Many of you are aware of some behind the scenes moves Ricoh has quietly been making in the past few weeks. Ricoh has addressed many of the rumors and has sent me a statement outlining What’s Happenin’, which includes shifting the SMB business to dealers from branches.
Ricoh has done this in the past on three occasions that I can recall in markets where the branches weren’t as strong as some of their dealers. This is not an uncommon move of OEMs as we saw Xerox shift a huge number of accounts from their branches to their Global Imaging dealer channel a few years ago.
Imaging dealers are often better suited to serve SMB than branches and I am sure Ricoh dealers are lining up for the opportunity to acquire Ricoh’s SMB MIF in their respective territories. Once the shift is complete, Ricoh will be more reliant on their dealers than ever, furthering Ricoh’s message at their last ConvergX dealer meeting, that they are highly focused on the dealer channel. The move will certainly further reduce channel conflict that may occasionally flare up.
Say what you want about the move, it’s good to be a Ricoh dealer at the moment and the response I’ve heard from them has been completely positive. They like the direction and they appreciate the faith Ricoh has in them.
There are rumors that a large number of Ricoh sales and support people have become unfortunate casualties of this move. I’ve also heard that dealers picking up Ricoh MIF may be obligated or encouraged to interview these former Ricoh employees. That would be a classy move if that is true. Again, these are only unsubstantiated rumors.
This may have an incredibly positive impact on everyone in the end, not just Ricoh dealers, but dealers and branches of all brands. One of the most challenging parts of owning a dealership is finding good people. Interviewing any sales rep that comes to you should send up a red flag, right? You don’t want some hot shot bouncing around from company to company always looking for a better spot. But you do want experience. Well, if the rumors are correct, there may be 1,000+ qualified, loyal and possibly very tenured people now available to you. While many, if not most may wind up at the Ricoh dealer that bought their MIF, a lot of these treasured assets will wind up at dealerships and branches carrying other brands.
Ricoh had a tough year financially in 2016 and this is the second major move we’ve seen in 2017. I’m glad to see they’re not just standing still. ~Andy
Here’s what Ricoh sent me
Today, we are making bold changes in the United States, which align with Ricoh’s new global vision and structure. Today’s changes within the U.S. will make it easier for our customers to do business with us.
We are creating three distinct, focused business channels:
1. The Enterprise Channel will support our largest enterprise and global customers with a laser focus on the delivery of sophisticated, more complex services to help grow their business.
2. The Commercial and Industrial Printing (CIP) Channel will operate in five highly specialized focus areas: Graphic communications; Cutsheet, Inkjet and Wide format; Enterprise; Public sector; and Software.
3. Our Small and Mid-size Business (SMB) Channel will utilize our strong Ricoh Family Group (RFG) Dealer network and our U.S.-based Inside Sales channel to better support this customer base. Both have strong knowledge and expertise to support and expand the SMB business through a more competitive, higher efficiency model.
Today’s changes are a testament to our commitment to the Ricoh Family Group (RFG) dealers. Our network of dealers is the strongest in the industry, and their proven results of providing superior customer service are unparalleled.
Our dealer organization will continue to be led by Jim Coriddi, and Jim continues to report into Peter Stuart, Executive Vice President, Office Solutions Business Group. We will continue to focus on being the number one dealer provider – for all of our dealers. Today’s activities take this commitment to an unprecedented level in our industry.
As we further utilize our RFG dealer network and transfer SMB customers to dealers in specific markets, every RFG dealer in every market will become Ricoh’s mid-market player for generating new business. That is a significant growth opportunity for all RFG dealers.
Ricoh is extremely excited about the dealer business in 2017 and beyond, and will continue to work with our valued dealer network to expand our business together.