Konica Minolta Lays out Compelling Roadmap for Printing: from Production, to Office, A4, and 3D Printing

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The Waldorf Astoria Hotel located in New York, NY.

This week, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. held its “Print Production Technology Showcase and Our Blueprint for the Future” conference for press and analysts, where Konica Minolta executives introduced the new bizhub PRESS C1100, a flagship digital color production-printing system, and also laid out where the company stands today and its roadmap for the future, which includes new capture of production-printing volume, managed IT services, continued technology acquisitions, ramping up of its A4 printer/MFP line, and 3D printing.

The event, held July 8-9 in New York, began with dinner at Del Posto (New York City’s only 4-Star Italian Restaurant, and which is co-owned by Mario Batali), accommodations at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a day at Konica Minolta’s branch on Lexington Avenue, and transportation to and from the event.

Other vendors should take note: access to Konica Minolta’s top executives was easy, as they had a generous amount of time to mingle with analysts and press, with none of the hustle-and-bustle of a typical dealer conference or trade show. The dining, accommodations, and facilities were first-class, and the pace of the event was relaxed, resulting in the firm’s strategic business message being very well-communicated.

Getting down to business, first up on the plate was Rick Taylor (below), president and chief operating officer of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., who reported that in 2013, Konica Minolta had a great year globally, with  20-percent MFP growth, 39 percent revenue growth in production printing, and 55 percent growth in managed print services (MPS) – often at the expense of competitors. (For a look at Konica Minolta’s latest fiscal year, see our story – Stellar Year for Konica Minolta and bizhub MFPs.

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Rick Taylor, president and chief operating officer of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.

Taylor also noted that 2013 saw many acquisitions by Konica Minolta, including Pitney Bowes’ Canadian operations, AMS Imaging, Copytronics, CopySource, and more, with Taylor commenting, “Growth is just key for us…. Our acquisitions will continue into the future” (including continued investment in managed IT services_. Taylor also noted the opening of Konica Minolta’s third Business Innovation Center in Silicon Valley (the other two are located in Signapore and London; two more are also planned). The Silicon Valley site, led by Ekta Sahasi, is responsible for evaluating new technologies, and existing and start-up businesses, and possible acquisitions that can complement and/or add to Konica Minolta’s existing portfolio.

As for Konica Minolta Business Solutions current trajectory, “The transformation from being a pure hardware company is far along…we’re moving from just hardware to providing linked services and solutions.” Faced with the perennial question of printing’s ultimate viability, Taylor noted, “Print is going to continue to grow for Konica Minolta as we transition to digital print.” Taylor notes that for Konica Minolta, the key is that digital print is now enabling it to increase its overall print volume, as the company will increasingly benefit from the continued transition from offset to digital printing: “Before we weren’t printing books…as we go into production printing, it’s new print volume for us, and our print volume is going to increase.”

Turning to office printing, Taylor also said that this year, Konica Minolta will focus strongly on A4 printers/MFPs: “..this year, A4 will be a big focus for us as we’re going to double our A4 growth in the United States.”

Along with this, Konica Minolta will continue to focus on the MFP not just as a printer/copier/scanner, but as part of an information-management system. As Sam Errigo, senior vice president for Business Intelligence Services, noted, “The center of the ecosystem is still hardware; we’re going to surround the MFP with software, technology, and services.” According to Errigo, Konica Minolta is enjoying solid success with its bizhub Marketplace of apps (there are currently some 22 apps now available), and it’ll be adding the  Dispatcher document-workflow automation solution available for vertical markets such as legal, healthcare, and education. Errigo also notes that Konica Minolta will acquire more providers of enterprise content management (ECM) solutions this year. The firm will introduce 17 new solutions in the coming months, nine of which will be cloud-based and provided on a software-as-a-service (SAAS) basis.

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