Ricoh Europe Acquires Apex’s European Business
Smart thinking from Ricoh
Last week, Ricoh Europe announced its acquisition of Apex’s European business, expanding its portfolio of managed services to include smart lockers.
“Smart what?” I hear you ask. Smart thinking, in my opinion.
Apex is a smart locker provider supporting retail, corporate, and logistics business and, in this deal, Ricoh acquires the software, solutions, and hardware assets of Apex’s European business, as well as its customers and partners.
My initial thought was that the last time I used a locker was in school, but that isn’t true. I use lockers all the time to retrieve online deliveries or purchase pots of honey (to name just a few examples). Smart Lockers that use cloud- and mobile-based services to secure and unlock valuable goods are a critical component of the last-mile delivery many e-commerce and parcel logistics companies face in urban areas. The smart locker is considered a sustainable alternative able to guarantee the high-level of service customers expect today, while being considerably less labor and cost dependent. The locker business is not small. Transparency Market Research sizes the global automated smart locker market at $671M USD in 2019 and predicts double-digit growth to 2030. Apex is considered a leading player in the market.
But why Ricoh? The connection between Ricoh and Apex is not new. They have been partners for many years and—as Ricoh has pivoted to expand its offering beyond document solutions providing “service” at customer level—Apex was one of their first partners where assets such as feet on the street, a global presence down to local level, and technology expertise coupled with managed service packages could be leveraged and ultimately merged.
Ricoh has been hit by the pandemic (arguably more than other office equipment vendors) because of their dependence on print and the massive shifts (more than 50%) of knowledge workers moving their workspace to the home. Over 75% of Ricoh’s revenue is derived from office print and services, but its drive to expand into a digital services company has been around considerably longer than the COVID pandemic. Their office services business has quietly been growing to offset the net loss in print.
Apart from the massive drop in office print, the pandemic has also boosted other markets, (most notably home shopping via the internet) and that is the beauty of this deal. Ricoh is buying into a sizable market that is growing considerably faster than office print and where the combination of Ricoh and Apex will lead to even more feet on the street and a chunk of the global e-Com and logistics market that previously Ricoh was not privy to. As I said, smart thinking!
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