Ricoh´s transformation is one of 2017´s top-read executive interview.
Glenn Laverty´s exceptional vision for Ricoh in the Americas has led the company from one traditionally known for its office imaging equipment to a services-led organization focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience by helping clients solve their business challenges with the support of a vast network of partners.
As part of one of the biggest multinationals that offers innovative products and services in approximately 200 countries and regions, Ricoh is leading the way in the Americas by empowering digital workplaces for its customers, expanding its delivery business in Canada and making powerful alliances with other companies.
Glenn Laverty, President & CEO for Ricoh Canada and SVP of Marketing for Ricoh Americas since 2008, is one of the authors of the business’ transformation in the country, taking Ricoh from being traditionally known for its office imaging equipment to a services-led organization that offers a diverse portfolio that includes document and information management systems, IT and Managed Print Services, production print solutions, visual communications systems, with a focus on giving customer value.
“From the customers’ perspective, what they are looking for is that single individual with the relationship that they would go to for anything that they needed from Ricoh, instead of having six or seven different people coming in to talk to them. We refer to it as being unified in front of the customer and it’s an essential component and a big differentiator against competitors. Customers are looking beyond the product and in terms of what we can do to help solve the usual problems that they’re facing. The difference is our range of capability when it comes to our services, in addition to our products,” Laverty says.
The formula of this success comes from a combination of a global leadership office product and services with an unwavering focus on their customers’ experience. Using the Net Promoter Score measurement of quarterly outcomes since 2006, provided fundamental guidance to rebuild the Canadian operation, he adds, a true understanding on what customers expect from them and their key strategic alliances and partnerships.
A QUICKER DELIVERY CHAIN
Consistently delivering on a positive and fruitful customer experience requires a quicker way to market deliveries and efficiencies within the distribution chain. This has been part and parcel of a bigger and more organic thread focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience, according to Laverty, which to his consideration has helped them stay on the course of looking for efficiency and the customers’ perspective.
“We talk to the customers about what it is that they’re facing in their markets and with their customers, and we think about how we might be able to play a part in solving a business issue or problem. We need to understand our customers’ business to a greater degree than we ever have, and we have an advantage because of the long-term nature of our relationship with them. Coupled with the engagement process that we have with our customers, we try to look beyond hardware or services to what they care about, their challenges and their issues. I think that’s fundamental to where we’ll be successful and it’s encouraging to get the feedback that we’re getting from customers on this engagement,” Laverty says.
The company’s efforts have paid off. Last March, two of its customers were recognized for the innovative nature of their respective implementations by Laserfiche, a premier software player in the Enterprise Content Management space and an important partner in Ricoh’s own ECM suite of solutions. Luminus Financial won the Run Smarter Award in the Best Human Resources Initiative category, while the City of Saint John took home the coveted Run Smarter Award in the Best Records Management Initiative category, given by the Empower 2017 annual conference, which celebrates excellence and innovation in customer implementations.
“Our value proposition is really centered around empowering digital workplaces and we strongly believe that covers so much of what we do: help customers and provide for them on their desire to move forward, whether it be in managing information or just creating a better environment for them and their customers. I see for the future a balanced and a growing business across the board,” Laverty explains.
Accomplishing Ricoh’s mission of empowering digital workplaces requires trusted partnerships. Although between 80 and 90% of Ricoh’s Canada procurement strategy comes from within the company, it still has a powerful combination of resourceful third-party alliances and partnerships for projects that require a particular expertise. Laverty is now leading the company’s expansion in Canada through smart alliances with companies such as IBM, Fedex, Purolator, Infosys and First Time Com.
“They have been fundamental in helping us move the needle in terms of our efficiencies and our effectiveness in the fields. We are supported very nicely by Fedex and Purolator, because we are in the distribution business in Canada … We work very closely with IBM and with the likes of Air Canada, a national airline, where IBM is very entrenched as partner of that infrastructure. We believe in alliances across the board to help us maintain superior customer service. Whether at the back end of the business from a logistics standpoint, or from the systems standpoint, we’re finding it is the new and the only way to work,” assured the CEO.
To keep delivering results that advance digital workplaces, Laverty believes that in the next years Ricoh will become a more efficient and balanced business and also sees change in the supply chain as ongoing to help support the customer and the sales organization. The executive is also excited to build up a more experienced and accelerated approach that opens up more communication to any of the process changes and improvements they are looking at.
“What you will see in the next three to five years is an organization that has a greater balance,” he adds.
“Today, I would say the biggest part of our business is the office product business, but the reality is that we know that print is on the decline as the definition of digital workplaces broadens. The investments over the last several years start to gain that momentum and that growth has allowed us to build up the local services business … from our Managed Services business to our e-Discovery practice to our new Visual Communications and Collaboration Services business. Ultimately, what we believe and see now, is that most things get stitched together in order to provide real business solutions for our customers facing challenges in their own businesses. While we still devote greater than 5% of net sales to R&D with over 50,000 patents, supporting our future is focused on how our knowledge and capabilities make a difference for our customers experience with their customers. We believe the market will reward those who have courage, and we’re one of the few who have demonstrated that courage to change and that is quite important,” he adds.