Nashua, part of the Reunert group of companies, celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding, marking five decades of adapting to new technology trends as they emerge, putting customers first and remaining true to a constant purpose and set of values.
Nashua was established in 1973 as a specialist in the sale and service of liquid toner copiers. Over the years, the company evolved from a leader in office automation into a major player in the ICT industry.
When Nashua was founded, faxes were rare and expensive, only the biggest companies had mainframes, and copiers were cutting edge technology. The company’s business has evolved alongside franchisees and clients through to the birth of personal computing in the 1980s, the rise of the web in the 1990s, and more recently, the advent of the cloud.
Today, Nashua is still going strong with 42 franchises across Southern Africa, a presence in 5 countries, and a total of 493 sales staff, and 593 field technicians.
A tale of transformations
Reaching a 50th anniversary is a major milestone for any company, but it’s even more remarkable in an industry that moves as quickly as ICT. Over the years, Nashua has transformed from an analogue copier company into a business technology specialist. The past decade has seen Nashua make bold changes to its solutions and product portfolio, repositioning itself as a Total Workspace Solutions provider.
The company adjusted its strategy in 2013 to include all elements of workspace management. Nashua started to build a complete workspace management solutions portfolio, including voice, connectivity, surveillance and access control, computer hardware and software, currency management and smart solutions.
Nashua continues to invest in new solutions, with the aim of helping customers future-proof their businesses. Most recently, Nashua added energy solutions to its portfolio two years ago, recognising that backup and alternative power solutions are key to its customers’ business sustainability. This division has experienced exponential growth.
Says Barry Venter, CEO of Nashua: “Our business has grown along with the technology industry as it evolved from analogue to digital. But the core of our success has also been the way that our franchisees help their clients to navigate change and solve their business problems.
“The larger purpose, from our perspective, is to work with franchisees to help create sustainable businesses in prosperous communities. Through our sports sponsorships, corporate social investments and franchise networks, we have created ecosystems that help communities to thrive.”
Creating an ecosystem
Venter says that it is Nashua’s closeness to customers and the community that have inspired its progress over the years. The company has, for example, stepped in to help small and medium businesses to thrive through crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the floods and riots in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Nashua is also a proud investor in South African sporting talent, from school-level to the national and international arenas. This dates back to the 1980s when it subsidised Northern Transvaal Rugby. The brand has been associated with sporting greats like WBA Super Featherweight champ, Brian Mitchell, Boxing legend Baby Jake Matlala and golfer, Ernie Els.
Nashua is the tech partner for the SuperSport Schools Programme, which profiles the next generation of sporting superstars at high school level. SuperSport Schools records and livestreams school sports automatically so that interested parties can watch from anywhere live or on-demand, for free. Nashua provides and implements the tech for the programme, including artificial intelligence cameras. In the first quarter of 2023, SuperSport Schools reached a unique audience of more than 7.3 million across 11,352 hours of live streaming on its app. SuperSport Schools has also created a broadcast television station in response to public demand.
Some other important Nashua milestones over the years include:
- In 1983, Nashua became the market leader in the South African photocopier market with a 35% market share.
- In 1993, Reunert acquired Nashua in the unbundling of the Barlows Group.
- In 1998, Nashua eclipsed more than R 1 billion in annual revenues for the first time.
- In 2006, the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation (NCCF) launched. The programme has provided aid to over 17 600 children across 54 children’s charities and serves 500 000 school meals a month.
- In January 2023, Nashua was certified by the Top Employers Institute as one of South Africa’s Top ICT Employers.
Positioning for the next phase of growth
Nashua continues to evolve as trends such as the move towards hybrid work and self-healing infrastructure come to the fore, says Venter. “We’re integrating the strands of our business to offer seamless workspace solutions,” he adds. “We’re investing in new solutions such as the Internet of Things to deliver higher uptime and remote service.”
Nashua has certainly come a long way since 1979, when it first flighted an iconic television ad featuring legendary American Actor, Director, Writer and Producer Orson Welles. But the pay-off line Welles delivered in that ad remains core to Nashua’s Ethos all these years later: ‘Saving you time. Saving you money. Putting you first’.