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Ricoh plans to expand printing horizons, execute multi-year growth strategy

The printing giant plans to play in everything from 3D printing to IT services to the smart office.

Video: HP's new Multi Jet printer series will 3D-print fully functional, color parts

Ricoh is currently laying the groundwork for a multi-year growth strategy that aims to create new use cases for printing and developing its IT services. Here's a look at how it aims to deliver.

Read also: 3D printing: A cheat sheet - TechRepublic

In recent weeks, Ricoh has outlined the following:

  • Cloud-based workflow tools designed for the small and medium-sized business market.
  • A new inkjet system to offset the transfer of offset print volume to digital.
  • A textbook designed to show off Clickable Paper, a way to make print interactive.
  • Collaboration with academic and corporations to develop bioprinting.
  • We caught up with Joji Tokunaga, Ricoh Americas' president & CEO, and Glenn Laverty, senior vice president of marketing for Ricoh Americas and CEO of Ricoh Canada. Here's a recap of the discussion.

The growth strategy. Tokunaga said part of the growth plan is to leverage Ricoh's Mindshift services unit, but he also emphasized that "we're still a printer company." Tokunaga added that Xerox has been distracted with its potential merger with Fujitsu. HP is also a fierce competitor. "We have put together a three year journey and growth strategy specifically on commercial and industrial printing and printing on more than paper," he said. "We have to do a better job to articulate our IT network and support capabilities too."

Read also: The new Monoprice 3D printer prints 3D things for $150 - CNET

Laverty said Ricoh is also about empowering digital workplaces and it plugs in across multiple areas of the enterprise. Ricoh is also developing augmented reality to streamline workflows. The key is that Ricoh now has a unified front with its customers, he added.

Ricoh's growth strategy has the company enhancing its strengths and refining implementation ability 2018 to 2020, setting big goals in 2019 to 2020 and seeing a payoff in 2023. Here's a look at select growth areas:

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The revenue model. Ricoh, like other companies, is increasingly moving toward recurring revenue models. It's services business can grow and the office of the future will likely revolve around subscriptions for everything from software to printing infrastructure, explained Laverty.

Tokunaga said globally Ricoh is well balanced with its revenue split in thirds by region. The majority of the customer base is global 2000. Asia is a key area for growth as well as China and India.

Smart office potential. Ricoh said that the office of the future will revolve around data and the flow of information as well as how people collaborate. "Whether you're local, regional and global, we will be able to manage and tap into coordinating data so it flows better," said Laverty. Intelligent whiteboards, AI, robotics process automation are all key areas of the smart office.

Laverty added that Ricoh could also delve more into unified communications services.

Read also: HP launches 3D printing center in China

Additive manufacturing. Tokunaga said manufacturing is a key area and there is a plan to invest in 3D printing. He acknowledged that mergers and acquisitions are likely.

I noted that Stratasys or 3D Systems would instantly give Ricoh some additive manufacturing heft, but Tokunaga didn't bite. "We have allocated $1.8 billon for M&A and it's not specific to additive," he said. "We are also looking more broadly than additive."

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