The Future of Fujitsu’s Scanner Hardware
The box will say “Ricoh,” but everything else will stay the same
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When it was first announced that Ricoh was acquiring PFU Limited (manufacturer of Fujitsu-branded scanners), and especially after the announcement to rebrand those scanners starting April 2023, some folks (myself included) wondered: Would Ricoh would restrict the sale of Fujitsu scanner products on e-commerce platforms and through competing channel partners? When I spoke with PFU America’s CEO Daisuke Kutsuwada and Vice President of Sales & Business Development Bernie Schweiss, they put an end to the need to speculate. “It’s business as usual,” Kutsuwada told me.
Come April 2023, the only thing that is changing is the logo on the box, packaging, manuals, and included software.
Will Ricoh Restrict Who Can Sell Its Scanners?
Regardless of their affiliation with Ricoh, resellers can continue selling the soon-to-be Ricoh branded boxes. “We are committed to the channel,” said Schweiss. PFU America has been busy working on strategic marketing to help make the products more findable. And unlike Ricoh-branded printers and MFPs, you will be able to buy its scanners on digital storefronts like Amazon. Kutsuwada and Schweiss also indicated that pricing won’t change, and that the rebrand won’t have any impact on existing customers.
While PFU America does not have any plans to restrict availability, it appears that some competitors are not interested in selling boxes with a Ricoh logo on it. So far, two manufacturers have hinted that they will not sell Ricoh scanners, and Sharp announced a strategic relationship with Kodak Alaris. In other words, Ricoh is losing access to some channels but, ultimately, it is creating more inroads to end customers.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Ricoh’s decision to leverage PFU’s existing sales channels is wise. Afterall, Fujitsu has been the global document scanner market share leader for over a decade—the expansive and robust sales channels that it has established play a big role in its market dominance. With more juice in the office technology provider channel, Ricoh can certainly expect to strengthen its position there. Don’t forget, Ricoh makes a buck on every scanner that gets sold, regardless if it's by a Ricoh partner or not.
One decision that might surprise some is Ricoh’s decision to keep the scanners on digital storefronts. But when you look at how customers want to buy, that channel is just too vital to abandon. The results from Keypoint Intelligence’s 2022 US e-Commerce Business Survey suggests that online purchasing of office equipment hardware is here to stay. Before the pandemic, a little more than half of all small businesses were using ecommerce platforms to make purchases. During the pandemic, that number spiked to 63%—where it still sits today. So it’s not shocking to see Ricoh keep its hardware on these platforms, even if they don’t have a presence there with their MFPs. One must wonder if Ricoh will reconsider e-commerce platforms as a channel for selling (at least some of) its supplies and MFPs.
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