Everything you need to know about OKI Data’s decision to stop distributing its LED-based single and multifunction printers in North, Central, and South America.
Late yesterday we received word that OKI Data Americas will no longer distribute printer hardware under the OKI brand to the North, Central, and South American markets effective March 31, 2021.
The announcement includes all LED-based single and multifunction, as well as dot-matrix (SIDM), printer hardware.
This represents another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year OKI embarked on a new three-year mid-term plan that would reposition our company for sustained growth and long-term profitability by shifting our focus from a transactional selling approach to value-added sales and service delivery,” said Sergio Horikawa, President & CEO, OKI Data Americas, Inc. in a press release. “Although we made significant progress in the execution of this plan, considerable shifts in printer market demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to reevaluate our ability to achieve the mid-term plan. After assessment by our management teams in the Americas and Japan, it has been determined that a new path forward is required resulting in today’s announcement.”
According to the press release, OKI Data, or selected partners, will continue to provide consumables, parts, and warranty services to the Americas markets as required by relevant countries and states to effectively support its current installation base.
OKI says that it will continue to work with its distribution partners to forecast, purchase, and fulfill shipments to maintain inventory levels that meet on-going market demand.
“I want to reassure our resellers, partners and end customers that OKI is committed to continuing to provide the necessary consumables, parts, and service to keep our printers operational for years to come,” said Horikawa.
This announcement impacts the Americas market only. OKI’s domestic (Japan) and other overseas markets will maintain their current business course and strategy. Global OEM arrangements and the distribution of specific value-added product lines, that impact the Americas, will be directly managed by OKI Data Corporation in Japan.
After receiving the announcement, we spoke with Lou Stricklin, director of marketing, OKI Data Americas about the news. He told us the timing of the announcement on Sept. 1 was to be fair to its dealers rather than waiting until March 2021 to give them the news. This also gives dealers who want to continue their relationship with OKI Data Americas can get their final orders in.
“Our responsibility was to think about our customers and resellers,” said Stricklin.
Stricklin emphasized that this decision was not part of OKI’s plans for 2021. The company was optimistic about the upcoming fiscal year, which started April 1, and had made changes across the entire organization to help drive growth. Unfortunately, plans for the current fiscal year were made in October and November before anyone could have anticipated a global pandemic. Once the reality of the first quarter set in, this difficult decision was made.
Based on our 35th Annual Dealer Survey which will be published in our October and November issues, OKI Data Americas did not have a significant presence in the independent dealer channel as an A4 multifunction provider or as a printer provider. Only 4% of respondents in this year’s Survey sold OKI Data A4 products, down from 6% in 2019 and 7% in 2018. Similarly, only 2.4% of dealers participating in our Survey sold OKI Data printers.
Although the company will continue to ship product through March 31, 2021, it won’t be unrealistic to assume that many dealers selling OKI Data products will likely shift to another brand before then. Companies such as Brother and Epson, who have been aggressive in their efforts to recruit dealers during the past two years are likely candidates to pursue dealers that had been selling OKI Data products.
OKI Data Americas Q&A
Why is OKI Data discontinuing OKI-branded hardware in the Americas?
OKI has experienced significant impact in sales revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic slowdown. In addition, our parts procurement and production capabilities have been affected by the pandemic, which has created global supply chain challenges. As a result, our parent company, OKI Data Corporation, determined this new path forward.
What is the last date that OKI will ship OKI-branded LED printers in the Americas?
OKI will complete shipments of OKI-branded printer hardware to our distribution partners and resellers by March 31, 2021.
Will OKI continue to support printers in the field with consumables, parts and warranty service?
Yes. OKI will continue to supply consumables, parts and warranty service for a minimum of 5 years or as required by regulations and contracts. Our goal is to minimize any disruptions and keep the OKI machines-in-field productive for years to come.
Will OKI’s distribution partners continue to sell OKI-branded hardware past March 31, 2021?
OKI is working with our distribution partners to secure final purchase orders based on their projected inventory requirements. Distributors will have final say on stock levels; however, they may choose to continue the sales of specific SKU’s beyond March 31, 2021. Please contact your authorized OKI distributor to inquire about specific SKU’s.
Will OKI continue to sell commercial LED and digital transfer printers in the Americas?
Global OEM arrangements and the distribution of specific value-added product lines, that impact the Americas, will be directly managed by OKI Data Corporation in Japan.
Will OKI-branded consumables still be available, or will they be private labeled?
Consumables for OKI-branded printers will continue to be sold and marketed under the OKI brand.
Will OKI continue to advertise or publicize the OKI brand in the US?
OKI will continue to allow our authorized partners to use the OKI brand as they continue to sell genuine OKI consumables and parts, as well as provide service, to the market. In addition, OKI Data Americas Inc. will continue to actively manage the OKI brand, as well as OKI registered trademarks, in the Americas to protect the interests of both OKI and our authorized partners.
Will OKI continue to honor current product warranties?
Yes. OKI Data will continue to honor printer warranties for the full warranty period.
Where will I be able to purchase OKI consumables after April 1, 2021?
OKI Data will continue to supply consumables through our current distribution networks. For resellers, OKI will continue to supply OKI-branded consumables to SYNNEX, NuWorld, Imaging Supplies Warehouse, and other authorized distributors. For end customers, your current consumables source (office equipment reseller, VAR, systems integrator, office supply company and e-commerce outlet) should continue to have access to fulfill your consumable requirements.
Will OKI continue to provide updated firmware and drivers on the OKI website?
Yes, the OKI website will continue to remain active and serve as a resource for firmware updates, printer drivers, MSDS sheets, product information, as well as provide contact information for technical support, consumables purchasing and service.
Will 1-800-OKI-DATA continue to be active?
Yes, OKI will maintain the 1-800-OKI-Data customer support line.
Does this announcement impact other countries or regions?
This announcement impacts OKI Data Americas which includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South American countries. Other OKI regions, such as EMEA, Asia/Pacific, and Japan are not impacted by this announcement.
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