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2016-02-02 15.11.10If you've been in the copier industry as long as I have, then you'll remember that Xerox and Kodak manufactured copiers in United States. In later years Kodak removed themselves from the SMB market for copiers and Xerox finally succumbed to outsourcing their copier manufacturing to Fuji-Xerox.

In a recent press release HP stated they wanted to reinvent the $55 billion dollar copier industry.  Since, I'm looking for numbers, I figured the evaluation of the entire copier industry was a good place to start. I did some research for the latest numbers for US imports, however the only document I could find was from 2008 from USITC.  In 2008 the US imported 33% of the MFP's that were manufactured.  Thus, if the US market is still at 33% (which I doubt) and HP's numbers are correct that would out the US import market at $18.15 billion dollars.  That's a pretty big number.

Now, I don't have exact numbers, but thinking a pretty large percentage of those devices are manufactured in China. 

In recent days, I've heard much news about the Trump trade doctrine  and the unfair trade practices of China.  Peter Navaro went on to state the likes of currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies and the theft of intellectual property in a recent interview with Paul Solman.

In a nutshell Trump wants to stop China from cheating and negotiate new trade deals. My takeaway from the article is that if Trump can't bring China around he'll slap a 45% tariff on Chinese goods. Not sure if that's good or bad for the copier industry.

Recent rumors have Foxconn (they recently purchased Sharp) is mulling a $7 billion joint investment with Apple to set establish a display manufacturing plant here in the US.

All of this got me to the point where maybe it is time to start manufacturing copiers aka multi-functional products in the US again.  Corporate taxes are going to be slashed,  and I believe their is a tremendous market for copiers made in the USA. 

Why can't Foxconn manufacture their Sharp copiers here in the United States? If they can do it with display manufacturing plant, then they can do it with copiers.

Back in 2002 I was lucky enough to be able to visit a couple of Ricoh's manufacturing plants.  One was for high volume A3 devices (50-75ppm devices).  There's no rocket science involved to assembling copiers.  From what I saw, most of the parts were not manufactured by Ricoh.  Ricoh engineers and designs the products/parts, and then relies on sub contractors to produce those parts.  Those parts are then sent to the Ricoh facility and that's where the assembly takes place.  Easy, peasy, that can be done here in the US.  In addition the likes of Ricoh, Canon, and Xerox all have consumable factories here in the US. I'm thinking we might as well make it a party and have everything made here in the USA.

Thus, with all of the talk about bringing back manufacturing jobs, possible tariffs for Chinese goods. I'm one who thinks that some copier manufacturing can come back to the US, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that US businesses would pay a premium for copiers made in the US. 

What do you think?

-=Good Selling=-

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  • 2016-02-02 15.11.10
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I'd love to see it but I think in the end very few people really care if it is made here. Many people claim that they want to buy US made goods but as soon as they have the opportunity to do so they go right back to the foreign, cheaper goods because of the cost. This whole buy USA thing has gotten so much attention recently due to Trump, but until people change their tune about wanting it as cheap as possible nothing will change. Policy on foreign made goods may force people to change but time will tell if that will happen.

I agree with Jason.  It would be nice to have technology manufactured in the US in general.  But at the end of the day our labor expenses and manufacturing process automation/quality assurance seem lacking in the globalized landscape.  Manufacturing copiers and printers here would also involve moving the manufacturing from existing plants.

In a market space where existing manufacturing is below capacity, it would make the case harder to move one.  To provide a solution - why don't we reinvest in our R&D capabilities here and design an innovative disruptor to the output device.  We have some of the smartest minds in America that can operate under a no barrier mindset better than any other culture.  Can't we apply more of that type of thinking to the output device arena then let the oversees factories build it repeatedly and cost effectively.  Isn't there something better than the laser imaging process.  After all...  it is over how many decades old?

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