What’s Next for Ricoh? Five Big Things

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Ricoh SLS AMS5500P 3D printer.

Ricoh Company of Tokyo, Japan, has recently been in the news lately – and not with positive headlines, as it recently booked a $1.72 billion impairment loss due to its slumping business in North America. This past April, however, Ricoh appointed Ricoh veteran Joji Tokunaga as president and CEO of Ricoh Americas.

Tokunaga, who brings 33 years of sales, marketing, and general management experience, to his new position is charged with turning things around, and recently spoke to CRN about the road ahead for Ricoh. This will not only include better support for Ricoh dealers, but commercial and 3D printers, stating: “In the future we are getting into textile printing, small-label printing, 3D, that segmentation is going to be a huge focus for us.”

While in the printer/copier space, HP Inc. has been getting the most press for its 3D printers for prototyping and production, Ricoh actually launched its own Ricoh-brand 3D printer in October 2015, the SLS AM S5500P 3D printer. The SLS AMS5500P is designed for rapid prototyping and manufacturing. It employs an additive 3D-printing manufacturing method known as SLS (selective laser sintering). Using this technique, a powdered material is irradiated with a laser for sintering (binding) material together to create a solid structure.

This past January, Ricoh Americas also launched an-under $5,000 desktop, color-ink jet direct-to-garment printer, the Ri 100, which enables users to produce high-quality applications on a variety of fabrics. The RICOH Ri 100 is said to be suitable even for businesses not traditionally dedicated to print, such as souvenir shops and small businesses.

Ricoh Ri 100 desktop garment printer.

Tokunaga also said that Ricoh is looking to help its dealers expand into the production-printer market, stating: “The dealer’s capital is limited, so if they need to penetrate certain customers we need to support them. To me, it doesn’t matter which channel it comes from, to me that’s our dealer, to me it’s a very important Ricoh customer. So we will continue to work dealer by dealer, and help them, depending on what they need. Some dealers want to get into the production print, but they don’t have enough technicians, for example. We will procure that for them.”

Glenn Laverty, SVP of Ricoh Americas Marketing and CEO of Ricoh Canada, also told CRN that Ricoh has some “revolutionary products we’re looking to bring to market in both channels,” including the AnaJet wide-format textile printers.

Laverty had also told CRN that one of Ricoh Americas’ key moves was to stop the “insane” strategy of fighting for sales within itself, with Ricoh’s direct-sales team competing for small and mid-size business sales with Ricoh dealers, as Ricoh has been shifting many small and mid-size accounts to local Ricoh dealers.

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