By Andy Slawetsky; Denver, CO – The city of Denver was the backdrop for Ricoh’s Partner Summit held from October 10th to 13th, marking a significant return for Ricoh to the world of large dealer conferences after a hiatus of over five years. This event was more than just a reunion; it was a reflection of Ricoh’s growth in key areas and a glimpse into their future strategies.
Carsten Bruhn, Ricoh’s President and CEO, took center stage in front of his largest US audience to date, addressing their top 100 resellers. Bruhn provided an update on Ricoh’s journey over the past couple of years and shared insights into their future plans. While Ricoh had engaged with dealers earlier in the year through regional road shows, this summit marked a significant departure from their norm.
The conference itself was intentionally smaller than past gatherings, which often attracted over 1,000 attendees, including dealers and their employees. What made this event stand out was the innovative setup of the main presentation room. A circular stage, with the audience surrounding most of it, set the tone. Three large screens enveloped the theatre, one centered behind the stage, and the room was adorned with dynamic LCD lighting that synchronized with the presentations – a visually striking departure from the conventions of larger conferences.
The summit placed a heavy emphasis on production print, a strategic focus area for Ricoh. Attendees, including myself, were treated to a visit to Ricoh’s custom er engagement center in Boulder, nearly an hour away from the Summit location.
There, we dove into four enlightening presentations: one on Ricoh’s massive inkjet presses, another on their digital laser presses, a third showcasing partner products like EFI’s wide-format printers, and a final presentation providing an overview of the facility’s operations.
While we explored the facility, the rest of the attendees delved into seminars covering a wide array of topics, from sales strategies to emerging technologies, marketing in a post-Covid world, and insights into production print. The production print panel discussion was particularly illuminating, featuring key mega dealers like like Flex Technology Group (Mike Dane), Pacific Office Automation (Doug Pitassi) and others, sharing their successful experiences.
DocuWare played a significant role in this conference, with two break-out sessions and two separate booths in the product area fully-dedicated to their document management solutions. DocuWare promises to continue to be an area of focus for Ricoh and their dealers going forward.
E-commerce also took center stage, as dealers and Anthony Sci of Keypoint Intelligence discussed the importance of office equipment dealers embracing e-commerce solutions. Keypoint’s UVERCE, an approved Ricoh Co-op solution, was the common thread among these discussions. All three dealers in the panel emphasized the growing significance of online sales in the office equipment industry and how the Keypoint Intelligence solution had played a pivotal role in their e-commerce strategies. Each of them are using it differently and all of them are thrilled they’ve implemented this program.
The event’s entertainment highlight was a performance by rising Sony country star Adam Doleac, hosted at the Blue Moon Brewery. It was a night of camaraderie and networking, accompanied by excellent beer and great music.
The Ricoh Partner Summit 2023 was a refreshing departure from the larger format conferences they’ve held in past years, offering an intimate setting for meaningful engagement.
With a focus on production print and the rising importance of e-commerce, it provided valuable insights into Ricoh’s direction and the evolving landscape of the office equipment industry.
This event underscored the need for office equipment dealers to adapt and embrace digital solutions, as the future points towards an increasingly online marketplace.
SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.