The 80’s movie classic might seem like a strange comparison to draw parallels to the print industry, but in these uncertain times, the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi is more crucial than ever before. These brands that understand the importance of asking the right questions of their users have gained the insights needed to pivot in the right direction to address users’ new and current needs. To say that the last few months have thrown a curve ball to companies and their existing strategies is an understatement to say the least. Nothing is as it was before (the pandemic). But many have adapted Mr. Miyagi’s strategies to better weather the tumultuous storm, in ways that differentiate them from their competitors and show how in-tune they are with their clients’ constantly-changing needs.

“The answer is only important if you ask the right question.” – The Karate Kid

Karate pose on beach

The Wisdom of Mr. Miyagi

The key lessons from Mr. Miyagi can serve as metaphors for life in general, and more specifically they can show businesses how to react and deal with sudden upheavals in their respective industries.

Many companies have already aligned themselves with the main takeaways from the Karate Kid.

1. Remain Nimble and Adaptable to Change

Kyocera is purportedly adopting the strategy to release future MFPs with speed licenses, which would enable them to manufacture a base configuration within a device family. The dealer could then set up the MFP with the appropriate speed license, based on the needs of the client. This allows Kyocera to respond faster and more easily to demand as print volumes continue to fluctuate and more workers worldwide continue to work-from-home. This also gives Kyocera flexibility and cost savings advantages with its supply chain and distribution that many of their competitors do not possess.

2. Take Advantage of Existing Capabilities

In April Xerox announced it would be manufacturing hospital-grade hand sanitizers in the US and Canada to assist front-line workers and hospitals who were reportedly running into shortages. Xerox was able to utilize their already-established manufacturing plants in Toronto, Canada and near Rochester, NY to do this.

In the spirit of “We’re all in this together,” Brother was able to donate 100 industrial sewing machines to help manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amid shortages towards the beginning of the pandemic.

Ricoh leveraged their bioprinting technology to commence sales and development of their DNA standard plate “RICOH Standard DNA Series” as a standard substance for genetic testing. They planned to expand the scope of their DNA standard plate for various strands of coronavirus.

Konica Minolta and its IT services division (All Covered) began to offer training sessions to teach educators how to use G-Suite and Office 365 to facilitate remote learning.

3. Learn and Grow from Adversity

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Konica Minolta has improved upon its global IT portfolio with the Workplace Hub (WPH), that offers SMBs a comprehensive IT/print solution. This will help support companies with smaller offices and limited IT infrastructure as they continue to navigate the remote working environment.

Ricoh recently launched their AV Managed Services, which are designed to provide customers with improved control of the meeting room and overall workplace experience. This is part of Ricoh’s global strategy to focus digital workplace transformations. This follows the larger industry trend towards the smart office, giving customers more centralized control over their technology.

Sharp recently announced the release of their Synappx mDesk experience that is more user-friendly to customers and will offer increased meeting efficiency. This range of software is compatible with both Microsoft 365 and G-Suite platforms and is designed to support the hybrid (in-office and remote) work spaces.

The Takeaway

Like Daniel-San, the print industry has been knocked down and experienced blows and defeats (amid COVID and throughout its more than 50-year span), but that hasn’t stopped print companies and dealers from picking up the pieces, regrouping, and trying again with fresh ideas and strategies. Mr. Miyagi knew the importance of perseverance and hard work to achieving any goal, no matter how difficult. Companies that follow the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi, either consciously or subconsciously, will be better equipped to not only keep themselves afloat during this time, but will learn to thrive and beat out their competitors who didn’t adapt as well.

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