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Photocopiers: A Round-up of the Last Year

There has been much development in the photocopier industry during the last year with new ranges of copiers being released, heightened environmental concern, new acquisitions and partnerships and the recession all having a major part to play.

New releases

From Seimens, to Sharp, to Kyocera Mita, to Ricoh, to Xerox, to Canon, the majority of the big players in the photocopier manufacturing industry have released new printing and imaging equipment in the last year, whether it be a new device added to an already existing series, such as Ricoh adding to their Aficio range and Konica Minolta adding to their Bizhub range, or a whole new series of devices. The two most talked about and eagerly anticipated releases were the Xerox ColorQube range and the Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE range. The Xerox ColorQube, released in May 2009, pioneered the use of solid ink blocks instead of cartridges, which Xerox have claimed will reduce waste and decrease printing costs. Not to be outdone, Canon also released a whole new range of photocopiers this year, the imageRUNNER ADVANCE range was released in September 2009. These photocopiers focused on improvements in document communication, integration and environmental impact. With advanced security features, seamless integration with existing systems, high levels of energy efficiency and the use of bio-plastics in some parts, Canon claimed that these multifunctional photocopiers include hundreds of enhancements and have been designed using customer and partner insight.

Environmental Emphasis

Environmental concerns have played a bigger role in shaping the photocopier industry in the last year than ever before. Environmental factors have clearly been having much more influence on the decisions businesses have been making, with more businesses requesting to view environmental policies and full environmental specification devices before they will even consider purchasing or leasing a photocopier. This trend is also shown by the manufacturers of new photocopiers and printers released advertising reduced environmental impact above any other developments.

Acquisitions and Partnerships

There have been several developments regarding partnerships in the photocopier industry in the last year. New partnerships and acquisitions can have a far reaching affect on any industry and several things looked as if they were going to severely rock the photocopier industry. The much talked about acquisition of Ikon by Ricoh in August 2008 certainly managed to create a stir in the photocopier market. More recent developments have included a partnership between HP and Canon, allowing them both to expand their markets, with plans for HP to sell Canon branded multifunctional printers. The deal everyone is now talking about the proposed acquisition of Oce by Canon. Canon have launched a bid for Dutch company Oce, which Canon's president Tsuneji Uchida has said would "contribute greatly to our goal of becoming the overall number one presence in the printing industry". (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0def2a60-d31a-11de-af63-00144feabdc0.html?nclick?check= )

Recession

A round-up of the years developments could not be complete without some mention of the worldwide recession. It seems that no industry has been completely immune to the affects of the recession, including the photocopier industry. In the beginning of 2009 it seemed that the photocopier industry was taking hits from several different directions, from Yen/Sterling exchange rate, to increases in manufacturing costs, to other businesses looking to reduce spend. Both the manufacturers and their authorised suppliers have been hit hard by changes in the market, with some manufacturers reporting profit drops of a staggering 50 percent and over. (http://www.canoncopiers.co.uk/photocopier-news/general-news/credit-crunch-impact-on-copier-industry.html).

Move from Photocopier Suppliers to Managed Print Services

There has been much talk in the last year about the evolution of the photocopier supplier's role. Businesses now expect much more from their photocopier supplier than just a piece of equipment and have started look for a company that has the ability to examine their whole print strategy and can offer advice and implement systems to help save money, streamline their printing and increase workflow. The fact that this shift has occurred during a recession is no coincidence­, as businesses are looking to save money and, if not managed correctly, print strategies can be the source of unnecessary spending. (http://www.cio.co.uk/article/3204319/managed-services-can-reduce-printing-and-paper-budgets/?intcmp=HPF3). It is the photocopier suppliers already offering such a comprehensive service that have been able to gain the most benefit from this shift in the market, and will continue to prosper above the others.