Skip to main content Skip to first level navigation
Skip to main content First level navigation Menu
Breadcrumbs

Share

Main content

A Conversation with Our CEO

Yoshinori Yamashita

RICOH Ignite launched to steer the Group toward growth using an open management approach and by fostering organization-wide efforts to pursue challenging targets

Yoshinori Yamashita
President and CEO

Q: How did Ricoh fare in the year ended March 31, 2018?

On becoming president and CEO in April 2017, I spoke to stakeholders, including shareholders and other investors, of my determination to make a new start for Ricoh and to challenge conventional wisdom.
I launched RICOH Resurgent, our 19th Mid-Term Management Plan given the very real possibility that without it the Company would be deeply in the red by the year ending March 31, 2020. RICOH Resurgent sets out our internal and external commitment to reviews that would leave no stone unturned. These reviews intend to identify and remove any barriers to growth under our new management framework and to enable the pursuit of our extensive structural reforms. In the year ended March 31, 2018, we had to post a large loss owing to Ricoh India and impairment charges for previous acquisitions.
Stakeholders should note, however, that the loss resulted from a review of business assets to enhance their prospects for profitability. This effort was vital to swiftly steer our growth strategy in the right direction.
What is important to note is that when you remove the impairment charges and other extraordinary factors, our underlying operating profit actually rose for the year, attesting to our improved profitability.
The outcome shows that we progressed ahead of schedule in our structural reforms. By reinforcing our earnings power and optimizing assets, we positioned ourselves for a new phase of growth.
At this start of this year, I launched RICOH Ignite, our growth strategy plan. We are leveraging the fruits of the reforms undertaken to date to deploy strategies to reach challenging targets groupwide.

Results

Sales increased 1.7%, to ¥2,063.3 billion. We posted operating loss of ¥115.6 billion. After excluding Ricoh India-related expenses and impairment charges for previous acquisitions, including in the United States, however, we would have increased operating profit by 93%, to ¥65.5 billion.

Results

Q: How would you evaluate RICOH Resurgent initiatives?

Our initiatives in the first year of our 19th Mid-Term Management Plan entailed overhauling our cost structure, reforming business processes, and pursuing business selectivity.
On the cost restructuring front, we reviewed our in-house manufacturing and direct sales and services approaches to integrate or close production sites, pare down model development, and streamline headquarters and back-office tasks. In our core office printing business in particular, we shifted strategically away from pursuing sales and market share to prioritizing profit. To that end, we focused on transforming the organization and optimizing fixed costs and other expenditure. Cost improvements bore fruit in the year ended March 31, 2018, although I hasten to add that efforts to optimize the North American sales structure are ongoing.
Business process reforms focused largely on enhancing productivity using shared services and improving maintenance processes by augmenting the features of our new MFPs. Another key effort was to cut costs by automating production. Such endeavors are essential to improve the organization and make us more robust. We will continue pushing ahead with reforms to enhance our ability to grow and meet the needs of our customers.
We are moving forward with our business selectivity efforts in order to focus resources on a limited number of strategic growth areas. We left no stone unturned in assessing businesses according to whether they could grow with in-house resources, lacked resources that would drive growth, or had no growth prospects. We undertook several divestments in the year ended March 31, 2018. We transferred shares in our electronic devices business to strengthen its competitiveness and make it more agile. We sold our shares in a business that operates in the tourism sector. The public-private fund that acquired the business looks set to invest extensively so that it can leverage its business knowhow with its new sponsor. We also sold all of our shares in Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Holdings through a tender offer. Then in August 2018, we transferred shares in Ricoh Logistics into a new alliance with a leading logistics firm in order to bolster the Group’s logistics capabilities and increase our competitiveness. We will continue to evaluate all our businesses and step up our focus on structural reforms to accelerate our shift toward growth businesses.
On top of all that, we surged forward with specific measures to support our growth strategies by reinforcing and reforming our operational infrastructure. We reorganized our headquarters, deployed a structure for new business creation and rebuilt processes. We strengthened our accounting and finance functions, revamped our structure, and reviewed business management units based on our strategic shift. We additionally embarked on comprehensive efforts to reinforce governance in view of events that took place in Ricoh India. Director terms are now limited to one year, we have a new performance evaluation system for internal directors, we have abolished our management advisory system and have set up a committee to review and enhance global governance.
Also, we stepped up communication with shareholders and other stakeholders. Since taking the helm, I have embraced every opportunity to engage in dialogue to solicit management feedback and guidance from shareholders and other investors in Japan and abroad. We look to solidify the Group’s foundations by deepening stakeholder engagement while refocusing management to become more aware of capital efficiency and costs.

Overhaul five major principles approach

Overhaul five major principles approach

Q: How is the RICOH Ignite growth strategy progressing?

In the year ended March 31, 2018, the first year of RICOH Resurgent, we devoted energy to enhancing our strengths and refining our implementation capabilities to deliver growth. Over the next two years, we are pursuing our growth strategies as set out in RICOH Ignite. This is our platform for achieving challenging targets companywide and steering toward growth. Up to March 31, 2021, we will work toward sustainable growth and further progress being achieved.

19th Mid-Term Management Plan

Position “Ignite” as a stage in the growth strategy through FY 2023/03

Position “Ignite” as a stage in the growth strategy through FY 2023/03

SDGs*1 are one element of social megatrends that are shaping the business climate for the Ricoh Group. Companies that fail to help achieve SDGs will not be able to generate sustainable growth. This includes businesses that may be highly profitable but have poor reputations. We must make it our mission to help resolve social issues through business. Another trend is that the diversification of individual lifestyles and values which will likely accelerate in the years ahead. Printing technology should play an increasingly important role as these trends unfold. This technology was one of the great fruits of the Renaissance. In the centuries since, it has played a pivotal part in disseminating and sharing information and accumulating human knowledge. Recent years have seen MFPs become networked digital devices that process workflows through the cloud. So, I believe that we can continue to innovate by using printing and digital technologies.
At the RICOH Ignite stage, we are helping customers to work smarter through our EMPOWERING DIGITAL WORKPLACES value proposition. We look to broaden the value we deliver through business to cover everything from conventional offices through frontlines and society at large, thereby helping to achieve the SDGs. The Group has embarked on five materiality efforts: create knowledge, enhance productivity, improve the quality of life, decarbonize economies, and materialize circular economies. For these five materialities, we will draw on the Group’s core competence in pursuing business that helps resolve social issues, thus simultaneously achieving the SDGs and enhancing the Group’s corporate value. When we achieve this, I believe that we will truly revitalize the Group and position it for even further growth. Under RICOH Ignite, we will draw on our strengths to meet the on-demand and mass customization needs that our customers expect. We will do this by leveraging our strengths in printing, capturing, and other technologies to connect customers, sales and service networks, and customer devices. We will also champion an open management style which is central to this strategy. By moving away from a go-it-alone approach, we can swiftly deliver value in ways we could not have done before, drawing on external resources and open innovation to create new businesses. A good example of this has been our collaboration with FANUC to develop machine fault detection sensing systems for machine tools. Another has been a joint development effort with MinebeaMitsumi in bed sensing systems for long-term care. We also look to change work practices within the Ricoh Group through an internal digital revolution so we can apply our practical knowledge to serve customers and provide even greater value for them.
Ricoh must broaden the scope of its products and services to contribute to a sustainable economy, drawing on EMPOWERING DIGITAL WORKPLACES and other tools to deliver new value. RICOH Ignite, which we announced in February 2018, encompasses three growth strategies that draw on our strengths.

Trends affecting the business climate

Trends affecting the business climate

Ricoh’s five materialities

Ricoh’s five materiality

Ricoh Group’s materiality

*1 Sustainable development goals (SDGs)
September 2015 saw the adoption of 17 goals and 169 targets at a United Nations Summit as part of a universal agenda to ensure that nobody is left behind in the drive to free humanity from poverty and hunger and improve the human condition in terms of such areas as health, sanitation, economic development, and the environment by 2030.

Ricoh’s approach

Workplace expansion and our value proposition

Workplace expansion and our value proposition

Value proposition positioning

Ricoh formulated its value proposition in keeping with its corporate philosophy and corporate brand message to express the concerted commitment of Ricoh employees everywhere to its customers and the communities in which it operates.

Value proposition positioning

Three growth strategies that draw on our strengths

Three growth strategies that draw on our strengths

Growth Strategy #0 covers existing and core businesses, centered on office printing. Here, we will expand customer value and enhance operational efficiency. Core businesses have amassed a plethora of optical, image processing, mechanical, electrical, chemical, control, and other technologies over the years. Under growth strategies #1 and #2, we are leveraging advanced printing capabilities incorporating these technologies and the 1.4 million corporate customers we have worldwide to cultivate businesses and markets as new sources of revenue.

Growth Strategy #0Creating a robust foundation for our core businesses

We will automate production and streamline maintenance processes by employing robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies of the future. We also aim to outsource production and application software development, digitize the supply chain and make it more sophisticated. We aim to reach the lowest operational cost levels in our industry. At the same time, we will take MFPs further up the value curve, evolving them to become core office systems. We will link MFPs and business application software through the cloud to create solutions that make customer workflows more efficient.

Growth Strategy #1Driving an industrial revolution with printing technology

We will propel advances in commercial and industrial printing technology applications to expand our customer base. This will be achieved by extending printing beyond paper media to encompass display printing, such as on apparel and construction materials. We will also enhance progress in additive manufacturing through 3D printers and in cell lamination through bioprinting. We will ultimately expand printing to play a role in such diverse fields as drug discovery and regenerative medicine.

Growth Strategy #2Building value to bring offices and frontlines together

We will enhance customer productivity and create knowledge by providing support through new solutions that combine our digital equipment, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies. We will evolve MFPs, interactive whiteboards, teleconferencing and Web conferencing systems, the 360° RICOH THETA camera, and other offerings based on our commitment to smarter workplaces. These solutions will deliver reforms that enhance work efficiency wherever people work and help streamline communication. People the world over using such equipment will be able to digitize and collect text, images, audio, and a lot of other information. We will collaborate with powerful players in application software, data infrastructure, artificial intelligence, security, and other areas to accumulate and analyze various data sources. We will offer edge devices*2 and applications that contribute to business success for our customers, fostering progress in customer knowledge, productivity and collaboration.

Kindling new possibilities

Ricoh’s healthcare business is another key in providing new value to help resolve social issues. One example is our bed sensing system that accurately monitors body movements, respiration, and other biological information. Another is our magnetoencephalograph that can swiftly identify epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other ailments.

*2 Edge devices
These are MFPs, cameras, and other networked systems with data processing capabilities that can input and output text, photo, audio, video, and other information.

Resolving Social Issues and Creating Value

Outlook for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019

Outlook for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019

The Ricoh Group’s financial targets

The Ricoh Group’s financial targets

Shareholder returns

Ricoh will set aside internal reserves to strengthen its corporate structure and cultivate new businesses while striving to deliver stable dividends to shareholders. We will do this by considering factors such as medium-term earnings projections, cash flows, and our financial position. We intend to allocate retained earnings to reinforce our core businesses and concentrate investments in businesses offering medium- and long-term growth potential. In the year ended March 31, 2018, cash dividends were ¥15.0 per share. For the year ending March 31, 2019, we plan to raise dividends to ¥20 per share.

Q: Commitments to stakeholders

Over the years, the Ricoh Group has delivered value to customers worldwide through office innovations. Globalization and advances in information technology are redefining the challenges that we all face. It is thus important to focus on tasks that individuals or individual communities cannot address in order to truly contribute to society. We will take on the challenge of creating new value by broadening our value proposition beyond offices to encompass frontlines and society, fully harnessing our strengths.
I view our growth approaches as pledges to stakeholders. For employees, I want to set up new frameworks and programs that motivate them to pursue new challenges so they can create new customer value. For customers, we will continue to provide new value by delivering top-quality products and services that are safe and secure. We will serve shareholders by delivering corporate value that packages financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Finally, we will contribute to society by helping achieve economic sustainability through business.
These pledges bind us intimately to our stakeholders, and we will achieve our growth strategy, so that we can perpetually safeguard this bond.

Contributors to Ricoh materializing its value proposition and SDGs

Contributors to Ricoh materializing its value proposition and SDGs