Company reports strong numbers for 2017 and sees an opportunity for growth despite predictions that print is on the decline.
The week of May 14, Canon USA held its first dealer meeting in several years. The meeting was well attended with representatives from the company’s powerful dealer distribution channel traveling to Orlando to receive an update on the company’s overall performance globally and in the Americas. Among the high-profile Canon dealer principals in attendance were Tom Flesch of Gordon Flesch Co.; Jim Loffler of Loffler Companies; Hunter McCarty of RJ Young; Jerry Blaine of LDI Color Toolbox; Mary Jo Johnson of E.O. Johnson Co.; Kevin McCarthy of Modern Office Methods as well as many others.
Canon USA CEO Joe Adachi led off the parade of executives, providing a snapshot of Canon Inc.’s 2017 results.
- Canon, Inc. reported $36.4 billion in sales
- The Americas contributed 27% of that to the total number
- Japan was responsible for 22%
- Office imaging represented 45.7% of total worldwide revenue
- Of that number North & South America were responsible for 32.3%
- Europe came in a close second at 31%
From there Adachi switched to first quarter results for 2018, reporting that year over year net sales were up 3.8% while operating profit was up 10.7%.
Whenever Canon offers an overview of how well they are performing at the top of the list is their position in patents filed. Canon claims they have been among the top five companies in the filing of patents for 32 years in a row.
Adachi closed his portion of the agenda telling dealers their participation and success in the office and in production print is important to Canon.
The only product references at the meeting were centered around high-end production devices such as the Océ Colorado 1640 and Océ VarioPrint i300, which were introduced a year ago and two years ago, respectively. Canon has placed 32 VarioPrint i300’s to date, an impressive number considering its price–$900,000 to $1 million. Other than that, no speaker mentioned new products, an approach we expect to see continue at other manufacturer’s dealer meetings.
Toyo Kuwamura, president of Canon Solutions America and executive vice president of Canon’s Business Imaging Solutions Group (BISG), reported revenues for Canon’s U.S. dealer channel was up 5% in 2017 and 177 of Canon’s 386 dealers exceeded their 2016 performance.
Canon continues to claim leadership in the color imaging business, holding the #1 position in color and black & white. In addition, Canon has a 26% market share of the total business.
Kuwamura shared his assessment of the current state of the industry, focusing on two of the company’s leading competitors. Kuwamura noted that Ricoh Co. Ltd. recently reported a $1.4 billion loss, including a one-time write-off of $2 billion against the IKON acquisition, and the decline of Xerox, acknowledging that it could possibly be sold to someone other than Fujifilm while declining to predict the company’s future. In our opinion Canon has taken notice of the number of their dealers who have taken on the Xerox line and this was Canon’s way of saying don’t bet on a dead horse.
We have been covering Canon events for close to four decades and this was the first time I recall any company executive offer a negative assessment of the competition. It is certainly a reflection of the times and we have seen competitors do much worse at recent dealer meetings.
Kuwamura summed up his presentation by saying that the dealers have asked for a simpler way to do business. As a result, Canon has reorganized its dealer support structure with 24 people now devoted to that function. The important message from Kuwamura was that he has heard dealer’s concerns and Canon is responding.
This was Kuwamura’s last appearance at a Canon dealer meeting as he is retiring on August 1st and returning to Japan. We’ve written about that already, but I will repeat what I said in that piece. We are both happy and sad that Kuwamura is leaving Canon USA. He was a breath of fresh air and he will be missed. We have enjoyed working with him for more than three years and found him to be one of the hardest working executives we have ever known. He is a good man and I will personally miss him.
Mason Olds, vice president, BISG, followed with an overview of Canon’s dealer business. The results are impressive. From 2011 to 2017, revenue from dealers increased by 32% and was just shy of $1 billion. The company’s first quarter performance reflected a 2% increase by its channel partners.
We also learned that Canon’s top 29 dealers are responsible for 50% of the business and the top 150 are responsible for 90% of Canon’s imaging business. The independent dealer channel produces 55% of all copier unit sales.
Olds also announced that Canon USA is sponsoring a dealer trip to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and bringing approximately 40 dealers. This incentive trip was well received by the dealers at the meeting.
Typical of most Japanese manufacturers at U.S. events, a senior executive from the home office in Japan often speaks during the general session. In this case we had the pleasure of hearing from Yoshinori Ikeda, deputy chief executive, office imaging products operations, Canon, Inc.
Ikeda offered dealers a worldwide view of Canon and relayed that 2017 performances included a 3% increase in unit sales with a corresponding 2.9% improvement in revenue. U.S. dealers contributed 0.9% with an increase in value of 7%.
In addition, Ikeda discussed the predicted decline of office print from $65 billion in 2016 to $63 billion in 2020, a decline of 0.8%. Overall, Ikeda reported the print market will be stable over the same period. Print outside of the office was $24 billion in 2016 and is slated to reach $31 billion in 2020. While he did not say it, those numbers indicate that he was including industrial print. He went on to say further that the consumer packaging market represents an $898 billion opportunity.
We met with Mr. Ikeda during our visit to Japan and will have more to say in our “Access Japan” special bonus issue addressing what we learned while visiting Canon, Inc. in Tokyo.
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