Ricoh Touts Dealer Commitment, New Tech, More at Dealer Conference

Last week at its dealer conference in Las Vegas, Convergx 2019, Ricoh Americas’ executives outlined new opportunities for Ricoh dealer growth, including opportunities involving small and mid-size businesses’ migration to cloud-based workflows, subscription services, and production printing. The message was not only Ricoh’s commitment to its dealers, but that what sets Ricoh apart from many of its competitors are its workflow solutions, communications solutions, IT, cloud, and security services, all of which can benefit Ricoh dealers.

Jim Coriddi Talks Dealers

Jim Coriddi, vice president of Ricoh Americas’ dealer division, stressed Ricoh’s commitment to dealers, noting that the number of units sold by Ricoh’s U.S. dealer organization has grown from 32 to 48 percent in fiscal-year 2019, with the number of units placed by dealers versus Ricoh direct sales “growing consistently every single year.” For Ricoh’s IM B2B series, dealers account for 50 percent of sales.

Coriddi noted that in 2017, Ricoh changed its market strategy, “we established dealers as our primary channel for growing the critical SMB segment.”

He also noted that Ricoh has increased its investment in dealers, expanding support and resources for dealers, stating that Joji (Ricoh Americas President and CEO Joji Tokunaga) “really doesn’t care” if we’re supporting Ricoh Direct or a Ricoh dealer.

According to Coriddi, “Our commitment is to be the number-one manufacturer provider in the industry. …This may seem a little odd, but in some ways we don’t see ourselves as just a manufacturer provider. …What we really are is the distribution arm of the manufacturer.”

Noting that (unit) placements are still very important, Coriddi said that it’s more important is to focus on increasing and expanding customers, “going wider and deeper with every customer in ways that we were only starting to think about seven years ago. The MFP is now becoming more of a platform and a bridge to the Cloud. So that …we also see ourselves more as a solutions integrator working with you to integrate the print device with the solution or service that adds value. And we do that because we’re committed to being the number-one partner of customer value.”

The question Ricoh has been considering is what it will take for its dealers to grow profitably in the years ahead?

“Despite the success of the past, we all need to change,” said Coriddi. “Dealers have been told before to stop selling boxes, but sell solutions. But nobody tells them how or why.” One Ricoh advantage is that through it direct organization it has “a tremendous amount of experience with enterprise-level customers and that has caused us to to make significant investments to deliver the solutions that those types of customers require.”

Coriddi noted that enterprise customers are heavily invested in cloud-based workflows around their Ricoh products. But, according to Gartner, cloud solutions have only reached 15 to 20 percent of SMB customers “And in the next three to five years the SMB market is going to adopt cloud technology in a very big way.” That means opportunity for Ricoh dealers. And, working with Ricoh, dealers can leverage Ricoh knowledge and support. “It means you have a unique competitive advantage to provide added value to all your customers.

Steven Burger Talks Tech

Steven Burger, who returned to the United States earlier this year from Ricoh Japan, and is now head of engineering, vice president of technology marketing at Ricoh USA, discussed Ricoh’s latest technology and how Ricoh dealers can benefit from it.

Burger noted that, last year, Ricoh debuted its cloud-based workflow solutions with admittedly “so-so success.” But Ricoh has worked through many of  challenges and they are “completely read for prime time”

Burger also noted that since Ricoh’s last Convergx conference, the company had its biggest launch ever with the IMC printer/MFP series and Dynamic Workplace Intelligence.

Ricoh has also been focusing on intelligent support, always-current technology, cloud workflow, security, and industry-leading engine technology. All future products will support these technologies, and Ricoh will also take them to the next level. A toner gauge will be standard on all new units. Enhanced toner management for precise toner level updates. will be backwards compatible with recent new devices. In addition, Ricoh’s R&D team in Japan working with Ricoh dealers in the Americas to get dealer feedback.

Turning from tech to business models, Burger noted that the days of software processing onsite are going away. Instead customers are demanding less infrastructure and want to pay for what they use, reflecting continuing trend toward a subscription-based business model.

Along with this are cloud-based workflows that can be easily billed on a subscription basis. For instance, for only $10 a month, with Ricoh Cloud Workflow Solutions, guest users can securely print to network printers at a corporate site. The ultimate goal of these solutions is to reduce manual entry and errors, and make business processes faster and more efficient. And, because they’re cloud-based, the customer is relieved of installing, managing, and maintaining infrastructure.

Four levels are available with Ricoh Cloud Workflow Solutions:

Ricoh’s Cloud Essentials Package provides basic tasks, including Follow Me printing and scan with OCR conversion.

Ricohs Connectors provide customers with 30 of the most common cloud -based workflows solutions that B2B customers are using, while Ricoh Workflow Services provides the most capability.

Burger also noted that Ricoh is supporting DocuWare (which it acquired earlier this year), and announced a unique MFP connector that lets users capture to and print from DocuWare accounts directly on the MFP. “It’s a bridge to the new world of annuities, and, for instance, can be used for invoice processing,” said Burger.

What’s coming next from Ricoh is multi-vendor device support – Ricoh isvworking with ECI , which includes FM Audit, to enhance dealer device management to provide the strongest device management in the industry. Ricoh is also using artificial intelligence to provide a better customer and dealer experience for the some 4 million devices out in the field.

Ricoh MFP Shield

Ricoh’s Burger noted that “a device is as secure as its least secure door” and also noted that while other many other companies have well-publicized security breaches, Ricoh hasn’t.

He also previewed the new Ricoh MFP Shield technology. This is an application that runs on the MFP and enables dealers or customers to run security checks and select a security level:  silver, gold, platinum, or titanium, the last of which provides the most security. Once the level is selected, it will harden the device, automatically change settings, and  print out current security settings.

Meanwhile, Ricoh and Amazon recently jointed together to integrate Amazon for Business in Ricoh technology, a partnership that is providing  voice activation and other capabilities.

Ricoh is also building an IoT platform to interconnect Ricoh devices and other devices wherever that work is taking place. Ricoh Cloud Workflow Solutions is the first step in that IoT platform.

Burger concluded by stressing the need for dealers to expand beyond hardware units, noting that: “As we see our click business start to fade, we need to find new click business: workflow, content services, cloud subscription, is the answer.”

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