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On Demand 2002 More People Per Inch?

June 2002
NEW YORK CITY—What seemed to strike attendees most at the recent On Demand 2002 conference and exposition was the high volume of traffic in the aisles of the show floor, especially compared to last-year's event.

However, it was also readily apparent to all that the square footage of show-floor space was down from the 2001 event. Since final registration numbers were yet to be determined, people were left to speculate about whether attendance really was up or if the crowded conditions were just the result of showgoers being squeezed into a smaller space.

The event was kicked off with a keynote presentation by Charles Pesko, managing director of CAP Ventures, a Norwell, MA-based consulting firm and co-producer of the conference. Pesko was given the Herculean task of outlining a plan for "Reinventing the Printing & Publishing Industry."

According to the consultant, CAP Ventures recently conducted a study of the true cost of business communications. He says the study confirms that for every $1 spent on printing, on average, $6 are spent for other related processes and document obsolescence. The processes and costs considered by the study included internal and external creative, document review and approval, administrative, distribution and fulfillment, warehousing/archiving and inventory obsolescence.

"If you reduce printing costs by 10 percent, you only save a customer 2 percent of the total cost of producing that document," Pesko points out. "Another way of looking at it is, if there is a $117 billion market for print, then there is a $702 billion opportunity for other document-related services. This is not to say printers can capture this entire opportunity."

Internet/network and digital technology are enablers that will allow printers to go after this much larger opportunity, the consultant asserts. As hardware becomes more of a commodity, software solutions will provide product and service differentiation, he says. Print providers will be able to leverage these solutions to streamline production, reduce costs and offer value-added services to customers, Pesko explains.

Developments in software and front-end processes also will bring a shift in focus to a concept the consultant calls "Content-on-Demand." Going beyond print-on-demand, the same document creative/production processes will support multiple media, he says.

On the print front, Pesko asserts that services such as personalized or customized printing and on-demand color output quickly are becoming standard practice, instead of being value-added services with higher margins. For the present, though, the killer app on the show floor seemed to be on-demand book production. Big name players are teaming up to develop and implement automated systems for short-run book production.

A case in point was the joint announcement by Océ Printing Systems USA and Quebecor World about the latter's implementation of a digital system designed to produce book runs of under 1,000 copies. The system components include an Océ PRISMA book publishing front end, two Océ DemandStream 8090cx printers and an off-line finishing setup, including a Standard Horizon BQ-460 perfect binder and HT-70 three-knife trimmer.

In a related move, Muller Martini and Océ announced they were teaming up to offer in-line book production. Muller Martini says it is offering an enhanced version of its AmigoPlus perfect binder, called AmigoDigital, which features electronic and mechanical interface modules that enable it to work in-line with a variety of digital printing systems to produce paperbacks at speeds up to 1,000 cycles per hour.

R.R. Donnelley revealed it plans to go this route with its first Inventory Management Solution (IMS), a book-on-demand soft-cover publishing system built around the Nipson VaryPress. The complete IMS system reportedly will produce more than 500 books per hour.

Xerox Corp. introduced enhancements to its Book Factory product line and in-line finishing options for its other printing systems.


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