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Recently, Ricoh made the announcement that the firm would be rebranding scanners formerly manufactured by Fujitsu. Beginning in April 2023, all Fujitsu scanners (including fi, ScanSnap, and SP Series scanners) will bear Ricoh’s brand and become a part of Ricoh’s global product and services offering. This change will take effect worldwide. As part of Ricoh’s plan to boost the number of scanners it sells, the company will also incorporate PFU’s current distribution channels into The Ricoh Group’s worldwide distribution network.
The only alteration that will be made to the device is the replacement of the Fujitsu brand name with the Ricoh name.
The statement that Ricoh would rename Fujitsu devices and incorporate them into the business’s portfolio comes a lot sooner than we anticipated, less than five months after the company completed the $641 million purchase of PFU. Given that Ricoh has maintained the DocuWare name since the summer of 2019, when it completed the acquisition of the firm, the rebranding comes as a bit of a surprise.
Incorporating Fujitsu’s products into Ricoh’s portfolio is, without a shadow of a question, a fantastic decision that gives Ricoh and its partners a competitive edge in their respective markets. However, do you think it would be a good idea to change the branding of the Fujitsu products as well? After all, Fujitsu has developed into a very well-known brand among consumers and is well on its way to being the company that has the most market share in the office document scanner industry in North America.
The first thing that must be taken into consideration is the relationship that consumers have with both businesses. The net promoter score (NPS) is a statistic that reflects a customer’s propensity to suggest a brand to others on a scale that ranges from -100 (the least likely to recommend) to 100 (the most likely to recommend). One method that we may evaluate it is by looking at this score. According to the majority of experts, a score with a negative number is considered to be poor, a score with a positive number is considered to be excellent, a score of 20 or above is considered to be outstanding, and a score of 50 or higher is considered to be fantastic. According to the data provided by Comparably, none of these brands has a very high NPS score: The Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Fujitsu is 5, which is a positive figure and excellent, particularly when contrasted with the NPS for Ricoh, which is -14. However, it is not “great,” and it does not even come close to DocuWare’s Net Promoter Score of 57 (which may, at least in part, explain why DocuWare was not renamed).
A customer’s reaction is just one factor to consider when evaluating whether or not a rebranding was “the right move.” The attitude of the channel might also affect the choices made about branding. If the channel does not trust a certain brand, they may be less willing to collaborate with the respective original equipment manufacturer. We queried the channel in Keypoint Intelligence’s 2022 State of the US Channel Survey about their impression of several MFP and scanner OEMs (positive, unfavorable, no opinion, or haven’t heard of), and their responses were either favorable or negative. The majority of people who responded to our survey said that they had “no opinion” towards Ricoh, indicating that they have an unfavorable view of the firm. Fujitsu, on the other hand, was the fourth-most preferred scanner manufacturer within the channel. It had a ratio of 2.21 positive replies to unfavorable/no opinion responses, which placed it in fourth place.
Within the East Africa channel, Fujitsu is regarded as one of the most reputable producers of scanners.
I can understand where Ricoh is coming from, despite the fact that the distribution chain and end users seem to be more responsive to Fujitsu’s brand. The primary objective of Ricoh’s acquisition of Fujitsu was to strengthen its standing in the market as a supplier of digital services, namely as a one-stop shop for document digital transformation (DX). The discourse will revolve around how Ricoh’s portfolio of unique edge devices, business apps, and cloud platforms can help companies decrease costs, enhance productivity, and provide better service to their customers now that the brand has been standardized on the name Ricoh. If there are too many brands under one tent, it could be difficult to express that message, and it might leave consumers wondering, “Did Ricoh or Fujitsu do this?”
Therefore, in light of the decision to rename Fujitsu’s scanners, one is compelled to wonder: Does putting a Ricoh logo on a Fujitsu scanner cause a decline in the value of the scanner? Will Ricoh’s rivals feel at ease when selling technologies branded with the Ricoh name? If rivals are allowed to keep selling these scanners, would Ricoh even allow it? These are challenging issues, if not impossible ones, to answer at this time; in the end, only time will tell whether this was the appropriate course of action to take.