Toshiba TEC Bolsters Vertical Approach with Niche Product and Service Offerings
The performance of Toshiba TEC (Toshiba’s copier operating company) remains strong. In fiscal year 2017, operating profit, ordinary profit, and net income increased significantly, up ¥ 9.9 billion, ¥ 10.2 billion, and ¥ 15.7 billion, respectively, over the previous year. For domestic businesses, both sales and operating profit achieved record highs, and overseas retail solutions business increased profit for the second consecutive term. The increase in both sales and profit was mainly due to increased sales of point of sale (POS) equipment in the retail solution business””¥ 10.5 billion above the company’s forecast for 2017. Domestic and overseas sales for the printing solution business, including copiers, also increased by ¥ 10.8 billion year on year to ¥ 200 billion.
Sales to Asia also remained strong, with sales to China increasing by ¥ 10 billion over the previous year. In Japan and the United States, Toshiba TEC is leveraging the high market share of its POS business with the introduction of a retail copier that prints point of purchase (POP) displays and signage, a specialized product for the wholesale distribution and retail industries, including supermarkets and convenience stores, markets where they already deliver POS solutions.
In January 2018, Toshiba TEC launched the “SmaPOP” system that uses a web application that can easily create POP displays on smartphones and print them on special paper with Toshiba’s e-STUDIO color MFPs. Users can also take pictures of products with their smartphones and use those photos to create a POP display. The e-STUDIO color MFP is required to print the POP display.
Toshiba TEC is also promoting a strategy to sell e-STUDIO color MFPs in the retail market where they maintain a strong POS market share. The company has enabled its e-STUDIO MFP to print not only on plain paper used in the office, but also on special papers. A prime example is “Eco Crystal” paper, which is suitable for POP displays and signage. This paper is sturdy and waterproof. The company also offers other special papers such as a magnetic paper, which can be printed on both sides, and clear holders, which can be printed on demand.
There is an advantage in targeting vertical markets, especially as the office market, which is the main market segment for copiers, has shrunk due to the shift to digital documents, as well as the emergence of smartphones. In vertical markets, because print use is directly linked to a user’s business, users understand the number of prints made and toner consumed are necessary expenses. By understanding the needs of users within these markets, dealers have an opportunity to increase their profits. For that reason, other copier and printer manufacturers are taking a closer look at vertical markets. For Toshiba TEC, it is the distribution market, a market the company has been pursuing for some time.
In addition to SmaPOP, Toshiba TEC sells the “Loops” series, which includes a process that allows users to reuse paper. No other company currently offers this capability. The device uses a blue toner and a black toner. When heated, a sheet of paper printed with blue toner turns blank, enabling the paper to be reused. However, documents printed with the black toner cannot be erased. Erasable paper offers the potential to significantly reduce paper costs and can help reduce CO2 emissions and help in the fight against climate change. The “Loops” series has been adopted by companies with high environmental awareness and companies that want to reduce paper costs. This product is an example of Toshiba TEC’s technical innovation, even though demand is still limited.
Toshiba TEC’s copiers””whether it’s the “Loops” series or devices for the POP market””remain unique in the marketplace. Dealers that can identify the most appropriate markets for these devices and services have an excellent opportunity to reap the rewards.
Access Related Content
Visit the www.thecannatareport.com. To become a subscriber, visit www.thecannatareport.com/register or contact email@example.com directly. Bulk subscription rates are also available.