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Kyocera goes paperless

Kyocera Document Solutions tells BRYAN TURNER what it takes to steer a business in a vastly different direction.



Printing is big. Research shows that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. But what about printing in five years time?

It is clear that businesses need to get on the automation train before it leaves the station. As one of the leaders in this trend discovered, the full benefits only become clear once the journey has begun.

“We’ve been involved with this digital transformation journey for the past four and a half years,” says Werner Engelbrecht, general manager of Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa (KDZA).

“It started as a project from Europe, and it was one of those initiatives that we were asked to participate in. To be honest, there wasn’t an initial buy-in because we didn’t understand what it entailed. It wasn’t until we moved down this journey that we realised the impact this would have on our business.

“Four and a half years later, we’ve done a lot and we’re not yet finished. On the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our experience is everybody has these terms that they throw around, but not everyone knows where to start. In our experience, we advise that businesses should identify some pains in their business, pick a pain point, and start there.”

KDZA recently redefined its brand identity, shifting from primarily providing the latest printing device technology to consulting on technologies businesses should use to manage their operations.

“We have the experience across many industries,” says Engelbrecht. “We’ve gained initial experience on taking our own business paperless. It’s quite bold for a traditional printing company to say ‘we’re going paperless’, but we believe this to be the future of our business. It doesn’t help to remain constant. Although we’re great as a printing company, we’ve ticked that box so we’re embracing future technologies that can develop our business offering.

“Our first process for going paperless was implementing electronic invoicing. We used to have someone who would capture and print our invoices, which cost us roughly R12 an invoice. After we implemented the solution, that dropped to below R1 per invoice. At around 3,500 invoices per month, we’ve saved quite a bit.”

But what happens to jobs when something like an electronic invoicing system is implemented?

“Kyocera’s philosophy is ‘Do the right thing as a human being’,” says Engelbrecht. “Following our philosophy, we upskilled that person to work in our Accounts Receivable department. We don’t see these new technologies as a threat because we believe businesses are obligated to reskill employees to more meaningful work.

“We have a culture of process improvement. We’re always asking ourselves ‘If you do something, is it the best way you can do it?’.”

Jaen-Pierre Lourens, software product manager at KDZA, says this new way of working has rapidly changed how Kyocera operates, from many aspects of the business.

“We follow Kaizen philosophy,” says Lourens. “This is the process of constant small improvements in the entire organisation with the aim of driving a culture of working smarter, keeping motivated, and cost reduction. This approach applies to every department; if they see something they can do better, they better it. We believe these small incremental changes will lead businesses towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

There are many ways for businesses to get started on this journey, but there is one fundamental rule.

“It’s vital to have buy-in from the top,” says Engelbrecht. “It’s not something that should be put on the desk of the IT administrator, it needs to be driven from the top where executives lead their company. This involves a lot of change management and uncertainty because it’s something new. We’re on this journey ourselves, so we can advise on solutions to implement based on how our client’s businesses operate.”

To find out more about KDZA, click here


Second-hand smartphone market booms

The worldwide market for used smartphones is forecast to grow to 332.9 million units, with a market value of $67 billion, in 2023, according to IDC



International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.

This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable. Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, says: “In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone. Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)

2018 Market
2023 Market
North America39.022.2%87.226.2%17.4%
Rest of World136.877.8%245.773.8%12.4%

Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023, Dec 2019.

Table Notes: Data is subject to change.
* Forecast projections.

Says Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones: “Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth. Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward.”

According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand me down” or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade.

The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023 (Doc #US45726219), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2023. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.

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Customers and ‘super apps’ will shape travel in 2020s



Customers will take far more control of their travel experience in the 2020s, according to a 2020 Trends report released this week by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

Through independent research with thousands of global travellers – including 500 in South Africa – hundreds of travel professionals and interviews with leaders of some of the world’s biggest travel brands, Travelport uncovered the major forces that will become the technology enablers of travel over the next decade. These include:

Customers in control

Several trends highlight the finding that customers are moving towards self-service options, with 61% of the travellers surveyed in South Africa preferring to hear about travel disruption via digital communications, such as push notifications on an app, mobile chatbots, or instant messaging apps, rather than speaking with a person on the phone. This is especially important when it comes to young travellers under 25, seen as the future business traveler, and managing their high expectations through technology.

Mobile takeover

With the threat of super app domination, online travel agencies must disrupt or risk being disrupted. Contextual messaging across the journey will help. Super app tech giants like WeChat give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, find a date, get food delivery, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. Travel brands that want to deliver holistic mobile customer experiences need to think about how they engage travellers within these super apps as well as in their own mobile channels.

Retail accelerated

In the next year, research shows, we will see an accelerated rate of change in the way travel is retailed and purchased online. This includes wider and more complex multi-content reach, more enriched and comparable offerings, more focus on relevance than magnitude, and an increase in automation that enables customer self-service.

“How customers engage with their travel experience – for instance by interacting with digital ‘bots’ and expecting offers better personalised to their needs – is changing rapidly,” says Adrian Roodt, country manager for Southern Africa at Travelport. “We in the travel industry need to understand and keep pace with these forces to make sure we’re continuing to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone.”

Read the full 2020 Trends report here: 2020 Trends hub.

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