like Thunder Bay, people really want that local feel,” he said. Today, Grady is advising Xerox as it explores creating similar arrangements in other markets.

TBXI also sells office supplies and furniture as a way to provide a “one-stop shop” for its customers.

It’s obvious that TBXI is connecting with its customers. “With TBXI, we have been able to reduce our cost-per-page by roughly have,” wrote Dave Hildebrand from the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Heath Centre in a letter of support.

Darrell Bray of Boilermakers Local 555/128 in Thunder Bay also praised the company. “The team at TBXI was very knowledgeable of the industry, helping me find a device that met my current and future needs. They were able to increase my office efficiency with new technology while saving me money as well.”

Through the rapid growth, Grady said that he wanted to ensure the company kept its intimate feel. That meant adopting a customer relations management (CRM) system to keep customer information organized and accessible.

“If we want to be the best in our business, we have to start wrapping our head around the full customer experience,” Grady said. All customer contact is recorded so that sales reps, admin, and anyone else in the office is on the same page.

Most recently, TBXI has expanded into the mailing machine business – again prompted by customer need in the wake of Pitney Bowes leaving the city. TBXI became a Neopost dealer to fill that void. Every step of TBXI’s expansion of services is a way to augment their core business.

“You can’t just supply a copier and an IT solution – you need to be a fullservice provider,” Grady said. “(Moving into these new services and products) is something we did to become an end-toend solution to our customers.”