By Andy Slawetsky – I popped in on Sharp last week to find out What’s Happenin’ with the biggest company in the world of print. While they may not move the most hardware, make no mistake, Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp last year brought them into the family of the world’s largest electronic’s manufacturer. Forbes has their sales listed at $135+ Billion as of May 2017 and they employ over 1.3 million people. That’s who owns Sharp.
I took another walk through Sharp’s new HQ and couldn’t help but think how much happier the staff must be in these new digs. A massive, modern-looking hangout area sits just past the entrance and show room. Here, you can find couches and collaboration areas that await employees who feel the need to get out from behind their desks. Displays and collaboration boards are mixed in to facilitate teamwork. Upstairs in the office areas, glass walls and beautiful wood floors accentuate the brightly lit surroundings. Perhaps best of all, a Wegmans grocery store (from my home town of Rochester) just opened up across the street. My upstate NY friends can appreciate how great that is!
I sat down with COO Mike Marusic for an hour and we chatted about a wide variety of topics; none of which I can share with you! Let’s just say, the dealer meeting is going to blow some minds as Sharp takes things in some unique and interesting directions.
What became clear from this meeting is that Sharp has a lot more going on behind the scenes than just copiers and displays. They are part of a massive ecosystem and are beginning to enjoy the benefits of the portfolio and relationships that Foxconn has to offer.
We have seen glimpses of this already, with the introduction of the revolutionary Skywell water generation systems (high-tech water coolers) and the co-development between Sharp and Foxconn engineers on the forthcoming A4 products, announced during Sharp’s summer road show.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg as Sharp is methodically exploring the Foxconn portfolio for products that will fit into the imaging dealer’s world.
Another huge boost to Sharp comes from Foxconn’s buying power. As the largest electronics manufacturer in the world, Foxconn has much stronger buying and negotiating clout than anyone else in this industry. This means that Sharp will no doubt, improve margins on their hardware as they don’t have to source raw materials and components as Sharp, but instead, they buy as Foxconn. Companies are lining up to do business with the Taiwanese electronics behemoth and Sharp is beginning to leverage that.
Foxconn’s partners are the biggest technology companies on the planet and they’re the ones defining the increasingly connected world we live in. Partners/customers include Microsoft, Google, HP, Apple, Toshiba, Cisco, Dell, Amazon and many other household names. When Sharp sits down with these companies, they have a lot more credibility than they did when they were “just Sharp.”
The Sharp dealer meeting in Phoenix at the end of this month should prove to be be one of their most impressive. We’re going to see some next level kind of stuff and those attending will see the power of the Foxconn relationship and what that is beginning to bring to the table.
Stay tuned and follow my tweets and you’ll see what I see first hand at that event!