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A Changing Tide: Color to Monochrome

5 Sep, 2006 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource

A Changing Tide: Color to Monochrome

In the MFP market, Black & White to Color (B2C) has become a big sales theme,
enabling users to convert their existing monochrome MFPs into color MFPs that
offer low costs and compact size while realizing high quality color output.

Recently however, Muratec has turned the tides, offering Color to Black &
White (C2B) sales strategies to its dealers. This is to realize color copies and
color prints at a lower cost by selling color printers bundled with monochrome
MFPs incorporated with color scanners. Users who already have a color printer
are able to install a monochrome MFP with a color scanner and connect it with
the color printer to make use of them just like a color MFP.

Muratec’s latest MFP, the V-2850/2350 scan-to-printer, does exactly that with
functionality that enables users to easily make outputs from the color printer.
The differences from using a single color MFP include:

1) The need for more space

2) First print time will be longer as the scanner is separated from printer

3) Print quality is largely depending on printer

4) The number of color output is hard to be managed.

But, there are many small or medium sized companies or SOHO users who make
fewer color copies and are not concerned with strict output management. For many
of these users, lower cost is the number one priority. Being able to provide
this type of service could be lucrative. Just how this “C to B” backward flow
will expand against the “B to C” mainstream is being watched with interest.

MFP Security Solutions

Although OEM’s have been very aggressively proposing MFP solutions, and security
at exhibitions, there are still many dealers that believe that users do not buy
MFPs for this reason. The stage, however, is being set as large corporations in
metropolitan areas have started adopting security solutions and are beginning to
require the small and mid-sized companies they deal with to do the same. In
addition, local self-governing bodies with personal information are targeted for
security measures.

What dealers may not realize is that talks about MFPs with security
functionalities are beginning and OEMs with direct sales with dedicated proposal
activities are gearing up to receive orders. Furthermore, once an MFP is
incorporated into a security system users will probably adopt the same line of
products for replacement. So, obtaining the first business will significantly
influence a company’s MIF later on. The ability to propose solutions including
security that will increase office operation efficiencies will be a large
element of MFP sales from now on, and one that dealers need to be aware of and
strategically plan for.

Ricoh Expansion

Ricoh Corporation announced plans to reinforce its stake in the Osaka
Development Center in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan with plans for a new building. The aim
is to strengthen development power for Ricoh’s color laser printers and
printer-based MFPs which has been rapidly expanding over the past several years.
Investment for the new building will be approximately $22 million U.S. (2.5
billion yen) and it is targeted for completion in August, 2007. Ricoh also
announced its intention to expand its development organization from the current
150 people to 250 people by employing persons with exceptional career
experience, as well as new graduate employees.

Osaka Development Center opened in October 2003 to enhance development of
imaging equipment, and is currently doing element development and design
development for color laser printers. At the same location there is Electronic
Device Company where LSI’s such as high functionality image processors are
designed for printers and digital MFPs. They aim to increase development
efficiencies and to shorten development cycles, collaborating with each other on
design development while utilizing the same location. (See OA Life August 2006

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