THIS MONTH’S column is a little bit off topic, but I thought it would be worthwhile writing about my recent visit to Israel, hosted by HP Indigo and Dscoop, the Digital Solutions Cooperative, an independent HP Indigo users group beginning its fifth year of operation. A report on a visit to the Holy Land also seemed somewhat relevant to the upcoming Holiday Season.
Israel is an amazing place, for whatever reason you choose to go—business, religious reasons or just to soak up the history. HP and Dscoop hosted a group of about 50 journalists, partners and Dscoop members (including some spouses/significant others).
The primary purpose of the visit was to spend time at two HP Indigo sites. These locations included Rehovot, which is the primary site of HP Indigo’s R&D, test labs and customer service/support organization and Kiryat Gat, which is the primary manufacturing site for both HP Indigo presses and ElectroInk.
Israel is a small country, geographically. It has a population of about 7.5 million people, and HP has more than 5,000 employees in Israel, from various parts of the organization including HP Indigo. HP is the second largest non-Israeli, high-tech company in the country after Intel, and there are a number of different HP sites, mostly along the coastal area.
We began with a business update by Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, Indigo division, HP. Although not unaffected by the global economic crisis, Israel has continued to show positive GDP growth (4.2 percent in 2008, although it dropped to 1 percent in the second quarter of 2009). Prior to that, the country had four straight years of GDP growth in excess of 5 percent.
HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, according to Bar-Shany, has been impacted by the dramatic changes in the printing industry, with the number of overall printer hardware units sold down 23 percent year-over-year. Inside of that, consumer printer hardware units are only down 16 percent, with commercial printer hardware units down 42 percent.