Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ricoh Plotworks "Way To Screw Up the W3601"

Back in March of 2013 I was alerted via an email from a Print4Pay Hotel member that Ricoh would be updating the wide format W3601 and the only update would be the addition of PLP's Plotworks. Just to make it clear, any W3601 purchased by a dealer or direct branch will have Plotworks period. The MSRP of the W3601 went from $13,495 to $14,890. 

PLP Plotworks is Ricoh US answer to not having a true batch plot software, that went away many years ago when Ricoh parted ways with Ratio.

With Plotworks my price has increased by more than 27% for the addition of batch plotting!  Thus, I have many questions that will go unanswered, and I'll start with; Did anyone in the Ricoh wide format division ever think of asking end users of the W3601 if they needed batch plotting, or better yet, did you ever think of contact some of your reps and ask them if Plotworks was needed for the W3601?   I've been selling wide format Ricoh devices since the inception of the W240 and after Ratio software went away I was bummed because we would lose the batch plot software. Little did I know that at least 80% of my end users had no need for the Plot Client Win (Ratio batch plot software), I didn't find this out until I started asking prospects if they needed batch plotting because of Ricoh dropping Ratio. Yes. I lost a few deals on the W3601 because I did not have a batch plot program, but I've one far more deals without the need for Plotworks because I was able to be competitive!

I'll admit we need a batch plot software on the higher

end 10ppm and 14ppm devices, as a matter of fact the intro of Plotworks saved my butt on a W5100en (10ppm) system.  However, Plotworks should have been an optional feature on the W3601, every W3601 customer now pays for Plotworks whether they need it or not.

Here's how I see it, my selling cost has increased more than 27% (this will vary from dealer to dealer) and at least here in the NY metro area we've seen margins decrease to remain competitive with the likes of Oce and KIP.  Keep in mind that we're also fighting the battle with Toshiba, KonicaMinolta and Kyocera with their knock off models.

I'm thinking (these are my thoughts) there are two major reasons for embedded Plotworks in all of Ricoh's wide format LED models. The first reason is that Ricoh needed batch plotting for their MDS approach with larger accounts.  Meaning, how the heck could Ricoh offer to solve wide format printing issues with Major accounts if none of their devices were capable of batch plotting? They couldn't, so they went out to find a suitable partner and that partner is PLP.  But, the price to add Plotworks as a stand alone option was just too expensive.  The answer was to commit to "x" number of licenses to PLP for the better price, and the only way to commit was to include the Plotworks software in all of the models and raise the price.

I understand that Ricoh's hands are tied with the need to acquire batch plot program, however we've been with out a batch plot program for a few years, why do this now and why do it with our bread and butter system the W3601? I thought about that for awhile and the CW2200SP came to mind, if a prospect does not need batch plotting then sell them the CW2200SP (piezo ink) system.  This system is grossly overpriced with a list price of close to $15K with the stand, Plotworks is not offered for this system, print speed is less than half of the W3601, and black ink cost is almost three times the cost of toner for the W3601.  Could it be this simple, is that Ricoh wants to force low volume users to the CW2200SP because the profits on the ink would be far greater that the profits from the consumable items on the W3601? Naw, why would they want to do that.

Personally, I'm not sure what will happen with my wide format sales.  Added value of Plotworks will only be for 20% of my prospects or less.  Will my prospects and existing customers want to pay a premium of $1,400 or $28 more a month on a W3601 lease? 

Anyway you slice it, not one of Ricoh's better efforts

-=Good Selling=-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your article!!
I have faced it time and again. Long time customers buying systems and all of a sudden their prices has gone up dramatically.

I found your article because here I am trying to sell a 3406 to a customer who bought the exact same system three years ago, and when I hit him with this price I already no he will have a fit and may try shopping.