The company’s 2018 dealer gathering was highlighted by a strong commitment to dealers as Ricoh looks to make deeper inroads into the SMB space.
(Pictured above: Jim Coriddi addresses dealers during the opening session of ConvergX 2018.)
Ricoh held its ConvergX 2018 dealer meeting in Las Vegas the last week of June. In many ways this meeting was more about a resurgence than a convergence.
The theme of the meeting was disruption and innovation, and it was described as two sides of the same coin. You can allow yourself to be disrupted or innovate to differentiate yourself versus your competition. Another core message was the emerging importance of data, device and network security. Security developments and trends were prioritized with two breakout sessions for dealers focused on how Ricoh and dealers themselves can enhance the security of the network and networked devices within its customers’ locations.
The attendance for this year’s meeting was at an all-time high with 1,200 dealer owners and personnel attending from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Jim Coriddi, vice president, dealer division, Ricoh Americas, who is expected to increase the channel’s production of revenue by 25% in the coming fiscal year, pointed out that some dealers brought as many as 15 people to ConvergX. In 2017, Ricoh dealers were responsible for 43% of all unit placements across the enterprise, government, production, and SMB.
Among the parade of Ricoh executives who addressed dealers during ConvergX’s two General Sessions was Jake Yamashita, president and CEO, Ricoh Co., Ltd. It is not unusual for the CEO of a Japanese manufacturer to speak at a dealer meeting. It is another thing to remain through the closing gala as he did where Ricoh awarded its leading dealers for their outstanding contributions. That is more than a subtle signal to the dealers in attendance that Ricoh is deadly serious about counting on its dealers to lead a resurgence of increased MFP placements in the SMB space.
Unlike some of its competitors, Ricoh continues to display new hardware at dealer meetings. We saw a host of new and recently released products at the Dealer Experience Center.
Steve Burger, vice president, general manager, international business, Imaging Systems Business Center, Ricoh Co. Ltd., who has been working in Japan for 5½ years, provided a deep dive into some of the new products and applications coming from Ricoh during the event’s second General Session on Wednesday morning. You will read more about that from Scott in our July-August print issue and our Access Japan issue slated for publication later this year. Burger also discussed how Ricoh is enhancing its service capabilities, including initiatives for helping dealers reduce service and installation costs by 50% as well as how the company is expanding its capabilities in industrial print, most notably with the previously released 9200 and the new 7200 production print machines.
Glenn Laverty, senior vice president of marketing, shared services, Ricoh Americas, and president and CEO, Ricoh Canada, Inc., raised the most important question of this conference, asking, “Can (Ricoh) dealers stay relevant?” He laid the groundwork as to why he believes they can.
- By taking advantage of the best security ratings in the industry (for its products), according to IDC.
- By helping customers better leverage workflow solutions within their organizations, an area where Ricoh excels.
- By continuing to employ a go-to-market strategy with Ricoh positioned as the number one provider of A3 color and black and white MFPs, according to IDC.
- By taking advantage of the solutions, support, and training available from Ricoh.
The message during the second day of the meeting was, “The Future is Now!” Ricoh had resurgence in 2017 and Yamashita announced that the new slogan is “Ricoh Ignite in 2018.” He also reported the company is in fine financial health despite the write-off of $2 billion in 2017, which some competitors have used to disparage the company.
Overall, ConvergX’s main message to dealers was let’s disrupt the market. As Ricoh Americas President & CEO Joji Tokunaga concluded in his General Session remarks, “kick ass in 2018.”
Judging by some of our conversations at the conference, dealers were buying into that message and seem to be buoyed by Ricoh’s outward commitment to the channel.
In the end it will all come down to the deliverables. Will Ricoh be able to sufficiently entice its leading dealers who carry multiple lines to give a great portion of its business to Ricoh? If they do not, Ricoh cannot succeed in raising its ambitious goals in 2018.
In my opinion this was a very motivational sales meeting. The goals were clearly defined and the way to get there was spelled out explicitly. The answer as to whether Ricoh and its dealers can realize those goals will be revealed at ConvergX 2019.
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