With a career spanning more than three decades (and counting) across three continents, Canon USA’s Katsuhiro “Jerry” Matsufuji has had a front row seat to see print mature into a multi-billion dollar technology that you’ll find in every office. Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with the Vice President and General Manager of Marketing at Canon U.S.A., Inc., where he talked about what he’s excited about in the world of printing today, provided us with some insights into his vision for Canon’s future, and discussed the challenges faced by the imaging industry in 2023.
There Is a Lot to Be Excited About Right Now
Matsufuji expressed his excitement about the return of in-person events like Canon’s multi-city Canon Summit early this summer. He emphasized the value of bringing owners, sales reps, specialists, and service managers together to learn and discuss new technology and market trends, share strategies, and create strong connections with partners. Imparting this knowledge to and forming tight bonds with partners just isn’t the same over a video conference.
Looking at the office, Matsufuji is optimistic about Canon’s AMLOS (Activate My Line Of Sight) collaborative video conferencing technology. The solution leverages Canon’s camera technology and AI to create immersive meeting experiences for remote workers, so they can hear and see (and be heard and seen) just as if they were in the meeting room themselves. The solution will help equalize the meeting experience for all attendees regardless of location, and allow businesses to realize the employee productivity gains that come with hybrid working environments without suffering from the negative impacts like poor collaboration.
Outside of the office, Matsufuji is excited about Canon’s Colorado production print technology and PRISMA workflow solutions. “The Colorado made quite the impact at the ISA show earlier this year, and garnered a lot of attention at PRINTING United. Customers are very excited about the new white ink feature — it’s going to take their image quality to the next level. We have already received a lot of orders,” he said. “And with the PRISMA workflow solutions for Production and Large Format, dealers can walk into a customer’s office with a strong production print ecosystem that can unlock levels of efficiency and cost savings like never before. Together, these technologies present dealers with a simple and familiar path to diverse, growing revenue streams.”
Challenges in 2023
Matsufuji discussed how supply issues initially posed a hurdle; the shift in the paper industry, and acquiring and harnessing the mindshare of dealers.
Like many of its competitors, Canon was not immune to the ripple effects from COVID-19. Canon felt the impact of congested ports, increased shipping costs, and chip shortages. However, conditions have been improving as supply for integrated circuits improved, shipping channels decongested, and the cost of logistics normalized.
Matsufuji also talked about concerns with the paper situation. As demand for print declined, paper mills started dialing back production of office paper to focus on higher value products. This is creating shortages and increasing the cost of paper — and thus, the overall cost of print to the customer — which can have a negative effect on the bottom line.
From a marketing perspective, Matsufuji acknowledged the importance of acquiring and retaining mindshare amidst Canon’s diverse product offerings, especially in the enterprise space. Canon continuously invests in its dealer network, he noted, guiding them to efficiently harness the vast array of opportunities Canon offers.
The View from Jerry’s Crystal Ball
Delving into the evolving landscape of office spaces, Matsufuji recognized that the way office spaces are utilized will undergo substantial changes in the coming decade. It’s difficult to say exactly what that office will look like or if it will look different based on your geography (for example, you may see a lot more hybrid work in New York City than you do in Billings). But he is certain that no matter where you’re working or what industry you’re in, print will be part of that office in one fashion or another.
Patricia Ames is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.