Just a little background on this email. Deon (South Africa Dealer) sent me the article from RTM where the original headline was “Ricoh Says it Will Quit Paper and Shareholders Go Crazy.”. I'm guessing there was some pressure from Ricoh because within 48 hours the headline was changed to Ricoh Transitions From Paper and Shareholders Get Excited.
Deon emailed me this thoughts and I thought the time is right to have a discussion based as to where our industry in going. We would love to hear from everyone on this.
I think Covid accelerated a lot of things across all business industries including our type of businesses. We cannot blame Covid for everything but I thing it might have been the spark to move quicker towards more AI and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Panasonic announced in December that it will discontinue its PABX range in 2023. We are selling Panasonic telephone systems and the move to VBX was quick and easy. It is all part of IoT, the internet based systems are future rich and available 24/7. It might also be part of our downfall – job losses, less product sales, etc but it also create other business opportunities.
I was at the CES show, Las Vegas in Jan, 2019 and the advancement in technology is real – it is all about sensors and automation.
Back to copiers, printers, wide format, etc.
I’m of the believe that consolidation needs to take place in one or other form. I agree with opposition but it seems that research and development (R&D), production and delivery costs are the drivers for future existence. The question remains, you have 5 or more main players but what are the main differences between the products, 35ppm with 2GB ram, the other one 40ppm with 256MB ram – one with a 10inch touch screen the other one with a 3inch touch screen?
The question, if you want to print pages, what do you need, a copier (MFP) with all the bells and whistles with the associated costs or a much cheaper plain printer?
I’m of the opinion that with the advancements in electronic document management systems, mobile technology and the cloud, we might need basic cost effective MFP’s instead of advanced and future rich MFP’s. This might sound radical but I think the whole world is connected (IoT) and will move in one or other way to cloud based products and systems. I think it is all about ROi and major companies will move away more and more from ‘’hardware’’ in future for survival and better returns.
How long will resellers stay in business with the for ever decrease in price?
What is happening with HP?
Just take the advancements in CCTV (Surveillance)/Access Control system technology in the last year. Finger reader access control systems are being replaced with face recognition systems and I can carry on? Why? Covid and health related functionality.
Consolidation is one of the answers. Another answer might be to reduce the models – to many models from one supplier? Produce only colour models with the associated benefits and if you don’t want to use colour (only B&W) then you don’t add colour toners?
This is only a quick reply and my personal view – what do you think?
Please fee free to comment.