Takeaways from Toshiba’s 2017 Lead Conference

Many of us have read or written articles about some of the challenges that Toshiba, Japan has, particularly related to their Westinghouse nuclear power plant group.  I had an opportunity to attend Toshiba’s 2017 Lead Conference in Orlando, Florida last week.  This event was sponsored by Toshiba Tech, a 50% owned subsidiary of Toshiba, Japan although most of the sessions were conducted by TABS (Toshiba America Business Solutions).   TTEC very much operates as an independent Company and is traded on the stock market as a separate Company.  As a matter, of fact, during the opening session at the 2017 Lead Conference, Scott MacCabe, President and CEO of TABS, emphasized how TTEC stock outperformed stocks of other printer manufacturers.

The 2017 Lead Conference included sessions tailored for their dealers and for their end users.   There were a total of about 1350 people attending the event including dealers (328), end users (417), analysts, and TTEC/TABS employees.   What impressed me the most was the level of excitement and apparent loyalty among Toshiba’s dealers and their end users.  Toshiba recognized their top performing dealers and end users during the opening sessions and awards them for exceptional performance (i.e. trips etc.).

The following are some of my key takeaways from the 2017 Toshiba Lead Conference:

  • In 2016, Toshiba launched 23 new products, 13 color, 10 monochrome
  • MPS programs (Encompass) – Pagesmart program (pay per page) and program in conjunction with Supplies Network (pay per cartridge), $300/month for toner replenishment only, $500/month including service as well. The Pagesmart program exists now and the pay/cartridge program will be available by the end of 2017
  • Eco-friendly products – Print Relief program, e-STUDIO4508A (available June 18, 2017) with erasable ink
  • Toshiba is heavily promoting their Elevate platform – their MFP architecture that will simply convert a standard Elevate enabled MFP to an MFP specifically tailored one of 8 different target vertical markets. Available June 30, 2017.
  • eBridge Platform – Intel Atom based platform supporting dual scanning
  • V360 program – includes support and training for the channel on new products
  • Strong relationship (cross selling) with Lexmark, 65% of Toshiba dealers are engaged with Lexmark – goal is sell more A4 and A3 products and sell more service Contracts
  • 38% of TABS revenue comes from single line dealers
  • TTEC’s retail AI business solutions demonstrated are impressive, major supplier to Walmart, Kroeger, Brookstones etc.
  • TABS acquired 77 dealers in 2017, 54% of business is through dealers, 46% is direct.

In Photizo’s view, TTEC has obviously thought a lot about their strategy and has implemented some very good programs.  Their Elevate platform will hopefully allow them to penetrate a number of vertical markets with the help of a very loyal channel. TTEC and TABS will need to continue to educate the market on TTEC’s performance vs. Toshiba, Japan challenges so more messaging particularly with analysts and Wall Street is needed.   The fact that TTEC’s business is not solely dependent on the office printer market and their retail business has tremendous potential, Photizo is relatively optimistic about their future.

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