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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#Ricoh, The Great Purge and #SMB

So…not since the Ikon merger has so much happened to Ricoh or should we say, happened to the employees of Ricoh.

As Ricoh lifeboats slam into the waves, how do we respond? We do the thing this industry does whenever calamity hits a peer.

We send all his customers in our territory a press release designed to instill FUD.


The “See I Told You So” moment - remember the name of this blog.

Ricoh, is getting out of the SMB.

What does this tell you?

Consider the ecosystem:

  • What can be gleaned out of Xerox looking to spin off it’s equipment side?
  • How can we interrupt the swallowing of Lexmark?
  • What deductions come forth from Sharp and Toshiba’s woes?
  • How about HP providing MpS without a channel? To the SMB?

All these signs point to one thing:


Leave the churches, funeral homes, print for pay, non-profits, municipalities, schools, day care centers, three-person real estate and insurance offices for the five, ten and even the fifteen million dollar dealerships.  That once fertile, bottom land is transforming.  The SMB does not print like it use to and will be serviced by drones; not men and women.

“What once was our greatest strength, one day, becomes our most severe weakness”

We're great at selling to the small business owner. We use to drag machines around and demo in the lobby, not returning to the office until that unit was placed.

Not anymore.  This type of selling is losing relevance.

Sure, you’re going to hear colleagues, and sales managers say things like, “I don’t know about Ricoh, but our copier business is booming…” and “We just sold more devices than ever before!”

Here’s the dirty little secret in the SMB - they buy devices, they just don’t use them. Again, I know what you’re thinking, “Greg, all my customers are printing like crazy!” - No. No they are not. Nobody is printing like its 1999.

Nobody.  Go into any OfficeMax, Staples, if you can find open locations, and walk down the printer or toner isle.  Depressing, isn't it?

Don’t fall for the fake reports showing an increase in “print”. (books)
Don’t be bamboozled by the OEM sponsored studies evangelizing “Millennials prefer print.” (Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?)

When your OEM rep/BDM spouts off how, “last year was our best year ever” - check out their earnings reports and remember Ricoh, Sharp, Kodak, Oce, Panasonic, and Ikon. Reflect upon the ColorCube from Xerox($7.21 a share) or HP’s($17.72/share, forever) Edgeline.

Don’t believe any of them.

If things were half as good as the pro-copier, pro-paper pundits say, HP would not have split, Xerox would be the darling of Wall Street and Lexmark still American.

I feel bad for the good folks at Ricoh, as I did for the just as good people at HP and their worthy colleagues over at Xerox when they both purged.

And the paper plant employees.
And the liquidated newspaper staff.
And the book stores.

Two Roads

The lines have been drawn for a few years now - you’re buying businesses or lining up to be sold.

That’s it.

For us still in the industry, what’s the best path?

I believe in technology, not in print. I believe in people, not corporate elevator pitches.

Today, more than ever, deciding to stay in this mixed up realm, demands you act in YOUR best interest. Not in a stingy or self-centered manner. Self improvement in terms of helping yourself and those around you. A rising tide, floats all boats and the best way to improve the world around you is to make the best of yourself.

Keep going, focus on solving, not selling.  Evolve.

Our space is turbulent, vibrant, and self-indulged.  Most of all, our world, the place of toner and fuser oil, is Hope.

"It's not an 'S'. On my world, it means Hope."

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