Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

What’s Missing from Your Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy?”

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Canon Solutions America will host an “Ask the Experts Roundtable” entitled “What’s Missing from Your Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy” on Oct 27th at 12:30 PM at the Direct Marketing Association Conference being held in San Diego, CA. The roundtable Group Leaders will be Elizabeth Gooding, President, Gooding Communications Group, and Sheri Jammallo, Corporate Enterprise Segment Marketing Manager, Canon Solutions America.  Both Elizabeth and Sheri will lead the group through a discussion you won’t want to miss.  In this session you will learn:

What’s Missing from Your Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy?   When marketers compare the MROI of the various direct marketing channels they use the conversation tends to follow the lines of “digital versus traditional” or “online and offline” but rarely is it a true “omni-channel” discussion. One of the most overlooked channels is statement marketing, which is a critical anchor point in customer retention and cross-selling initiatives. With recent advances in full-color inkjet printing, statement marketing is poised to become one of the most cost efficient and effective tools in the marketer’s palette – particularly when used in conjunction with an overall multi-channel customer experience strategy. Come to this session to learn how statement marketing can drive value on its own, add value to other channels, and the key factors to consider when developing statement marketing initiatives.

For more information on this session, go to: http://dma14.org/conference/ask-the-experts/

Elizabeth Gooding helps clients in highly regulated industries to optimize the designs, processes and production technology used for multi-channel communications. She conducts research on trends, technology and opportunities related to the marketing services value-chain while sharing her experience through industry white papers, blogs and speaking engagements. She is a recognized thought-leader in the optimization of transaction communications and hosts the Transpromo Professionals Network on LinkedIn and other business communications related groups. Having worked extensively with a wide spectrum of clients from print manufacturers and print service providers to in-plant printers and corporate print buyers she has a unique perspective on the application of technology to specific vertical industries and business development strategies that drive results.

Raising the Standards with the Océ ImageStream 3500

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

The end of May marked a turning point in inkjet printing history with Canon’s announcement of the Océ ImageStream 3500. This continuous feed color inkjet press is the first of its kind with the ability to print on standard offset paper stocks. With both digital and offset capabilities, the technology of the Océ ImageStream 3500 removes the need for two different types of paper. Thus, high-quality inkjet printing is more streamline than ever before. Print Service Providers no longer need to rely on treated paper or add-ons to achieve high-quality print production. In coordination with paper mill partners, Canon has tested the print and image quality on a range of paper sources from uncoated to gloss. Notably, all have yielded positive results.

For commercial printers aiming to make the transition into digital printing, this could be your solution. With dual-functionality, the press handles a digital or conventional run up to 160m/min at 1200 x 600 dpi and features a flexible droptlet modulation for higher perceived image resolution. In terms of applications, the Océ ImageStream 3500 is fit for high-end book production, brochures, magazines, personalized catalogues, as well as direct mail pieces. The press itself is the most compact in its class: 10-50% smaller than other production system, which translates to a major save on floor space.

That transition from offset printing to digital, or even inkjet, printing… it just got a little bit more tempting.

All in all, the standards have been raised with the announcement of the Océ ImageStream 3500. We will just have to wait patiently until 2015 for its launch. For further details, check out the recent posts on WhatTheyThink? and InfoTrends.

Big Game Hunting

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Next week, Enfocus Software will be hosting a “Virtual Safari” which, for me, has much greater appeal than an actual safari in that it avoids bugs, malaria, snakes, and crocodile and hippopotamus attacks. (Yes, it is actually true that more people are killed by hippopotami than lions, tigers, crocodiles, or even sharks. A traumatic childhood experience involving Henrietta Hippo from The New Zoo Revue adds only psychological scars.)

What was I saying?

Oh, right: the Virtual Safari. Five days, 25 speakers, and 28 sessions covering the virtual waterfront of the graphic arts market. I will be conducting a session on Wednesday called “Troubleshooting Big Game: 9 big mistakes that would-be wide-format printers can make.” (Why 9? Well, it’s a nice number, it’s the lowest odd number that is not a prime number, and reminds me of Dante’s “9 circles of hell” in the Inferno, which was kind of a safari. Or, in other words, I picked it at random.)

From buying equipment, to dealing with customers, to preflighting files, to sustainability, to finishing, I’ll be pointing out some traps and pitfalls to avoid, some obvious, some not so much. I also think it gives a pretty good overview (if I do say so myself) of the current state of the wide-format market, and what shops should know if they want to get involved in it. Last year, Dr. Joe Webb had commented, in a project we were working on for a wide-format output service provider, that “The wide-format market is like Florida: everyone is from somewhere else.” That is, today’s wide-format printing market is comprised of companies that moved from other places—photolabs, for example, transitioned over to wide-format printing. Some commercial printers have also moved—or at least gotten a time-share—there as well.

And one could hardly blame them. The troubles of the printing industry are not unknown to anyone reading this, and when one looks at how specialty graphics and wide-format printing applications have been growing—and are continuing to experience solid double-digit growth—well, it’s no surprise that others are eager to get a piece of the action. And why not? The state of the technology now is such that the barriers to entry have been drastically lowered from even what they were a decade ago. So it doesn’t take a mammoth investment to start-up a specialty printing business.

Not that this has made everyone happy. Some wide-format veterans have expressed a kind of “there goes the neighborhood” attitude, and some even worry—not wrongly—about certain wide-format printing applications becoming commoditized and spawning the kind of cutthroat pricing that has plagued small-format commercial printing. And certainly things like banners or even some types of garment printing don’t command the margins they once did.

The advantage to specialty printing, though, is that it rapidly changes. This may be a little scary, but there will always be new types of printing technologies that allow for the creation of new, exotic, high-value, high-margin printed items. It won’t be the same items from year to year, but that hasn’t been true for a long time, even in small-format printing. The market for print—or any type of communication—is just that, a market. It’s dynamic and fast-changing. Certain products become popular, they peak, plateau, then become less popular. Kind of like most celebrities. Therefore, it pays to know what new products/services are enabled by new technology, and what is in demand.

It can be a challenge and require no small amount of effort to keep up with everything—“stop the world, I want to get off!”—but actually it makes it all that much more exciting—as exciting as, say, a safari, but minus the malaria. And the hippos.

All the Signs Are There

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Last week, I was in Orlando for the International Sign Association’s Sign Expo 2014, which was only the second Sign Expo I had covered (last year in Las Vegas was the first). It’s an exciting show, with the printing and electronic technologies I normally cover being presented from a bit of a different angle. An interesting comment I got from a few people I spoke with was that the show was “losing its identity” as a show dedicated specifically to signage. Granted, I don’t have the years of experience in that space to necessarily agree or disagree, but I mulled this over as I made my last reconnaissance mission to the show floor Saturday morning. As I wandered around, I kept coming back to the thought that the show’s identity seemed to me perfectly intact, at least as far as what it aims to focus on; it just seems that the nature of signage itself has been changing.

Last year, one of the show’s organizers told me that a major growth area of the show was print. Now, that’s one of those statements that, had I been drinking something, would have done a spit-take, as I haven’t been accustomed to thinking of print as being a big growth area anywhere these days. And yet today’s crop of wide-format printers—the big flatbed UVs and the textile printers, to name but two of the biggest categories of print equipment in the signage market today—were easily edging out channel letters, traditional wooden signs, exotic 3D lettering, and all the things we usually think of as “signs.” In fact, there were even some comments from the “old school” sign folks along the lines of print (at least in the context of signage) being some “new fad that will end as soon as people come to their senses”—kind of like what many commercial printers thought (and a few still think) about the Internet. I love it: print as a disruptive, upstart technology! We haven’t seen that since the 15th century.

And then there’s Maude: the substantial growth of dynamic digital signage, which everyone is trying to figure out what to do with, if anything.

“Signs” are many things these days. They are, yes, old-fashioned channel letters. They are beautifully engraved wooden signs such as you’d see outside an antique store. They are chalk boards. They are adhesive vinyl graphics. The are lighted exit signs and other types of wayfinding. But they’re also printed banners and so-called “soft signage.” They are, in some ways, vehicle wraps. And, increasingly, they are digital displays. (When one is trapped in an airport, trying to get home from shows like the Sign Expo, one has little else to do but wander about looking at all the myriad signage on display, if only to try to determine the latest trends in what gate you are departing out of.)

The challenges faced by today’s signmakers involve not only keeping up with rapidly changing technology—especially, but not only, where digital signage is concerned—but also how to integrate new types of signs with older ones to best serve the practical and aesthetic needs of the customer. A fast food franchise, an antiquarian bookseller, a law office, and a high-end retail establishment will all have completely different signage needs and require different technologies. More importantly, signage graphics very often need to be integrated, or at the very least be consistent, with other graphic elements and components of a larger campaign, like marketing collateral materials, advertising, and online elements. If you are producing wayfinding signage (a massive, byzantine topic all on its own), there are reams of regulations (the Americans with Disabilities Act, building codes, etc.) that need to be digested before a single sign can be output. Then there is the perennial challenge of how to sell new technologies, like digital signage, without cannibalizing old business.

New technologies are taking signs in completely new directions, and new pitfalls abound. If shows like the Sign Expo seem like an eclectic, often chaotic mix of crafted, printed, and electronic media (and, in many ways, reminiscent of other shows like SGIA) it’s only because signage itself has evolved into an eclectic, often chaotic mix of crafted, printed, and electronic media. The question now is, how do we make it all work together?

Canon Solutions America Celebrates 2013 and Unveils 2014 Progress

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

As a linguist, I am fascinated by the art of institutional ‘storytelling’. The narratives of a company make up its history, business plan, mission, and yearly goals. They shape relationships with their audience, like their partners, customers, the media, as well as other stakeholders. Stories essentially showcase the work and structure of a company, and that is exactly what was celebrated at Canon Solutions America in Delray Beach, FL in early February.

At a press and analyst 3-day event, industry leaders came together to celebrate the anniversary of Canon and Océ’s integration and to learn about their 2014 direction. Executives offered updates on the company’s progress to journalists and analysts, a panel of customers discussed the role that Canon technology played in their success, and visitors saw CSA technology in action at the company’s Customer Experience Center.

With their newly integrated infrastructure, production sales, service, and support organizations, CSA reached $1.7 billion in revenue in 2013. President and CEO Toyotsugu Kuwamura cited a $2 billion target by 2016. A number of presentations unveiled how this growth will be achieved: through the strengthening of existing and newly formed partnerships.

“Over the course of 2013, we’ve partnered with every single paper mill in the United States of America,” said Francis McMahon, Vice President of Marketing for Production Print Solutions. This expansive industry partnership lead to the decision to open North America’s first media lab designed for live testing across inkjet and toner-based products. Opened on March 1st, the lab will provide CSA the capacity to work with all paper mills to test even more sheets with more inks. “When a customer calls, we want to be able to quickly and effectively assess their needs and objectives and provide them a solution,” said Kris Albee, Marketing Director of Production Print Solutions. “Our collaboration with the mills in developing, testing, and optimizing new products and formulations gives us the first-hand insight to do just that.”

Additionally, CSA recently invited its media partners to participate in an industry-first effort to develop a global, vendor-neutral inkjet media catalog. The result is a best-in-class tool that allows the user to examine all of the paper products qualified for Océ inkjet platforms. “Both our partners and our customers have been asking for a tool like this, but no one’s been able to bring the parties together before,” stated Albee. Along with the catalog, CSA will continue to collaborate with the launch of a CSA User Group Committee and a second advisory council, known as the Digital Print Advisory Council (DPAC).

CSA’s 2014 direction fosters win-win opportunities for all parties involved, especially for their customers and partners. It will be interesting to see how these innovative, collaborative efforts revolutionize the print industry all together. For further insight, especially regarding product reviews, check out PODi Insights account here.

Meet the Niagara

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

“Exhilarating and fast” is how VP of Marketing Francis McMahon describes the integration of Canon and Océ in his PRINT-13 interview with Mark Michelson of Printing Impressions magazine. In the interview, McMahon explains how the integration of the two companies allows them to do more for customers than ever before. Joint R&D, funding, training, programming, and the addition of new leadership have heightened the speed at which CSA successfully brings solutions to market. Hear for yourself what McMahon has to say…

Among the many exciting 2014 products, did you catch the name of one of the industry’s first cutsheet inkjet device?!

Meet the Niagara. “Exhilarating and fast” is also one way to categorize this high-volume sheetfed color inkjet press. Revolutionary to the print industry itself, the Niagara features a patented four-color ink system (with a planned future extension of up to six stations) that will produce at a speed of 3,800 duplex B3 sheets per hour and up to 8,500 duplex letter-sized sheets per hour, with a monthly volume of up to 10 million letter sheets per month. The Niagara consolidates sheetfed black-and-white and color workflows on to one production printing system, which ultimately streamlines print jobs and can reduce overall operating costs. One of the most exciting and celebrated features of this product surrounds its ability to leverage many already existing in-line finishing options. The ultimate combination of speed, efficiency, quality, and consistency. Look out for the Niagara at the end of 2014 and early on the 2015 market!

Interested in learning more? Check out the full press release here

Canon Solutions America Hosts Sales Meeting, Talks Digital Adoption

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Post provided by IWCO Direct. 

I recently had the honor of being invited to be a guest speaker at Canon’s annual sales meeting. Presenting at the enormous MGM Grand in Las Vegas was quite an experience. My topic was the growth of color digital printing in the direct mail space with a specific focus on how our customers are using the technology and why IWCO Direct chose Canon Solutions America.

I took the opportunity to explain, from a customer perspective, the advantages and disadvantages of CSA’s equipment, as well as areas that need improvement. My presentation was followed by a spirited Q&A session. It was a great opportunity for IWCO Direct to provide CSA with customer insight on their products.

Digital Explosion Continues

The biggest takeaway from this year’s sales meeting was how quickly the adoption of color digital printing technology has accelerated in the past 18 months. As well as direct mail, book printing and packaging are also leaping into digital printing. This technology is evolving so rapidly that supporting disciplines, such as consumables (ink and paper) and workflow (software tools), are scrambling to keep pace and support the process. That’s why IWCO Direct works collaboratively with all our vendors supporting the digital print process to ensure they stay in sync with our changing needs and with each other.

Support for Our Troops

My favorite part of the meeting was participating in CSA’s team building exercise. We not only assembled 500 care packages (consisting of toiletries and personal care items) for our troops stationed abroad, we also listened to servicemen and women speak about receiving care packages and what it means to receive support from back home. There was also a Marine Color Guard, which opened the activity with the Pledge of Allegiance. It was an outstanding event.

TPAC Committee Update

In December I completed my term on CSA’s inaugural Transactional Print Advisory Council (TPAC) committee. It was an excellent experience. Not only did the TPAC team make an impact on CSA’s approach to the design and functionality of the ColorStream equipment line, it also shaped their approach to color digital printing as a whole.

I have also been asked to join a newly-formed customer steering team, which will provide input to CSA on a variety of issues. This team will allow IWCO Direct the opportunity to interact with CSA senior management, engineering and marketing to express our ideas and recommendations on all areas of our partnership and business relationship. Canon has demonstrated they take our input seriously, which has made our participation very rewarding.

Our first big event is a soon-to-be-formed customer user conference. This conference will provide CSA customers a wide variety of opportunities for input and education. Our first meeting will be in April. Stay tuned for more information.

Overall we had a great time in Las Vegas. We’re excited about the direction of our partnership with Canon Solutions America and the efforts being made by the TPAC committee to shape the future of digital printing. It’s also encouraging that CSA is so eager to listen to its customers and make changes based on their feedback.

You can catch more from Dave Johannes on IWCO Speaking Direct Blog

Blog Author: Dave Johannes
Vice President of Digital Print and Mailing Operations. Richland College and Greenville Technical College. IWCO Direct team member for more than seven years. 35-year veteran of the Industry. Graphic Communications Innovator Award and Allan J. Williamson Continuous Improvement Award winner. Personal business philosophy: “Provide leadership based on the principles and courage required to live the change and drive the results we strive for.” Loves wine tastings and cooking with his wife. Texas Rangers fan.

PRINT 13 Recap: Five Days of Digital

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Every four years the print industry convenes for one of its biggest events. This year’s rendition, PRINT 13, was held Sept. 8-12 at McCormick Place in Chicago. I had the privilege of attending and representing IWCO Direct with several colleagues including Frank Boncore, Director of Mailing Operations in Hamburg, Doug Brustad, Manufacturing Operations Manager, and Steve Malec, Manager of Color Technical Services. Since we know not all of you could attend, here are the high points from what was a fantastic show.

Attendance

Overall attendance was very strong and traffic was brisk throughout the floor. However, while making the rounds, it was obvious that most people gravitated toward the digital print engine suppliers, or almost anything digital. Canon, Xerox, HP, Ricoh and Fuji all had digital web presses that commanded large audiences throughout the day.

Digital Dominance

Color digital print is here. It’s young and evolving and moving rapidly. So much so that PRINT 13 could have been called Digital PRINT 13. Perhaps the most noteworthy trend was the lack of “iron” on display. With only one or two offset units at the show, and a diminished presence from giants like Heidelberg, the absence of conventional presses was a strong indication that digital is the technology of the future. Simply put, gains in print technology are now focused around harnessing data and leveraging digital print to create focused communication with the end customer. And vendors are more motivated to partner and negotiate deals to help get new equipment installed – all in search of real user feedback to improve their products and drive these innovative gains.

As color and quality are rapidly improving, coatings and paper options are also expanding. As a result, integration is everywhere from full-size presses to 4” modules. Having a sound color management process will make a considerable difference with quality and consistency on newer equipment across platforms. IWCO Direct has reflected these shifting paradigms with our new Océ ColorStream 3900®and G7® Master Qualification from IDEAlliance®.

Talked-About Tech

With several live product demonstrations throughout the week that presented real and relevant applications geared toward the integration of print and online channels, it was exciting to see all the new digital technology under one roof and compare quality, speeds, etc. in such close proximity. We were especially impressed with Océ’s new Niagara cut sheet color box that will be out in 2014. It will be capable of producing 10 million letter sized sheets (full-color digital) per month. Other exciting technologies included radio frequency identification (RFID) and printed circuit boards with real-world examples such as:

  • A printed sticker that could be put on the outside of a coffee cup to tell the temperature of the coffee inside the cup;
  • Printed circuit boards using ink made of silver or copper (to create a paper circuit board). As electronics get smaller these paper circuit boards will be used in disposable electronic gadgets or even high-end devices like Apple’s iWatch.

Final Thoughts

It was an exciting show and a great week to be in the Windy City. Vendors provided great opportunities to network and meet with new people, and we got to experience the exciting future of digital print, one that will shape our industry for years to come.

This post was provided by Steve Myrvold of IWCO Direct. Vice President of Operations. Bemidji State University. Favorite award or recognition: Being on Good Morning America to be thanked by a friend from college. Bringing the “work hard to help other people be successful” philosophy to IWCO Direct for more than 25 years. Favorite hobby: Fishing, fishing and fishing. Minnesota Vikings fan. 

Our Partnership with Canon Drives Innovation for Customers

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Post by Dave Johannes. 

Earlier this month, Canon U.S.A. celebrated the grand opening of its new 700,000 square-foot Canon Americas Headquarters in Melville, New York. I was invited to speak on behalf of IWCO Direct as the voice of a Canon customer. The event gained the interest of customers, state and local officials, industry analysts and members of the press, all of whom were welcomed by Canon and given a tour of the facility along with a sneak peak at products and services that Canon will be launching in the coming months.

Dave Johannes

Canon executives, Fujio Mitarai, chairman and CEO of Canon Inc., and Joe Adachi, president and CEO of Canon U.S.A., spoke about Canon’s enterprise, large format and production printing businesses. The event’s purpose was to allow the press and analysts to gain a further understanding of the company’s breadth of consumer, business-to-business and industrial digital imaging solutions. You can read a full report on the new era at Canon U.S.A at Whattheythink.com.

Canon is known as a leader in digital imaging solutions and has produced some of the greatest printers used today, like the Océ ColorStream® 3900, a printer we recently installed at our Chanhassen campus. This printing system not only enhances our continuous digital capacity, it expands our color gamut and gives us the ability to match a wider range of PMS colors through the new Océ premium pigment ink set.

Being in Melville and seeing the upgrades and innovations that Canon is making reminded me how vital our strong partnership is to the advancement of our businesses. Over the years, Canon has been able to provide us with cutting-edge technology and workflow tools to support our own growth and innovation as we have significantly expanded our digital capacity and capabilities..

I was asked by InfoTrends about the future of digital technology. I noted that the market for color digital presses is hot. At the velocity of adoption which color digital printing has reached, it is no longer good enough to have a great press. The new requirement is a user-friendly press that is supported by a seamlessly integrated workflow. As our clients discover new ways to leverage full variability using color, images and text, the ability to rapidly and efficiently assemble the assets and proof the output prior to production is critical.

The partnership IWCO Direct has with Canon provides mutual benefits. Their Océ devices and workflows help us create products that meet the evolving needs of our customers. In turn, we push Canon to bring us new ideas, so we are ready to meet the future needs of our customers. As we continue to expand our digital platform, we look forward to seeing what new technologies Canon will be able to offer us to better serve our customers.

 Dave Johannes is Vice President of Digital Print and Mailing Operations at IWCO Direct. Richland College and Greenville Technical College. IWCO Direct team member for more than seven years. 35-year veteran of the Industry. Graphic Communications Innovator Award and Allan J. Williamson Continuous Improvement Award winner. Personal business philosophy: “Provide leadership based on the principles and courage required to live the change and drive the results we strive for.” Loves wine tastings and cooking with his wife. Texas Rangers fan. 

PRINT 13 is on its way!

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

By now if you are even remotely involved in the printing industry you’ve likely heard of PRINT 13 – the most comprehensive global graphic communications exhibition and conference held in the largest print market in the world. This show arrives once every four year – with a “smaller” version known as Graph Expo in the off years. This year’s show promises to excite.

The scale of this show is undoubtedly massive. PRINT 13 will exhibit digital, offset, flexo, and hyrbid technologies showcasing a wide variety of applications for industries including: Commercial, Transactional, Converting and Package Printing, Publishing, Mailing, In-Plant, Photo Imaging, and Marketing Services. Exhibitors have likely been preparing for weeks, even months, to be sure that their booths stand out amongst the 550+ exhibitors.

The PRINT 13 show is themed, “Innovate, Integrate, Communicate.” The theme recognizes that the rapidly innovating printing industry is changing the way we think of print. The theme highlights print’s ability to drive multi-channel communications across a variety of industries whose communication needs are merging together. We’ve all heard the ongoing debate as to whether or not “print is dead.” While I won’t try to argue that here, the fact remains that print changes. The exhibitors at this conference are at the forefront of that change and are redefining our industry. Attending PRINT 13 is one way to keep up with everything!

So what is in it for you?

  • If you are a buyer, you have the opportunity to view the latest technologies of various vendors and seek out partnerships that can help you grow your business.
  • If you are a seller, you can interact with prospective buyers, learn about their unique needs as a customer, and facilitate mutually beneficial solutions.
  • If you are in the Converting & Packaging business, you get a 2-for-1 since the CPP Expo will take place simultaneously at the same convention center.
  • If you are an industry participant, you can network with fellow industry peers over a jam-packed 5 day week.
  • At any end of the industry, chose from a variety of expert panel sessions to learn about topics of your interest.
  • Experience the entire scope of printing products and services in live running applications reflecting the latest and greatest print technologies.

Long story short – there is a lot to see, experience, and learn at PRINT 13. I, for one, will not be missing out!

To learn more about PRINT 13, visit the show’s website here!

A trip to Poing for the Canon Solutions America PPS Leadership Forum

Friday, April 12th, 2013

I recently attended the Canon Solutions America PPS Leadership Forum at its Poing factory on March 18th & 19th and took the opportunity to catch up with the Océ team.

Canon Solutions America, formerly Océ, frequently hosts customers, and prospects at its newly redesigned Customer Engagement Center (CEC), an entire hall in its manufacturing complex. The user friendly CEC environment included a coffee bar, tables for small group discussions, a lounge area, meeting rooms, information & hospitality desk, as well as a floor map to aid visitors in finding solutions of interest. The CEC was thoughtfully arranged and included the newest product announcements from Canon Solutions America, the Océ JetStream 5500 and Océ ColorStream 3900s with fast MICR and invisible ink.  .

The agenda included a flexible schedule with industry tracks led by industry analysts & experts. Océ clients and prospects were allowed to select the most appropriate sessions and have deep interactions with both Océ staff and presenters.

Here are a few important take-aways from my visit:

  • Canon integration appears complete. Canon’s integration of Océ production printing, especially for North America appears to be successful and complete. I dined with Toyotsugu “Toyo” Kuwamura, president of Canon Solutions America, and he outlined his vision for the future Océ. His plans of continued investment and pursuit of new markets with the combined Canon/Océ solutions will extend the reach of both organizations into new markets.
  • Migration to Color Inkjet successful. From virtually zero market share in 2008 in the inkjet market, to the identified market share leader (>35%) in both placements and images, Océ has successfully reinvented its product line to stay ahead of the market demand.
  • Continued technology advancements. Canon Solutions America is not content to rest on past successes, and is extending its Océ ColorStream & Océ JetStream product lines to support additional applications. The introduction of new security inks, including MICR, Fugitive and Invisible, extends the toolset for secure document creation already available from Canon Solutions America.

While not new, but still visually impressive, are the clean lines and paper path of the Océ ColorStream 3000 series. During our demonstration, the front doors were left open, and the speed, image quality, and simplicity of the device was readily apparent. An Océ ColorStream prospect present noted “it’s no wonder these are the leading placement devices in its class”. Here is a photo of the inside:

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Note the new, refined and slimmer drying unit. By using less water, there is less liquid to evaporate, and therefore no need for industrial strength drying units, and their power consumption and heat byproduct. In fact, Canon Solutions America reports that the Océ ColorStream 3000 series uses up to 1/3 the power consumption of alternative inkjet solutions.

Industry Changing Event

Friday, March 29th, 2013

The March 1st issue of In-Plant Graphics had an article titled “Inkjet Summit’s Unique Format is a Win-Win.  The article talks about the upcoming invitation-only three day event for  ” for senior managers and business executives who want to understand how current and future inkjet technology trends, software, consumables and finishing solutions are and will impact their businesses and help them shape their visions and strategies for the future.”

Each of the past two Drupa events, in 2012 and 2008, was dubbed the “Inkjet Drupa” by many experts. Inkjet installations are increasing and projected to increase rapidly through 2016, driven by the conversion to digital print, growth in color applications, and system flexibility.  In November 12, 2012, David Zwang stated, “It is estimated that there were 46.1 billion color digital pages printed in 2010, and that number will jump to nearly 130 billion by 2015. While this estimate is comprised of all digital print pages, more importantly than the market share growth is the fact that the value of that digital print has jumped sharply, bringing better returns to the global print market.”  With all this hype, print business leaders have been considering the options and need for Inkjet Color printing, and considering migrating from their offset print or black and white digital.  They have been seeking answers.

What is of great interest at the Inkjet Summit is the potential for these senior operations and business leaders to get up close and personal with a number of the leading suppliers at one time.  Unlike Graph Expo and Drupa, the seriously interested leaders will have full access to leading suppliers in a small group environment.  In addition, unlike a one-on-one interaction with a single supplier in a typical sales meeting, the representatives from the user side and the service and equipment providers will be able to meet and compare all at one time.

The attendees will also have access to and hear reports from key independent industry leaders and experts who will be facilitating the event.  Finally, if they dare, the attendees will be able to meet and collaborate with their peers.  Yes, collaborate with their peers!  I hope this happens, because after all our real competition is those who would move everyone away from print to other communication media.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is attending this event when it is over, as I truly believe the organizers have a formula which should help print not just survive but thrive in this highly competitive time.
 

 

The Inkjet Summit 2013 event will be held April 9-11 at the exclusive Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and is organized by Printing Impressions, the leading trade publication serving commercial printers, and nGage Events, the leading producer of specialized hosted model events.  The Inkjet Summit is an invitation-only, hosted event designed for senior managers and business executives who want to understand how current and future inkjet technology trends, software, consumables and finishing solutions are and will impact their businesses and help them shape their visions and strategies for the future.

“Our goal is to bring together suppliers of inkjet solutions with qualified attendees who are serious about investing in these solutions, into an environment facilitated by experts,” commented David Pesko, senior vice president at nGage Events. “Attendees will learn from experts, suppliers, and most importantly their peers on how to approach inkjet and how to be successful. Our event format accomplishes this and it shows in the attendees confirmed thus far and the overwhelming requests we receive daily.  This event is truly a win-win for sponsors and attendees.”

As the interest in inkjet printing continues to grow, print providers and corporate enterprises are seeking guidance from industry experts, peers and market leaders to help them develop sound business strategies, understand their technology options, and make major investment decisions concerning inkjet printing capabilities.  Vendors are also looking for ways to better identify and develop more intimate relationships with those buyers specifically interested in inkjet solutions.  Inkjet Summit’s unique format provides sponsors with Boardroom and 1:1 meetings with executives intimately involved with strategy, purchasing authority and buying intentions.

“Canon Solutions America is pleased to sponsor the Inkjet Summit. The format enables us to meet 1:1 with qualified decision makers who are serious about inkjet solutions,” stated Francis McMahon, vice president marketing, Canon Solutions America, and Production Printing Solutions. “With Océ inkjet production printing solutions making up approximately 32 percent of the worldwide inkjet market, our customers know they can count on us to partner with them for success.  This event gives us the opportunity to discuss and understand specific customer issues and work with them to ensure they have the right capital investment strategy and solutions needed to profitably produce books, magazines, direct mail, transaction, and transpromo.”

“Inkjet technology is a disruptive technology that will touch everyone’s life in the future,” relays George Promis, vice president, Continuous Forms Production Solutions and Technology Alliances, Ricoh. “Bringing industry integrators, developers and businesses face to face is important to exploit and help direct its future. Ricoh is proud to participate in the inaugural summit.  It’s a unique opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with a diverse group of output solution businesses and share our view on what the future holds for inkjet and its ecosystem.”

Breaking Down the Barriers to Inkjet Adoption

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Last week, Canon hosted a cross-section of prominent companies from the graphic arts, book, direct mail and transaction printing segments in Munich Germany. I was pleased to be invited, along with other expert presenters from Canon Poing CECGartner, InfoTrends, InterQuest, IT Strategies, Madison Advisors and NAPL. The  Leadership  Forum was held at Canon’s impressive 14,000 square foot Customer Experience Center where several cutsheet toner presses and a huge array of high-volume, continuous feed inkjet presses were configured as custom application demonstrations. I had ample opportunity to network with attendees and learn what was driving them to update their technology. While not specifically an inkjet event, the majority of attendees at the Leadership Forum were evaluating the transition to inkjet or expanding on an existing inkjet implementation. The top three reasons cited:

  • Speed/Time to market requirements;
  • Full-color, white paper efficiencies;
  • Plans to enter new markets.

My charter was to prepare a wrap-up session on “Preparing Your Business for Inkjet ” along with two customers; Bob Radzis of SG360 (a direct mailer) and Mike McCombs of RevSpring (a transaction printer.) These two gentlemen shared their successes with transitioning to inkjet along with candid feedback on the challenges they faced as early adopters. Dialogue with attendees focused on perceived challenges with inkjet adoption but, there were very few actual barriers cited. Some key take-aways were:

  • Inkjet has clearly reached a tipping point among high-volume printers of variable applications;
  • Quality is no longer perceived as a barrier to adoption;
  • Customers were encouraged by the increasing variety and availability of inkjet papers and seemed confident that the trend would continue;
  • Customer seemed to recognize that the right workflow solution was as critical as selecting the right press but were less aware of the critical tradeoffs between paper selection and ink usage;
  • The major remaining obstacle to inkjet adoption is production volume. Mid-volume companies often can’t generate the business case for inkjet.

While this was a working trip for me, it was also an opportunity to attend great sessions covering the social, economic and technical factors that are changing the print industry in general, as well as, drill-down sessions on key drivers of change in book printing, direct mail and transaction printing specifically. Whether you are a print provider or a consultant there is constantly more to learn in our industry and the Canon Leadership Forum did a great job of blending business, technical and market related content with product demonstrations and networking opportunities. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Canon’s CEC, or attend a future Leadership Forum I highly recommend the trip.

Elizabeth GoodingElizabeth Gooding is the President of Gooding Communications Group and editor of the Insight Forums blog. She writes and speaks and provides training on trends and opportunities for business communications professionals within regulated vertical industries.

LIVE from Graph Expo 2012!

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Graph Expo 2012 has officially begun. Months of preparation on the part of exhibitors has paid off to create a lively and stimulating environment. I’m always amazed at how exhibitors transform an enormous hall into a series of inviting showcases. As usual, exhibitors compete with each other to drive traffic to their booths.

Stages are big this year. I remember two years ago when Xerox had the biggest stage. But this year, Océ /Canon and HP clearly take the prize. HP has an impressive stage set up that delivers engaging sales pitches on steroids. But if you are looking for a more enlightening experience, be sure to stop by the Canon Live Theater where Canon and Océ partnered with WhatTheyThink to host informative sessions throughout the show. Topics will include: Affordable Sustainability, Supply Chain Optimization, the Changing Face of Publishing, and What to look for in a business partner. I caught today’s first session on Digital Packaging Trends which featured a real customer speaking about his operations and how digital printing and print-on-demand allowed him to keep up with industry change and manage his printed inventories better. The list of live sessions can be found here including a link to watch everything streaming live. Xerox does have a new idea this year – improv session. I’ll have to check one out Monday. As I walked around the show floor more, I noticed numerous other presentations and mini-stages set up… so it certainly is a popular way to reach show attendees!

Like every other year, posters are also quite popular this year, as evidenced by the crowds of people walking around with poster bags. The leading poster providers seem to be Komori, KBA, and Scodix. Gunther smartly realized that so many people walk around carrying their loot and decided to brand wheeling storage units that people can cart with them. Free stuff galore!

Judging from Day 1, there are a few hot topics this year that numerous exhibitors are demonstrating their capabilities in. Inkjet Printing is big this year and is being covered by live sessions on both the Océ/Canon stage and on the HP stage. Automation and software seem to also be a popular topics as print providers today are striving for more streamlined end-to-end solutions. We’re talking automation at the beginning (with feeders) and automation at the end (like envelope inserting). Print-on-demand is yet another key topic. In-RoomPlus described today in the Digital Packaging Trends session at Canon Live Theater how they are able to quickly reprint catalogs as their prices change and how they can print small batches of product mock-ups to use as aids with customers during the sales process. Print-on-demand is so big now in the publishing world that Océ will help launch Daydream Alchemy Press – a publisher inspired by bringing projects to life using today’s print technologies – during Graph Expo.

All in all, there is a lot to see and do at Graph Expo 2012. It will surely be a busy, yet exciting, few days!

Post drupa 2012 Recap

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Back in March, we posted about drupa 2012 deaming it the “Inkjet drupa” based on predictions leading up to the event. We mentioned that there would be a recap webinar which you can view below. In this webinar, join Cary Sherburne of WhatTheyThink and Kris Albee of Océ as they review and analyze the key product and technology announcements from drupa 2012.

So was our nick-name accurate? What other drupa announcements are sure to rock the Printing World? You can find out by watching the webinar below – Enjoy!