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.

 

The wide format opportunity

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

[GUEST BLOG]

Want to see your profit margins grow in 2013/14?

Want to find new applications with real growth potential?

Want to gain both above without major capital investment?

Want all your pigs to fly?

 

Yes I realise that implying there is a simple answer to the first three objectives encourages a large pinch of cynicism. But this blog and the associated fuller paper is to encourage you to look seriously at the wide format market. And for those of you already in that market in a small way eg with a plotter for drawings and maps, it is to encourage you to develop the sector more actively.

At the end of June, the Excel centre in London hosted FESPA 2013, a wide-format extravaganza that gave the lie to the pessimism that characterises much of commercial print today. In the excellent ‘Widthwise’ annual survey of wide-format printers published by Image Reports just before FESPA, a staggering 39% of the 223 respondents stated that their profit margins had grown in the last year and only 19% had seen it decline. Would that were true of the rest of commercial print!!

Furthermore those in the sector intend to grow, with 49% planning to recruit more staff and 40% intending to purchase more wide-format kit in the next two years. So what is preventing you from joining the trend? Let me suggest the following.

Lack of demand?

Well of course you know your customers better than anyone [I hope!] and they may not have a need for wide-format print but I should be very surprised. The staggeringly large range of applications means that virtually every consumer or business is going to be purchasing something in wide-format print sooner rather than later.

Too much competition?

Print history is littered with markets/applications/technologies that started out attractive but then sucked in more and more printers. As a result margins just went down and down. Surely wide-format is no different? Of course not and it was generally acknowledged that the rate of growth in the Sign and Display market in the UK and arguably in much of Western Europe is slowing. But please note slowing, not stopped or contracting [remember the statistic above on growing margins]. What is more, the applications are constantly widening with faster and wider machines, new inks, new drying methods, and new substrates fuelling the growth.

Too high cost of entry?

Entry level machines are under €12,000  incl. RIP. Mathew Drake of Roland quotes a market price of c € 48 a sq. mtr. and a substrate/ink cost of c. € 3.6 a sq.mtr. so there need be only a modest level of demand to start to cover initial investment. And yes, I do realise that a low cost of entry will encourage faster erosion of margins, but so far market growth has outstripped capacity growth.

Lack of expertise?

Now that is more challenging, as there is no doubt that like every technology, there is expertise that needs to gained or recruited.

Overall there is a very strong case to invest or further invest in this market.

To find out more, read our Article – “Opportunities in Wide Format”

This is available from Ricoh Business Driver or, if you are not a member, request it here.