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02-28-2015, 12:28 PM   #136
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cambo Quote
Brilliant analysis. You're a very fine business writer. You should have a photo business blog.


Cheers,
Cameron
Thanks Cameron. I am an Engineering Management Consultant who helps municipalities and utilities look after their infrastructure long term. So I do a lot of long term strategy planning and scenario development for a living. I just happen to use Pentax cameras for my hobby. I already have two blogs related to my professional field of expertise that keep me very busy, so there won't be a photography business one

---------- Post added 01-03-15 at 08:32 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Ricoh is making a mjor investment in Multi-Function Printers, having constructed a very large manufacturing facility in China and laying the foundation to establish their brand.
That again makes a logical strategy for Ricoh - they have all the technology and expertise to grow that business. To strengthen, grow and develop their business they need to be advancing in a number of areas. Canon and HP have stakes in the MFP arena - and of course HP have their own troubles at the moment. There are business opportunities there

---------- Post added 01-03-15 at 08:43 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
One thing Canon have which Ricoh don't seem to have nearly so much is experience of running a big, very big consumer operation as distinct from business to business. This is a pretty big strength, at a guess, since the cost and learning curve for any competitor (Ricoh, e.g.) to get near to the same thing must be heavy. You can't just dial up that depth of expertise. Maybe Pentax is also a testbed for that, and not only for cameras. OTOH, I guess it could be that consumer operations are starting to look like millstones. Apple and Sony are eyeing up the automotive industry now ...
As you note Canon have a lot of business strengths, and there is no way I would discount their ability to compete. What we are seeing in the camera market is a very big correction in terms of sales volumes, and the more you have been in that market (Canon and Nikon) the more of a challenge it will be.

The real challenge for Ricoh will be building consumer delivery channels if they want to grow bigger in that space, and the expertise around that. It is a business challenge. Having said that the whole consumer delivery area is in a state of huge change at the moment, so the previous business models (and associated lock out) may be on the way out as well. There are certainly opportunities test and grow in that arena.


Last edited by NZ_Ross; 02-28-2015 at 12:46 PM.
02-28-2015, 02:36 PM - 1 Like   #137
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QuoteOriginally posted by NZ_Ross Quote
I am an Engineering Management Consultant who helps municipalities and utilities look after their infrastructure long term. So I do a lot of long term strategy planning and scenario development for a living. I just happen to use Pentax cameras for my hobby. I already have two blogs related to my professional field of expertise that keep me very busy, so there won't be a photography business one

I very much like your analysis. I think that it hits many points on the right spot.
02-28-2015, 04:10 PM   #138
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I very much like your analysis. I think that it hits many points on the right spot.
Thanks Ron. I find it interesting the conclusions you can draw by examining information in relative isolation as opposed to taking a more holistic view.

Time will tell whether my analysis is any where near correct. One thing I know for sure - I would much rather have the overall business challenges that Ricoh is facing than the ones that Nikon has in front of it.
02-28-2015, 08:55 PM   #139
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Interested_observer has posted this link here on the forum today which has an infographic of the CIPA numbers worldwide for the past 6 years. It is very interesting (including a video), and demonstrates the 'carnage' that has occurred across the industry in this time period in terms of lower volume and revenue.

In light of the discussion on this thread - this has impacted Canon and Nikon much more than it has impacted Ricoh/Pentax.

03-01-2015, 01:04 AM   #140
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Ricoh simply wanted many eggs in different baskets. It is trend. Everyone else does it. They must show themselves as being 'forward looking', so they must shop for smaller brands like everyone else does. "How many companies you have purchased this week? Only three? Ah, we did five. Cheap as chips. Hey, do you know XYZ is going for sale in 3 weeks? Khmm, (lowering voice) I did not tell you this, but all's been cleared out, Canon is apparently interested, but .. you know, the NCU would not like to deal with them .. And you did not get this from me .. cough .. Capisci?"

When you are with boys, you must also brag about how well you can pick your nose and how many sparrows you scared with a sling shot.

So they bought Pentax. They had an ultra small imaging part of the company for ages, and wanted to make it slightly better. "We thought of buying them new carpets, desks and a drink cabinet, but we thought buying Pentax is cheaper; bhahaha, Hoya painted all walls fresh and put new carpets before sale." Another big boys rule: don't invest into it too much, as to preserve the overall 'cool daddy boy' appearance, which means, if you buy a smaller company, you should show no sweat, or other boys will start laughing, looking at each other, and your share prices go down. Don't forget, the poker game is still on.

So no, you must play poker well, and show the new inventory feels good and you .. cool. "Another whiskey rocks, boys, this one's on Ricoh, as we've shown profit with new acquisition! And not only that, daddy Ricoh is gonna make a new camera no one here on this table has — a Medium Format beast. Hah! Eat that! Those new Pentax boys are really good. Wonder we did not buy them earlier. ..."

"Yeah!", everybody shouts, share prices remain same, or slightly raise. Poker goes on. And on Saturday's night game, daddy Ricoh showed himself with a bottle of 1948 Ballantines, and with a shiny new black 645Z! "Brmmm, brmmm. Flop, flop. Click, click, 51 MPs in 0.7 seconds, and this feels better than sheik's Ilamini's new Aston Martin he was waiting for 18 months!"

And the game goes on.


Last edited by Uluru; 03-01-2015 at 04:13 AM.
03-01-2015, 01:49 AM   #141
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Uluru, kudos for this refreshing viewpoint.
That doesn't exclude NZ_Ross hypothesis.
03-01-2015, 02:18 AM   #142
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Yet another wild fantasy about some alternate Universe Ricoh. Why are you putting so much effort into writing things which don't make any sense?

Having "many eggs in different baskets" is not a trend, it's good business practice; done right it guarantees your survival if one business goes bust. It allows you to adapt and migrate towards new businesses, as old ones becomes unable to support you or becomes stagnant.
And by the way, M&A is an effective method of diversification.

Despite your pretense that Ricoh bought Pentax "just because", the reality is different. First, the implications go beyond consumer products - factory automation is a big thing for Ricoh. But even for consumer products, Ricoh Imaging will launch a "full frame" product line. I'll let you think about that.
03-01-2015, 02:33 AM   #143
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My understanding which could easily be wrong is that Ricoh brought in an outsider to run their newly formed Imaging division - a career asset manager and investment banker, I think. These folks are specialists in risk and in growing valuable things from small acorns. Ricoh could simply have handed the business to an insider and company man, but they didn't. I don't think enough has been made of this signal by folks generally (excluding on here).


IMHO, almost every change has been rung on cameras and their hardware except for the way the user interacts with them. That and 'workflow' as Thom Hogan calls it have remained largely stuck in a previous era. Slack sales also have to do with cameras being too unwieldy and plain difficult for many, many folks. They want a nice picture but not at the price of wrestling with f-stops and scores of buttons and baffling menu entries. There is mainly just one on a smartphone - the shutter button - and it is in software on a touchscreen. That is another big challenge ahead.

03-01-2015, 02:36 AM   #144
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
things which don't make any sense
Uluru's little bit of fan fiction makes sense if you believe that Japanese camera makers operate as a kind of club. Which has indeed often been suggested.
03-01-2015, 02:42 AM   #145
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Well, the stuff about 4 gentlemen sitting around the table drinking Chateau de Chasselas and reminiscing about past hardships was also fiction - not an accurate description of the Japanese industry

Last edited by Kunzite; 03-01-2015 at 04:07 AM.
03-01-2015, 03:49 AM   #146
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QuoteOriginally posted by NZ_Ross Quote
It got me thinking about each companies overall business, and what the drivers and business motivations are. So I did some quick searches of 2014 company results and found the following

Ricoh: Revenue = 2.2 Trillion Yen, Camera/Others = 90 Billion Yen, Camera/Others =4% of revenue
Canon: Revenue = 3.7 Trillion Yen, Camera/Imaging = 1360 Billion Yen, Camera/Imaging = 36% of revenue
Nikon: Revenue = 0.98 Trillion Yen, Cameras = 680 Billion Yen, Cameras = 70% of revenue
Sony: Revenue = 7.8 Trillion Yen, Cameras/Imaging = 760 Billion Yen, Cameras/Imaging = 9.7% of revenue
...
I don't object to your analysis but it doesn't seem to reflect what large corporations really do.

I have seen it happening over and over again, and this includes what happened inside two larger corporations in my home town, Siemens and BMW.

When they are strong, they aquire, when weak, they sell off weaker divisions which then may florish or fold.

Therefore, if you look at a *particular* division (e.g. cameras), its development and future is much better defined if it is the core business of its parent company rather than a division which can be made obsolete.

This is what Sony just did with their cameras: they kept sensors but made cameras a new and small company outside of Sony.

And it is true for Pentax too. Hoya was ready to get rid of it. Fortunately, Ricoh accepted to buy it for a rather symbolic amount of cash (1/20 of what Hoya paid initially) and I am sure, they did it more for business ethics (Ricoh is a long time user of the K mount and admirer of Pentax as a brand) than anything else. Interestingly, none of the big players tried to aquire Pentax.

But at the end of the day and this is my conviction, a company does best in bad times if it has to survive on its own. It leverages their best head's capabilities rather than shifting them to more profitable divisions. And it is all about heads, isn't it?

Last edited by falconeye; 03-01-2015 at 03:54 AM.
03-01-2015, 04:10 AM   #147
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote

This is what Sony just did with their cameras: they kept sensors but made cameras a new and small company outside of Sony.

No, I think it's only Video and Sound they announced those plans for, Falconeye.


Not to say they won't do it in the future - they're probably losing a lot of money on them, subsidized by their sensor unit.
03-01-2015, 04:17 AM   #148
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Uluru's little bit of fan fiction makes sense if you believe that Japanese camera makers operate as a kind of club. Which has indeed often been suggested.
To celebrate 40 years of the K-mount, Ricoh may play a version named "Ricoh Daddy Cool" inside big boys club.
One bad daddy between three Pentax mounts on the stage (Q, K and 645).

She (Pentax) is crazy like a fool.
Then came Ricoh daddy cool ...


03-01-2015, 04:27 AM   #149
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I don't object to your analysis but it doesn't seem to reflect what large corporations really do.

I have seen it happening over and over again, and this includes what happened inside two larger corporations in my home town, Siemens and BMW.

When they are strong, they aquire, when weak, they sell off weaker divisions which then may florish or fold.

Therefore, if you look at a *particular* division (e.g. cameras), its development and future is much better defined if it is the core business of its parent company rather than a division which can be made obsolete.

This is what Sony just did with their cameras: they kept sensors but made cameras a new and small company outside of Sony.

And it is true for Pentax too. Hoya was ready to get rid of it. Fortunately, Ricoh accepted to buy it for a rather symbolic amount of cash (1/20 of what Hoya paid initially) and I am sure, they did it more for business ethics (Ricoh is a long time user of the K mount and admirer of Pentax as a brand) than anything else. Interestingly, none of the big players tried to aquire Pentax.

But at the end of the day and this is my conviction, a company does best in bad times if it has to survive on its own. It leverages their best head's capabilities rather than shifting them to more profitable divisions. And it is all about heads, isn't it?
The biggest issue currently that Canon and Nikon face is over production. Maybe they have fixed it, but they have generations old models still sitting on store shelves, unsold. Ricoh has avoided that by not over producing cameras. The most important thing from their stand point is to price their cameras so that they don't take a loss on them and produce pretty close to the amount that will sell.

As someone else mentioned, the biggest issue that Ricoh faces, outside of Japan, is delivering cameras to photographers. In the United States, there just aren't many dedicated camera stores left and most of those are in good sized urban areas. A lot of cameras are sold through big box retailers. If they want a presence in the US market, they would have to figure out a way to let beginning photographers get their hands on a Pentax camera and handle it. I just don't see Pentax making a deal with Walmart to sell cameras through them, though.
03-01-2015, 04:28 AM   #150
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Uluru: Please stop spamming the News section with nonsense.

(Adam, a Fiction section please?)

---------- Post added 01-03-15 at 01:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The biggest issue currently that Canon and Nikon face is over production. Maybe they have fixed it, but they have generations old models still sitting on store shelves, unsold. Ricoh has avoided that by not over producing cameras. The most important thing from their stand point is to price their cameras so that they don't take a loss on them and produce pretty close to the amount that will sell.
Unfortunately (for them, and less for us), this strategy is hurting the market; fewer people would buy new models at MSRP when an almost-the-same, older model is available for so much less. Even more unfortunately, it's not just Canon and Nikon doing that, pretty much all MILC makers but Leica and perhaps Fuji are doing it too.
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