A conventional style of product development can be characterized by the review-and-build-up process, where any problem identified with a previous model is corrected, customer needs and the latest market trends are taken into consideration, and a new product is created on the basis of these corrections and introduced. However, in the development of our Smart MFP series, we started from scratch; we avoided any and all assumptions or preconceived ideas and went back to the very beginning, considering "what is really needed by customers today?"
We started with the implementation of a questionnaire survey covering customers from around the world; the first thing we did in this project was to get feedback from users of multifunction printers and identify the functions and services truly desired by customers.
The results of our global questionnaire survey informed us that customers of low-segment machines have the following impressions, desires and priorities regarding multifunction printers:
With this feedback, our marketing and engineering departments launched a joint conference for concept development, in which discussions were repeated for about 10 months to find an answer to the question of what "value" should be provided by Smart MFPs.
After close investigations, analysis and long hours of discussions, we finally reached a certain concept for the Smart MFP series; it is "an effective utilization of the strengths of the existing ECOSYS long-life design, combined with streamlined functions consisting only of truly needed systems for cost reduction as well as an aggressive pursuit of energy-saving performance, convenience and comfort contributive to customers' corporate activities." To achieve such a high-level goal, we had to overcome various kinds of difficulties at each stage of development, but we successfully solved problems one by one, thanks to the great efforts and commitment of each engineer in understanding the concept and sharing our enthusiasm toward customer satisfaction. Thus, the new series of multifunction printers with a novel concept has come into being.