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Ricoh Helps Customer's Biggest Needs in the Printing Community

Published on March 1, 2012

Tim Vellek, Vice President of the Production Printing Business Group at Ricoh Americas and Cary Sherburne address the biggest needs that arise during the dynamic and dramatic changes occurring today in the industry.

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Cary Sherburne:  Hi.  I'm Cary Sherburne, senior editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm very pleased to be here with Tim Vellek who is Vice President of the Production Printing Business Group or as it's lovingly known, PPBG.

Tim Vellek:  Three times fast.

Cary Sherburne:  And RICOH Americas.  I'm delighted to have you here.  Thank you for joining us.

Tim Vellek:  Thank you very much for having me.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  So, you know, obviously our industry is going through a lot of dramatic and dynamic change and it's not really easy for printing companies to make the changes they need to do and so what are you kind of seeing in terms of the biggest needs that pop up in your customer community?

Tim Vellek:  Oh, boy.  That's a very large question.  Depending on the segment and how much a user has adopted to digital already.  Many customers have already made that change and so they're looking at expanding their capabilities beyond just a digital output to things like social media and marketing services and things of that nature.  So you have people that have those needs and then you have other people that have been not on the leading edge but on the trailing edge that really need the assistance making the full transition from an analog world to a digital world or really getting in to different business models.  So, what we've tried to do is really tailor based upon our customer's needs because they need hardware in many instances.  It's not all instances, by the way.  Sometimes they just need some professional services, some business development services or just an engine replacement.  So it's really a time where, as a provider of solutions to this industry, you have to listen more than ever before and you have to hear what the customer's telling you in terms of what are their true paying points, their challenges, and then come up with something that really is a solution that solves their problems, not helps you solve your problem of hitting your quota.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  And in the end if you solve their problems then you're going to be doing better as well, right?  Yeah.

Tim Vellek:  Absolutely.  Because you're going to see that if you can truly solve a customer's problems that you're going to have a much more loyal customer and you're going to have a much deeper relationship.

Cary Sherburne:  You know, it used to be that people would come to trade shows, like a Drupa or like a GRAPH EXPO or even an OnDemand and they'd look around and they'd so, "Oh, I want this piece-part and that piece-part."  And then they would just integrate them themselves and it can't really do that anymore.  You need help.

Tim Vellek:  You need help and you need people that are willing to undertake that for you and to really, again, listen to you and understand what it is you're trying to accomplish but then have the expertise.  And it made the investment so that you can truly do the integration that's required today because in the old days with hardwire was pretty easy.  A couple of rubber bands, couple of springs and today you need software knowledge and expertise that's pretty broad.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  Now, you know, we're talking more and more about services in the Cloud, too.

Tim Vellek:  Exactly.  Which is a great thing.  So, you know, what we've really focused on is, as we filled our portfolio, which we're very pleased with our current portfolio in general, making sure that we have the knowledgeable people to provide the professional services, the consulting in order to maximize the profitability of the customer who's making this investment with us.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  And you know, it's been interesting for me, as you may or may not know, I spent some time at Ikon and to watch the whole thing unfold with the acquisitions that you guys have made.  It's been very interesting and integrating Infoprint solutions at the top-end and then Ikon with the distribution channel and the service network that they have that's -- you know, it was really quite brilliant.  I'm sure you guys planned it out perfectly.

Tim Vellek:  That really worked perfectly.

Cary Sherburne:  These things always work perfectly.  I mean, it's not easy but from what I've seen it looks like you've done a pretty good job of integrating those and really being in a position to help customers in a really different sort of way.

Tim Vellek:  Well thank you.  And RICOH's had a very long view.  If you think back to 2006 there was no RICOH presence in the production space.  Ikon had a presence but they were independent at that time.  And you think about RICOH, we acquired Hitachi’s printing systems division in 2004.  And that was a technology play.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.

Tim Vellek:  We acquired Linear in 2000 or 2001.

Cary Sherburne:  Right.  I forgot about Linear.  Right.

Tim Vellek:  Which gave us a lot of solutions mentality from their dictation and their word processing heritage, if you will.  And then we acquired the Ikon, which gave us an even deeper understanding of the production space but also a footprint that's unmatched now, in terms of service and in terms of coverage.

Cary Sherburne:  Plus they had a great professional services offering.

Tim Vellek:  Great professional service organization and offering.  So it expanded our capabilities from that standpoint.  And then with Infoprint we got some world-class knowledge at the high-end and in the transactional, transpromo space.  Great technology people and so that's been also a wonderful addition.  So as you see it I'd say that it did work perfectly.  Since 2006, RICOH's had very much this vision and on a worldwide basis, by the way, the acquired Info-Tech over in Europe.  And so we have a very, very large footprint today, which, again, in 2006 we had none.

Cary Sherburne:  Global.  Yeah.  It's really amazing.  You know, and you go back even before then and you think about, you know, the RICOH Family Group and what that was and a lot of those brands have kind of gone away because it makes a lot more sense to have it one united brand.  So the branding issue was probably something you gave a lot of thought to.

Tim Vellek:  Yeah.  And that's an interesting point because we've maintained most of the brands for the alternate channels for them to have the ability to differentiate but the Infoprint brand is now no longer a business channel brand if you will.  It's a product brand but they're RICOH.  Just like all of us.  And Ikon is RICOH as well and there's a migration of that branding to 100 percent RICOH brand as well.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, and you know one other thing that, as a journalist, that I just wanted to kind of compliment you guys on is I think everybody's doing webinar kind of briefings for the media but you guys have really got your act together in terms of the technology that you're using to present, and this last one you did it went seamlessly from Boulder to New Jersey and the video quality was good and some systems I have trouble getting in to and so you're just listening on the phone, but you guys have really done a great job with that.

Tim Vellek:  Well, thank you.  I'll pass that on because I can tell you the day before in our rehearsal there was a little bit of panic from time to time to make sure that everything was working, so.

Cary Sherburne:  But it was working.

Tim Vellek:  That's appreciated.

Cary Sherburne:  And it's evolved over time.  I mean, the first one was a little rough and then, you know, I think you've done three or four of them now and you've got it done.  So, congratulations on that.

Tim Vellek:  Well, thank you.  And hopefully you saw that and you see here at GRAPH EXPO the fact that we are working very hard on showing a unified front because a lot of people have been asking us for a lot of years what's happening with Infoprint or what's happening with this part of the business.  And in fact there is no more differentiation.  There is only one brand in the booth and that's RICOH and that's how we're behaving when we deal with customers and work with customers and interface with customers and prospects.  So, its...

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  Yet on the other hand, if the customers have other brands, you still work with that.

Tim Vellek:  Absolutely.

Cary Sherburne:  And that's important, too.  So you guys are doing a great job.  Keep it up.

Tim Vellek:  Well, thank you so much.

 

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