Ricoh, Lanier, And Savin Dealers Converge On Las Vegas

<p><i>By <a href="">Jonathan Bees</a>, Director of Strategic Marketing Products, April 28, 2010</i></p> <p>In an event noteworthy for a number of firsts, Ricoh held its national dealer meeting at the Palazzo Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 19 to 22. Called Convergence 2010, the event marked the first time that dealers representing Ricoh, Lanier and Savin brands attended a unified meeting. Appropriately, the event theme was “Bringing the Best Together.”</p> <p>General Session</p> <p>The meeting provided the first opportunity for the newly reorganized Ricoh senior management team to express their vision for the future. With more than 1,000 attendees in the audience, Kevin Togashi, the new chairman and CEO of Ricoh Americas Holdings, Inc. opened the general session by highlighting several key initiatives. He emphasized the important role that Managed Document Services (MDS) programs would play in the company’s future growth; the strength of Ricoh’s environmental programs, marketed under the Total Green Office Solutions (TGOS) name; and, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the dealer channel. </p> <p>Togashi then addressed what was most likely the number one concern of the dealers in the room – the recent appointment of several senior IKON executives to high-level positions at Ricoh. Citing the need to expedite the Ricoh-IKON integration process, Togashi outlined some of the appointments. These included Matt Espe, the new chairman and CEO of Ricoh Americas Corporation (responsible for operations in North, Central and South America, including IKON); Martin Brodigan, the new executive vice president and CFO of Ricoh Americas Corporation; and, Jeffrey Hickling, the new president and CEO of Ricoh U.S.</p> <p>Saying that he recognized that there was “some concern by the dealer community” about the organizational changes, Togashi emphasized Ricoh’s commitment to its dealers and their growth. He promised to provide “great products, great technology, great services and a level playing field for dealers.”</p> <!--break--> <p>In closing remarks about the company’s performance, Togashi described 2009 business conditions as “the toughest in generations.” However, he said he was “cautiously optimistic” regarding 2010 and that Ricoh’s target for revenue growth was 2 percent. This growth would be accomplished through the following initiatives:</p> <p>· Expand services business, through MDS and hosted IT services</p> <p>· Focus on aftermarket business</p> <p>· Growth of MFP placements</p> <p>· Accelerate synergies between Ricoh and IKON</p> <p>Espe followed Togashi on the stage and offered his roadmap for the coming year. The first steps will include “examining the business from the outside in” – from the perspective of dealers and customers – and he said that he had recently attended a series of dealer council meetings as part of this process. Issues that were identified in the meetings were a need to focus on dealer profitability, and the development of “rules of engagement” to minimize channel conflict. No details were offered as to how Ricoh plans to respond to these concerns.</p> <p>Espe said he plans to continue using an external focus that concentrates on dealers and customers. He mentioned three areas of focus:</p> <p>· Growth of product lines and services</p> <p>· Productivity – building better internal processes</p> <p>· Team – building a world-class organization</p> <p>Jeff Hickling, president and CEO of Ricoh U.S., then took the stage and offered his plans for the future. Like the other Ricoh executives before him, he stressed the critical role that dealers play for the Ricoh organization, and that the company would be “investing in the dealer channel.” On the topic of rules of engagement, Hickling emphatically stated that “Ricoh did not acquire IKON in order to cannibalize its dealers.”</p> <p>Product Showcase</p> <p>As with most vendor events these days, the product showcase had a heavy focus on MPS (or MDS, as Ricoh calls it) initiatives and tools. Hardware was deemphasized, which was also consistent with the presentations given during the general session. The product showcase contained only two new models that were not presently shipping, a bit of a missed opportunity given that Ricoh plans on refreshing a large portion of its A3 color MFP product line in the second half of the year. Everything in its current line from 20 ppm to 50 ppm will be replaced.</p> <p>Ricoh will also introduce a number of new A4 MFPs within the next year. Targeted for December 2010 are two A4 color MFPs that will operate at 30 ppm and 40 ppm. In the second quarter of 2011, the company plans to introduce two A4 monochrome MFPs that run at 40 ppm and 50 ppm. None of these models appeared in the showcase.</p> <p>What did appear in the product showcase was a new 42 ppm A4 color printer called the SP C431DN. It will also be sold as the Lanier LP142CN and Savin CLP 142DN. The SP C431DN has an 80 GB hard drive, 600 MHz processor and auto duplexing standard. According to Ricoh executives in the showcase, it features low cost of ownership and has the ability to be used with various Ricoh solutions. It and a sister machine (the SP C430) that runs at 37 ppm and has a more basic collection of features are expected to launch in July 2010.</p> <p> Also on display was a new digital duplicator, called the Priport DX3343, which will hit the market in June 2010. It will also be sold as the Lanier LDD130 and Savin 3183DNP. The new model will replace the Priport DX3340 in the product line and its main enhancement is that it offers an optional network print controller (Type 4545A) that supports @Remote and printing from RPCS. It also offers the optional VC20 controller, which provides GDI printing. </p> <p>The solutions and services part of the showcase that addressed MDS was called the MDS Experience. The section contained individual booths covering the main components that make up Ricoh’s program. These included the following:</p> <p>· Assessment and design</p> <p>· Sales and change management</p> <p>· Tools and training</p> <p>· Market intelligence</p> <p>· IT services</p> <p>The MDS section demonstrated a very well organized approach and concept, and featured two noteworthy new developments. Ricoh showed its new @Remote Enterprise PRO offering, which provides centralized monitoring and device management of MFPs and printers in enterprise level accounts. And it featured Newfield IT’s Asset DB assessment tool, which allows managed print service providers to measure and analyze current print costs and examine a variety of future scenarios. </p> <p>Visitors to the section received a DVD containing marketing collaterals and new MDS tools, and a book on change management by Jeffrey M. Hiatt that discusses the ADKAR model for change. (The attributes necessary for change are Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.) The book is titled “How to Implement Successful Change in Our Personal Lives and Professional Careers.” </p> <p>The idea is that successful implementations of MDS require behavior change on the part of customers if they are to fully realize all of its benefits.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>For the most part, the Ricoh Convergence 2010 meeting was a success. Senior executives set the course for the coming year, and while there were no surprises and some initiatives lacked detail, Ricoh covered all the bases. However, reassuring dealers was the primary objective of the meeting, given recent organizational changes involving IKON, and the jury is still out on whether that mission was accomplished.</p> <p>This article was originally posted on <a href="">Buyer’s Laboratory</a>.</p>