Industry events in big cities are designed to be eye-opening, but that does not mean backyard parties can’t have the same level of excitement. When the location is as impressive and pristine as the Konica Minolta Client Engagement Center (CEC), well…case closed.
Making the facility the centerpiece of this week’s Konica Minolta 2022 Dealer Summit was clearly the right move. Located at the company’s US headquarters in Ramsey, New Jersey, the CEC houses devices Konica Minolta offers in production print, wide format, labels and packaging, as well as digital embellishment. These represent growth areas (industrial print is up 151% year-over-year) and are, obviously, critical for the company as it shifts into high gear with its dealers.
Roughly 140 people were onsite, while the virtual feed brought in over 370 more. Supply chain was a major topic of discussion. Along with production print, the agenda was heavy on digital transformation/managed IT and Rev’d Up, the company’s new dealer program. Wrapped around or in between all that, we learned about the challenges faced by Konica Minolta-sponsored Wayne Taylor Racing due to upcoming regulation changes, there were breakout sessions to build on the overarching themes, and the food trucks were a nice touch.
Sam Errigo, President and CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS) U.S.A., Inc., had several strong statements, but the strongest one was “I am personally obligated to help you succeed.” The “you” refers to the dealers, and without a doubt the patience of the dealers has been tested throughout the supply chain crisis. It sure feels like Errigo, who expects another six months of disruption (especially with recent lockdowns in various Chinese provinces), is spending a significant amount of time on containers, freight, and ports. He also said that Konica Minolta takes responsibility for the lack of supplies and understands it needs to have better fulfillment processes.
|Sam Errigo delivers his remarks, notably about supply chain and diversification, during the General Session.|
Any industry event over a decade ago would be long on office hardware, as you can imagine. How things have changed. At the Konica Minolta 2022 Dealer Summit, the references to anything related to the office were few and far between—after all, the Client Engagement Center is for production print. And while the company did not announce any new gear in this area, it did refresh its entire lineup over the past 18 months. Konica Minolta isn’t just talking a big game, either. Rather, it’s incentivizing dealers to get more involved by making production print sales a premium in the Rev’d Up program.
|Inside the over 18,000-square-foot Konica Minolta Client Engagement Center, where production print is king.|
Digital Transformation and Managed IT
The event also focused on Konica Minolta’s expansive menu of digital transformation (DX) offerings and getting dealers to embrace those as part of their growth strategies. A range of products and services fall under the company’s DX umbrella, including: unified communications products (formerly called All Covered Managed Voice), intelligent information management (formerly the company’s ECM practice), managed IT services, cloud solutions, and emerging technology (such as the ALICE reception kiosk solution). One of the most intriguing areas in this area is video security, where Konica Minolta already offers the Mobotix intelligent surveillance camera system, while the company is expanding its portfolio with the FORXAI Video Security Solution, which offers cloud-connected security cameras.
|This piece near the front doors displays the other focal points of the Client Engagement Center: digital transformation and managed IT.|
According to Laura Blackmer, President of Dealer Sales for KMBS, no dealer that sells Konica Minolta equipment had to shutter its doors during the pandemic, though some were acquired. She also introduced what sounds like a premier MPS program for dealers (looking for 20-25 participants total), but most of the dealer program discussion was centered on Rev’d Up. This reward engine is designed to aid dealers in boosting revenue, diversifying products and services, as well as future-proofing their business. “Whether that’s to grow more volume, grow more production, or advance in their DX journey, we are investing in ways to help them succeed,” Blackmer said.
|Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05—and there was no way they were giving us the key.|
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Errigo and his team were refreshingly upfront about the challenges Konica Minolta—and, by extension, its dealers—has faced over the past two years. They were equally forthcoming about their efforts to help dealers get through the crisis (in fact, Blackmer noted that not one of its dealers went out of business during the pandemic). And even while grappling with the waves of crises, the company used the time to envision new dealer-support programs and develop an improved dealer portal to help them sell DX and other non-print products. That, along with expanded products and services, positions the company well for the continuing evolution of its customers.
Of course, plenty of other vendors have also begun the switch to becoming digital services companies that happen to offer print products. Still, we feel that Konica Minolta is well-positioned to compete as the market heats up. Our research shows that enterprises have largely already made the transition to DX, and that the next race is for small- and mid-market companies. The All Covered IT division gives Konica Minolta pole position here, while the company’s dealer focus should keep it at the head of the pack.
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