How Is Canon Adopting To Automation Post COVID?
Automation has accounted for the success of many an organisations, and most of them are attempting to automate most parts of their businesses, which definitely, is a viable option
‘The machines are taking over’ has become a long drawn concept and a proverb now. To cite some examples following the herd would be Amazon, DHL, CIG, Siemens, Uber, and Tesla. This doesn’t come off as a surprise when it has already been established that automation has fruitful results in the long term.
Canon India seems to walk the same path, and have really robust plans for the future, relying on automation. Express Computer’s Gairika Mitra gets into an invigorating chat with K Bhaskhar, Senior Vice President, Business Imaging Solutions (BIS), Canon India, to gain further clarity on this.
At a time when the entire world is battling a critical situation, how is Canon coping up?
These are unprecedented times, COVID-19 has certainly altered the world as we know it. We at Canon are re-emphasising the importance of human connection, now more than ever. While, we understand it is essential for all the businesses to focus on seamless workflow, but the safety of our employees, as well as partners and customers, is of paramount importance. These are testing times, and we are focused on the well-being of them all more than anything else.
One of our key focus during such times is to stay connected with both our customers and partners to assure them that we are together in this. We have ensured the smooth supply of consumables to our customers in the government sector and essential services such as Pharma with strict adherence to safety guidelines. We have met the urgent requirement of multi-function devices/copiers also as required by some of our customers. The most important element has been the service support we have provided to our customers. Our service team has been providing remote assistance to customers via phone and video, to resolve any service related query that they may have. In case of urgent support requirements, personal visits have been carried out adhering to all safety guidelines.
Additionally, we have also organised educational webinars for customers on topics such as -Document Management Solutions and their usefulness in different sectors such as Finance, Legal and Healthcare, to help them adjust in these changing scenarios. Apart from this, training sessions for partners and their sales team have been organized to help them better understand the changing trends and how to adjust and cope with the new normal
What are the remote working policies at Canon like?
Canon India is certified to ISO22301 (Business Continuity Management) which equips it to be prepared in times of crisis. Though this crisis is likely to be a harbinger of a new revolution, we have invested in robust technologies for our employees to experience an office-like environment while working from home without any glitches. Amidst such volatility, technology has acted as chief support to effectively connect and collaborate providing immense strength to stand tall, unitedly.
The well being of our employees is of utmost importance. We encourage all our staff to maintain a work-life balance by working the same timings that they used to follow in office. Health and safety tips are regularly shared, we also encourage our employees to download the Aarogya Setu App. We also ensure that when an employee logs in to work every morning, they share basic details of their health and well-being. In case an employee is not feeling well, we encourage them to take leave and rest.
Have there been any hiccups during switching to the new normal?
Almost all organisations across sectors have been faced with challenges in the changed scenario. Perhaps, the biggest challenge is maintaining business continuity with minimum disruptions while adapting to this new normal. Switching to working from home has taken time to adjust. Initially, we could see that employees were working long hours while working from home, as adjusting to a home-office seemed difficult and time management was proving challenging. In-person meetings have been replaced by video calls, which at times are affected by poor internet connections. To help our employees adapt to this new normal, we have kept communication alive on ergonomics to be kept in mind while working from their home office. Technology, time-management and work-life balance tips have helped us align with this new normal of working.
The pandemic has changed the way businesses operate and it is an evolutionary phase for all of us to adapt to the workplace of the future.
What forms of technology does Canon bank on to promote digital printing?
At Canon we believe that ‘Business can be Simple’ and it’s our constant endeavor to support our customers with the best products and solutions. Our imageRUNNER ADVANCE series equipped with the latest and most advanced digital printing technology is designed for smooth functionality, high reliability and ease of operation. It offers personalization along with smart and intelligent features necessary to meet the needs of diverse environments as well as workflow requirements of individual users. From a secure digital printing perspective, the series comes with multiple layers of security including McAfee protection – that protects the device from malware attacks. Another feature to highlight is the HDD Security (HDD Lock, Encryption and Initialise (Erase)) through which data is automatically erased following each print, copy or scan job to ensure all your company’s data and information is secure. The imageRUNNER ADVANCE series also come equipped with Uniflow Online Express software which allows organizations to track and monitor their printing, thereby enabling them to optimize costs.
Apart from this, with majority of consumers and businesses shifting their focus to digitisation of documentation, we have state-of-art cloud infrastructure on a leading cloud provider platform, which ensures secure and seamless management of information. Therefore™ solutions efficiently allow users to capture, secure, manage, access, analyse and automate information even when on the move. Archived documents are also readily available to print on demand. It can also be configured and customized to suit any departmental need or process, leading to streamlined operations, increased productivity, and higher customer satisfaction. We have several customers who have implemented Therefore™ across their departments like human resources, manufacturing, customer services, logistics and finance. So far, we have been receiving positive responses from our users.
What are the trends you see impacting the office automation market post-COVID 19?
Over the years, we have witnessed several trends in the office automation space and in sync with the current scenario we anticipate a nominal shift in the graph. With an increased focus towards resource optimization and automation, businesses are striving for operational efficiency, cost reduction, improved turnaround time, and serviceability without having major investments.
Post COVID-19 we envisage 20% drop in hardware requirement with a corresponding 15% drop in printing volumes. However, the overall printing market would remain the same as home printing has witnessed a significant surge. With printing in office moving to printing at home, multi-function devices that can print and scan while having in-built cloud connectivity for document storage will become must-haves for fully equipped home-offices.
Additionally, with the WFH or remote work culture becoming a norm, this has given insights on the vitality of digitization, streamlined workflows and how documents need to be accessible from anytime, anywhere. Hence we foresee an increasing demand for products that support a mobile workforce with connectivity being the key aspect while ensuring secure data storage. The strategy post lockdown would be to encourage our customers and partners to invest in document management solutions – that are secure, online and let you access your data from anywhere.
What are some of the innovative approaches Canon is looking forward to for the next 2 – 3 years down the line?
Our motto has always been to bring forth products that are technologically advanced, ensure user convenience and increased efficiency. With AI, Security, Cloud Connectivity, and Robotic Process Automation being the buzz words in the industry, we try to incorporate all of these in our products. Our latest range of multi-function devices comes with protection against malware, offers users the advantage of printing and scanning directly from the cloud and are AI-powered to help with predictive maintenance of the machine. We will also be bringing new products that help organizations streamline their workflows and help them built a robust document management system.
How is Canon performing in the office automation space in India? Any new plans for the market?
As one of the leading players in the office automation segment in India, we have been the torchbearer in the country for over two decades now for simplifying the business requirements of our customers.
Canon India has been the market leader in the laser copier market from 2018 till Q1 2020* in a row. This has been possible because of the excellent support we have received from our customers, our technologically advanced range of products and our strong service network.
Automation of crucial time-consuming manual processes will go a long way to empower and enable businesses to achieve the required efficiency and increased productivity. This is where we have carved a niche for ourselves in this industry, in alignment with our motto ‘Business Can Be Simple’. Our diverse range of hardware and software solutions includes a wide portfolio of digital copiers, scanners, copier paper and print and document solutions.
With an objective of getting closer to our customers and increase awareness for our office automation portfolio, we are proud to have conceptualized an industry first initiative of BIS Lounges. BIS Lounges enable customers to touch and feel the products thereby enabling them to make informed and enriched purchase decisions. These have particularly helped in expanding our footprint in the SME and Jobber segment. Presently, we have 15 BIS Lounges across the country.
Source : 2018 – IDC Asia/Pacific Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, February 2019 Release
2019 – IDC Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, 4Q19 (February 2020 Release)
Q1 2020 – IDC Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, 2020Q1)
What are the key factors that would quantify the success of Canon?
We believe in always delighting our customers by bringing for them technologically advanced products and offering them incomparable customer service. Our products not only add value to the business of customers but also are environmentally friendly as they have a low carbon footprint. While caring for our customers, we strive to care for the environment too. In July 2019, we launched a new initiative called Green Environment Together wherein we plant a sapling for every copier sold to our direct customers. All these factors contribute to Canon India’s USP. It is a testimony to our products and solutions that we have 80-85% repeat customers associated with us.
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