Reflections on drupa 2016

After 11 frenetic days of meeting with our customers, listening to their needs and challenges and showcasing how our range of products, solutions and services support our clients’ needs, I want to take a moment to reflect on our drupa 2016 adventure.

Our theme for this year’s drupa, ‘Open New Worlds’ was developed to focus on the opportunities and challenges that our customers see in their sphere. What we wanted to let our visitors know was that no matter their size, sector or ambitions we can help them build from their strengths, creating more opportunities for them to grow and evolve. Welcomed in our theatre, customers, press and industry analysts enjoyed hosted tours to experience this first hand.

On the product side, we presented the latest versions of our cut sheet printers including the Ricoh Pro™ C7100 series and the Ricoh Pro™ C9100 series. In the continuous feed sector we put the spotlight on our newly enhanced Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 high speed inkjet platform. Live demonstrations of these in the Commercial Print, Direct Marketing, Publishing and Corporate zones, and in our lean manufacturing Smart Factory, highlighted the innovative applications, quality output and the broad range of services our presses offer.

Many of our clients agreed and signed on stand deals. Among the sales we celebrated were a Pro C7100 for Cicero, and Nationwide Print who chose MarcomCentral to support production on its new Pro C7100. Cicero also ordered a Pro C9110 as did Magneet Communicatiecentrum, Ecograf, Datum, Deltor, Impremta and CFH Documail – to name but a few of our clients trusting our technology to support their growth.

We were also very excited to celebrate the sales of our Pro VC60000. EDC was our first customer in Eastern Europe, while Adare ordered two lines and CFI opted to add a second. This latest addition to our portfolio is gathering market momentum, as our clients learn and embrace how its combination of productivity and high quality can help them be more cost effective and profitable.

We had a very busy industrial print zone, where we showcased the powerful opportunities offered by additive manufacturing, industrial inkjet printheads, direct to shape coding and marking as well as branding product decoration.

To add to that, we announced our entry into the vibrant signage market, by adding EFI VUTEk flatbed printers to our portfolio. The decision builds on the success of our large format portfolio of print production solutions.

There was a lot of discussion surrounding the overall theme of drupa 2016. Connectivity was a topic that ran through the show like a red thread, for all solutions and in every sector.  Many of our visitors were looking for software and services that will enable them to connect and integrate different workflow streams and production environments.

In our Studio, many visitors discovered the capabilities of our TotalFlow portfolio including TotalFlow Cloud Suite, and learned how they could improve productivity, add value and open up new opportunities.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Finally, it’s important to remember that an event like drupa is only as good as the people who make it happen. It’s been a real pleasure for us all working with colleagues to make drupa such a powerful event. We couldn’t have made it the success it was without all the hard work that people put in. Ricoh really is a company that is driven by passion and dedication, and where imagine.change is not just a brand, but an expression of the talent and commitment of our team.

 

Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

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Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

The Importance of Communication Management Platforms

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard Vice President, Production Printing Group, EMEA

In an age where there are so many ways to communicate, it can often be difficult to blend the right mix of channels to deliver a specific message.

With critical customer communications (such as messages that organisations send to their customers and prospects to promote or advertise their offerings  or to inform them about business transactions) there is an additional challenge. Not only do you have to make sure your message, no matter which channel you choose, is conveyed in such a way that pleases your audience but your message also needs to meet governmental regulations.

There are a huge volume of customer communications of this type – worth (according to InfoTrends*) $56B worldwide in 2013 and this volume is forecast to grow by 6.9% CAGR (InfoTrends*) . So managing customer communications can be a logistical nightmare if you’re not prepared for it.

Introducing Ricoh’s  Customer Communication Management (CCM) platform

Fortunately, Ricoh’s CCM platform makes those goals easily attainable for businesses of many sizes and types, including large enterprises, commercial printers, and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Our CCM platform leverages a variety of software – both homegrown and from our partner companies – to help organisations looking to reach big audiences do so, with defensible audit trails and automated workflow features included.

Components of Ricoh's CCM platform

Components of Ricoh’s CCM platform

When sending out these kinds of communications, it is critical that the document goes to the right place – whether that’s a mailing address, email inbox or branded web portal customers can access at will.  This can often be more than just a question of effective communication; it can be a question of regulatory compliance and avoiding costly fines.

That’s why, beyond accurate addressing protocols, our software helps enact security measures – from secure electronic presentment to encrypted data streams intended for email bodies, attachments, or printed output – to keep customers’ information safe. Additionally, CCM software diligently tracks and records the movements of these documents, so they don’t just know their data is safe, but they can also show it is, making meeting regulatory requirements that much easier.

How  Credit Mutuel  in France uses CCM

Credit mutuel-banner

As a result of Ricoh’s CCM solution mail optimised processing and multi-channel delivery has cut postal costs by more than 20%. Print costs have fallen too, with more documents printed using cost-efficient, production systems.

 “The simple web-based interface is used to generate professionally presented documents. The integrated solution has increased core business productivity and improved customer centricity. It is also saving the bank money”” Crédit Mutuel Arkéa

Find out more

Getting messages across

While keeping personal data safe is clearly important, at its heart, communication is about getting messages across. You can’t get your message across if no one’s reading your communications.

Latest research** has found that people were much more likely to respond to a bill if prompted by a letter through the post rather than via email (80 per cent vs 54 per cent).

That’s why programs within our CCM platform strive to make listening to what organisations have to say as easy and enjoyable as possible for customers.

It is with that in mind that Ricoh and its developer partners designed CCM software with preference management capabilities – that is, allowing communicators to leverage a database matching customers with the channel they’d like to be contacted through and automatically routing communications accordingly: Customers who prefer to be contacted via email get emails, those who prefer printed mail get printed mail, and so on.

Ricoh’s CCM platform goes beyond addressing customers where they want to be spoken to, helping users address customers how they want to be addressed, too. Emails are created by dynamically pulling critical information into readable templates that not only sound like one human being addressing another but also are less likely to get caught up in a spam filter than less sophisticated approaches. Electronic presentment options allow users to customize and brand their content portals, creating a pleasant viewing experience for visitors. Printed communications get a boost, too, leveraging variable data to customise collateral to directly address recipients, potentially boosting response rates.

Whatever the type, format or channel of communication, Ricoh has the expertise and CCM workflow tools to help.

Visit ricoh-europe.com/ccm for more information.

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Notes:

“The Value of Customer Communications – Sizing & Forecast 2013-2018”, InfoTrends July 2015

**‘Managing Money Online’ – Keep Me Posted with London Economics, Sept 2015