In an interaction with CRN, Yoshinori Koide, Director, Business Strategy and Project Management, Konica Minolta, shares insights into the company’s focus for the India market, business prospects, and the strategies going forward.
What sort of footprint do you have in terms of the customer base in India, and from where do you see the demand coming up for Konica?
We have over 50 per cent market share in India in the digital printing segment and we’re expanding our business. Our customer base in production segment is primarily coming from those customers who do digital printing. This includes commercial printing customers as well as offset printing customers who buy our machines to run their jobs. We’re proud of the quality of our machine and the service that we provide.
What has been the unique differentiator or value addition which have helped you in acquiring customers in the market?
Konica Minolta is looking at the market where nobody else is present. Earlier in India, digital printing segment was pretty much on analog base. We have entered into this market to cater to the digital printing requirements. We had started about five to six years ago and from there, today we are the market leaders in this segment. What we always try to do is to do something unique, provide more value to the customers so that people should not get bored with our machines. Here, we always scout for new customers and products that will help expand our customer base as well as value that we provide to that customer. We also provide quality products at a reasonable price. Overall, we see that customers has been accepting our services and product that we provide and that is the mantra behind our success.
What sort of technological innovation to distinguish yourself from the competitors?
Digital technology is still evolving. We still have a gap with offset machine but ultimately we would like to get close to the offset quality in terms of our printing quality. We are continuously improving our technology to match offset print that is in terms of our quality and also there are lots of things that offset can do, but digital cannot do, like print media and media types and also the accuracy of a print. Embossing and foiling in digital are the additional values that we’re providing to our customers.
Do you have plans to set up an unit in India?
That’s always a consideration. India is a big market. At Japan, there is a strategic department which makes the decision on where it would be a right fit to do the manufacturing and procurement. So, I think they are looking into India as one of the places for production location to make these machines. We always see this location as a potential market and potential geographical place to do the manufacturing because lots of resources are available easily over here.
We have been in India for quite a long time – it has been over 10 years. But our direct presence in India as Konica Minolta started six years ago when we started our operations here in the country. Today, 60 percent of our business is on direct side and the rest 40 percent through partners. Our partner businesses are also important and they do have their strengths and so do our direct sales force.
How has been your experience in dealing with customers in India?
Basic requirement from the customer is the same as they want quality and service and a good machine with which they can provide value to their customers. They don’t like machines that leave grease and cannot be serviced well. They don’t like machines that can’t print 4D. Whether it is Singapore, the US, Japan or India, everyone is looking for those basic fundamentals which give quality service.
However, India’s demand and requirement in terms of RoI are much more severe compared to Singapore and Japan. So being in India and being a market leader here is a good thing. It is very challenging as customer’s expectation is high. We stay cautious so that we don’t fail in terms of service, quality of the machine and of course RoI. The pricing we provide to the customer in line is according to their expectations, especially in India.
What’s your roadmap for 2018 and ahead?
Right now, our core business is coming from the printing segment. We have a big market share and we’re providing more value to the customers. We’re still looking for business to grow especially in India, as there are lots of printing jobs coming up in digital from the offset. We will be focusing on maintaining our market share and providing more value to the customer. Additionally, what we’re looking at is after-printing, like embossing or foiling or label printing. These segments are the next markets that digital will be coming into. Printing and enhancing of print are two pillars that we are looking into for the coming two to three years.