In an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Kuldeep Malhotra, Director & V.P. Sales and Office Marketing & Planning at Konica Minolta explained trends in India’s document management space and how this market is evolving in the post COVID-19 scenario.
Here are the edited excerpts:
- How are businesses coping with the new normal, and what are their strategies towards navigating at this time?
The new normal has shown us the potential of digital solutions and how tapping them can bring large-scale benefits to the table. As a result, we at Konica Minota have taken a digital route to address customer issues and queries, and endeavour to serve them in the best possible manner.
We have strived to make our services as contactless as possible to ensure safety for our customers. For instance, the “Announcement” app available on the Konica Minolta Marketplace app store for the new i-series MFPs displays announcements on the MFP screen around safety and precautions. So, users get an alert message before they start using the device.
Likewise, our bizhub Remote Access stimulates MFP’s control panel and enables users to print using mobile phones. Hence, promoting safety through a “No Touch” approach. Moreover, we have also set up a team of service engineers to serve customers from home. When it comes to making communication between teams and customers smooth and transparent, we use CSRC, CSRA, and iTraining.
Although COVID-19 is not here to stay forever, the impact it has left will always remain with us from now on. At Konica Minolta, we understand this and will strive to tackle this crisis more confidently with our digital-first approach, without compromising on social distancing and other safety protocols.
- How did you support your customers at the lockdown time?
We took up a ‘less contact, go digital’ approach to ensure business continuity. We have enabled our team of service engineers to work and serve customers seamlessly even while working from home. To keep communication smooth and transparent, we have been using other in-house remote applications such as CSRC, CSRA, iTraining, etc.
We also used the bizhub Remote Access App to monitor customers’ toner consumption levels remotely and predict usage for prompt and accurate deliveries while adhering to safety guidelines. When it comes to delivery, we deployed a team of delivery personnel who took care of this task safely.
A mix of all these measures helped us sail through the on-going crisis so far.
- What are the long-term precautions that the company is taking to keep operations running while keeping employees?
Digital will be the major oil for organizations to sustain and successfully run their operations in the post-COVID era. We are strictly adhering to the government guidelines and restarting our offline operations with precautions such as temperature checks, wearing masks and gloves, disinfecting common touchpoints, etc. We are also spreading awareness around the same through our social media channels.
- How are you preparing to face the post-COVID world?
The on-going pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have pushed companies to adopt digital strategies. In fact, it is an opportunity for every business to leverage the untapped potential of digital transformation and continue operations seamlessly, even during these unprecedented times.
We are witnessing that our customers & partners are gradually getting comfortable with digital servicing. As they use more and more digital tools, they become confident and familiar with the on-going digital transformation.
So yes, we are seeing a positive response from the market with digitalisation gaining more traction among customers, who earlier believed in traditional processes.
We are hopeful that we would be able to see more positivity in the coming months & market situation would become better and will get our business back on track and call it “Survival Mode to Recovery Mode “
- Have there been any interesting consumer trends you observed during the lockdown period?
Banner printing, mobile printing, digitization of paper documents, and IC card authentication are the top four trends that we have observed since lockdown was announced.
- As offices reopen, they will need to issue circulars, advisory, and notices for precautions. For this, banner printing will be a crucial necessity.
- With social distancing as the backdrop, offices will continue to follow safety norms and avoid touching common touchpoints like a computer screen. They will need mobile printing solutions for conducting print operations safely using mobile phones.
- Similarly, biometrics will be replaced with contactless alternatives to conduct printing by waiving an IC card over a machine’s card reader to print.
- Professionals will also require to digitize all kinds of documents across all formats so that later they can drive functions such as save, select, or recall as per the business requirement.
- What are your key learnings from this lockdown experience been?
The biggest takeaway from COVID-19 is future-readiness. It has taught us how uncertainties like these can make businesses suffer and face unforeseen losses. It has given us an idea of what impact a crisis can bring to the overall business operations, employees, customers, and stakeholders.
At Konica Minolta, we understand these learnings and strive to equip ourselves with the right set of tools that can help us fight such uncertainties in a pre-planned manner, rather than taking the shock first and then responding to it.
- What is going to be your growth strategy going ahead?
Apart from tapping on the new growth avenues, we will keep renovating our existing infrastructure with cutting-edge technologies to better serve our customers. These include hyper-automation, robotic process automation (RPA), and AI, to name a few. We will continue to innovate further and make such implementations keeping the safety of our employees and customers at the forefront.