Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Can Ricoh, Xerox, Canon & KonicaMinolta be the next GM & Chrysler?
For those who know me, they know that when I'm traveling from appointment to appointment I never listed to the radio, or cd's.
This was not by choice, my buddy Darby (185lb dog), knocked out the SIRRUS antenna one day while getting out of the car and along with the fact that I lost the code for my regular radio, well my rides are pretty dam quiet w, except for the rambling thoughts cruising through my head all day!
Thus this came to me the other day when speaking with a fellow p4p'er in Florida. We got on the topic of A4 devices, my question was "Why have the Big Dogs like Ricoh, Xerox (Xerox/Fuji), Canon and Konica Minolta not come to market with their own A4 devices? Well, the answer I got was surprising and made sense. My fellow p4p'er stated that the Japanese are reluctant to re-tool the factories due the cost involved. There is no money made on the hardware anymore, they are relying on the consumables for profits.
Hey, I'm the guy in the field, on the streets and in the trenches, my customers love the A4 devices that we have from Sammy (Samsung), and if you haven't heard Sammy is doing very well with their A4 devices.
About a year ago Sharp launched their Frontier Series which is an A4 multifunctional device made by Sharp. Just today BLI awarded them "BLI Pick of the Year Awards" for three different models. At a recent Sharp dealer meeting it was noted that 24% of placements in 2008 were A4 devices.
So, while the chickens are roosting in the hen house at night, companies like Sammy, Sharp and Muratec (relabled Sammies) are quietly taking market share from the likes of Ricoh, Xerox (they also relabel a few Sammies), Canon and KonicaMinolta. Gesh, I would have thought by this time that the Big Dogs would have at least stepped up to the plate.
I reached out and made another call to a prominent p4p'er and got these quotes:
* Samsung certainly is doing quite well with its A4s.
* I feel like the reason Sharp is so hot for A4 is because they realize they cannot beat the big dogs at their own game (A3s) so they are looking to build share through A4 while maintaining or slowly growing A3 share. Man do they say how great A4s are every chance they have though. Not sure where this was sourced from, but at Sharp's dealer meeting they said that A4s were 24% of all MFP units in 2008 and 35% of all 31ppm+ MFP unit growth between 2005 and 2008.
* Most of Xerox metered A4s are either sourced from Samsung or most recently Konica Minolta so that's a sign that they don't want to retool and are looking externally for their A4 lines. That said, FujiXerox does make A4 engines for Lexmark and Infoprint, so they have the ability.
* Considering Canon supplies HP with all those A4 engines I would think they would expand in A4 if they wanted. They are probably limiting A4 presence for different reasons.
Ah, Canon the biggest dog of them all and why haven't they entered the market? I'm thinking they have some type of agreement with HP. WOW, we forgot about HP, here's another instance where HP is now replacing their own laser printers and others with their own A4 Multifunctional devices. Yet, all of this is one of the least talked about topics and the mass migration of A3 to A4 is happening before our eyes.
I read an article today from Channel Web, where a representative from Gartner stated "recommended customers use fewer A3-sized printers, which print at 11 x 17 inches, and adopt more A4-sized devices, which print letter-sized documents, to cut costs."
Sammy is poised to steal even more business, if you think they're satisfied with four or five A4 multifunctional devices, well you're wrong. They want to be the manufacturer of choice for dealers in the near future.
So, back to the topic, if the Big Dogs don't a make a move soon with their own A4 platforms where will they be in two years. I'm thinking they could go the way of GM and Chrysler, they've rested on their laurels and their A3's engines far too long, and instead of investing money in new factories and re-tooling, they all opted to buy market share by purchasing the likes of Savin, Oce, Global, Danka, Gestener, Ikon, Monroe, and Imagagistics. Did I miss any?
BTW, special thanx to the p4p'ers that helped me out with the additional information. If you like to be a member of the largest and fasted growing group of copier professionals in the world, then take a trip here. Print4Pay Hotel