Behind The Ricoh MIF Transfers: An Interview with Ray Morgan Company

By Jessica Schiffenhaus, Associate Editor, February 18, 2014

In October 2013, Ray Morgan Company, a Canon-only dealer for 33 years and the second-largest independent Canon dealer in the US, acquired select Ricoh commercial accounts in Central and Northern California, as one of several Ricoh direct-channel to dealer MIF (machines in field) transfers. The Ricoh partnership comes only a year after Ray Morgan Company added Samsung as a second line in June 2012. We spoke with Ray Morgan Company’s Executive Vice President and Owner, Chris Scarff, and the Vice President of Ray Morgan Company’s Southern Region, Tito Molfino, about the recent acquisition, and here’s what they had to say:

Why, after having been a single-line dealer for so many years, did you feel it was best for business to carry more lines?

Tito: There are many advantages to being a single-line dealer. However, our decision to partner with Ricoh was based on our belief that we could still rapidly grow our Canon business, while also doing extremely well with Ricoh.

Backtracking a bit, what influenced your decision to carry Samsung?

Chris: The flexibility and additional offerings that [Samsung] provides. We were attracted by the technology offerings that Samsung brings to the table and that we expect them to bring to the table in future years. Our company has traditionally been a copier company, but we have very much transitioned into a technology company. Partnering with Samsung, from a technology standpoint, helps our company offer more solutions.

How did the agreement with Ricoh come to be?

Tito: I worked at IKON for many years, where I had a very good relationship with John Stewart (Ricoh Regional Vice President). A little more than a year ago, John and I began talking, because we felt there might be an opportunity for both companies to benefit greatly as a result of the now concluded agreement. Ultimately, both firms felt that what they’re gaining is greater than what would have been if the agreement had not been made.

What are some of the ways in which this acquisition benefits your company?

Tito: For one, the market share gain. Part of our mission statement is to become the number one document technology provider in every market. Overnight, we were able to accomplish that in several counties in Central California. We’re also able to penetrate markets in which we haven’t played before. For instance, Ricoh has great relationships with several of the group purchasing organizations. And, the last time I looked at market share by manufacturer, Canon was 25% or so, and Ricoh was not far behind, I believe. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to offer our thousands of customers these top brands.

Why do you think Ricoh saw this transaction as an advantage? Why were you a suitable partner for them?

Tito: Ray Morgan has a great reputation as one of the top dealers in the country, and not just for the fact that we move boxes. We’re very proud of our incredible customer support and we work very hard to ensure the loyalty of our clients. For these reasons, I believe, Ricoh very much wanted this relationship to come to fruition. We have offices that have warehouses all over the state, whereas the manufacturer might only have one centralized California location. California is a big state; one cannot be agile when your support warehousing for equipment and parts distribution is potentially 500 miles or more away from the customer.

Could you tell me a little more about the agreement?

Tito: It involves us taking over the servicing and the client-vendor relationship for several thousand Ricoh MIF units throughout Central and Northern California. For national accounts, or accounts in which the client-vendor relationship is managed outside the affected locations, RMC became Ricoh’s servicing dealer.

Does this mean you’re free to supply these accounts with Canon and Samsung machines, too?

Tito: Our agreement with Ricoh is to transition those accounts to Ricoh products for an agreed upon period of time. The Ricoh MIF is a Ricoh MIF, and we have every intention to re-present Ricoh products to those clients, just as the Ricoh direct channel would have should the agreement not have taken place.

So, having never supplied Ricoh devices before, is servicing Ricoh devices a challenge? Did you hire existing Ricoh technicians or train your own?

Tito: The transition to Ricoh from a servicing perspective was absolutely seamless. We hired, practically speaking, Ricoh’s entire service personnel in the affected areas. Customers have their same technicians. The only thing that has changed is the Machine ID number and who they call for service. If we could not have hired the Ricoh personnel, with their many years’ experience, we wouldn’t have expanded with the line.

All in all, how has your experience been so far? Have you faced any challenges?

Tito: No, we haven’t faced any significant challenges. The sales and technical support we’ve received from Ricoh has been more than we could have expected.  We look forward to a long term partnership with Ricoh and trust this will help us both grow our business interests in the future.

Republished with permission from Buyers Laboratory LLC ( ©2013 Buyers Laboratory LLC