KONICA MINOLTA GAINS TRACTION ……….

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KONICA MINOLTA GAINS TRACTION ……….

 user 2007-04-24 at 11:59:00 am Views: 42
  • #17893

    Konica Minolta Gains Traction In The Channel
    Four
    years after Konica and Minolta merged, dropped much of their
    noncommercial lineup and began taking aim at the commercial solution
    provider channel, the company says it is seeing traction and is set to
    expand its channel efforts in a bid for an increased slice of a
    shifting market.Konica Minolta Business Solutions, the Ramsey,
    N.J.-based unit of the worldwide imaging giant, has targeted rivals
    Xerox and Canon in its goal to boost its U.S. market share. The company
    is planning to invest more in fewer solution providers and has
    specified color, monochrome and production print areas as ripe for
    growth opportunity, said Steve Jones, executive vice president of
    Konica Minolta U.S. dealer sales.”We have some very strong markets, and
    we have some very weak markets,” Jones said. “Our goal by ’08 is to
    have 20 percent market share, across the board, across our product
    line. Right now, we’re at about 12 points. That means we have to pick
    up about 8 points over two years.”Jones said Konica Minolta is looking
    at its newest multifunction device, the Bizhub C550—a network-enabled,
    color-laser device street-priced at $25,000—for a competitive
    advantage. The device prints at 55 ppm in black and white and 45 ppm in
    color, with scan, copy and fax capabilities. As one of the few
    companies that designs and manufactures its own printer engines, the
    company believes it has a technological advantage and can be more
    nimble in development.In 2003, the combined company maintained a roster
    of more than 600 dealers and solution providers in the U.S. Since then,
    Jones said, that number has declined to about 500, largely by design.
    “We do not want more dealers,” he said. “We want better-quality
    dealers. We’re really getting to the point where we are basically
    satisfied with the partners we have. But we’re studying where we need
    help.”Jones said he has divided his channel sales force into three
    groups, each focusing on one specialty area: monochrome, color or
    production printers. The company has targeted Xerox in the production
    print space, and Xerox and Canon in the other two segments and is
    working with partners to focus on those areas as well, Jones said. The
    plan to boost targeted investments in partners that are on board with
    its strategy kicked in with Konica Minolta’s new fiscal year in
    April.To drive the point home, Jones said he has altered the way he
    will compensate his inside sales team. “I’m comping my people on the
    dealers’ growth. If my dealers are successful, my people will be
    successful,” Jones said. “The main goal is looking at the strategy of
    the dealer, and what areas they want to focus on,” he continued. “I
    require every one of my people to put together a business plan with the
    dealer at the beginning of every year. That process is beginning
    now.”Doug Pitassi, director of sales at Pacific Office Automation, a
    solution provider in Portland, Ore., that partners with Konica Minolta
    in addition to other vendors, said the breadth of Konica Minolta’s
    product line has made it a staple in going to market with a competitive
    sales offering. “We’re very big with Konica Minolta,” Pitassi said.
    “The reason is they have a full product lineup; they’ve got
    multifunction devices as well as production print equipment.”That has
    helped us out, when you can go into an account and produce a full set
    of solutions,” Pitassi said. In addition, he said, Konica Minolta’s
    support has become stronger, and he was bullish on its channel efforts
    moving forward.Those efforts are taking hold at a time of significant
    upheaval. IBM is setting up a joint venture with Ricoh to take over
    IBM’s InfoPrint lineup; Dell saw significantly reduced sales of
    products manufactured for it last year by Lexmark, according to
    Lexmark’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission; Oki Data
    is rewriting its channel engagement from the ground up; and Xerox said
    earlier this year that it will open its entire product line to the
    channel.Looming over the industry is Hewlett-Packard, the global and
    U.S. market-share leader, which has become focused on expanding into
    areas such as Web-based printing with its announcement that it would
    buy Tabblo, which specializes in online print services for consumers;
    and rumors that Lenovo will join the fray by acquiring a printer
    company.In the end, all this turbulence is making it clear to vendors
    that solution providers are more critical than any stable, long-term
    growth in high-output commercial accounts.