"Committed to providing excellence to improve the quality of living" through the interaction between people and information. This is one element of our mission statement embraced in Ricoh's management philosophy. Since its founding in 1936, Ricoh has brought about technical innovations in the office environment by introducing a variety of new products and services, including sensitized paper, plain paper copiers, facsimile machines, and MFPs.
The foundation for these innovations is Ricoh's wide variety of resources. For example, MFPs, which are Ricoh's major products, are built upon integrated efforts among its various fields of expertise such as electrophotography, imaging, chemistry, optical technology, networks, software and others. We are certain that we will continue to create new value by combining these long-established technologies with new technologies.
The Ricoh Group's research and development activities
The Ricoh Group has built a solid R&D system that underpins its excellent capabilities of realizing comfortable workstyles by understanding customers and projecting future trends based on studies regarding the world economy, social and technological trends.
In particular, Ricoh's values are defined as Ricoh Brand Benefits. Specifically, keeping three key points in mind—"harmonize with the environment; simplify your life and work; and support knowledge management,"—we have been engaged in innovative technology development with the aim of realizing product and service development, which are important and impressive features for our customers.
At the technology development stage, Ricoh conducts R&D based on technology strategies, which are essential for the creation of new business opportunities and for innovation of existing business. Additionally, at the sales and support stage, we are engaged in joint value creation activities in accordance with marketing strategies in cooperation with customers, including promotion of the developer program and the development of system solutions and customization at Technology Centers around the world.
To come up with new innovations, it is essential to take a new approach for development style. Therefore, in addition to following conventional procedures, we have also been trying new approaches, including starting marketing activities at the stage of developing component technologies, and releasing a prototype into the market for the purpose of enhancing it together with customers.
Furthermore, in the R&D process at our global research and development facilities, open innovation activities are aggressively promoted, including collaboration with universities and other research institutes, businesses alliances in different industries, and standardization and criteria-forming activities through partnerships with other corporations.
Global Technology Development System
Ricoh has set up research and development sites around the world including Japan, the United States, India and China. These sites are actively engaged in group-wide R&D activities, from technological research at the seed level, to R&D concerning component technologies and its commercialization, as well as basic technology development including environmental/simulation technologies.
Technologies for a Sustainable Society
Ricoh is committed through innovation to contributing to the resolution of various problems facing society. To this end, we utilize the Group's technological and human resources to develop technologies that contribute to the reduction of environmental impact, products with superb usability, and next-generation potential.
Continuous R&D investment
Changes in R&D expenses
The Ricoh Group constantly invests approximately 5 to 6% of its total sales in R&D activities in order to continue to bring about innovations. For example, R&D expenses for fiscal 2012 (ended March 31, 2012) were 119 billion yen (with approximately 6% ratio to sales). And over 10% of R&D investment, or 16.7 billion yen, was allocated to development in the basic research field.