Customer benefits underpin all of our decision-making. From product development through manufacturing, sales, service, and support, we constantly seek to provide new value that puts customers first.
Today’s socio-economic environment is vastly different from what it used to be and the transformation process continues, driven by increased globalization, growth of emerging economies and a wider embrace of network technologies. Customer business environments and needs are changing, with management focusing on everything from transforming workflows and cutting the total costs of ownership to ensuring compliance with laws and ordinances.
That said, it is not always clear what customers want. We seek to stay ahead of customers in uncovering needs that they have yet to notice. We have to look beyond what they tell us to identify what they truly need. To that end, we encourage all employees to engage in decision making and ongoing activities that focus on being useful for customers, and we are building a framework to make the interests of customers a top priority. One fruit of that effort is the Customer First Center, which we set up in 2018 with a mandate to report directly to the president. This facility aims to satisfy customers by responding to swiftly diversifying market climates while building customer-centric manufacturing processes. We created this entity by absorbing the Contact Center of sales subsidiary Ricoh Japan Corporation. The center shares customer feedback with design and manufacturing units, which use this information in initiatives to swiftly enhance products, services, and internal processes.
We will continue to meet customer expectations by marshaling our comprehensive worldwide resources to reflect feedback in our management and operations.
In sales and services, we have built a global network stretching across approximately 200 countries and regions and maintain a four-point regional headquarters structure—Japan, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. We are pushing ahead with management that integrates everything from development to sales and service and are making frontlines close to customers to strengthen our structure for developing products with them. We have additionally set up a sales headquarters to assist and oversee regional sales units from the best global perspectives, allocating resources to priority growth markets.
We undertake globally strategic technical development through R&D hubs in Japan, the United States, China, and India and pursue development of technologies attuned to local market characteristics so we can deliver customer and social solutions.
Ricoh supplies products and services to customers through four global production hubs. We are reducing labor requirements for assembly processes and deploying the latest robotics technologies, including those to automate on-site logistics. At the same time, we are endeavoring to enhance manufacturing operations to swiftly deliver highly cost-competitive offerings to our customers.
We have built a supply chain that minimizes interruptions to customer operations in the event of disasters or other emergencies. Within the Ricoh Group, we ask suppliers to reinforce business continuity capabilities through redundant production bases and parts procurement channels and larger material and component inventories, and we encourage them to be socially responsible and take a rigorous stance on CSR procurement and issues of child labor and conflict minerals. These efforts underpin our commitment to customer satisfaction through supply chain management implemented from a customer perspective while simultaneously pursuing profit opportunities.
The Ricoh Group believes it is important to provide products and services that customers can use with confidence and that deliver a sense of value that exceeds expectations. The RICOH Quality declaration embodies that ideal in stating that we will “consistently delight and inspire our customers,” and we strive to ensure quality, particularly in terms of safety and reliability.
• Basic policy on product safety activities
• Action policy on product safety activities
• Multifaceted market quality information management
• Quality management system
Sales companies in each country have opportunities for direct contact with customers. It is these companies which operate and maintain customer relationship management (CRM) databases and track customer equipment information and maintenance histories. Customer contact sites use CRM databases, repeatedly survey and analyze needs, pinpoint issues, and suggest products and solutions based on projected needs. Our support continues after delivery, as well, through the 24-hour @Remote onsite maintenance and remote monitoring system, which executes automatic diagnostics and enables quick servicing for worry-free equipment use with little to no downtime for customers. With @Remote, we can verify the operating status of equipment and provide continuous improvements and fine-tuned suggestions based on captured status data, which contributes to greater management efficiency at customer sites.
We undertake two types of regular survey worldwide to enhance their satisfaction. One covers competitive comparisons of customer satisfaction. The other looks solely at satisfaction with the Ricoh Group. Third-party organizations conduct the competitive satisfaction surveys to highlight the Group’s positioning, strengths, and weaknesses relative to rival players. The polls we conduct ourselves cover specific functions and business units, and we identify more specific improvement issues from them. We share findings from these surveys with management and reflect them in companywide decision making while using them in new product development and sales and services initiatives.
|2016||1st place||1st place||2nd place||1st place||2nd place||1st place||2nd place|
|2017||1st place||1st place||2nd place||2nd place||1st place||2nd place||1st place|
|2018||1st place||1st place||2nd place||1st place||3rd place||1st place||1st place|
J.D. Power customer satisfaction surveys for 2016 to 2018
A key part of our 19th Mid-Term Plan (MTP) involves getting closer to the frontlines and understanding our customers’ needs.
An important event that helps us achieve this is the annual European Technology Advisory Conference (eTAC). The 13th eTAC, held in London on June 26 and 27. This conference invites Ricoh’s customers to directly influence the design and innovation of our products, solutions and services, ensuring their business needs are understood and met. It gives us insight into our customers’ changing needs and ensures a customer-centric approach to our innovation.
This year’s conference was attended by 58 representatives from 40 of Ricoh’s Fortune Global 500 Major and International Account customers, delegates from Ricoh operating companies around Europe and Ricoh technology specialists from China and Japan. Prestigious customers in attendance included Arla Foods, Bayer, Bertelsmann, BNL, BNYM, BNP Paribas, Booking.com, CEVA, Deutche Post-DHL, Etihad Airways, GSK, KfH, Lufthansa, Nutreco, Ratiodata, Regus, Saint-Gobain, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Unilever, Vestas, Vodafone, Wavin and Zurich to name a few.
On day one, customers received an update on Ricoh’s direction and strategy, Communication Services, the newly launched Ricoh Intelligent devices, Streamline NX (SLNX) enhancements and Industrial Printing. They also discussed how to improve document security with multi-factor authentication methods, stealth printing/scanning with Near-IR (NIR) technology, proactive intelligent support using ARMS/CBM systems and quick device configuration, as well as current and future developments on IWB value-add collaboration services.
On day two of the event, the customers were updated on Ricoh’s approach to Innovation, the latest IT services portfolio, Smart-locker services, Healthcare business, and Intelligent Workflow Automation (IWA) from the Business Process Outsourcing team. The customers also exchanged views about Industry 4.0 and their journey from digital transformation to servitization, got a glimpse of our recently integrated office workflow solutions for Enterprise printing and saw in action our increasing range of digital competencies in action at the Service Operations Centre.
Throughout the duration of the event, customers also had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Ricoh’s latest solutions, products (e.g. handheld printer) and they got the very first glimpse of early prototypes in smart vision activities, the world’s first laser scanning Head-Up Display (HUD), which delivers outstanding color reproduction and visibility, solar-plant inspection using UAVs, as well as Intelligent Multilingual Document Processing.
Customer feedback on the event has been excellent: 90% of attendees were satisfied and 98% would like to participate again next year. This is a brilliant example of how we are getting closer to the frontlines and focusing on Customer First.
Ricoh Brasil, S.A., uses IBM Watson’s AI-based cognitive tools to develop Enterprise Ricoh Intelligent Cognitive Assistant (ERICA) for customer engineers.
This system employs technology that understands natural language. When a user accesses ERICA through a smartphone and enters a customer’s model number or displays an error code on a chat display, ERICA can answer technical questions, and swiftly provide relevant manuals, technical reports, parts lists, and other information. Using ERICA can shorten troubleshooting time and lower service costs while streamlining the maintenance tasks of customer engineers. This system is particularly useful in large countries like Brazil.
The use of ERICA is expanding beyond Ricoh Brasil and some dealers to encompass customers to which the company sells directly. A sister system is ERICA Corporate, which is for human resources, IT, and other back office operations. People without AI technology expertise can draw on this system to monitor and provide guidance on tools used.
In May 2015, France’s Ministry of Finance asked Ricoh France to come up with a solution that would give visually impaired employees the same opportunities as others to contribute to the workplace. Ricoh France S.A.S. sought the assistance of the French Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. The company learned that most visually impaired people use the voice technology of smartphones and tablets instead of Braille.
Our MFPs currently employ smart operating panels running Android OS. These panels can take advantage of Google TalkBack technology with which visually impaired people are familiar. A project team started up in summer 2015, with prototype development beginning in October that year. In the process, the team collaborated with nonprofit organizations, drawing on feedback from visually impaired people at all design stages to drive improvements.
The accessibility application that resulted uses cards and other personal authentication to read user profiles, automatically presenting the right interfaces for each user. TalkBack is for the blind. There is a user interface with a strong contrast for those with weak eyesight, and there is a standard user interface for other people.
The new application runs on the latest RICOH IM C series MFPs, and has garnered attention around the world as a vehicle for delivering new value through MFPs.