Canon Solutions America … Execution and Growth

Jeff Hayes
Feb 25, 2016

CSA LogoCanon Solutions America (CSA) hosted about 50 industry analysts in Boca Raton, Florida this week to celebrate the third anniversary of the company’s formation, as well as to discuss their progress and direction. The company demonstrated increasing momentum in the critical areas of:

  • Enterprise solutions and services
  • High-speed production inkjet printing
  • Large format graphics and technical printing

Based on presentations, product demonstrations, and access to the Canon Solutions America management team it is evident that CSA has a robust product line, is tightly coordinated across business units and geographies, and is supported by highly data-driven field operations.

Toyo Kuwamura, President and CEO of Canon Solutions America, citing 2% revenue growth in 2014 and 2015 (and even better profits), stated “we are in very good shape now”. Mr. Kuwamura revealed that CSA’s 3-year plan calls for 3% revenue growth in 2016, 5% in 2017, and 6% in 2018 with a goal of being 20% larger in revenue and profits by 2018. CSA’s recent growth rates stand in sharp contrast to other large competitors that have been experiencing revenue declines in the mid to high-single digit range.

Toyo Kuwamura - CSA

Much of CSA’s success can be attributed to solid execution across all aspects of the operation, including product development, solutions selling, field service, and customer engagement.

Product Development

Canon, Inc. is deeply committed to research and development, typically dedicating 8 to 9 percent of sales to R&D and ranking in the top 5 in U.S. patents filed each year. CSA benefits from this sustained investment with a steady stream of new products and improvements for various market segments.

In 2015, Canon introduced the VarioPrint i300 high-speed cut-sheet inkjet system and imagePress 10000 toner-based digital press—major new products that have strong market potential. Mal Baboyian, Executive Vice President of CSA’s Production Printing and Large Format Printing Systems business, noted that CSA installed twelve VarioPrint i300 systems in 2015 and that print volumes were higher than expected at 2.5 million impressions per month.

While 2016 will primarily be focused on marketing execution, Baboyian indicated some new wide format products will be coming in Q2 this year with even “bigger” wide format announcements for early 2017. CSA unveiled two high-speed monochrome printing systems (one inkjet, one toner) and said that additional product news would become public soon. Underscoring its role in the production color inkjet market, CSA said that it would surpass 1,000 inkjet engines placed worldwide this year.

Solutions Selling

Canon’s acquisitions of Uniflow (output management and security), IRIS (capture, document distribution, OCR/content extraction and classification) and Therefore (document management) provide a strong framework and are tightly integrated with each other and Canon hardware.  Jim Sharp, Executive Vice President, commented that CSA has over 350 solutions and services specialists in its Professional Services organization. The company invests heavily in sales training for its account executives and certifications for its solutions specialists to identify and implement workflow automation opportunities in key vertical industries.

It was very evident for enterprise sales that CSA management emphasizes not leading with a “box” and is not ashamed to admit they are not the low cost equipment provider. Their messaging is around business process improvement—be it security, compliance, productivity, information access, or otherwise. These points were reinforced by CSA customers the University of Miami and Easter Seals who described the consultative nature of their relationship with CSA during an Enterprise Solutions and Services presentation. CSA production print and large format customers at the event (Darwill, Impact, Landaal Packaging, and Kelmscott Communications) echoed similar sentiments.

Field Operations

CSA has rationalized its field operations and become highly data-driven in measuring sales and service productivity. CSA has 125 offices across the U.S. and has moved the 30 former Océ locations onto a single Canon ERP “operating system”. Executive Vice President, Art McGinn noted CSA has a field service team of approximately 2,000 people, including dispatch, maintenance, technical support, parts logistics, analysis, and related functions. The company focuses on restore time and customer uptime at the service rep and device level, not just mean time between failure and response time at the branch level. CSA is moving toward “predictive service” with fewer unscheduled visits, more uptime, and lower costs.

Customer Engagement

CSA has significantly increased its customer engagement activities over the last 12 months in an effort to better position the organization, educate customers on solutions, and generate voice of the customer feedback for planning purposes. Some of the initiatives that CSA noted include:

  • Customer Councils focused on Production Print, Managed Print Services, and Enterprise Solutions that provide feedback for CSA planning and customer interaction.
  • thINK, a community of CSA production print customers and annual conference. CSA had approximately 300 attendees at the inaugural event last year and is planning a bigger event in October 2016. The thINK community, in partnership with CSA, recently published “The Inkjet Edge – How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet,” a comprehensive resource for those preparing a transition to production inkjet technologies.
  • Performance Resource Center that includes management and marketing tools to help in-plant printers grow their business (e.g. ROI calculators, proposal generator, open house kit, benchmarking tools). CSA has also partnered with the U.S. Postal Service to aggregate various USPS resources related to mailing and fulfillment into CSA’s resource center.

Mobile App

Finally, the company unveiled a beta version of its mobile Canon Solutions America Experience app. The app is designed to stimulate interaction with customers and prospects through an easy to use, personalized mobile “experience” that provides access to CSA product information, announcements, events, assessment tools, vertical industry resources, and a messaging center. Tracie Sokol, Vice President of Marketing, indicated the app was created based on feedback from their customers and is the first such tool in the industry. CSA plans to launch the Experience app through the Apple iTunes store and Google Play store in the next few weeks.

CSA Mobile App

 

It’s All About Execution

Canon Solutions America continues to be a growing force in the market. The company has the product line, solutions and services expertise, national and global account management and field service infrastructure, as well as marketing programs to work with large customers on complex, multi-faceted implementations in the enterprise and production printing market. The company has established strong momentum and is well positioned to exceed industry growth rates in the coming years.

Jeff Hayes
Managing Director

 

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