Kyocera’s 360-Degree Approach

1999

04/15/2015

Carl Schell

 

Success stories and announcements about both hardware and software were at the forefront of Kyocera’s FY16 Business & Technology Conference. Throughout the event, held at the Venetian in Las Vegas and featuring a litany of acronyms, company executives and employees detailed how Kyocera will continue to deliver the “Power 2 Perform”—“2” representing the company and its dealer community.

 

For KYOCERA Document Solutions America (KDA), which was founded 42 years ago, its current state is easy to define: seven consecutive years of growth. In fact, all Kyocera sales companies in the Americas achieved their highest respective sales growth in FY15. What’s more, Kyocera is so encouraged by its business in the Western Hemisphere that it recently opened a sales company in Chile (KDCL; according to Kyocera, the country has very advanced IT, making it a suitable partner). Also noteworthy is that KYOCERA Document Solutions Corporation (KDS) reports that 70 percent of its revenue stems from Europe and the United States.

 

In addition, 80 percent of KDA’s revenue is through the dealer channel, while from the company’s hardware strategy to its software development, its corporate communications to its social media campaigns, the ADIMO (Assess, Design, Implement, Manage, Optimize) process has been a contributor to Kyocera’s evolution over the past few years. Highlighted at “Power 2 Perform,” ADIMO was cited, for instance, in how the company has gone about both developing solutions and forming relationships with ISVs to help dealers boost sales in the education/public sector, enterprise, healthcare (the No. 1 market for Kyocera) and legal/financial verticals. And although mid-range products are still the focus for the company, ADIMO will no doubt play an even bigger role as Kyocera carefully studies trends and decides whether or not to enter segments such inkjet, wide format and ECM.

 

Many of the A3 and A4 devices Kyocera will release over the next year were on display, while solutions and case studies were featured in the four vertical market areas of the expo.

 

TDS

The company introduced TDS (Total Document Solutions) at its 2014 show and, since, has made a substantial investment in training dealers to sell not just boxes, but something more all-encompassing and modern. Currently, of the 750+ Kyocera and Copystar dealers in the United States, approximately 33 percent have achieved TDS certification (KDA has fewer than 10 direct sales operations in the United States). The next step, as of May 1, is to begin certifying individual dealer reps in TDS.

 

Kyocera’s Business Services Division (BSD), as described at the event, is now divided into three distinct areas: BACs (Business Application Consultants), who support the first three parts of ADIMO; DSCs (Document Solutions Consultants), who engage dealers to get them to practice TDS and become TDS certified; and the Services Support Group (SSG), which has Level 2-response capability to handle more complex workflows and assessments. “TDS is more than a marketing message and more than a program—it’s a fundamental business way of life that integrates the hardware, software and services that we offer,” said Peter Hendrick, vice president of corporate marketing and the BSD for KDA.

 

Solutions

At the expo company developers demoed three pieces of software, all of which should be available soon and are dealer-installable (pricing to be determined): PinPoint Mobile allows files to be scanned to the cloud and retrieved—using a QR code—from any device that has an internet connection (up to 50 MB per day/per device); a connector that lets users send documents from a Kyocera MFP to DocuWare web baskets or cabinets, with multiple index prompts; and integration with Blackboard Learn lets K–12 teachers and administrators capture documents and store them in this popular platform (can also create folders in the system from a device’s control panel).

 

The biggest software news, however, was about the summer release of KYOCERA Fleet Services (KFS), a cloud-based MPS tool that enables service providers to be proactive rather than reactive. Critical to the Implementation and Manage stages of ADIMO, “KFS allows you to remotely monitor all Kyocera products on a network, as well as meter reads and toner levels of competitive products,” said Terry Knopsnyder, vice president of engineering for KDA. The solution, which doesn’t require agents as output devices communicate with the cloud-based server instead of an on-site server, can issue real-time status updates. Other features include the ability to do remote maintenance, remote analysis and remote firmware upgrades; enter notes concerning service calls or when toner will arrive at a customer’s location; schedule canned or customized reports that can be delivered via email in CSV format; and integration with ECi e-automate. Kyocera is currently weighing pricing, which could be a flat subscription rate, a tiered structure or some other method.

 

Hardware

Stressing balanced device deployments to the crowd of more than 1,000 attendees, Danielle Wolowitz, senior director of the Corporate Marketing Group for KDA, said that 12 A4 color printers and MFPs and 14 A3 MFPs—a near even split—will launch in the next year. All 26 devices will have standard Apple AirPrint support and be available in Latin America (two printers and one A4 MFP won’t be sold in the United States). The A4 devices will be available in the coming months, while those on the A3 side are slated for a late 2015 release (again, no pricing at this time).

 

A4

When fully configured, the TASKalfa color MFP series comprises a trio of “A3-like” floor-standing A4 devices, two of which offer a choice of finishing options (generally not available on A4 devices), a tablet-like display and a standard 320-GB hard drive (all three support Kyocera Three Tier Color Billing). The ECOSYS MFPs offer similar functionality minus the finishing.

 

TASKalfa 406ci/3561ci/306ci (42/37/32 ppm color MFPs)

ECOSYS M6535cidn/M6035cidn (37 ppm color MFPs)

ECOSYS M6530cdn (32 ppm color MFP)

ECOSYS P7040cdn/P6035cdn/P6130cdn (42/37/32 ppm color printers)

(No details were provided about the three additional devices for Latin America)

 

A3

After years of employing either traditional or biomass toner, all of the upcoming Kyocera A3 MFPs will use the company’s new chemical toner formulation. Kyocera spent ¥10 billion building a new toner facility not only to give image quality a higher definition but to comply with the new ENERGY STAR restriction regarding fusing temperature, too (the new toner will eventually find its way to future A4 devices, Kyocera said). As for the devices themselves, they feature 1200-dpi printing at full engine speed, and standard WiFi is available on select models.

 

TASKalfa 8052ci/7052ci (70/80 ppm color/black; 65/70 ppm color/black)

TASKalfa 6052ci/5052ci/4052ci (55/60 ppm color/black; 50 ppm color/black; 40 ppm color/black)

TASKalfa 8002ci/7002ci (80/70 ppm black)

TASKalfa 6002ci/5002ci/4011i/3211i (60/50/40/32 ppm black)

(Two additional color devices at 32/25 ppm; one additional mono device at 30 ppm)

 

“It really is a 360 degree approach, with a full range of products and apps that you can combine, connect and configure for optimal deployment of a fleet—no matter how complex the challenge may be,” Wolowitz concluded.

 

The TASKalfa 406ci (left) leads the charge of new Kyocera A4 hardware, while the TASKalfa 6052ci (right) is one of 14 new A3 devices announced at the event.