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

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.

 

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.

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

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.

2015-11-RCPC_Group Picture

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.

From high volume inkjet to light production cut sheet – Ricoh’s double EDP award recognition

The EDP (European Digital Press Association) awards 2014/15 were held during FESPA last week, when many of Europe’s leading production printing journalists gathered in Cologne for this expanding event. I was delighted to be able to represent Ricoh at the awards ceremony, and to leave clutching not one but two trophies. Firstly in the ‘best production printer web-fed’ category, Ricoh’s brand new groundbreaking ProTM VC60000 took the prize. It was satisfying that the judging panel recognised the unique attributes of this innovative inkjet system, including the offset-like image quality it can produce and the flexible graphic arts oriented digital front end with advanced colour management capability. And then the Ricoh ProTM C7100X series prevailed in the ‘best production cut-sheet printer light production’ category.

Graham Moore Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

Graham Moore
Director, Business Development, Ricoh Europe with the two EDP Awards

The judges were clearly impressed by the opportunities for print service providers opened up by the fifth station. As it’s gloss and white toner capability and multiple substrate choice are designed to transform the impact of a broad range of print applications. So it was a successful afternoon for Ricoh. But, more importantly, I hope the EDP’s acknowledgement of the market-leading prowess of these two devices means that more professional print businesses become aware of how they could spearhead their drive for productivity and profitability. And come and talk to us.

Why you actually can start ‘small’ with ‘Big Data‘ to boost the success of mail

We have recently conducted a survey among British marketing agencies and marketing departments to find out more about the future of direct mail (or ‘advertising mail’, as it is often called in Great Britain). Together with the British DMA (Direct Marketing Association), we invited both marketing agencies and companies to share their view on this specific communication medium.

The results of this survey have been released as a report (called ‘Mail Matters’, published on March 25th by the British DMA) and those of you who are interested in the details are more than welcome to download the study using the following link:

http://www.dma.org.uk/uploads/Ricoh%20report%202015-240315_5512a5d8dcc40.pdf

The report was full of useful findings, e.g. that the majority of respondents still consider direct mail a trusted and effective medium (which it is) but a minority of respondents is concerned that direct mail may be considered as ‘junk mail’ (which it is only  if you don’t make it relevant for the recipient!). A conclusion was that the so-called ‘Digital Natives’ seem to have acquired relatively little knowhow about the production and use of direct mail, so that they concentrate on online marketing activities.

DMA research Five Segments of advertising mail

However, most of the respondents  can still be considered ‘loyal fans’ of direct mail although the research revealed that they are expecting more from the medium (and, in the case of agencies,  from their clients). One of the barriers for more successful direct mail obviously is the ‘lack of data and data analytics’. The data, however, is already there … but it can seem difficult to fully harness, so let’s have a closer look at the issue of analytics:

In recent months more and more focus has been put on how much value ‘analysing Big Data’ could bring. Despite the fact that ‘Big Data’ has become a marketing buzzword and that many decision makers are unsure of exactly what Big Data is, a whole industry has formed to help marketers to identify the best target groups and create customer profiles.

Starting with ‘Big Data analytics’ might at first sound like David’s fight against Goliath (also known as the data monster).  A marketer will learn that consumer data is stored among multiple databases and that the format and content of the databases heavily depends on the application (CRM, sales database etc).

In order to get a full, 360 degree view of your customers an immediate task is to consolidate the data from those different data sources (basically ‘copy’ all datasets into one big Excel  or .csv file). Once you have done that you will be confronted with the fact  that one and the same customer’s data occupies more than one database; in other words, you have found ‘duplicates’. A deduping exercise is therefore needed. In addition to that, important data fields like the gender (which determines the salutation) are not always filled, foreign names are not recognised  correctly  or the address is written with many different variations.

So a first small, but very important, step in data analytics is ‘data cleansing and data enrichment’. Don’t think that this must be a manual process. As long as you can transform the data from the different sources into one and the same format (e.g .csv-files) you can use appropriate tools. Such software comes with built-in intelligence (and algorithms) to understand which data belongs to one and the same customer. Most of them come as a SaaS (software as a service), run by European companies following the strictest EU data privacy laws (Ricoh is currently developing such a tool with an authorised RiDP = Ricoh Development Partner). Large corporations might prefer local installations and regular local updates and upgrades.

My recommendation is to take ‘data cleansing’ and ‘data enrichment’ seriously. Today’s tools can not only improve the quality of your general data but can also check whether email addresses are valid or if GSM mobile phone numbers are still in use. The cost of this first small step (data cleansing and data enrichment) is relatively modest.  More good news is that such state-of-the-art algorithms to clean your data can be built into all your existing (and future) web forms so that no bad data will find its way into your databases.

Once your general data quality has improved, you will be ready for true data analytics. Ricoh and alliance partner SAS can ‘calculate’ the likelihood of your customers buying further products or services (called predictive data analytics), so that you can concentrate your focus and improve the effectiveness of your actions.

So: mastering the (big) data monster should start with small steps, with ‘data cleansing and enrichment’ at the beginning of the list. After that, getting full customer insights using data analytical software should be second. Once you have created customer profiles and target groups, talk to us so that we can combine your data insights with our dynamic document composition tools to create the truly personalised pieces of customer communication which can make direct mail so successful.

This process actually is what we call ‘Precision Marketing’. Learn more about Ricoh’s Precision Marketing practice on YouTube and see e.g. how retailers can benefit from data-analytics and mail.

Your opportunities are endless! Let’s take the first steps together…