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

Open New Worlds Photoshoot – Commercial and Corporate Print

The location

The location we selected for the Commercial and Corporate shoot was a strikingly beautiful and dramatically designed home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK. The home of a renowned artist, it has been used as the setting for great brands and will feature in a forthcoming series of Cold Feet, the UK TV drama. It also appeared in the March edition of Grand Designs magazine. The house is also right around the corner from Lindow Common, where the body of a mid-first century AD man was found, preserved in a bog. The Lindow Man can be found on permanent display at the British Museum.

In order to accommodate both shoots in one location, we needed flexibility of space, with one room that could be dressed to replicate a fashion student’s bedroom and one that could be used as a gallery space. We were fortunate that the house actually had its own gallery space so we could remove the contents and use gel lighting to create the desired vibrant shades on the wall.

The idea

Commercial Print – we wanted to capture the wonder of seeing colour for the first time, to highlight the breathtaking print quality available through Ricoh’s digital print technology.
So we created an image of someone entranced by amazing colours.

Corporate Print  –
the idea was to focus on a fashion designer of the future, working in their bedroom, to illustrate how Ricoh’s intelligent digital print technology can help universities attract new talent, and enable other corporations to communicate effectively.


The Results

A suite of images for the Commercial and Corporate route, to be used throughout the campaign.

How to Drive Efficiency and Savings in your Enterprise Print

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard Vice President, Production Printing Group, EMEA

In today’s print environment, there are more document systems and processes than ever before.  Poorly managed output can lead to resource waste, inefficiency, inaccuracies, and even security issues, as sensitive information is potentially sent to incorrect parties or “orphaned” prints sit on office output trays. These losses are, of course, unacceptable yet they happen all the time.

The need to centralise print and the management of these processes are becoming even more important when organisations want to take control of cost, waste and integrity of their document and information flow.

Introducing Ricoh’s Managing Enterprise Output: One workflow to connect all print and output related processes: office and production

Ricoh’s Managing Enterprise Output (MEO) allows organisations to do this and by centralising print through a dedicated print room or CRD with Ricoh production printers. It either redirects output from systems like SAP or office MFPs, In this way businesses can benefit from improved document costs and efficiencies.

MEO 3D Pie

MEO connects all print and output related processes. Under its umbrella, organisations can connect all print streams, system generated output, and multi-channel communications via one workflow solution. That means one control point to focus on  for all of a customer’s output devices and channels.

Simplicity isn’t MEO’s only strength, though. The software facilitates continuous optimisation of enterprise output by improving visibility into and automation of the critical – if repetitive – processes that drive enterprise output. Automated workflows reduce manual touch points, concomitantly cutting errors and inefficiencies. Additionally, with comprehensive business rules applying least-cost routing, we can ensure that no matter the type of document, our customers can intercept or redirect jobs to find the most cost-effective printer or output channel in the print room or other location.   Also, MEO enables our customers to manipulate jobs to fit their exact output needs, re-engineering documents or executing automated transforms from multiple systems if needed.

Customer success:  Continental Tyre Group

banner 2

Implementing an effective print strategy based on MEO transformed Continental Tyre group’s work processes, improving flexibility and eliminating cost. The benefits:

  • Single workflow solution
  • In-house production facility
  • 70% reduction in printer fleet size
  • Reduction in print volume / cost
  • Central management of print streams

Read the full case study here

Manage both office and production print from a single control center

This offering is particularly helpful in that it is well-suited to help customers efficiently and easily manage both office and production printing environments from a single, effective control center. The level of visibility and management this provides can help customers improve operations across the board – and can help you demonstrate the added value of related hardware, output management software and services.

Find out more


Benoit Chatelard
Vice President
Production Printing Business Group

Infographic – Customer Communications Management

Digital media is disrupting corporate communication requirements and
spending. Below are some key findings from a recent survey conducted by
InfoTrends in Western Europe across vertical markets.
As communication investment grows in online and mobile, indications are
that print is still an important element of an integrated customer
communication strategy, but managing a mix of channels is still challenging
for many organisations.


Ricoh Infographic - Critical Communications Management

Ricoh Infographic – Critical Communications Management

Download as a PDF – Ricoh_CCM_infographic v1


Customer Communication Management trends – the growing complexity of managing customised, multi-channel corporate communications

Many of today’s corporate communication strategies are being driven by the need to serve and communicate with customers that have different delivery requirements and preferences. So it is no surprise to learn from a recent InfoTrends study that many corporate organisations are pursuing a multi-channel communication strategy to control the growing complexity of related processes.

Despite the migration of many communications both to online and to mobile delivery the study also highlighted that organisations are increasing their use of blended communications, incorporating print with digital channels.

Ricoh Infographic - Customer Communication Management

Ricoh Infographic – Customer Communication Management

Although traditional print continues to decline, it still represents 40% of respondents’ communication spending in the last year. But its future role hinges on its ability to integrate seamlessly with other channels.  And, where respondents are using print as part of an integrated blend of communications (indeed 31% state they already are), it’s achieving some of the best customer response rates. Up to 27% in some cases.

Growth in the use of digital media is reshaping the way organisations manage the growing complexity of communication processes.  The study found that up to a third of organisations are already managing their communication processes in-house. And over a third of firms in financial services are managing their own data analytics to optimise targeted customer communications. This suggests that many organisations are already taking more central control of the content and creation of communications.

InfoTrends conclude that in order to react to ever changing customer demands and market environments, organisations will require investment in technology and workflow automation enhancements that improve productivity, delivery speed, and cost.

Having the flexibility of managing content and the creation of communications in-house, and then fulfilling production of it onsite through a CRD or offsite via external service providers, can be the best overall strategy in many cases. This depends largely on the nature, scale or urgency of the requirement.

There are many solutions and services available to organisations providing the desired level of control over a broad range of communication types – from general customer correspondence to marketing or transactional documents.  Ricoh can help organisations formulate a communications management strategy using a range of technology and services from Precision Marketing consultancy to implementing a multi-channel communication workflow that facilitates onsite or offsite fulfilment – or a combination of both.

Download the Infotrends white paper – Key Trends in Customer Communication Management

Find out more at:

Educating the Education Sector: The Future of Print

Speed of change Education

Across Europe there is a drive to strengthen higher education to create leading-edge facilities and services that enable remote learning and ensure finite resources are used more efficiently. In fact, in new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by Ricoh Europe, it was found that 98 per cent of Education leaders in Europe revealed that they are now under pressure to change faster, more than they have, in the past three years.

Separately, the European Commission projected that 414 million students, worldwide, are expected to be enrolled in higher education by 2030. And even more, across Europe specifically it’s estimated that 90 per cent of jobs will require digital skills in the near future[1]. It is easy, when looking at these powerful data points, to understand why there is increased pressure on leaders to adapt their operations and training systems as quickly as possible.

If we consider higher education establishments, they must address how to stay attractive to prospective students while competing with other similarly ranked institutions, as well as with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Ensuring a modernised environment is essential. Technology itself will play a part; however, the real route to success is by ensuring the back office operations are optimised.

European leaders within the sector agree. The EIU research, The Challenge of Speed, asked respondents to identify areas where adapting to change was most crucial, and most cited responses were back office related. First is improving core business processes (44 per cent) followed by recruiting new staff (42 per cent) and adopting new technologies (40 per cent).

Now is the time for the print room to shine and be a central point to optimise core business processes. For example, targeted communication is one highly effective way of attracting new students and making a positive first impression. This can range from customised prospectuses specifically for each student, created via an online form, to multichannel communications. Based on the registration of their interests, potential students can receive tailored information about their preferred course, information about where they can pursue their hobbies or even learn about the best entertainment venues based on their favourite music.

The information gathered can also be used for broader communication such as integrated campaigns and direct e-shots, or even facilitate impromptu communication that is related to topical situation or updates on course information, all of which will add to build lasting relationships with the students.

Educational establishments can also streamline their print requirements through software that simplifies the dissemination of information on demand. Moore says, “Instead of lecturers printing course notes themselves, they can order online what they require for the next day, upload supporting content to an online portal or send students the link for them to download to their tablet or other mobile device. Relevant information or publications can be provided on a ‘just in time’ basis in a highly efficient and cost effective way and lecturers can use their saved time on meeting the learning needs of their students.

So what is holding them back?  Education leaders said the top two bottlenecks to achieving greater agility are difficulty in getting employees, business units, or functions to adopt a common approach (44 per cent) and bureaucratic decision making processes (35 per cent).

A smooth, quick and responsive line of communication can address these issues. For example the back office administration can be linked to various data sources for easy and timely invoicing or other mandatory documents. A web portal can also be created for the simple sharing of information and as a way to communicate university news and updates more effectively.

Efficient business process communication, all-round streamlining of operations and addressing bottlenecks via multichannel communications, from print to mobile devices and augmented reality, will ensure operational wide improvements. This approach to multi-communication has far-reaching effects from speeding up information for students to smoother, more effective back office operation. As a result, the corporate print room can transform into a communication centre driving efficiencies and being instrumental in introducing a number of different formats and channels that streamline information flow.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

With this full service system in place, the print room will not only be able to support educational establishments as they rapidly change, but will have an active role in enabling this change. The truly developed print room can speed up the pace at which schools develop through improved critical communications, management of data, and even decision making through enhanced visibility of information. In this new era of digital transformation, the print room can truly take centre stage as not only the enabler but a driver of change in the education sector.


[1] European Commission Education and Training

The Future Role of the Print Room to Increase the Speed of Technology-led change

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

To remain competitive into the future and adapt to technology-led change, organisations need to react faster to changing traditional ways of working.  To be more agile into the future they must review the ways they access, store and distribute business critical information and communicate with clients.  New research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and sponsored by Ricoh, offers interesting insights about the state of play in European organisations when it comes to speed of change.  It is a must read for corporate print room managers seeking to take advantage of opportunities to add more business value and be at the helm of the company’s digital transformation.

It reveals that rapid cultural and technological change has left many European businesses overconfident about the true speed at which their organisation is responding to change.  Business leaders are three times as likely to compare their company to a speedboat (48 per cent) than a super tanker (17 per cent), while believing the opposite of their competitors.  However, three quarters report that they are not reacting to changes fast enough, just 24 per cent can rapidly take advantage of new opportunities or adapt to unexpected changes and only one in three European organisations (29 per cent) can rapidly re-engineer processes to support change.

The reality is, as they seek to change faster, European businesses are facing the triple challenge of a rapidly evolving workforce, technology-led disruption and the deployment of core business processes that ensure change is sustainable.

Such findings expose the opportunities for inhouse print room managers and the role they can play to improve organisational agility and help the business adapt for the future. It’s never been more important to reinforce the reality that the print room or corporate reprographics department (CRD) is no longer a reactive printing and copying service. If given the opportunity, the head of the print room or CRD can add real business value and has a key role to play in helping the organisation to adapt more quickly.  It can manage personalised cross media marketing communications to support product and service sales.  What’s more it can produce business critical documents on demand and act as the central conduit to document management across the organisation.  This is the ideal combination of supporting the business, optimising business critical processes and maximising the use of technology.  The end result will see quicker access to information, increased efficiency and customer responsiveness.

The European business leaders’ clouded view of the real speed of change in their organisations may also be attributed to the challenges and bottlenecks they are facing.  The study shows that the leading barrier to greater agility is the inability to link technology platforms effectively. No doubt this is leading to information silos and playing a key role preventing business leaders from seeing the changes in the company as a whole.

The print room manager can play a part in supporting the organisation to overcome these barriers, by automating and re-engineering document processes through powerful workflows, enabling pre-set business rules to be applied that introduce approvals and other management controls.  And, by gaining the visibility of all these processes, they can introduce tracking and auditability from a centralised system as well as providing the flexibility for future process optimisation as requirements change. Such actions will also give the business leaders a more holistic view of what is really happening in their business and enhance future decision making.

Documents, whether printed or electronic, are at the heart of every organisation and in many cases are transforming the way they sell, communicate and conduct business.  The growing blend of hard copy and digital documents are creating the need for organisations to be able to manage both, in unison. The successful print room managers today are elevating the profile and perception of where they can add value by driving the businesses wider output management strategy.  They are connecting core document technologies and optimising processes to manage data and improve business critical communications, from front and back office.   They are also supporting revenue-generating customer communications. Together these measures can play a leading role in accelerating the speed of change for their organisation to move successfully into the future.

For more insights into the challenge of speed facing European organisations, visit

The challenge of speed

The challenge of speed

Transformation strategies for the CRD – a ten point plan

In Ricoh’s latest Business Driver Report,  Transformation strategies for the CRD, published by  Smithers Pira, in association with Ricoh Europe PLC, we outline a 10-point plan for helping CRDs transform. Here is a short summary.

A ten point planBusiness trends may be putting pressure on the CRD but those with the right strategy and ethos can thrive despite the tough economic climate and changing working practices. Even with the impact of today’s technology and demands for print and other media, it is possible to steer a successful course if you follow this 10-point transformation plan for success in the CRD.

1.  Understand the place of the CRD in the overall organisation.

Knowing how your products and services reflect the brand and ethos of the organisation is crucial to proving the worth of the CRD and to maximising its benefit.

2. Behave like a commercial operation.

A service-based philosophy that ensures that jobs are on time, to specification and the highest quality at a realistic price backed with exemplary service ensures other departments support and appreciate the CRD.

3. Keep your production platform relevant.

Changing technologies and market situations may mean it is necessary to change the printers and processes used in house. Many sites have already dropped litho for digital and some are finding it necessary to add wideformat equipment to meet new requirements.

4. Offer more than just print.

Multi-channel communications and cross-media campaigns are now the norm and print needs to prove its own worth and work together with other channels.

5. Understand the importance of software and systems.

Job submission, web-to-print and rules based jobrouting software all enable the inplant to improve efficiency and customer service while also saving costs and providing a layer of management and control.

6. Make sure senior management understand the role of print.

Ensure you have a champion in the C-suite who clearly understands and can help communicate the value of an internal print resource to support the objectives of your brand and the business.

7. Be flexible and work with other departments to deliver value.

In some instances it is not possible to provide all print-related services via the CRD. If your corporate structure means working with other teams such as IT,design, marketing, procurement and legal be prepared to cooperate for the best interest of the business rather than play internal politics.

8. Ensure you have a multi skilled and flexible workforce.

A well trained and flexible workforce ensures you can rise to any production challenge and provide the best advice to customers.

9. Focus on delivering best value.

Consider if print is the right medium, and if so if it is best produced in the CRD, at the point of need in the offices/on the desktop or by a specialist external supplier.

10. Maximise value of being an internal supplier.

Harness the department’s unique position as part of the business with special knowledge of print to align your products and services with brand guidelines and sustainability policies.

The full report, ,  Transformation strategies for the CRD, is available to Ricoh Business Driver users. Alternatively, request a copy by completing this form.


The wide format opportunity

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of


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 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.

Overcoming the fear of the “big green monster”

Ricoh's environmental survey

Ricoh’s environmental survey

Ricoh completed a short environmental survey late last year with Print Services Providers (PSPs) and the findings were in line with what we hear frequently from our customers.

Many PSPs realise the importance of going green but find the whole subject of green print growing in complexity.  We know from talking to many printers that they struggle to know how best to start a green strategy. In particular they are not clear how best to provide more sustainable print services which improve both their own and their clients’ environmental position.

What print providers need to realise is that even the smallest steps to becoming green can be beneficial, and – with the right guidance – the imaginary “big green monster” does not have to be something to fear.

Start promoting green with your CMYK

Print is perhaps one of the most sustainable media of all, because most of it is paper based.  Paper is made from a renewable resource, easily recycled and reused. Therefore positioning print as working with other cross media communications should be on the agenda of many print providers.

Providers of digital printing often don’t realise that what they offer can support their own clients’ environmental reduction targets.  Digital presses have a small carbon footprint and trends in digital printing, such as short runs and print on demand, help to reduce print inventories and waste.  The ‘distribute and print’ model has reduced the transport costs associated with conventional print and this contributes to reducing the environmental impact of print and increasing profitability at the same time.

Ricoh env survey

Digital variable data printing has increased print’s timeliness and relevance, and jobs that have been traditionally printed to address a mass audience, such as product instruction manuals containing multiple languages for example, can be printed on demand and tailored to the specific language requirements of the local market, eliminating waste as a result.

Media choice is another area for opportunity and the Ricoh survey highlighted that over 60% of PSPs already recognise the importance of using both recycled and FSC/PEFC papers.  By expanding the range of sustainable papers on offer, print providers can help clients make more responsible media choices through the orders they place with them.

PSPs providers should also look to get more support from their suppliers to benefit from any new products or initiatives they offer to improve their environmental position.  Customers of Ricoh in Europe are starting to benefit from Ricoh’s Carbon Balanced Printing Programme, enabling them to offer carbon neutral digital printing and helping them reduce their impact on the environment.

Initiatives like the Ricoh Carbon Balanced Printing Programme provide the opportunity to take simple steps to a greener business and there are still opportunities for early adopters to use these type of programmes as a unique selling point in the market.

Simple steps

5 steps to sustainability heavenBy establishing greener production processes internally, PSPs can transform these best practices to demonstrate and promote a clearer perception of their environmental position with clients.

To assist in developing a move to an optimised print operation, we have created a print optimisation guide – available to customers participating in Ricoh Carbon Balanced Printing Programme.   This is used as a structured plan to introduce key improvements in printing processes, reduce CO2 emissions and minimise the impact of printing on the environment.

This process includes:

  • Implementing digital workflows to introduce activities such as web to print job submission or softproofing for clients.  If applicable, workflow could even help to balance jobs across print locations so that they are produced nearer the required destinations.
  • Reducing printer energy use by ganging-up jobs, minimising downtime to reduce periods where the printer is in standby mode.
  • Production process improvements including lean and green practices to improve resource efficiency, raw material use and costs.
  • Extending sustainable media choices including papers that conform to strict environmental standards and recycled papers that offer a lower carbon footprint.
  • Implementing reduce, reuse and recycling practices for printer supplies and raw materials, while advising or helping clients do the same.

Go green to be seen

Having gone through some of the processes to optimise their production, PSPs can then start telling their clients what they have done to reduce environmental impacts and what they can do for their clients to drive further reductions from future print work.

One good example of this is Crossprint, the first certified Carbon Balanced Printer with Ricoh in the UK.   Crossprint proactively promotes sustainable print services and provides clients with a wide choice of recycled paper options, bio inks on offset printed work. Work printed on their Ricoh Pro C751EX system is carbon neutral.  They are also one of few commercial printers we know that rely purely on green renewable energy from solar panels installed on their factory roof.  Crossprint uses these and many more initiatives to promote themselves as leaders and innovators in sustainable print.

The time is now

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

A PSP need not fear the mythical green monster.  Taking some simple steps to review your own environmental practices can quickly convert into business benefits and enhance the competitive advantages you offer to existing and prospective clients.

And at the same time, PSPs seeking further support from a partner like Ricoh can help gain the confidence to provide an educational, professional and clear perception of their environmental activities and work with their clients to get the most out of digital printing to improve their corporate social responsibility.

Good for printers. Good for their clients. Good for the planet.

For more insights from Ricoh see:

Request a copy of the Environmental survey