Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scary Times – Ricoh the one world leader succumbs to bad economy and is vulnerable like everyone else…

Now this is just hearsay, but I was just told that Ricoh is making employees take a week furlough without pay and has started lying off employees. This is a very similar situation that I am seeing across the boat I mean board with companies in our industry. From Konica Minolta's huge layoffs right after Xerox and Kodak cut roughly 20% of their global workforce. I'm sure it is not a shock to see HP step back and act cautious in new hires and expansion. Now with Canon in complete desperation to see them partner up with HP is almost funny. These types of partnerships are not uncommon in our industry, good bedfellows they make as they both struggle to assert their once top tier status. With Oce bleeding profusely to now even Ricoh showing their humanity we see salary's decreasing, employee benefits being cut or disappearing all together to sheer headcount reductions in almost every company.

IKON has even make changes and cutbacks in our company 401K matching program. The one thing I will say is that we are still expanding headcount and retooling our demo facilities and go to market strategy. We have not given up that we can be successful in such trying economic times. "Be Bullish In Production" our RVP says religiously. IKON is very bullish in times when even the greats are cowering. In fact we seem to have put on the war paint and run into the streets to meet our enemy head on. We continue the fight regardless of the naysayers.

I am getting nervous to see our "big brother" have such 'noise' coming from their employees. I knew many that went from Konica Minolta and others to over to RBS when they were the best looking for longevity; now what were long term stable employees they too are making the great pilgrimage to look for "gainful employment."

With everyone having such a knee jerk reaction it makes me wonder what is coming next. From everything I am seeing it appears that IKON is coming out on top and in a strong position to negotiate with the Ricoh first born. It would not surprise me to find that IKON becomes the "chosen one" and the pony picked to win this next horse race. I look forward to hearing the stories from my readers as I'm sure that many will find even uttering such a thing blasphemous.

If you have a Ricoh layoff story or more "inside information" I would love to hear. As for Pirate Mike I think we will see the true colors of Ricoh's intentions by April 1st 2010! Maybe I'm wrong but hide and watch as Ricoh retools their organization to come out fighting strong in the next fiscal.

Also be looking for the new Ricoh Pro C901 ( or whatever they will call it ) This new machine of destruction will be a great advancement of the C900 of today with no fuser oil, basing its strengths on a newly formulated polymerized toner? that will bring digital quality to new heights. If I had to guess with the speed at which they are developing products I would guess mid spring or early summer. With all of the great advancements of the Aegis product you can be sure that Ricoh is looking to show the world that "Ricoh knows production." Or at least the new horse they ride IKON>

What Ricoh knows is how to buy the best technology and engineers and then follow that up with a great distribution model which they did too buy. The IKON acquisition will show that their multibillion dollar purchase was not in vain but truly put them on the map in a way that they never could have done before the acquisition.

Ricoh is slowly learning the power of the weapon that she bought. But being able to wield this new weapon of destruction is yet another story. IKON is not an easy horse to ride, and this ride is surely to get very edgy in the short term as things build and the economy continues to falter. This is an "E" Ticket for sure!

As we get into 2010 I'm sure there are more cuts, layoffs, and changes to come. All we can ask is in the end that we are paid to the champions of the day. I for one cannot complain too bad as I have had record months and a record year! I am sitting somewhere around 120% of my budget with almost 400% of my yearly units. The Ricoh Pro 550EX, 700EX and the infamous C900 have taken me to the Promised Land!

Even in bad times the pirate of Lewisville Lake is showing that it can be done with no food or water and just on new business acquisition alone!

Happy Hunting,


  1. Mike,
    I think your analysis is dead on..... I 've been through the wars with you on a few deals and enjoy your professionalism and insights on this blog. Ricoh is just learning what IKON brings to the table and while they still don't understand how we do it (sell significantly more revenue per rep at dramatically higher margins).... They are definitely liking what they see..... While your analysis is correct in that the Ricoh/IKON merger will leave Canon licking their wounds for many years to come, lets not forget the hurting it put on KM given that IKON represented the largest piece of their Production Portfolio Distribution... Ricoh is now recognizing the benefit of all that distribution which has significantly buttressed their numbers and performance recently vs. the industry (even in the face of an underperforming RBS). When the economy improves....Watch out ...RIKON will be well poised, well funded, and as hungry as ever before... Yes, there is a recession, we just refuse to participate....

  2. I cant see how Canon will suffer in the long term from Ricohs buyout of Ikon. Ikon has been losing money for years and Ricoh will have to pick up its debt. Ricoh, in its desperation, aquired Ikon in a futile attempt to gain the No 1 position in the industry months after aquiring Infotec.
    The Ricoh balance sheet is in a bad way, and come April,Ikon and Ricoh employees will be in for a shock.
    Ricoh present fleet of MFDs is poor compared to Canon, or Konica-Minolta or even Xerox, and there is no money left for further R&D.
    Canon are picking up ex Ikon customers left right and centre,Canon have the market leading devices in their iR-ADV range,Canon still have the R&D capability, and are a VERY cash rich and secure organisation and will emerge as the strongest player and keep their No1 position.
    Im afraid its bleak for Ricoh/Ikon in the coming years, and the industry realises this.
    Its strange how the only people who see any benefit in Ricoh rescue of Ikon, are their employees.I sense a certain amount of brainwashing going on there...., That would suit Ricoh in their difficult position.

  3. In any organization there is a certain amount of brain washing going it is the leadership driving the corporate culture which is good for the long term stabillity of the organization. IKON is failing due to lack of its original culture.

    I agree with you on several levels. I think long term Canon will survive and move forward with a new strategy and hopefully never have 60% in any one basket.

    I also agree with you on your April comment. I think that there are a lot of things soon to come for those left in that world. The Dallas marketplace for IKON was over 2 million dollars behind in their operating income targets for the year, and IKON in general was over 120 million short. But that is common all over the industry now; missed forecasts, and being behind in revenue is now part of the deal.

    I am not sure if I agree with you on "the only people that see any beneift are the employees" I worked at IKON for over 2 years and I can tell you that IKON employees hate Ricoh and want nothing more than to make RBS merge into them. On the other hand RBS employees have a sense of entitlement to them and look at IKON as Bastard Step Children.

    No love lost either way. IKON thinks they could do it on their own, Ricoh doesnt have the might to move the big iron themselves. A lot of hating going on for sure.

    They are experiencing a lot of issues with their flagship product and their could be a lot of collateral damage done from that as well that they didnt take into account.

    just 2 cents worth...

  4. I have worked for both of these companys. I spent five years at 100% of plan (more than double of what a city rep has) and I was treated and paid well for my work. I was listened to regarding changing needs. Ricoh purchased us and they are only motivated by profit from afar. When they say "people first" it does not include employees. Local management has their hands tied and while Ricoh wants the sales to increase they couldn't give a rats ass about pay, bonuses or treating employees well. It went from a career to a job.
    And, tracking my coworkers in service is more than offensive.