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September 2005

Technology Editor

Carrying the name "Toppan" is a lot for a company to live up to in the printing industry. . .and beyond, for that matter. From its headquarters in Tokyo, the company has expanded to reportedly become one of the top two printers (commercial and publications) globally. It also has branched out into the security and cards, packaging, industrial materials, electronics and e-business solutions markets, raising its current total employment to more than 33,000 people.

Along with its commercial operations, Toppan Printing has built its own Technical Research Institute and says it invested about $120 million in research and development. The company also established a printing museum in Tokyo.

Seishi Tanoue (left), president and CEO of Toppan Printing Company America, and Minoru Kamigahira, senior vice president of sales, discuss company operations with one of the printer's two Xerox iGen3 digital color presses as a backdrop.
Toppan Printing Company America, in Somerset, NJ, has been a part of the mix for some 40 years. It was started as a prepress business primarily serving domestic publishers, with subsequent production done in Asia, notes President and CEO Seishi Tanoue.

Since 2004, the U.S. division has been at the forefront of the organization's digital printing efforts, which includes installing two Xerox iGen3 digital color printing systems.

"We want to be the high-quality digital service in the United States," Tanoue says. "We're proud of the high quality (offset) printing we do. It's not easy to match that standard with digital printing, but we believe we can achieve our goal."

Penetrating Markets

The company looked to get into digital printing to diversify its services, but also to gain deeper market penetration of its traditional offerings, Tanoue adds. Books still account for the biggest portion of its business, followed by general commercial and catalog work. The local operation ranks among the top 100 North American printers, with $70 million in 2004 sales, a staff of approximately 135 people and one plant covering 210,000 square feet.

While it focuses on the local market, part of Toppan America's selling proposition derives from what it terms "Global Split Production." That is the ability to call upon resources across the globe to meet customer requirements for quality, delivery and costs, according to Gavin Jordan-Smith, director of digital communications.

"If a customer is looking for 100 pieces, the job goes to one of our Xerox iGen3 digital presses. For 5,000 pieces, we'd use a 40˝ offset press. Or, if a customer is willing to wait four weeks, we can send the job to Asia and produce it for one-third the cost," Jordan-Smith explains.

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