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

Publishers gripped by page-turning book production developments

It’s exciting times for the publishing market.  It is clear to me, from the Interquest Digital Book Forum held on Tuesday 28th in London that, when we look at the publishing market we see it is poised at the beginning of a new world of opportunities.

Benoit C participates in the vendor panel 2

Benoit Chatelard (right) discusses Ricoh’s Vision of the Future at Interquest

Over the last five years we have seen that digital book printing has become mainstream.

Publishers have been taking advantage of the digital printing to go beyond simple print on demand. They are using sophisticated virtual stock strategies and ASR (Automated Stock Replenishment) not only to reduce their inventories (and therefore their risk) but also to revive their backlist catalogues.   So it’s no surprise that, according to Interquest, 89% of print volumes in Europe are now short runs.

In fact according to one publisher at the event, “Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher.”

Print on demand is the hidden saviour of the small publisher

 

High quality colour – the next breakthrough

We are finding that publishers are now looking to use the benefits of digital printing for as much of their catalogue as possible. This means that they want higher quality for colour books – especially Scientific Journals, Children’s books and trade books. However they also want the costs as close to offset printing as possible – i.e. Inkjet costs.

This requires a level of print quality significantly better than the majority of inkjet systems installed in the marketplace.

That’s why Ricoh’s ProVC60000 colour inkjet platform has been capturing publishers’ attention. It offers superb quality colour inkjet which now make it possible to print high quality books and journals, even on offset coated stocks. Elsevier’s Johan Van Slooten states the detail and the sharpness of the inkjet samples were better, adding: “Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.”

Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.

 

Amazon-like service, worldwide

Publishers see how Amazon.com has effectively set customer expectations with fast turnaround, 24 hour delivery and rapid response.

And this is what publishers are increasingly looking for.

The larger publishers really want to achieve this worldwide – that’s why there was so much interest in local printing and in particular the distribute and print model.

 

A brave new world for book manufacturers

All in all we think this represents a significant challenge for book manufacturers. It’s no longer just about substituting offset with digital, but it’s really about how to re-invent production to take advantage of new industry 4.0 technologies and processes.

Every book printer we talk to confirms that, in this new world of short SLAs, shortening print runs and flexible business models, then automation is essential if they are to continue to be profitable.

That’s why we have launched our new Digital Book Printing Solution. Built on Open Standards such as XML, PDF and JDF, it works with many digital print technologies. It is designed to help book manufacturers produce short run books profitably and cost-effectively. Using Ricoh’s longstanding heritage in financial markets the solution can batch print jobs to make printing more efficient and track and trace work so book printers and publishers alike know exactly where each job is.

Our rapidly growing presence in the European book printing marketplace is supported by our headline grabbing technologies. They include superb quality colour inkjet which now makes it possible to print high quality books and journals  -even on offset coated stocks. Our high performance heavyweight digital toner solution is not only ideal for book covers but also for ultra-short run books.

Print production capabilities, combined with quality and seamless job delivery, enable PSPs to redefine their business approach to more effectively address a broader range of markets.

A model approach

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard Vice President, Production Printing Group, EMEA

Who said print was in decline?  According to Interquest US commercial print volumes have been increasing every year for the past five years.

In our view there is a new mood of optimism in the publishing market. Digital print technologies have enabled publishers to reduce their risks and takes out wastage .

Now it’s time for the next phase. To explore new business models –  and open new worlds in publishing.

 

 

Find out more about Ricoh’s solutions for publishing

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.

 

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.

A New Chapter in Flexible Book Production

Short run promotional sample giveaways for airports, special edition book club runs or promotionally customised offerings.

These creative possibilities are among those that could shape the future of short run digital book production.

Some are already having an impact on today’s route to market for books as we saw at the London Book Fair this month. For example independent co-edition packager Elwin Street produced small quantities of offset-like quality books to cost effectively market their new trade list.

Titles chosen for this innovative treatment were The Vegetarian Year by Jane Hughes, endorsed by the UK Vegetarian Society; The Alkaline Cookbook by Dr Stephan Domenig and the Alkaline Cleanse, the follow-up to the best-selling Alkaline Cure; Love, Aimee x featuring 50 original, creative desserts from Aimee Twigger’s kitchen, as featured on her popular blog.

The new approach was supported by highly flexible, cost effective, easy to operate digital printing production technology from Ricoh and saw 50 editions of each produced.

Elwin Street’s Director Silvia Langford commented that the ability of Ricoh’s digital presses to produce books with high production values in very small quantities enables the publisher to show clients what new titles will look like.

The result was more conversations with more prospects.

However digitally printing books opens up additional opportunities. With digital print it is possible to produce personalised, customised versions of books.

Lost My Name is one company that has already reaped the rewards of personalisation in publishing. David Cadji-Newby who founded the company with three others developed The Little Girl/Boy Who Lost Her/His Name – an illustrated hardback which creates a personalised story around the letters of a child’s name. It has sold 500,000 copies to date, according to its publishers.

A slow start prompted the founders to appear on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den television show, where they secured £100,000 in return for 4% of the company – the highest valuation in the programme’s history. The 30-strong team now ships books, printed on demand, to 136 countries.

It is this kind of innovative approach that will shape the future for book production which is whyat Ricoh we see publishing as a significant opportunity for our digital print technologies. The flexibility that digital print can offer – especially for very short runs – presents so much choice.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

It helps publishers like Elwin Street take a more considered approach to their print production processes – they can agree run lengths that suits today’s demand and know there is the ability to produce variable quantities in the future.

So is it time you looked at what considerations should you be evaluating and how can we help?

#HID2015 is a Wrap! So What’s Next?

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To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.

Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint.  With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions.  This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping.  This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.

The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable.  It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our Ricoh Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the Ricoh Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!),  the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees.  This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more.  It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.

Not only were our technology demonstrations a hit, but one could argue the range and quality of our samples made its way around the floor even faster.

In fact many people – including some members of the press – commented that Ricoh has set a new bar for quality in colour inkjet.

Visitors to the stand could not only see the technology, but there were also plentiful samples from the Ricoh portfolio. This included samples from the Ricoh Pro VC60000 printed on offset-coated stock, the market-leading InfoPrint 5000, the Ricoh Pro C9100 series and the Ricoh Pro C7100X.  From trade books and marketing collateral to coffee table books, there was something for everyone to touch, feel and take home.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

If you were unable to join us in Lucerne, or even if your schedule did not allow the time to explore in depth how Ricoh might support your businesses evolution, you might consider visiting our new European centre of excellence, the Customer Experience Centre, in Telford, UK.

If you missed what we had to share at HID 2015, visit this blog to hear more about our technologies and applications.  You can also visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the show or follow our @RicohEUBDriver Twitter feed for flashbacks.

Danke, Switzerland.  Looking forward to 2017!

A brighter future for print

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot
Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing
Ricoh Europe

Today’s print communications ecosystem is complex with a number of supply lines. Each one has weaknesses and strengths, but I see three main drivers of change – all of which are moving volumes away from offset to digital printing.

The first is the economic crisis. It was bad for some operations but good for others. Commercial printers found it hard to get loans to make capital equipment investments, and marketers spent less. Meanwhile, packaging specialists thrived for the simple reason people went to restaurants less, which meant they cooked at home more.

The second is the growing adoption of production inkjet printing for a broad range of applications previously produced using offset technology, driving the adoption life cycle of inkjet.  There has been a lot of generic talk about digital printing based on toner, but that technology has never replaced offset. Although the quality was good, digital toner-based printing was never able to offer the speed or reach the price point of offset over long runs. Full colour production inkjet is a relatively new entrant to the market. Ricoh announced the IP5000 in 2007 and had a first installation in the UK.  It is non-impact printing technology, so there is no need for a blanket or photo imaging plate. Inkjet uses heat, pressure or electrical impulses to push ink directly onto the substrate. It delivers speed, increasing quality and the ability to print on many substrates, helping it become a viable alternative to offset. Now we see production inkjet printing being adopted in book, newspaper and direct mail production and, increasingly, in general commercial applications.

The third is the change in media habits. Readership is going down. Last year in the U.S., more than a quarter of adults didn’t read a book – regardless of whether it was an ebook or printed book. However, there has been increased talk about the different penetration rates of various media including tablets and e-media. Many direct mail campaigns have been using digital for some time – either in a hybrid manufacturing model or, increasingly as full colour inkjet.  Another habit affecting print media is the use of smart phones or tablets to take advantage of interactive print capabilities using technologies such as a QR codes, Clickable Paper or page recognition in books, direct mail or newspapers. The Ikea catalogue is a very good example of this.

This is how today’s market is shaping up, and there is a further development on the way that will impact operations in the longer term – functional printing. This term encompasses an array of sectors from 3D to textiles and packaging. Frank Romano stated a few years ago that, in 20 years’ time, functional print could represent 40% of a printer’s business. It offers improved efficiencies in production for products such as solar cells and touch screens, which are labour intensive to produce with current processes. Some operations are already pioneering printed electronics with this end use in mind. This approach could be expanded so a book printer could be responsible for creating single-use electronic books, printed in short runs, on demand, by high volume inkjet presses. And for those concerned that this might create more waste, the end product is much easier to recycle than traditional electronic goods.

Currently inkjet presses are frequently replacing web fed presses for limited applications such as books, newspapers and direct mail. But I expect there to be a growing volume of true commercial print applications produced with production inkjet printing, such as catalogues, brochures, fliers, etc., as many of the big players look over the shoulders of pioneers. And those that doubted that inkjet could conquer the true playing field of commercial print can turn their attention to installations in operations such as Zalsman, in the Netherlands who have invested in a Ricoh ProTM VC60000.  Zalsman is a successful mid-sized commercial printer that believes production inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive – for me that is proof that this is going to happen throughout the industry. Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner, and Zalsman is proof of that.

Some people have the view that the graphic arts sector is not an interesting business any more. I disagree with that and can see the transformation that is happening. Steve Jobs said it all comes down to innovation, and innovation is the difference between leaders and followers. There is a great deal of innovation happening in our industry, especially as it relates to production inkjet, and that makes it an exciting business.

I see two ways in which production inkjet is bringing innovation to the graphic arts industry – as a communications technology and as a functional printing technology. If you stick your head in the sand, these opportunities will pass you by; but if you go after them, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. I will be discussing all of this and more during the EBDA Seminar at Hunkleler Innovationdays, 26 February 2015, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Drop by and hear more about how Ricoh can help you investigate the best way to secure a brighter future.