Inspiring Print Transformation with Ricoh’s Pro C7100X

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Since the launch of Ricoh’s  Ricoh Pro C™ 7100X digital press   we have found that many Print Service Providers (PSPs) have been able to offer a  new level of value added capabilities to their clients.

The key to this is the highly accessible and cost effective fifth colour on the cut sheet digital press.

PSPs are discovering just how the fifth colour can produce an amazing array of eye-catching effects, particularly in combination with speciality media. By using the 5th colour station they can enhance their print offerings by printing on a variety of speciality media such as black or coloured sheets, transparency or metallic media.

 

Adding a fresh dimension

PSPs can choose the fifth colour to add a fresh dimension to all elements of print, from books and brochures to business cards, invitations, posters and packaging.

The ability to print additional colours, other than CMYK, such as clear gloss and white toner provides added value. So does offering spot gloss, flood, and watermarks along with printing on coloured and clear media inline, with no need for separate costly and time consuming processes.

We have seen customers develop some very special applications around the fifth colour supported by an ever growing choice of substrates and value added software products such as Color-Logic.

A number of examples have really stood out for me are as follows.

  • white toner used in combination with metallic board to create a hot-foil effect on the HarperCollins childrens book covers we demonstrated at drupa
  • Black envelopes such as those from Blake Envelopes which we used to create impact as part of our own drupa marketing campaign.

Here’s how the 5th colour station is helping some Ricoh customers to strengthen relationships with their clients.

Pushing the boundaries with some amazing results

It is the flexibility of the Pro C7100X that appealed to Dutch operation Benda Drukkers. They  use a lot of unusual paper types for their portfolio of services ranging from business stationery to brochures and books. With the white toner Benda Drukkers also now produces a high image quality on coloured media.

Loesje Benda, owner of Benda Drukkers,  says the operation can now offer existing customers a broader portfolio. It can print on all kinds of special paper stocks, as well as envelopes and even plastics. This versatility has also attracted a new audience of, for example, graphic designers.

The business has been able to bring in new clients as a result of its Pro C7100X. And, by inspiring people to use the new possibilities in creative ways, its print volume is on the rise as well.

He says that adding white and clear enables it to produce all kinds of special effects that no regional competitors can match. It allows them to get ahead of the game and create new applications and opportunities.

More about Benda Drukkers

Another fan is family owned printer Offsetpaino L.Tuovinen Ky, Finland. It printed its own business cards on 0.3mm birch veneer using white and CMYK.

More about Offsetpaino L.Tuovinen Ky
To learn more about the fifth colour please watch https://youtu.be/r73ZlELmk_I

For application ideas please visit ..

https://ricohppshowcase.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/amazing-5th-colour-applications-at-drupa/

 

New whitepapers available

Ricoh has commissioned Smithers Pira to create a series of whitepapers. These look at opporunities for Print Service Providers to open new worlds in a number of key market segments.

Whitepapers available now:

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Corporate Print: bringing the world in-house

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Digital commercial print: the new world order

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Direct Marketing: printing the personal

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – Retail point-of-sale: the new frontier for consumer engagement

Ricoh Pira whitepaper – The new world of publishing with virtual stock

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.

 

Commercial Printing Zone at drupa

Ricoh’s Commercial Printing Zone at drupa is intended to show the broad range of solutions that Ricoh can now offer Commercial printers – from high productivity cutsheet to banners and signage.

Not to be missed

  • Ricoh’s latest cutsheet devices Pro C9110 and Pro C7110 along with versatile feeding and finishing options
  • live end-to-end production on lean manufacturing principles for efficient production of high quality print samples and a diverse variety of show and visitor collateral.
  • see our Commercial Print workflow in action

 Key Applications

These are just some of the samples we are planning to show. Look out for more surprises at the show itself !

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Workflows

Ricoh’s commercial printing workflow integrates offset and digital environments for
a more productive hybrid print operation

Commercial Printing Workflow

Ricoh at drupa button

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

What do book manufacturers need to do to deliver what publishers are looking for?

[GUEST BLOG]

Introduction: Publishing is changing

Director, Print Research International Ltd

John Charnock, Director, Print Research International Ltd

It is very clear to see how publishing is changing in the world today; first music publishers, then newspaper publishers and now magazine and book publishers are finding that their markets are changing beyond recognition. These changes are a double-edged sword. On the one hand it represents a significant opportunity but on the other we will see traditional volumes decline and the traditional manufacturing model become increasingly inappropriate.

Traditional manufacturing equipment is no longer adaptable enough for this changing market. I doubt that a 30,000 books per hour binding line like the Muller Martini Corona I installed into a major UK Book Manufacturer some 10 years ago will ever be needed again in most markets.

Why? Well, the needs of the modern book publisher are changing and as suppliers we need to adapt.

Historically trade book print runs were 2000 – 3000 copies and these were bulk packed and supplied to the publishers warehouse. Publishers had millions of pounds held in inventory within in their warehouse. Volumes and margins were sufficient to have time to manufacture and store on a quarterly cycle. Today, with financial pressures on publishers and the ebook pushing down price, the market is much less predictable. Having lots of inventory and the risk of holding unsold stock is becoming unattractive to today’s publishers.

Even using traditional equipment regular orders of 500 copies is not uncommon but the trend for lower quantities and more frequent order cycles is obvious.  So where is the trend going and what are publishers really looking for in the longer term ?

What is the Holy Grail for publishers ?

Trade Mono books have been the fastest to change, because they are relatively cheap, they are much less predictable in terms of sales and within the UK there is still a large proportion produced in the UK. Colour books however, are still mostly produced in the Far East or countries with a low cost base.

Let’s deal with mono trade books first, We have seen a significant investment in digital mono trade books in the UK with Clays, CPI and many others like Ashford and TJ International investing in inkjet production.  This investment means that the mono trade book market is largely manufactured on a retail “on demand” basis.

I believe that once the mono trade book supply chain is established it will not be long before the colour trade book market will follow similar lines.

The reason for this belief is as follows:

Publishers need to react to the market place, sales are less predictable and it is becoming more and more difficult to be sure which titles will be successful and which ones will not.  A publisher once said to me “ I have 5000 titles – I know 30% will be big sellers, I just don’t know which 30% that will be”

We also know it takes 3 days to get a book into a publisher’s warehouse and process it.  It then takes 3 days to get it out again.   6 days is too long in today’s publishing world – Publishers need to be able to look at the retail and internet sales that occur in the prior week and order or replenish for the following week – it is that simple.

That means that ultimately we will need to produce orders of 200-500 on a 3-day turnaround  as a minimum, even with traditional equipment. Looking forward, there will continue to be pressure to offer increased availability in order to service publishers at the level that they require which will mean that digital colour production will be a requirement. (In my experience Litho simply can not do that).

The switched on printers are taking that principle one stage further. If a printer is delivering an order in 3 days – why not bypass the publishers’ distribution system and warehouse altogether and deliver direct to store? Not as single jobs, but as a mixed batch of titles based on that stores sales the prior week?

If this is possible, with minimum impact on unit cost, this would be the publishers’ “Holy Grail” In some quarters I think that this is happening already. I believe that this is why Penguin/ Harper Collins moved all their trade titles from a two-supplier agreement (St Ives, Clays and CPI) to a single supplier agreement (Clays). The fewer suppliers means better manufacturing and distribution efficiency.

This means that printers will need to print orders of 5- 500 on a weekly or daily order cycle, but these orders will be in significant annual volumes; because the trade market consumes many millions of books per year.

This requires that digital book manufacturing needs to, and is, gearing up to this challenge.

Move To Colour

ElwinStreetbooks_banner

Once inkjet can achieve acceptable colour for the publishers there is no reason why a trade book printer could not migrate to colour and fulfil the majority of titles to the trade market. This represents a significant opportunity for them as colour books have higher value and is a market that they previously did not serve.

Digital inkjet colour is here and many book printers are building their expertise in this area and offering publishers an opportunity to repatriate colour book production from China to the UK and Europe.

This raises some challenges however:

  • For both colour and mono books to be produced in the same factories there needs to be some significant infrastructure changes. There is a need for better quality systems, better workflow and a fully integrated sales order system that integrates with the publishers and retailers ERP systems.

 

  • The Colour market has a significantly higher colour quality requirement, and so colour management and batch to batch consistency will need to be managed. The fear for publishers is that the quality of their brand names and authors names is reduced. Colour books still need to have a high value perception by the general public irrespective of the production process.

 

  • Manufacturing equipment will need to be more automated, more flexible and able to change from one format to another seamlessly. Paper changes and section layouts will need to be able to cope with B format, Royal, A4, A5 as a minimum.

 

  • The logistics of tracking signatures, covers, jackets, cases, and getting the right components in the right place at the right time so that they can be produced efficiently and with a minimum of waste. MIS, barcode and signature recognition, motorized changeovers, JDF and inter device communication as well as integration with external data sources – Carriers, Retail systems will be needed to make sure the supply chain runs smoothly.

What’s the point ?

This seems like a lot of investment, a lot of effort and a significant risk for all involved?  But the benefits are equally high – just look at how Clays has secured a 100% supply deal with Penguin/Random House. This means that the print service provider becomes a much more significant partner to the publisher. Once the supply chain is integrated and the savings have been made for the publisher, the printer becomes a logistics partner, a strategic partner , supplier that is involved with circulation, distribution and is ultimately responsible for making the publisher competitive in a very difficult market.

If I am right about colour inkjet it will meant that a significant amount of colour book production will be repatriated to the local market from the Far East and other regions meaning that a traditional trade book printer can grow significantly- After all there aren’t many traditional colour book printers left in the UK or Europe.

This supply chain model will enable publishers to publish more titles with less up front risk, it will open up local and self publishing opportunities for retail stores and make the book very competitive against other electronic publishing technologies.

Other opportunities will be to open up the deep back catalogue so that publishers can sweat their assets and printers can produce one off products and potentially deliver direct to consumer. As the supply chain and speed to market increases we could see  new products like personalised books, especially for children, to become an every day way of adding value to what was once a commodity product as well as book stores offering more time sensitive products like magazines and newspapers.

As publishing the supply chain changes we will see more products produced locally in order to fulfil the time sensitive needs of the publisher.

John Charnock
Print Research International Ltd

 

This article was commissioned by Ricoh to bring you independent opinions from industry experts. We hope you find our guest speaker’s views interesting and stimulating. We would appreciate your feedback.

Will automation and a managerial skills gap leave tomorrow’s leaders unable to nurture talent?

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

From smart TVs to connected thermostats, automation is increasingly prevalent in the home. People want more and more aspects of their lives to ‘just happen.’ However, the real impact of automation on the workplace is yet to be fully explored. Increased productivity and reduced costs are touted as the key benefits for businesses, including print service providers. But naturally, such a sizeable move demands a shift in the skills needed for an organisation to function.

In recent years, the skills shortage has been seen predominantly in IT and cyber security. A recent study by ISACA[i] shows that 86 per cent of businesses and IT professionals believe there is a substantial shortage of cyber security experts. The implication of this shortage has been that businesses now face an increased risk of attacks, and are far less prepared to mitigate or prevent one – a costly and dangerous position to be in. Only 38% of respondents to this study – comprised of more than 3,400 ISACA members in 129 countries – say they are prepared to experience a cyber attack. For printing companies, many of whom are caretakers for sensitive customer data, the skills shortage is likely even higher, since many have small or non-existent IT staff.

The good news is that as the diverse, tech-savvy ‘Generation Z’, born in the mid-1990s onwards, begins to enter the workplace in the next few years, the IT skills and knowledge that are second nature to them will help to combat this. But print service providers, like other businesses, cannot wait for that transition; they must begin to address the IT skills gap now.

A very different futureAnd with the entry of Gen Z-ers into the workplace, an even more complex skills gap will emerge which employers will need to battle. This will include the need for softer managerial skills, including creative problem-solving and constructive interaction with others, while being ‘tech-literate’ will be a standard part of the working world – table stakes, as it were. There are plenty of resources for learning tech skills, but the evolving nature of managerial skills will be more difficult to address. Creating strong and effective managers has always been a challenge, with many arguing that managing effectively is something that can’t be taught. And again, for printing companies, many of whom are smaller family-owned businesses, managerial skills have been learned on the fly and may not be as effective in the Brave New World of Generation Z as they would like.

Creating the creative workforce

Creativity and social intelligence will become crucial differentiators for many businesses as we move into the future. It’s inevitable that automation, technology and machines will assume more of what have traditionally been manual roles – leaving highly creative jobs to thrive. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Future of Work study, sponsored by Ricoh, Ian Stewart, Chief Economist at professional services firm Deloitte, said: “Jobs that seem most likely to survive and thrive are those that require flexibility, creativity and social intelligence.”

Many believe that automation will allow employees and operations to strengthen their creative capabilities by freeing up time consumed by manual, often repetitive, tasks in order to undertake more complex and challenging tasks. In the research, seven out of 10 respondents agreed with this statement: “Businesses have a responsibility to automate labour as much as possible to allow staff to focus on more valuable tasks.” For print service providers the provision of greater automation reduces human touchpoints. This in turn addresses the need to find a profitable way of producing shorter run jobs. In fact, barely one in 10 respondents thought that companies should resist automation. Yet many printing companies have, indeed, not yet automated to the fullest extent made possible by budgets and technology. The opportunities are here: JDF, web to print and MIS all offer tremendous scope for efficiencies through automation. Similarly, preflighting, archiving and invoicing are processes that can be streamlined, automated and accelerated. In fact, with the right workflow, manual intervention may be required only in the event of an error or defect..

Almost 90 per cent of respondents to the EIU Future of Work study believed that the strength of an employee’s human capabilities, such as creativity and communication, were important to the success of a business – and 39 per cent of these believed it was the single most important factor. It’s evident that all print service providers need to harness and adapt their workforce with creativity in mind.  And that means eliminating repetitive, redundant manual processes (or touches) to the fullest extent possible, stripping out any activities that do not add value. While offline and nearline finishing, for example, can sometimes be replaced by more productive inline finishing systems, the ability to programme these devices (as an integral part of the workflow) to finish each job according to its unique needs can reduce manual intervention considerably. Furthermore, entirely independent digital and offset production lines are not as efficient or flexible as when they are integrated into one, shared workflow. Tracking and shipping are also mainly manual processes yet barcoding technology and automated notifications can enhance productivity and, also job integrity, greatly.

Evolving role of management

A key role for future management will be nurturing talent. Over a third of survey respondents said that managers will need to become more effective at nurturing talent in order to assure their companies’ success. And with this comes the need to develop a shared sense of culture and purpose in the workplace.

Business management leaders, from whatever sector, will need to not only think of company strategy, but also consider the importance of developing a creative atmosphere in order to get the most out of staff. In a start-up environment, it is far easier to encourage a fresh, innovative culture, but more established businesses, which includes most printing businesses, will generally be slower to adapt to this change in management style. As a result, these companies may struggle to retain strong talent, and become less competitive compared to rival businesses. And ask any printing executive: It can already be difficult to attract and retain the best talent in competition with “sexier” digitally-oriented jobs.

Preventing the future skills gap

Developments in technology have changed working patterns and employees’ expectations of a work/life balance. This has been seen with the emerging trend of everywhere ergonomics – the interaction between people and design technology – with a more dynamic and mobile workforce appearing. But how will these changes impact the priorities of printing businesses?

In the research, the main priorities executives identified were to increase employee productivity and cost control. However, when asked what those priorities should be in three years’ time, employee well-being and advancing employee skills and capabilities topped the list.

The key question is this: do we have a generation of leaders in the printing industry who are capable of nurturing future talent? Can our current leaders inspire and train the wave of Generation “Z-ers” entering the workforce, as well as the older existing employees? It is this delicate balance which could be the crux of future business success for our industry and others. The time to prepare is now.

[i] The 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report by ISACA