Thursday, December 2, 2010

Copier Manufacturer Shuffles from 4 to 2 Regions

Yesterday was another one of those days that make you wonder what in the hell is wrong in the world today!

I had just finished my 10AM appointment to gather last minute lease docs, and check and was then off to see another account when I got the call.  A friend at a local copier company called to tell me that Rikon had just condensed their Dealer Regions from 4 to 2. Ok, I thought why are you calling me to tell me this?  Well, with the consolidation word on the street is that up to 50% of the Rikon Dealer support people will be out of a job come December 31st. Could this be true?

The first thing that hit me was the fact that it's three weeks before Christmas and or the Holidays.  How does a company do this to long standing employees? Couldn't they have held out until the end of the fiscal year (March 2011)?  Plus, did they really need to reduce the Dealer work force, or could they have focused on making their Direct Operations more responsible for turning a profit and booted those people if a profit was not turned. The word came down is they wanted to make the Dealer Channel more like the Direct Channel...well, ok maybe the next thing we'll hear is that they want the Dealer Channel to lose money like the Direct Channel?

This was posted on the Print4Pay Hotel forums yesterday; "Today, Rikon employees (Dealer Division) were had to Call IN and they received one of two PRE-RECORDED MESSAGES:

A. You have been eliminated

B. You are being re-positioned

Now, I doubt it was explained that way, but if this is true (again I heard this from a few sources), couldn't it have been done in a more professional manner? Is there a more professional manner or is this now the norm in Corporate America? If this is the norm, how low is this that no one could at least call the employees and explain that they no longer have a position. I for one would be extremely disappointed with the entire process.

I understand business is business, but there was no alternative, was Rikon going to go out of business if they didn't make a move until the end of the fiscal year? Maybe the new Rikon head honchos were concerned that they may have been on the chopping black come the end of the fiscal year.

BTW, the letter that went out to dealers made no mention of the layoffs/terminations. Yesterday, we lost some good people that have provided excellent support through out the years, I for one, wish them well and hope that they'll be back up and running soon.

-=Good Selling=-


Pirate Mike said...

I think this has been coming for a while now. RiKon has a very odd sense of loyalty. They have spent their disposable cash on the aquisition of IKON now it is time for it to payoff.

No more spending, watch them tighten their grips even more and cut close to 15-20% of their direct workforce as they try to form a lean organization that can remain profitable in the ever increasingly compressed margins. The prices that they have been quoting people are "placement only" prices. I am sure they are banking on the revenue stream of service as the only way to recapture their profits.

Pirate Mike

Anonymous said...

I am a dealer and I have to say the "team" from our region are mostly useless dead weight for Ricon anyway. My DSM has little to no product knowledge. All this person does is hassle about my program. A couple of times a year the "team" comes to town on Ricon's dime, stays in a hotel $$$, hangs out in our conference room doing basically nothing, then they show my sales staff a few useless power points that are available online anyway. You might think they are government or union workers in do-nothing jobs. Have to say Ricon got this one right. Just my humble dealer opinion. Now how about getting Ricon's direct sales force out of my back yard.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dealer, you are bitter and most likely a miserable person. I don't like Ricoh, but they have (or should I say had) great people on the Dealer side. And those Ricoh Direct Sales Reps will not only remain in your back-yard, they'll be setting up a bar-b-que and begin eating your lunch. Them their Service personnel will be in your accounts fixing YOUR machines. Count on it.

Anonymous said...

Truth is I'm just about done with Ricoh. There is already nothing left for an independant Ricoh dealer in my area. I will be dropping them very soon. I will still do my numbers in 2011 but the boxes going out the door will be from another manufacturer. I began the transition six months ago and things have been going well with the new product line.
Traditionally my biggest competition was Canon direct and Ikon which was mostly selling a mix of Konica and Canon. I was also butting heads very consistantly with RBS regardless of the "Rules of Engagement". Now with the Ricoh Ikon merger there is just a total overload of Ricoh product in my area.

Why would I stay a Ricoh dealer when 60% of the large accounts in my territory are RBS or legacy Ikon accounts. Ricoh isn't going to give me the pricing to make those takedowns on their aquired base but my new equipment partner will!

The new product line is working out well for me precisely because its not a Ricoh.

Up until three years ago I would have attributed much of my success to my partnership with Ricoh. We've gone from successful partnership to enemies. Those days are over.

The Ricoh days of the late 90s thru 2007 were awesome. I'll never figure out why they went and messed with something that was working so well. Its been all down hill ever since.

Art Post said...

Thanx for the replies to everyone! I hate to say it, and mind you I can't see the dealer owner end of the business, however it seems Ricoh is focused on market share and only that.

braxtoq said...

I spoke to a couple of DSM's that they canned, these guys were top notch and working very hard to cover the large territory. I worked for Ricoh for 10 years and saw this coming 4+ years ago, it's a shame, it was once a great company to work for. I have been preaching that the manufacturer's need to stop giving equipment and supplies away, thats what's killing our industry, if only Ricoh would have raised prices, other manufacturers would follow, they could have kept personnel and our industry would be headed back in the right direction!