Canon, the global imaging company has deepened its footprints in Nigeria to cater to the imaging industry. It recently announced partnerships for in-country repairs and service of its equipment. Head, Canon CCNA, Somesh Adukia, spoke with BRANDish on its future for the Nigerian and the wider African market
What was the philosophy behind today’s event? What was the whole idea?
Good afternoon, first of all for me it’s a good opportunity that I get to welcome all the distinguished members of the Nigerian press coming to this event. The basic idea of this event was to inform, you know in Nigeria, the opening up of the service centers in Nigeria. So since we have realized that for Nigerian consumers, so this is very important and becomes one of the significant criteria influencing this purchase decision, so we started to work on having the right service partners. So now we are ready and we have appointed three leading service providers in the country as our authorized and certified service partners. We have started our operations initially with the four cities, including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu and we have started with 10 locations where buying our products can be serviced all over the country. So today’s event was to inform Nigerian consumers that now once you buy Canon products, you can not only be assured about the quality of product but also about the quality of service which could be as close as possible.
We have situations whereby what you get in Europe and The Americas is not usually the same as what you get here in space and even quality of service. What is Canon bringing that’s going to be different?
CCNA reports to Canon Europe Ltd in London and all of our service trainings, service authorizations are directly managed by Canon Europe Ltd so as far as the service quality and service standards are concerned, it is exactly as per any other European destination. Off course we have to work hard in finding our right kind of partner, which we have taken our time for one year so that’s why When my colleague mentioned today that as far as photo video and camera products is concerned it requires a certain kind of testing scenario, it requires some kind of room size, some kind of scenario like dark room availability, all these things are big investments not only in terms of money but also in terms of availability and willingness and we found that Ensure services had that kind of setup and that’s why we appointed them . Then we have forced them to buy the Canon certified tools because without the necessary Canon tools you cannot service Canon products based on the Canon standards. Once they have bought the tools our engineers have come there and given them the right training to their engineers, to their technicians. We have set up the tools, we have set up the entire service facility and this would be on a constant basis so I can assure that the Service delivery from Canon in Nigeria would be in line with our global committee standards
Canon has been off and on the shelf for some time, what informed the disappearance and reappearance of the product now in Nigeria?
As I mentioned African markets were covered in a fragmented manner by Canon, half of the African market was covered by Canon east, and the other half by Canon SA. And the domestic market of SA is so big and from Canon … perspective, the gulf region is also so big that we were not able to give the right kind of attention which African markets deserved and that is the reason Canon decided to have dedicated entity focused on African markets only, so CCNA for which I’m responsible for the consumer range of products, we don’t have any other markets other than Africa and if you talk about Africa, then which is a bigger market than Nigeria? Nigeria is our bread and butter today if we want to succeed in our business operations. And in order to be more consistent, not only consistent but also sustainable what we have done is to structure our business in an organic way rather than a haphazard approach. So first of all, what we have done is we have established our local office as Canon Nigeria imaging office supplies. This gives us no way to go back from the country because establishing a local presence in a country is not easy and it supports the affair. We have appointed locals to manage our business in Nigeria, we have appointed Channel account managers, we have appointed business development managers so that we can cater to each and every channel and segment of the business. We feel quite confident that with our strategy of closer to customers, with the right distribution set up, with the kind of right service set up from today, we would be more consistent and also sustainable in our operations in Nigeria.
how cost efficient would repair services under your service centers that you just established in Nigeria be?
First of all we’d like to say that Canon products are made with a lot of high quality standards and the rate of our repair ratio is less than two percent which is the lowest in the industry, Not only about printing and camera industry, but the entire consumer electronic industry, because we offer and follow the Latest quality standards set by our Japanese engineers all across factories in the world. Secondly, we offer one year free consumer warranty to our customers and this is one big announcement that we’re making today, that CCNA has today launched dedicated warranty only for African consumers for products purchased from our authorized sources from African partners. So for one year, if you buy a product and if something goes wrong, you can approach any of our service centers and get your products free of cost repair. In case you come across any issue which is out of the warranty period then again you have to pay your nominal charges depending on the kind of repair you expect and then it can be repaired. What I would like to assure you is that we are working on a competitive offering … the price of our products or the price of our services so that we can become common and most popular preferred name in Nigerian households
Are you going to standardize repair cost so that if I’m fixing a camera lens for instance in Nigeria, it is the same in dollar terms as someone who is fixing in Germany or U.K. for instance?
It is not possible to standardize the pricing of the services because different markets have different dynamics of importation, custom duties on spare parts etc. Canon as a company respects the laws and policies of the local governments and law makers, so we, our partners would be inline with the local laws but we ensure is that we would give competitive and reasonable price offering.
The imaging industry that has been most hit by the convergence dynamics in global business. How is Canon responding to this challenge, the challenge of convergence?
First of all, Canon as a brand has accepted the fact that the entry level consumers of cameras has now shifted to the smartphone so we are no longer promoting ( our ) entry range of camera products by rather we are more interested in offering our mid high range of camera products as well as promoting more DSLR range of products because still there is a lot of difference in the quality of output which can be created by a smartphone image versus an image taken by a normal camera or a DLSR and we as world leaders would like to promote this aspect because there are many occasions in your life whereby you need to conserve these memories for the future, for example the wedding of your sister or the birth of your child, or the first steps that your baby has taken, all these moments are very precious and you cannot compromise on the quality of these images because these memories (are not for play) but you want to cherish the future as well. So for these, as brand leaders in imaging we are continuously having lot of research and development to enhance the quality of our products and services that we can offer to our consumers and be in their minds. From the entry level perspective, which I said has been shifted to smartphones, we are now offering storage devices, so there is Canon storage device called (life cake) whereby you can store all your images whether it is captured by a smartphone or camera on a storage device which is not physical, it is on the cloud and it is free of cost up to 10GB so this is the way we’re dealing with this convergence
Why would I want to buy your camera when there cameras now that I can sync with my wearable device?
First of all, I would say that the quality of the product, the quality of the image which Canon cameras can take cannot be matched by a smartphone and there are lot of moments in your life where you need to have good quality images an example which I have just now is a wedding, you cannot shoot a wedding through a smartphone because these pictures would need to be printed, you need to make an album. Secondly, in order to compliment this further, our products are becoming wifi enabled, our products are Also becoming enabled with NFC technology, so you spoke about removing the card and getting your images transferred but for an NFC device, you don’t need to remove that, you just place your product to another NFC enabled device and automatically all your pictures would be transferred to that device. If you want to take a print, then again we’re offering wifi connectivity whereby through your mobile phone or through your camera, you can transfer the image to the printer and the print outs can happen. You can also do it from cloud, so if any document or something is enabled in the cloud and I’m sitting in Nigeria and I have to make a print out from my printer which is at my Dubai apartment, I can do so sitting in Nigeria. So these are the kinds of things we’re offering to our consumers, but the biggest offering is the quality of products. I mentioned about the print services, now we have also come up with a concept called the (‘scanon HD Photobook’) so you click on your pictures, then there’s a portal to register your images and your pictures would be printed in form of an album and delivered to your apartment, to your address, wherever you have specified. There are a lot of other things which Canon has to offer rather than just offering a product of camera. We are currently promoting our various range of products and services to the consumers so that they are aware of our offerings.
You mentioned a few of your service partners here and it struck me that you are probably anticipating the digital migration ecosystem in the Nigerian Broadcast industry, because you have a lot of things for the broadcast, are you interested in playing deeper in that area?
Sure, First of all I would like to say that we have to take the right steps at the right time so that it is sustainable in future. One of your earlier questions was that you have seen Canon come and then disappear so what we are doing is taking an organic approach and our approach is back to basis. So first of all we are having the right kind of distribution partners set up in the country, we are having local presence established, today we have just launched our service presence in the market. As far as digital transformation is concerned most of our products and services are able to support this transformation. From broadcast specifically, we are soon going to hire a broadcast expert in our team who can support this transition from analog to Digital, but I would say that in Nigerian market we would not be going to aggressive at this moment of time because when we launch this, we want to launch in a consistent and sustainable manner but maybe in one year’s time, we should be able to do that as well.
Is the focus more on the usual camera, what about your cameras for documentaries and films what added advantage would it have for Nigerian producers, (music) producers etc
Again, quality remains a key thing for Canon but apart from the quality there are many other features which Canon is coming out in all its products and services which are unique not only to Canon but also to the industry. Through our business development managers working in Dubai and also locally in Nigeria, we are trying to have a lot of engagement activity with the professional film video users whereby we understand about their needs, inform them about the quality and features which are enabled in our products and services, so with these kinds of engagement, like we just signed up with Teco Benson which is a very known name in Nollywood film industry, so he is now promoting Canon video products in Nollywood. What we are doing is a lot of engagement activity, we have the right kind of products that can suit the Nollywood film industry because our research indicates that Nollywood is the third largest film industry in the world, and we want to be a part of it as Canon.
Competition, Konica Minolta has been here, they have set up an office a few years ago, they have service points, what are you bringing to the table that they are not offering at the moment?
Konica Minolta right now i think is more restricted to the copier business and I’m responsible for the consumer range of Canon products which includes cameras and inkjet and laser printers, so there is another department and my other colleague who is responsible for copier and high end products, so maybe this question is not addressable and answerable by me.