Ricoh to Acquire MakeLeaps, LAC Corporation

Ricoh company of Tokyo, Japan, today announced that it will be acquiring two companies for undisclosed sums. The first company is MakeLeaps, Inc. of Tokyo, Japan, and the second is LAC Corporation, also of Tokyo, Japan.

MakeLeaps is a  provider of cloud-based billing management software. The completion of the acquisition is scheduled for November 30, 2018. This acquisition is aimed at strengthening Ricoh’s digital business, which was set out in “RICOH Ignite,”, the company’s Growth Strategy Plan that it announced in February 2018.

MakeLeaps software provides cloud-based management software that creates and manages estimates, purchase orders, delivery slips, and billing documentation.

According to Ricoh, workforce decline is one of the biggest social issues affecting Japan, where population decline, combined with the increase in the number of elderly people, is making Japan a “super-aged society.” This said tobe  especially challenging for small and mid-size businesses, where the shortage of manpower has become a great obstacle to business continuity, and so now many companies are working on workstyle reforms to improve worker productivity.

MakeLeaps offers cloud-based billing management software that makes workflow more efficient by digitizing tasks associated with the creation and dispatch of a variety of forms for the Japanese market, such as estimates, purchase orders, invoices, etc., as well as receipt management documentation. MakeLeaps, as a cloud service, is the only Japanese software that supports foreign currency and has a bilingual interface. As such, it is not only used by Japanese companies but it is also used by companies that are engaged in business overseas. Moreover, it has the ability to connect with external systems such as sales-support tools, settlement agency services, and systems that confirm bank transfers and more. MakeLeaps supports productivity improvement and business growth for a wide range of users from small businesses to large enterprises.

In Ricoh’s Growth Strategy Plan, “RICOH Ignite” it announced a goal to create new customer value by digitizing workplace tasks and linking offices to the frontlines. While workplaces can be anywhere, Ricoh aims to digitize tasks and transform workflows in offices and frontlines, to bring these diverse workplaces closer together. By collecting information using edge devices, and analyzing the accumulated data using innovative technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and Deep Learning, Ricoh says it will support its customers’ productivity improvements and sales growth better than ever before.

The acquisition of MakeLeaps is one of a series of strategic investments as set out in Ricoh’s Growth Strategy Plan. Ricoh will digitize and improve its customer’s workflows by combining MakeLeaps’ software with Ricoh copier/MFPs, as well as with other venders’ systems, such as customer-management systems, accounting systems, sales-management systems, etc.

Furthermore, by linking the digitized workflows, Ricoh says it will become a platform for inter-company transactions, especially amongst small and medium-sized businesses.

LAC Corporation Acquisition

Ricoh also today announced that it’s reached an agreement to buy LAC Corporation, a company that it says provides a unique inkjet-printing technology that supports printing on three-dimensional surfaces, such as on the sides of cars, trucks, aircraft and even one tires and glass bottles. This acquisition is aimed at strengthening Ricoh’s industrial printing business, which is one of Ricoh’s three growth strategies. The transfer of the shares is scheduled to complete on October 31, 2018.

Founded in 1983, LAC’s inkjet printing can discharge high-viscosity ink from a maximum of 100mm, enabling printing directly onto three-dimensional objects. Using its technology, LAC develops, manufactures, sells, and supports industrial printing systems for cars, liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, and  more.

In February this year, Ricoh announced its growth strategy “RICOH Ignite,” which set out its intention to enhance its customer base by expanding its printing-technology portfolio.  Ricoh notes that for over 40 years, it’s has been developing inkjet technology, and today this inkjet-printing technology it is being used not just for printing in the office, but in commercial and industrial printing applications in a variety of different areas including lifestyle. Furthermore, it’s been strengthening its “display printing” capabilities for paper and beyond paper, and “applied printing,” which combines processes and materials to create new customer value.

The investment in LAC is part of Ricoh’s Growth Strategy Plan, and one of a series of strategic investments being made by Ricoh. By combining LAC’s proprietary inkjet technology and Ricoh’s technologies such as imaging systems and manufacturing, Ricoh says it’s creating new value for its customers. In addition, Ricoh is planning to expand LAC’s offerings into new overseas markets, using Ricoh’s global network.

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