Oki's European managing director Terry Kawashima has expressed his pride that "our direction [has] never changed" and pledged not to get distracted by services.
The print vendor announced a range of new products at its Smart Colour Solutions event in Milan, Italy, which the European managing director said will further open up verticals such as graphic arts, healthcare and retail.
"We have started this journey to diversify our sales into a more office solutions build and professional build, and, although it took us some understanding of the customers' needs and pain points, I think we have started to gain traction in the development of all sectors in graphic arts and professional print. We have new products and very, very strong market share in those areas; it is getting strong," he said.
Kawashima claims that in its last financial quarter – from April to June this year – Oki held an 18 per cent market share in B2B single-function colour printing devices, second only to HP.
With multifunction devices thrown into the mix Oki has an 11 per cent share in the market, third behind leader HP and Lexmark, he claims. The European MD said it is growing its market share in both single-function and multifunction categories, identifying Lexmark – which sold up to Chinese investors earlier this year – as a vendor that is apparently losing share.
"We are not especially targeting Lexmark," he said. "I don't think Lexmark are addressing the channel, and we have a strong proposition with our partner programme to attract more channel players."
Kawashima said Oki's strategy will be to focus on gaining market share in target industries: retail, healthcare, and graphical arts. He said the new products contain embedded document management solutions which differentiate Oki from its competition.
Unlike other printing vendors, he said that Oki does not plan to diversify into more service-led management offerings. Kawashima singled out Xerox as a print vendor who has perhaps strayed too far from its core business.
"Diversification is good so long as this direction of the diversification is relevant to your core competence. There are companies who have expanded the scope of their business far too much and that new business arena is no longer adding value to your core business. That is why we have never defocused ourselves from doing print solutions; that is our core strength," he said.
"We are trying to add value to increase our range of solutions that we can provide for customers. Services are a broader terminology. Companies such as Xerox have actually diversified their business portfolio to include a lot of other things that are really very much far away from their core business, and of course now their business has been split in two.
"We are not a huge company; we have to always remember our core strength is to provide very high-quality print on a very versatile range of materials; that capability is our strength, so really we need to address our final solutions [and make them] relevant for the customers but that doesn't mean we have to go towards doing services – something that we do not know at all."
In fact, Oki has been simplifying its offering, concentrating more on single-function devices in an effort to add value to particular verticals.
"Lots of those high-end multifunction machines scare customers because of their complexity. Making it easy is such an important thing. This is important for us because it comes across so straightforward and easy and that is one of the differentiators."
Reflecting on HP's acquisition of Samsung's print business announced earlier this year, Kawashima (pictured) said it is too early to judge how it will affect Oki's business, but expects the impact to be minimal.
"These low entry-level machines are where Samsung has been very, very strong – stronger even than HP – and that is a field that we don't [address]... so the impact to our business as a result of their getting together I expect to be minimal; they don't play in our field," he said.
It seems that while other print vendors such as Lexmark and Xerox are attaching consulting and outsourcing services to boost dwindling hardware revenues, Oki has no plans to alter its course.
"Since 2001 we have been calling ourselves a printing solutions specialist and that hasn't changed at all," he added. "Our direction never changed and, as a result, we are making good progress."
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