Above: Jim Coriddi discusses what dealers can expect from Ricoh during the General Session.
We are a little late in sharing our assessment of the Ricoh Partner Summit held in October. We addressed it on a Fridays with Frank episode, but that is no excuse for the delay. The truth of the matter was that we were preoccupied with our 38th Annual Awards Gala held on November 2nd. This event takes five months of planning, and we are not exaggerating.
There is quite a bit we could say about the Ricoh Partner Summit, and it is all about Ricoh telling us where they are and where they intend to be.
Jennifer Healy, senior director, marketing strategy, communications, programs and enablement, dealer and partner channel, opened the event and conveyed a simple but powerful message. “We have gone from a large to a more impactful meeting,” she said.
Because of that, the audience was considerably smaller than the one held four years ago. In other words, Ricoh’s more important partners were there. We do not know the percentage of revenue that was generated by the dealers in attendance at the Ricoh Partner Summit. It would be easy to believe that at least 75% of the revenue for Ricoh came from the dealers at this event. That’s based on talking to five dealers that reported revenues of more than $100 million annually in our 38th Annual Dealer Survey.
Healy went on to say that vision means action. That was interpreted by me as Ricoh has already defined what will be done and steps have been taken to ensure that the company is successful. Next up was Jim Coriddi, vice president, dealer sales, and you would not be surprised to learn that his first words were “Thank you!” He went on to say that since the last meeting and the most difficult of times, Ricoh experienced growth from individual dealers of 100% to 192%.
We correctly assessed who the 192% dealer was and had a couple of drinks with him at the closing party. He confirmed that it was his dealership that improved his business by such a wide margin and that the relationship with Ricoh grows better every day. Confirmation is always a good thing,
Coriddi also emphasized that diversification has been part of Ricoh’s success even though the primary driver is print, which is not dead. He emphasized that print represents a $53 billion market. “Even if it were to stay flat, we need a bigger share,” said Coriddi.
Areas of growth for Ricoh cited by Coriddi include:
- A3 Color – 103%
- A4 MFP – 196%
- Production Print – 113%
- Coriddi broke it down further:
- Hardware – 100%
- Aftermarket Revenue – 103%
- Software – 101%
“That growth came from Ricoh’s investments,” observed Coriddi.
Above: Coriddi discusses acquisitions and the partnership with Toshiba TEC.
To make sure there were no further misinterpreted statements about the manufacturing merger between Ricoh and Toshiba TEC, Coriddi made it as clear as possible. “The Toshiba TEC venture will allow us to remain differentiated competitors.”
The close was simple and direct. In order to continue to grow and achieve all their objectives Ricoh must be more aggressive. Coriddi singled out one area that was worthy of note. “Dealers will have full availability of A4 MFPs.”
Carsten Bruhn, president & CEO, followed Coriddi. He also thanked the dealers for allowing Rioch to enjoy growth through the pandemic. The numbers that followed were impressive: FY22 Sales were up 21.4% with commercial print enjoying an increase of 25.5%. The numbers for FY23 were also up 16.4%, with an operating profit of 5.7%. Hardware was up 10% year over year.
Bruhn indicated that Ricoh’s 2024 numbers may be down as the company focuses on services. As he put it, “You have to take some risk.” He added, “The corporate objective is 25% growth for the next two years before Jim retires.”
New products were much of the focus, starting with a 70-ppm A3 color machine. This was followed by the C9500, a 135-ppm machine and the C7500, 95-ppm machine with a 5th color and the ability to handle media up to 470 GMS.
The much-discussed Z75 sheet-fed inkjet press was also discussed and is in beta testing. We expect to see the product released in the spring of 2024.
Ricoh Partner Summit Production Print Panel
During the Summit, I appeared on a panel with five outstanding dealers, including Doug Pitassi of POA. The message I gave the audience was, “There are two things you need to be successful in the business of print. One of them is distribution, and the other is product.”
I added, “In our 38th Annual Dealer Survey there were 16 dealers who reported their revenue was more than $100 million. Seven of them indicated that Ricoh was their primary A3 provider. That tells you how strong Ricoh’s distribution is.”
Ricoh Partner Summit Summary
In the way of a summary, allow me to put it this way. Ricoh made it clear that to enjoy growth, it has to become more aggressive. There is no way they could have experienced the results they reported without doing so.
Some dealers did not like that because we know and understand what that means. Putting pressure on dealers to increase their Ricoh performance. No dealer we have ever known likes to see that. However, in 2028 Scott, CJ and I were in Japan and while there we visited Ricoh. We were told that Jake Yamashita (then president) had invested 100 billion Yen in production print and 100 billion Yen in the rest of the product line. Those new products are now available and are a result of that investment.
Ricoh’s marching orders to its dealers are simple, grow your business by 25% each year for the next two years. Ricoh dealers got the message, and a lot will ride on the success of the A4 line and the sale of the new production print products. We believe they will be successful. Let’s see how close we come to being right or wrong.