As we saw in part three of this interview, Océ’s history in both toner-based and inkjet printing gives it good credibility as it rolls out its new inkjet systems. Still, for most print service providers, having equipment with a lot of capacity is only part of the equation. That capacity needs filling and profitability is still a basic business requirement. So, I asked Mr. Baboyian, what does Océ do to build capacity and help print providers get a bigger share of their customers’ wallets?
NW: OK. This is all good, and many printers I talk with see inkjet as having a lot of potential. But the thing they all say concerns them is being able to fill up a significant portion of the capacity of these machines. How is Océ addressing this and helping customers make the transition into inkjet?
MB: That’s a great question, and it really all comes down to applications and the importance of printers understanding their customers. When we first introduce a customer to the JetStream line we learn about all the applications they are running, who their customers are, and look for all the applications that make the most sense to print on a JetStream. For example, we know there are many jobs, especially in direct mail and transactional shops, that require preprinted forms. We’ve done the math, so we know that simply shifting these forms to inkjet adds a lot of volume to the press and will save the printer’s customer a lot of money. But as you know, that can a difficult conversation for some printers to have with their customer. So we provide the support our customers need when they introduce JetStream to their customers. We can help to explain the technology, answer questions, and show them, based on their current printing costs, how eliminating pre-printed forms can make a substantial difference in their business.
Of course, most printers usually have a few new prospects in mind when they are thinking about acquiring a JetStream. So here again, we can help provide the technical support they need as they introduce the advantages of inkjet technology to the prospect. In both instances we support our customers with test printing, file preparation, and making sure the quality is where it needs to be to satisfy everyone involved.
This approach is a tremendous benefit for our customers and makes it much easier for them to justify the investment in a JetStream. This is just part of the support we believe is so important to customers and so critical to helping grow this new technology in the market.
We also help customers add volume and value with trans-promo. As you know, this is a bit more complicated than just filling up empty space on statements. We have a have a full range of services designed to help customers add trans-promo capabilities, such as showing how their customers statements need to change to be effective trans-promo documents. This includes optimizing white space marketing, statement design, database mining and management, incorporating QR codes, and how to comply with new federal regulations. It’s important that we share our expertise with customers and it’s really satisfying to see them succeed.
NW: Earlier this year I wrote an article about a Gartner study run by Peter Basiliere which indicated that toner and inkjet presses were being seen as equal to or better than offset presses for some applications. Are you seeing evidence of this through any of your customers and the types of jobs they are running on their Océ presses?
MB: Customers tell us that their clients are becoming much less likely to differentiate between offset and digital and this trend is only going to continue. It’s encouraging to see the market moving in this direction. I think we’re reaching a tipping point that opens up a lot of opportunities for vendors like Océ that are ready with the right solutions. A lot of this comes down to what will satisfy customer needs. The Gartner study looked at transactional and trans-promo applications and especially ones where replacement of pre-printed forms was an important element. This is one place where there are few reasons for any print provider to still rely on offset printed shells. The economics of digital print—especially inkjet—make shifting to a plain paper model a smart move, particularly in a tight economy. We’re seeing both inkjet and toner customers increasingly make the shift and all see the reduction in waste, warehousing and obsolescence making a difference in their businesses. Looking forward, we believe inkjet and high-end toner based production presses will take an increasing share of the offset market.
For example, with quality no longer a concern, one of the key markets for inkjet is in publishing, especially books. Océ has been very successful in book production applications with both our continuous-feed electrophotographic presses and VarioPrint 6000 simultaneous duplex cut sheet systems. We see this success expanding even further with inkjet. The difference is that inkjet can dramatically increase the practical, economic run lengths for publishers and help them make some very important and profitable changes in their business models.
Over the last few days we’ve gotten a good look at how Océ is approaching the inkjet market. Next time, in the final installment of this interview, Mr. Baboyian talks about how Océ has changed the range of products it shows at major events and talks about some of what the company will be showcasing at PRINT 09 in Chicago.