Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Konica Minolta Imaging the end of the Danka Legacy

After receiving about 15 calls from fellow Konica Minolta-ians and Danka-ites it became evident that a mass slaughter had occurred just a few weeks ago on a Friday at 4pm about 500 people from sales and service were walked to the door and said "don't let the door hit you …" Konica Minolta service managers with 15-20 years of tenure and all of the Konica Minolta National Account Sales Managers, "You job has been eliminated." Thank you for your service but we don't need you anymore. You will get a severance package "if I fill out the paperwork properly" have a nice day!

This is part of the bloodletting that I referred to in a blog or two ago. We are at the beginning of a new age. Konica Minolta has shown that due to the inflation of the Yen that they are 50% or worse off from last year. Yasuo Matsumoto the Chief Executive Officer reported in the 3 Quarter Earnings report that their net income was done over the last nine months by -51%. That is a substantial amount for a company that had a very aggressive go to market strategy. But even Konica Minolta was not unscathed by the Ricoh acquisition of IKON. The new RiKON accounted for 100 million dollars of high end Konica Minolta production gear per year. That was more than all their other channels together including their Konica Minolta Business Solutions. Now that IKON has a full on Rioch and Kodak strategy Konica Minolta will have to rely on their direct and dealer channels to push the gear.

Now the new group minus the chaff that they separated from the wheat just a short time ago is now the go forward group that still has very little direction. Local reps are not 100% of their roles and even where to show up for work. What is in store for the band of merry men? They seem to have divided the responsibility of the high end production to Danka folk and have let the down the street business to the Minolta folk sorry Konica Minolta folk. Does that give my heritage away? Well what I can say is that a lot of really very dedicated and very talented service professionals were sacrificed the other day and to what end? What can be gained by separating the worker bees from the hive?

I am always curious to watch and see what Konica Minolta does. Rumors had it that they were buying Oce. But that now doesn't seem to be much of a reality. What does seem to be happening is that they have taken all that was left of Konica and put them on the front lines as "down the street" salesman even if they were major account or national account reps. Equalizing everyone to the same task, "transactional business." Konica Minolta, both sides and the new company was never good at project management and large deals, and always reverted to transactional business as they cannot see past a 30 day or better yet a weekly forecast. They have little or no analyst support, no presales support and very little if any understanding of the "solution sale."

This has to be hurting them in a world that is very "solutions oriented." In a world that is looking for "turn key" solutions, and printer fleet management, and managed print services. The days of walking in and asking if they needed a fax machine or a copier are over and they have not quite adjusted to that yet.

Watch for some interesting turn abouts if they ever get their patented inkjet technology to work in mainstream production environments. After introducing a new textile inkjet printer look to see them get in with the craze of manufacturers that are working on high speed inkjet printers that had Drupa filled with new vendors and exhibits.

To all of you that were sacrificed I am sorry that you paid the ultimate price to help them make up for the appreciation of the Yen over the dollar and Euro which accounted for -31.8 Billion yen. We know that you are the reason that they were successful and hope that you find yourself a home in the companies that are expanding and increasing their market share like the new Rikon.

Pirate Mike

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