WITH the changing of the times, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Bhd is keeping up by moving beyond its core photocopier business into providing IT-based business solutions to a new base of clientele.
“We see that Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) is a game changer and we need to adopt it and accept it to improve ourselves in terms of productivity and global expansions together with the other SMEs. The venture into IT is mainly for the diversification of our products and to keep us afloat in the industry trend,” says Konica director and general manager Lim Chin Kok.
Among the solutions that Konica currently provide is its enterprise resource planning (ERP) for SME businesses to help them with automating their operations and make accurate decisions.
“ERP can be quite expensive for SMEs. Our ERP systems are moduralised with our local partners to meet SMEs’ requirements in terms of their scope and budget.
“This is why we started our IT solutions business as we have a fleet of customers in this situation. So besides handling their printing needs, we’re also helping them with their business operations,” Lim says.
The group also provides product solutions to their local entrepreneur customers.
Senior marketing manager Jason Leong says it is currently working with many sizable IT startup companies in Malaysia to promote their products.
“We make our product solutions affordable which allows SMEs to invest in their products and operations,” Leong says.
“We also have international partners due to our presence and we bring in their technical knowledge and allow the entrepreneurs to grow,” he adds.
On its venture into the IT solutions segment, Lim expects to encounter challenges.
“The challenges for the IT outsource business would be market acceptance of our entry into the IT segment. We are a printing-related company, and when we promote our IT solutions, the market might take a while to accept it.
“The second challenge that I can foresee would be the human resource. IT industries are different compared to the printing hardware services. The talent pool needs to understand the operations and should be able to offer value-added consultations to improve their operations,” Lim says.
However, Konica continues to invest in its core printing business.
According to the International Data Corporation, Konica has an indicative market share of 16%-18% in the printing industry.
In terms of competition, Lim says the group was one of the top printing companies in the previous quarter and there were some factors that differentiated them from their competitors.
“We made a major investment in a French company called MGI as they produced machines which helped with the jet varnish to produce a 3D varnish output. This helped our customers distinguished their printouts and likewise, help them stand out in terms of packaging for their own customers,” Lim says.
Konica is also looking into robotics, surveillance systems and the medical industry as there are plans in the pipeline to advance into these sectors.
“We are moving into the next level in tandem with IR4.0.
“Our security systems are IoT (Internet of Things) based, and this system will give us more technological abilities such as heat detection. The data we collect through the surveillance camera would be used for data analytics,” Leong says of its surveillance system.
It is also offering robotic services, particularly to help SME manufacturers to grow.
Konica is planning to cover more vertical products, such as WoundAide, for the medical industry.
“It is a technology we developed here to help with wound management especially for diabetic patients. The camera will be able to measure the wound and would give a more accurate reading,” he adds.
There is even a gas detection technology in the works, which will use cameras to detect gas leakages.
“These are the kind of products that Konica is planning to develop in leading up towards IR4.0,” Leong says.