Ricoh: print pipeline is expanding

Ricoh: big turnaround at Graphic Communications wing
Ricoh: big turnaround at Graphic Communications wing

Ricoh’s Graphic Communications business came close to breakeven last year, with sales up 17% and a near-¥47bn improvement in operating profit.

Ricoh changed its business unit structure in April 2021, when its Commercial Printing and Industrial Printing operations were combined under the umbrella of Graphic Communications. 

In the year to 31 March 2022, the manufacturer’s overall sales, including its office printing and services businesses, were up 4.5% at ¥1,758bn (£11bn), and it posted an operating profit of ¥40bn compared with 2020’s ¥45.4bn operating loss. 

Ricoh said that its new structure had helped speed decision making during the ongoing supply chain issues. 

“Delegating authority to business units empowered them to flexibly and quickly tackle changes in the operating environment and overcome crises,” the manufacture stated. 

“Shifting to an integrated development, production, and sales setup enhanced coordination between functions and enabled units to promptly reflect higher costs in pricing, modify designs to accommodate multiple parts, and liaise with plants.”

At its Graphic Communications wing, sales were up just over 27% at ¥187bn. Commercial printing sales rose by almost ¥23bn to ¥158.1bn, while industrial printing revenues were up ¥4.3bn at ¥28.9bn.

The operating loss was almost eliminated, at ¥0.4bn compared with the prior year loss of loss of ¥47.4bn, which included a ¥26.5bn impairment write-down. Ricoh said the improvement was ¥20bn once that was factored out. 

Ricoh said the division had exceeded its targeted cost reductions by 260%, and the unit was seeing a gradual recovery in commercial printing with “pipelines expanding”.

Non-hardware sales have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, while inkjet heads generated double-digit sales growth. 

Ricoh’s commercial printing business launched its Ricoh Business Booster value co-creation platform during the period, which aims to help customers expand their businesses through knowledge sharing. 

It also rolled out the Ricoh Ri 2000 high-speed direct-to-garment printer and towards the end of the year began taking orders for the TH6310F industrial inkjet printhead. Earlier this year it also launched the MH5422 series of industrial printheads.

Ricoh is also poised to enter the B2 sheetfed inkjet digital press space with its Pro Z75, which automatically perfects and uses water-based aqueous inks. 

Like other manufacturers Ricoh has been tackling issues such as increases in raw material costs, parts shortages, and surging shipping charges. 

Regarding the outlook, Ricoh said that it expected product supply and a recovery in demand to drive business growth, and it would “relentlessly pursue” the structural reforms that began last year as it advanced its plans to transform into a digital services business. 

The manufacturer and its subsidiary ColorGate will also be exhibiting at the upcoming Fespa Global Print Expo in Berlin.