by James Heffernan
Not every business needs a laser or photo-quality printer. And even those that do rely on high-quality images may also need low-cost, back-office printers for invoices, payroll, bar codes, labels and other critical documents. In an era when many resellers and manufacturers have backed away from offering serial printing solutions, a valley company remains committed to this niche.
DASCOM Americas, based in Waynesboro, offers a wide range of dot-matrix, passbook, flatbed, mobile and thermal printers under the Tally and TallyDASCOM brands. Its products, made in Jiangmen, China, are marketed in North and South America. A division of DASCOM Holdings in Hong Kong, the company incorporated in April 2010.
DASCOM Americas’ management team, led by Ron Acorn, worked for TallyGenicom Corp. in Waynesboro before the company was sold to Printronix in 2009. When DASCOM’s Chinese investors came calling, Acorn and his staff were able to convince them that the best way to take DASCOM’s most popular products to market in the Americas was to establish a headquarters in Virginia. “Our story is fairly unique in that instead of us shipping jobs to China, they have actually invested in us,” says business and product manager Ken Bryant.
In the Chinese tradition, DASCOM Americas has adopted a long-range business plan. “We’ve been given quite a bit of autonomy and the chance to grow slowly,” Acorn says. “And I think we will, with a recognized brand and customers who are familiar with our product range.” The serial printing market, while not as robust as it once was, is still significant, he says, with DASCOM competing with the likes of Epson and Okidata.
DASCOM Americas posted $1.4 million in sales last year and has set a goal of $4.2 million in 2011. Its line of serial matrix printers are found in manufacturing facilities, warehouses and health-care settings. Its mobile units are designed especially for the beverage industry, allowing drivers to print invoices at the point of delivery. The company also sells ribbons and spare parts and offers technical support. Some of its major customers include Chrysler, Honeywell Fire Systems, Procter & Gamble, Norfolk Southern, Ferguson Enterprises, Toyota, the Canadian government and Washington state — which uses DASCOM printers in its court system.
Going forward, DASCOM Americas plans to strengthen its market share with new products currently in the pipeline courtesy of its corporate parent’s five research and development centers in China and Germany. It is also planning to branch into the LED commercial lighting market.
“We’re really a big company with a small work force,” Bryant says, and one that prides itself on developing personal relationships with its customers. “This can be a boring market, so if you need to buy a printer, you might as well buy from interesting people.”
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