Saturday, March 20, 2010

11 days till… David meets Goliath; a fight that may define the end of IKON OFFICE SOLUTIONS

In 11 days I will get tons of calls and emails from around the country on what new changes are being made inside of the Ricoh / IKON group. I have been listening to both sides of the house and have been hearing similar stories.

Unfortunately for those employees that still work there they do not sound good.

There have been rumors of huge layoffs and mass firings in store. It appears that these decisions are being looked at on an area by area basis. IKON has not been keeping up with the "Welch Way" of differentiation so there is bound to be more firings than layoffs. 

From what I'm being told there have already been some location closings/mergings in certain areas where it made sense. Some branch locations have scaled back or quit seeking new people all together. These have been kept very quiet as the worst has yet to come.

So what do we know so far of the story as it is unraveling? We know that there have been many "engagement issues" in which Ricoh sided with "Cain" We also know that the April 1st deadline (fiscal year) is coming upon us soon and Ricoh will not wait to "kill" IKON like they did with Lanier.

This is not a 5 year process!

The process is to merge the top level execs (already done and it appears that many of them came from IKON) and then to merge the back end processes (done) then to merge the sales forces and remove the chaff. (Starting to happen!)

What will we see?

Meetings with sales managers and local leadership on a market by market basis (Already Done) I am sure that they will dress it up as a "let's meet our neighbors" visit. I am sure that it will be very cordial. But what it really will be is a public display much like a title fight between heavyweight contenders! They will weigh in face each other and pose for a picture before the real Day of Atonement. I am sure they will make their merge decisions on an area by area basis.

There is a lot that is unknown, Ricoh has a lot of "purchased entities" in their back pocket and a lot of "intellectual property" that it has yet to release. One thing we know for sure is that they (Ricoh) has yet to make a unified group out of their acquired companies and has yet to create a soup to nuts product portfolio out of them. So anything can happen; so everything that we talk about here is just speculation.

In the end their can only be 1 Ricoh and 1 Ricoh Business Solutions and IKON which now is more of a RiKON than what people remember as IKON will soon be no more! Eventually Cain will kill Abel as he did more than 2000 years ago and the story will relive itself again.

I was miss-quoted the other day so I am making a re-post so that there is no misunderstanding.

If you look at my blog post which was posted at 9:05pm 01-13-2010 it clearly indicates that I am "on the market looking for a job." That blog can be found here: Pirate for hire! 

I am no longer in any way associated with IKON/Ricoh group.

If you are a shop owner or production manager and are seriously interested in the limitations that I ran into while placing this equipment I would be glad to answer your questions.

There are many successful C900 installations and soon to be C720 installations as well. But there are some limitations that need to be understood or your experience with this gear like all gear could become a nightmare.

There are many variables to consider when getting a production copier or digital press and I think I will dedicate an article specifically to that end.

This industry is where I make my living so I will keep some of my personal feelings to myself.

Pirate Mike

1 comment:

  1. It has been announced for the UK organisation. Will happen across the pond soon.

    Ricoh merges its print businesses
    Barney Cox,, 26 March 2010

    Ricoh has consolidated its UK production print sales organisation in a bid to grow its presence in the commercial print market.

    Under the new structure, all of Ricoh's print business, aside from IBM joint venture Infoprint Solutions, will be integrated and headed up by Stephen Palmer in the new role of Ricoh UK production print director.

    Palmer said: "Historically, commercial print represented 10% of our production print sales and is the biggest area for growth.
    "Over the next three to four years, we plan to grow that to 50%. There's no reason why we can't grow very rapidly, we have the service and the infrastructure."

    He added that 25%-30% of orders for the C900, Ricoh's first cut-sheet colour press, had come from the commercial print mar­­ket.

    In his new role, Palmer, who was previously Info-Tec UK managing director, will manage a 40-strong sales team combining staff from Ricoh, Info-Tec and Ikon.

    According to Infosource figures, Ricoh was second to Xerox in colour digital press installations in 2009.