Here's some perspective from the administrative side of things. In my roles managing our purchasing and ship-ins, I am so not surprised. I've been predicting ever since they switched to that dratted Oracle that Ricoh will lose market share. But, the problem is inbred worse than just a bad software system. It is so hard to get anything done efficiently these days, and I'm pleased when I don't have to work with them.

Here's a recent case in point:

Ricoh sent us an RMAP ship-in. They didn't put service on this unit. It took a month of me begging and pleading with I-don't-know-how-many different Ricoh staff members to get an answer. If a dealer hired sales and admin staff who didn't know their own contracts, those people would be out the door immediately.

At the same time, I've got three different other Ricoh admin staff people calling me for the install date and meter read. Why does Ricoh need to spend so much money on redundant salaries - nobody is talking to each other and all three are doing the same job. Why are these three even talking to me at all when the first batch of admin people clearly know the unit isn't installed yet.

Lastly, Ricoh RMAP sent the wrong cabinet. Again, it took a month of ME telling them about their problem before they figured out that, yeah, maybe they do have a problem. Again, I can't believe how many people on the Ricoh side had to get involved to make that decision and figure out what to do. When they were finally convinced that they need to send a different cabinet, of course they're now paying double freight. And the kicker: instead of giving us an RMA to return their property to them, they tell us to keep it at no charge.

So, how much money in inventory, freight, salaries, and labor (time - theirs and mine) has Ricoh wasted on this one ship-in.

And the saddest part of all: this is not an isolated incident.

You show me a dealer who runs his or her business like that, and I'll show you a dealership that's out of business.
There are a couple of things I don't like about how Konica Minolta does things, but that's more a personal preference than a "Makes-No-Sense-Whatsoever" or "Mess-Over-The-Dealer" problem.

Konica makes us switch regions every year, which means we have to get used to an entire new set of sales managers and administrative people. But, once we know who they are, things are fine. There's a West Coast-based dealer on this board who has issues with Konica's service support, but I've never heard of any issues out here in the Midwest.

We don't seem to have the problems that you do with the branch going into our existing clients. When they find out their error, they generally back off. Konica prohibits their branches from saying that they are better than the dealer because they are "manufacturer direct." More of a level playing field than what you've described in your territory.

Konica and Ricoh handle their pricing contracts very differently. With Ricoh, if I want to offer a special price to a client who isn't eligible for one of the national contracts (ie., US Communities), I have to register the client for DMAP with a minimum purchasing commitment of $50K or more. If the client doesn't purchase the minimum, you get hit with a chargeback. And, you're looking at a separate DMAP commitment for every major account. With Konica, my purchasing contracts are cumulative and not client specific. Occasionally we can get a contract with special pricing for a major account, but we don't have a purchasing minimum. These are negotiated directly with our major accounts sales manager.

(Edited to say I am not sure that I answered your question. We can't experience the same problems because the two companies operate so differently. I will say that I find everyone I deal with at Konica to be knowledgeable and responsive.)
Art,

Shaja is correct in her statements. As an RBS direct rep. I experience the same problems internally as she does externally. I spend equal amounts of time if not more solving customer problems (without response from many within the company) as I do selling. The Lanier merger has presented many problems, which we anticipated. But not as bad as it is now. Hopefully with the new upper level changes in Ricoh Americas there will be some positive changes that make their way down to us and our customers.

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