Mobile printing will be big in India

Japan’s Konica Minolta, a maker of copiers, printers and high-tech components, has rolled out an aggressive growth strategy to strengthen its offerings and delivery mechanism in India.

Yuji Nakata, managing director, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India, says that the company will be focusing extensively on the enterprise segment, education and healthcare sectors. “In terms of our geographical presence, we have established our presence in most parts of India and going forward, we will focus on expanding in a number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities that present a big market for our products, solutions and services,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

Konica Minolta is more identified with digital cameras and rolls. What are your efforts to re-create a brand beyond this image?
Konica Minolta has a great legacy of two powerful brands that have dominated the markets and have established reputations as innovators and as leaders in the market since inception. The brand has won the confidence and trust of people for generations and this is what the Konica Minolta brand continues to evoke in the mind of its customers. We withdrew from the camera business six years back and today 70% of our business globally is printing-related. Our strategy has been to create customers connect and to understand our customer needs, which reflects in the market position we have been able to achieve in this short span of our stay here.

How has Konica Minolta grown its market share in India in comparison to global markets?
While the overall printer market is still in the growth phase, the last year has been good for the company. In terms of its devises, Konica Minolta has three different segments of product line up. The production printers segment enjoying a 50% market share usually caters to service bearers, commercial printer service providers and printing presses and garment industry and is sold and serviced by national partners to whom the company provides technical and material support.
While in terms of the A3 office engine category, Konica Minolta provides technical support to around 100 partners across the country amounting to a 26% market share in colour printing. The company has recently forayed into the A4 printing segment and aims at establishing a network of 30 direct partners and over 2,000 reseller partners by the end of this year. We have attained No.3 position in A3 monochrome MFP segment and look forward to strengthening our position by year end.

What has been Konica Minolta’s core focus areas in India?
Our first and foremost area of focus is our customers; we programme and design our products keeping in mind our customer’s convenience and requirements. And this is one area where we constantly work on. For example, the start button in our printers is blue instead of a regular green which is standard in any other brand printers, and the reason is to facilitate customers who are colour blind and old since blue is the only colour that is visible. This shows the sensitivity of the company and its desire to cater to the needs of customers.

We have also been focusing on other areas like education sector, health sector etc. In terms of our geographical presence we have established our presence in most of the parts of India and we are continuing to focus on expanding in a number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities that presents a great market for our products, solutions and services. We have the capability to service our products from 336 points in the country at present and will continue to expand further in all the regions.
Document management services is a big area of focus for us and we are making further investments to strengthen our offerings and delivery mechanism.

How do you plan to target the enterprise market of India?
Konica Minolta offers optimised print services (OPS) under managed printing for enterprise market. The approach combines consultancy, hardware and software implementation, workflow management, and automated services and supplies—all to lower the costs and improve the workflow efficiency.

The OPS concept focuses on right-sizing the customer’s document output fleet, optimising the business processes, reducing the support workload and establishing the firm foundation. Customers need to minimise their total cost of ownership and lower the environmental impact of their printing infrastructure, while also driving the continuous improvement of services. Konica Minolta’s OPS approach to managed print services combines three essential aspects: consult, manage and implement to support customer flexibly right from the start.

What’s your forecast on mobile printing as more people use mobile phones and tablets that are tethered to a printer?
Mobile printing has already become one more platform that organisations plan for, when designing their print environment. Use of hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets along with BYOD policies being rolled out by enterprises is here to stay.

What do you see as the needs of SMBs today and the solutions Konica Minolta hopes to bring to them?
Konica Minolta has a host of products and solutions that fulfill the needs of SME segment. Our multifunction printers (MFP) are cloud-enabled and come with a host of solutions that enhance office productivity. Our colour MFPs are well known for their excellent colour quality and they are also equipped with Dual Side scan that allows our customers to enhance their complete tasks quickly and efficiently.

New technological innovations have blurred the line between a box mover and a service provider…
I agree that customers expect more than a box from a supplier today. In many cases, they expect customised services and solutions that address specific requirements. Hence, it has become imperative for partners to continue to enhance their skills to remain relevant today. Majority of Konica Minolta machines are connected to our service centres so if any machine is facing any problem our centres are automatically notified about the problem, before the customer could call for the problem.

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