An excellent forum preps dealers for what’s next.
Ricoh USA has been presenting a series of three dealer meetings—Charlotte, Philadelphia, Austin—to update dealers on industry trends, what’s in the product pipeline, the status of backorders, and provide an interactive forum on different business segments (ECM, production print, managed IT), and explain how Ricoh can help them be successful in these critical business segments.
The Cannata Report attended the Philadelphia dealer meeting at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, on February 9. But unlike the Super Bowl, there was no controversy, and dealers departed with more knowledge and understanding of what Ricoh was working on and the Ricoh resources available to them. Approximately 66 dealers attended the event.
This intimate gathering and agenda, designed with the assistance of Ricoh’s National Dealer Council, allowed Ricoh to elicit more feedback from dealers in more of a think tank forum to help shape their plans for the fiscal year 2023 and beyond what the company typically receives from council meetings or what it might receive at a traditional dealer meeting.
#1 The Supply Chain/Backorders
The news about the supply chain was positive and Ricoh dealers can expect to see the pipeline flowing for most products with just a few exceptions such as A4 and midrange black & white MFPs.
#2 No Silver Bullets on the Horizon
As Jim Coriddi, SVP, dealer sales, explained to dealers in his opening remarks, “There is no silver bullet, no single technology game changer, but we see tremendous opportunity to expand the business.” Two previous silver bullets that he referenced were the evolution from black & white to color or analog to digital. With nothing like those on the horizon, what dealers should pay attention to are adjacencies to the MFP.
Above: Jim Coriddi kicks off Ricoh’s Philadelphia dealer meeting on February 9.
Coriddi was followed by President & CEO Carsten Bruhn, who thanked dealers for their partnership and loyalty, especially through supply chain problems. He shared Ricoh North America’s performance for FY2022 vs. FY 2021. For example, RCL sales revenue increased 19.8% and operating profit increased 51.4%, while office services posted double-digit growth and RGC revenue rose 25.1 year over year. He also shared Ricoh’s market share numbers. Highlights included:
· #1 in A3 office color with a 20.8% share (Canon was second at 20.2%)
· #2 Total A3 MFP placements (+18.4%)
· #2 Color A3 MFP placements (+23.2%)
· #1 Color Production Print – Entry Level (30.3%) for Q3 2022.
Bruhn also gave dealers a heads up on what they can expect from Ricoh, including more resources, product refreshes, new product introductions, a solutions portfolio with solutions partnering encompassing software delivery and a Ricoh services alliance, and marketing tools such as sales kits and digital voice resources. He emphasized that the company needs to hear from its dealers and wants to build an even closer relationship while relaying a tome that goes back to the 1990s and the Jim Ivy era, “We want to make Ricoh easier to do business with.” Interesting that this is still a message some 30 years later.
#3 New Products in the Pipeline
A slew of new products is coming, with some scheduled for April. However, we were asked not to report on those introductions until the official announcements. All we can say is that dealers seemed pleased by what they heard, especially in some product segments where Ricoh needs to seriously up its game.
#4 Three Illuminating Breakout Sessions
Above: DocuWare President Jim Roberts discusses the benefits of ECM during the session on New Revenue with Software and Services.
Three rotating sessions with three rotating groups of dealers, including New Trends and Customer Opportunities, Annuity and New Revenue with Software and Services, and Technology Opportunities: Production and Office, provided an interactive forum for dealers to hear from Ricoh personnel and exchange ideas with each other and Ricoh.
Some of the sessions I attended were more successful at eliciting dealer feedback than others, but all allowed dealers to walk away with numerous useful nuggets of information. Arguably, the biggest takeaway from these sessions beyond the product and services discussions is that Ricoh is more than willing to provide dealers with the necessary resources to enhance their offerings and be successful, whether it is marketing materials, sales support, or training.
#5 A No-Holds-Barred Q&A with Ricoh Executives
During the registration process for the Philadelphia dealer meeting, dealers were asked to submit questions, many of which seemed to have been addressed during the opening remarks and subsequent presentations. After the final session and a 15-minute break, dealers could ask a group of Ricoh executives additional questions. No question was off the table, and everybody who asked a question received a well-thought-out response.
Questions and responses included:
Will Ricoh have a 3D print offering? (The company is working on something for the health care market.)
What is the status of the Savin and Lanier brands? (Those two brands will be rebranded under the Ricoh brand within the next few months.)
What is the most important investment a dealer can make to ensure long-term viability? (Enhance the skillsets within your organization, listen to the customer, and invest in workflow software, which is the type of solution the next generation of salespeople will prefer to sell versus legacy hardware.)
#6 Potent Quotables
Above: Just some of the intriguing trends shared during the event.
There were many memorable observations made throughout the Philadelphia dealer meeting, and even those these quotes are out of context, they give you something to think about.
On artificial intelligence (AI) – “We all have to understand and learn how to work with AI.”
On millennials – “Millennials will have a major effect on buying behavior.”
On print – “Print is changing. A lot of print is moving into big production areas.”
On selling workflow and professional services – “Some veteran salespeople still struggle with workflow and professional services.”
On e-commerce – “69% of B2B buyers prefer to use digital (e-commerce) when reordering.” “We get qualified leads we never got before.”
On the 2,500 new DocuWare customers added this past calendar year – “No other ECM provider is acquiring customers faster than DocuWare.”
#7 Just Enough Time
Overall, this was an excellent event. Much was covered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Philadelphia dealer meeting sessions were well spaced with 15-minute breaks between each, giving attendees time to catch their breath and absorb and discuss amongst themselves what they heard.
#8 Stadium Tour and Cocktail Reception
Above: The view from the field. Unfortunately, we were asked to keep off the grass. However, the artificial turf was not out of bounds for us.
The Philadelphia dealer meeting concluded with a tour of Lincoln Financial Field and a cocktail reception. We saw the press room, the press box, the Eagles’ locker room, and the field, even though we were asked to keep off the grass. In my experience, if you’ve seen one stadium tour, you’ve seen them all. However, what made this one different was that it was four days before the Eagles played in the Super Bowl, which made the tour a little more special than the average stadium tour. The tour was followed by a cocktail reception that I did not stay for since I wanted to hit the road before it got too dark.