FUJI XEROX :AGAINST THE WALL
FUJI XEROX :AGAINST THE WALL
2005-12-02 at 11:01:00 am #13009
Against the Wall
Many consumers are aware of its established reputation as a manufacturer, but there is clearly a gap between how Fuji Xerox is perceived on the market and how it actually sees itself.
To many, the joint venture between Japan-based Fuji Photo Film Co and US-based Xerox Co is a printer and copier maker.
It’s definitely not far off the mark. The company offers a wide range of high and low-end document processing products including printers, copiers, and large printing machines for publishing companies.
But that’s not exactly what Fuji Xerox wants to be. It instead prefers to define itself as “The Document Company,” as its company logo states. It positions itself as a provider of document processing solutions, and it expects to generate more revenue from document-related services in the future.
Toshio Arima, president of Fuji Xerox, says that the company is actively promoting and developing its service business.
“We want to provide our customers with value-added, document management services, not just hardware,” he says.
Arima hopes that document-related services, which currently account for only 15 to 20 per cent of the company’s revenues, will contribute 30 per cent by late-2010.
The company’s revenues over the fiscal year ending March 31 stood at 1029.2 billion yen (US$8.63 billion).
Arima acknowledges that Fuji Xerox is experiencing a strategic shift in its business structure.
“We want to be the industrial leader in document management within five years.”
Fuji Xerox currently competes with a number of big names in the printer and copier markets, including Canon, Ricoh, Hewlett-Packard, and Epson.
It is taking a gradual approach to its goal, by continuing to strengthen its manufacturing capabilities while it provides more document-related services.
“There are admittedly many companies providing e-document solutions.”
The shift to supplying document services is introducong changes to the company’s internal structure and sales channels, he adds.
“It is just the beginning.”
The company has invested heavily in its labs in the United States and Japan to develop new applications for business customers. It has come up with an e-document processing platform called “Open Office Frontier” (OOF).
Based on broadband telecoms and Internet services, OOF is designed to encourage frequent, interactive communication between companies and their clients and offices, regardless of location, time zone, language, or specific information technology (IT) framework.
The “Interactive Wall” lies at the heart of the OOF-style workshop. It is a touch-screen with a number of functions, and Fuji Xerox has developed processing software for it. Partners will offer the facilities.
The screen can be used for video-conferences, and the wall connects companies’ internal area networks. This enables conference attendees to register on-screen by using IC cards, which makes it easier to see who is absent.
Images displayed on the wall can shift between the meeting and audio-visual presentations.
Speakers can use special pens to add notes and highlight key points on the screen. The wall also provides hardcopies of speakers’ e-documents through network printers. Opinions can be shared by scanning messages for immediate display on the wall.
These are only some of the many applications of the Interactive Wall. If it is shaped as a desktop, engineers can show their product drafts to clients who are at other locations and discuss details. Both sides can easily express their ideas by drawing on the screen and talking as in a video conference.
OOF will be particularly useful for employees of multinational companies.
“OOF makes PCs almost invisible,” says Hidetaka Kai, corporate vice-president of Fuji Xerox.
Employees travelling overseas can simply carry IC cards instead of laptops. These provide access to data on office computers from any location, because information is stored on Internet-based corporate servers.
“We’re still in the research and development stage with OOF, but the Interactive Wall, which is a part of it, is already being marketed in Japan,” he says, without elaborating further.
Fuji Xerox has installed the device in 23 of its offices, including its facilities in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Four more are to be installed in its plants by the end of this year. All the walls are connected and operate online in real-time.
“Customer needs are driving our growth, and we believe that document solutions hold huge potential in the Chinese market,” says Arima. “We are prepared to introduce the latest document processing technologies and solutions to our Chinese customers. Local governments, large domestic enterprises, and foreign multinationals will likely be our first customers.”