''We contribute to about 20% of the colour market''

As Sambit Misra gets ready to steer Ricoh India to future growth, he tells Dibyajyoti Sarma why experience counts, the positioning of Ricoh in the production printing segment and his plans for wide-format

26 Aug 2015 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

Sambit Misra, the new chief operating officer (production printing) of Ricoh India, comes with a wealth of experience. He has previously worked with EFI and Xerox. His last stint was with Canon. In his new role, Misra says it gives him a great advantage in the market, as he understands how his competitors think. “Also, my experience gives me what’s most important in this market, the relationships that I have enjoyed with customers in each of these companies,” he says. He especially singles out the PSP customers who are the major chunk of this business. “Not only customers value the fact that you know what they want, but they also know what competitors are offering and where the catch is,” he says. 

In this context, he adds, the business model at Ricoh India, in the production domain, is actually ahead of the competitors. “The most important aspect of the business in our marketplace is to support our ‘print for pay’ customers as their requirements are dynamic. Some need help in building volumes, others in post-sales application development, colour management or funding capital expense, and so on. At Ricoh, these aspects are already considered and the Ricoh team already has the right people or tie-ups to support our customers,” Misra explains.

The production printing domain in India is indeed competitive, and in that sense, Ricoh is doing rather well. Misra says Ricoh has been successful in not only growing its market share but also has been successfully selling higher-end colour systems than entry level products.

“Besides, we have been measuring our success in terms of page volume rather than units sold. Our continuous feed printers deployed through the last year have actually contributed 4-6 times the volume than competitive installs of B&W,” he adds. “Ricoh has been always been a major contributor in the colour sales. Although IDC does not monitor this business quarter on quarter, but I would assume we contribute to about 20% of the colour market.”

Every company has a different way of working. How has Misra’s work pattern changed after joining Ricoh? Not much, he says, adding that companies within an industry have more or less similar working style. “Ricoh has been in India for a long time and has standardised most of its processes to match the industry. Since my last stint was with a Japanese company, the philosophies in the workplace are quite similar. I feel Ricoh is more focused on customer-centric approach and the policies are more flexible, keeping in mind the dynamism of the Indian marketplace,” he says.

From a broad outside perspective, it seems that while competitors like Canon are mostly focused on big players in major urban centres, Ricoh, over the years, has made inroad into smaller markets, like Nagaland, for example. Misra agrees that Ricoh is definitely more focused on the remote approach of doing business.

“I also believe that most urban centres are quite saturated in terms of installation base. Hence, the tier-two and tier-three cities are a more obvious choice for us,” he says. “Our competitors are constrained when it comes to remote locations because they have a direct sales strategy. On the other hand, our strategy is to cover more ground by appointing domain partners like Heidelberg India, Kapoor Imaging, Malhotra Graphics and Jindal Photo Films.”

Misra says in his current capacity, he will be working towards adding more partners for all product lines, including production printing, wide-format, photographic and signage printing markets.

While looking ahead, it is inevitable to look back at his last stint at Canon. Misra says his success in Canon was to move the wide-format printing market. “I ensured its growth, from less than 100 units in 2010 to about 800 units in 2014.”

In his new assignment, he says, he will ensure that Ricoh’s wide-format products, from LED-based printers to geljet printers and the signage wide-format, see the growth it deserves. “I think the wide-format product portfolio of Ricoh is truly industry leading. Yet, the success has been limited, as the teams have been focused in selling its production printers. The products are truly superior to the current industry offerings and hence, deserve to be positioned accordingly in the market,” he reasons.