Insights from Ricoh’s first Global Innovation Summit

In my role as Head of Commercial Print Operations for Ricoh Europe, I am constantly looking to grow our presence in the Graphics Arts market.  That’s why from 27-29 January Ricoh organised its first Innovation Summit in Tokyo for 15 of the largest commercial printers globally. This is part of Ricoh’s Large Commercial Print Program initiative, under which the 100 largest commercial printers are members of the program and globally get benefits of the program like Global Account Management, joint business development activities, national/international senior management sponsorship and close interaction with Global Ricoh R&D.

As part of this program Ricoh organised for the first time the Innovation Summit. The main goals were for the customers to get new insights into the market via external key note speakers and Ricoh’s strategy and future developments as shared by the senior management.

Attendees of first Ricoh Global Innovation Summit Jan 2016

Attendees of the first Ricoh Innovation Summit 2016 in Tokyo

The Innovation Summit was kicked off by Zenji Miura, CEO Ricoh worldwide with a strong message about strengthening our customer centric approach and continue our investment and focus in the Commercial Print business. No surprise of course as this is seen as one the major growth areas of Ricoh and a very reassuring message for the commercial printers in the room.

After this intro by Zenji Miura, external key note speakers Abe Smith from Oracle, Marco Boer from IT Strategies and Ulbe Jelluma from Printpower followed. They talked about the speed of change in current society and the digital disruption.

Some interesting conclusions to consider:

  • Only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are still active
  • 75% of auto shopping is done on-line, before stepping in showroom
  • Offset pages shrinking 6% year over year, but not always because of digital print
  • Digital print is growing 8% per year, with colour inkjet growing 20% year over year last 7 years
  • Printing is still very much alive, but need to add value and complement with digital media
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second
  • Need to ask ourselves the question if we are in the business of print or in business of producing meaningful and impactful communication.

Also worth mentioning is Ulbe Jelluma’s presentation in which he 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 like putting a mint flavour on the tickets of a parking garage drawing the attention to the ticket with an advertisement of Extra mint!

Another example 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.

As the voice of the customer, Lynn Terhune from publisher John Wiley & Sons and Makoto Enomoto from the advertising agency Dentsu explained to the audience what’s happening in their market, what they expect from commercial printers and how they have used digital print to enhance their business for their customers.

Of course senior management from Ricoh gave their views on on the Graphic Arts Market and Ricoh as a company. Key messages expressed were the following:

  • A market leader for 80 years with a spirit of innovation
  • Ricoh invests over $1 billion annually in R&D, and we are a top 100 Global Innovator
  • Ricoh’s Production Printing business growing 18% between 2014 and 2015 and is now generating $2 billion
  • Ricoh has strong commitment to supporting a sustainable and environmentally friendly world
  • Customer Centricity to create value for our customers by delivering high performance solutions, cross media software support and broad range of substrate support
  • Commercial Print/Graphic Arts seen as key growth initiative for Ricoh and commitment to continue to invest in this market

This approach was very pervasive during the visit to Ebina, Ricoh’s R&D facility with 5000 R&D persons that work day in day out on developing new innovative solutions, which fit the needs of our customers.

During the Open House we showed under non-disclosure some specific new developments for inkjet, industrial and reprographic applications, which will certainly help our customers develop their business.

We created a special mailer for the event, to showcase the latest Ricoh technologies.For more information see: Making an Impact at Ricoh’s Global Innovation Summit.

And finally Christian Haneke from Print and Service Group Haberbeck presented the reasons for their investment in the Ricoh Pro VC60000 being the first one in Germany. A perfect example of a company who has adapted to the changes in the market and developed into a full service media provider for print and non-print.

This day was ended with an interesting presentation from Robert Crooker from Heidelberg, who talked about digitalization as it also is for Heidelberg a key enabler for future growth.

So for me Ricoh’s first Innovation Summit was a great success and featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. It seemed that all customers got a better idea of scale and commitment that Ricoh has dedicated to helping commercial printers successfully grow their business.

Finally one statement stuck with me which I think we constantly have to remind ourselves as being part of the printing industry is:

Are we in the business of print or in the business of producing meaningful and impactful communication?

Eef De Ridder Head of Commercial Printing Operations, Ricoh Europe

Eef De Ridder
Head of Commercial Print  Operations, Ricoh Europe