Fuji drops Xerox, adds Film

Published on the 15/04/2021 | Written by Heather Wright

Peter Thomas_Fujifilm

Business innovation at the heart of name change…

“We are aiming to be bold,” says Peter Thomas.

The New Zealand managing director of Fujifilm Business Innovation – previously Fuji Xerox – admits the past year has been a difficult one for his company. Like most, it was impacted by Covid. Thomas says.

But the restructuring of last year has given way to a new growth strategy, which Thomas says sees the company growing its team, expanding its CodeBlue managed IT services business and eyeing up new offerings to bring to market.

“Yes, part of our market has been severely impacted by Covid with print continuing to be in decline, but at the end of the day we are taking the view that a growth strategy is what is needed for long term sustainability. And we believe we have the products and services, and the people to back them up, that can really add value to all businesses be that the public sector, private sector and from the smallest business to the largest organisation,” Thomas told iStart.

“We have made huge strides in the last couple of years”

The discussion was prompted by the Xerox brand, which has been operating in New Zealand for close on 60 years, being dropped from the company’s name this month following the end of a long-standing agreement with Xerox. It’s now Fujifilm Business Innovation, and Thomas is quick to note that the Business Innovation is a crucial part of the name.

“Our company mission is to drive business innovation and that is very much what the future of our company is about,” he says.

“We are growing our sales and service capability in every line of business to support the drive for business innovation.”

For Kiwi customers the global name change doesn’t bring any big changes for now. The team might be wearing uniforms with a new logo, and driving cars with a different logo on the side, but the company’s products and services remain unchanged.

“So on one level there’s no change on day one,” Thomas says, “but certainly as we look to the future we think there are some really exciting opportunities for our customers and for the market here in general given what Fujifilm Business Innovation is all about.”

While Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm Business Innovation are steeped in print – an area Thomas says ‘will always be in our heart’ – the company’s business is increasingly in helping customers ‘embrace the digital age’ and, ironically, print less.

Thomas expects the company to log revenues in excess of $200 million in the coming 12 months, after a rough 2020 (financials for the past year are yet to be revealed), with 50 to 60 percent of that coming from the print business. That’s a big reduction in print from just a few years ago when it accounted for 80-90 percent of the company’s business.

“We have made huge strides in the last couple of years to broaden our service offerings. The introduction of CodeBlue and IT managed service into our suite of products and services certainly aided that. As we move forward, more and more of what we do now is helping customers embrace the digital age.”

That includes an increasing range of automation services, such as accounts payable automation, sales order process automation and workflow.

The accounts payable automation services – a cloud based offering using Esker – in particular is proving popular Thomas says, with ‘literally hundreds of installations’ locally and ‘huge growth’. The addition of CodeBlue’s managed services to the lineup – gained when Fuji Xerox acquired ASX-listed CSG in a $140 million deal in February 2020 – has also enabled the company to expand its repertoire.

“We are finding more and more we’re able to have those wide-reaching conversations with customers about how we can help transform their business, whether it is in print, whether it’s in IT and managed services, whether it is providing automation services and other tools to help customers become more effective and efficient,” Thomas says.

He says the next six months will see CodeBlue’s offerings, which have so far been largely limited to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, expanded to Dunedin, Tauranga and Hamilton. Over time, it will become a nationwide capability, Thomas says.

While the company will continue to sell existing products under the Fuji Xerox brand, it will also begin sales and marketing activities of new products under the Fujifilm brand. Fujifilm Business Innovation is one of more than 300 subsidiaries in the Fujifilm Holdings portfolio, which also includes healthcare, pharmaceuticals, imaging and photography.

“There’s a lot of cool stuff going on across those companies and we have an opportunity now to think about how we might bring other products and services to the NZ market to support our customers.”

As to what specifically we might see, Thomas is a little coy. But he does reference a closer relationship with Fujifilm New Zealand, a separate local business which primarily provides services in photo and imaging, as well as supporting the health sector around x-rays and the likes.

“We are looking at ways we can bring some offerings say to the education sector by using some of the cool camera, video, imaging type solutions that are offered by Fujifilm and how we can help schools, particularly with their photography classes and their media classes to use some of this cool new tech to teach the leaders of tomorrow better ways to use those types of products and services,” Thomas says.

“With the kick off of Fujifilm Business Innovation there will be a range of new software solutions that we will be creating globally and bringing to customers here in the New Zealand market.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is drive business innovation, and we really think by understanding customers’ pain points and challenges we have a range of solutions that can meet their needs for the future. We have some cool stuff now and there will be even more coming in future.

“Watch this space.”

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