Some corporations and other businesses in Hong Kong estimate that the total cost involved in processing documents swallows up as much as 15 per cent of their revenue.
"Business in Hong Kong is dominated by paperwork," says Wilson Mak, director of marketing and business development, Ricoh Hong Kong Limited (RHK). "Even simple daily administrative procedures like claiming petty cash and applying for leave involves the generation of paperwork across departments, delaying revenue-producing work and adding to administrative costs."
He believes that a document management system is indispensable to all business, and says that in response to client needs, RHK has introduced a new marketing concept by providing clients with professional consultancy services that reduce such paperwork and cut costs by streamlining a company's administrative workflow through the use of more sophisticated office equipment.
Less is more
Established in 1963, RHK is Hong Kong's leading supplier of document management solutions and related products such as copiers, digital multi-functional document systems, colour laser copier/printers, black and white and colour laser printers, fax machines and document scanners.
The company's new marketing strategy mainly targets SMEs looking for IT support, plus bigger corporations requiring consultancy services on document solutions that will reduce operating costs. Because of the extra business being generated, RHK is hiring more frontline staff for its sales and marketing and IT divisions.
Also, to meet SME clients' needs for fast yet professional technical support, RHK has introduced the industry's first "two-hour service pledge", under which it responds within two hours to urgent service calls.
To accomplish this RHK depends on its professional engineering workforce, pointing out that company engineers regularly update their qualifications. As a result, its 350-strong engineers possess internationally recognised technical qualifications such as A+ Certification, Network+ Certification, Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) and the Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE).
Stressing the value of its document management concept, Mr Mak says Ricoh can bring substantial benefits to the operations of businesses ranging from corporations to SMEs.
In addition to document management, Ricoh's document solutions include printing solutions, host and variable data printing solutions, document management solutions, outsourcing services, and data capturing solutions.
To tailor solutions packages that can lower cost and improve productivity, Ricoh's office consultants analyse client document workflow status, cost of ownerships in hardware and other running costs, plus maintenance and management cost. Another value-added service to clients is RHK's "information technology services" which provide clients with network and PC support.
Mr Mak says that with office equipment going digital and being connected to IT networks, the office management industry has entered into a new phase, moving on from "office automation" to "office technology".
In line with the company's new business direction in providing consultative services, Mr Mak says RHK will need to substantially increase its staff to cope with the extra workload of the marketing, business and after-sales service teams.
For new recruits in the business development division, candidates should be familiar with back-office workflow and attentive to detail since their main responsibility is to provide consultancy services to clients. They should also have good listening and presentation skills to fully understand clients' needs.
For product marketing positions, candidates should have several years' experience in sales and marketing, and be "creative thinkers" and "risk-takers", and possess numerical and analytical skills.
Newcomers to the network solutions team should be IT professionals with five to seven years' experience.
Ricoh offers new recruits good career paths, impressive remuneration packages and products and on-the-job training opportunities. Though there are variations in entry requirements for different positions, Mr Mak stresses that as office equipment is a kind of "people business", whatever position the successful recruits would hold at the company, they should demonstrate good communication and interpersonal skills.