Getting the Scoop in Israel —Sherburne
Bar-Shany is optimistic that this is doable, and that the company will see a return to 30 percent annual page growth in the coming months and years. He believes this growth will comprise a blend of offset and flexo migration to digital and new digital applications.
There is a great deal of printing industry innovation coming out of Israel, probably a disproportionate amount considering its size. This is due to the availability of a strong base of scientists and engineers, accessibility to venture capital investments and a large government expenditure on education. It has been called the most important place for innovation outside Silicon Valley (California).
Benny Landa is one such innovator; most of us remember the splash he made at Drupa 1995 with the first Indigo press. He was featured on the cover of Business Week that year as part of the cover story, "Israel: The Technology Pioneers."
I remember in the mid-1990s when Landa brought in a group of Xerox executives, including Wayland Hicks, Frank Steenburgh and Rich Cutri, to run the company and, presumably, to take it to the next level. I recall hearing a fellow employee quote Hicks after his first visit to Israel, saying that it was a "kitchen table" manufacturing operation. Of course, Hicks came from Xerox, where process was king and he had been a leader of the quality movement there. So, his expectations were especially high.
Today at HP Indigo in Israel, you can see the fruits of the labor Hicks and his team began, and since continued by HP.
Kiryat Gat is a highly sophisticated, lean manufacturing operation in both the equipment and ink operations.
Time in the Field
I was also very impressed with the amount of time that headquarters technical experts, both from Rehovot and Kiryat Gat, spend in the field with customers. This is critical to ongoing development and improvement of the presses. But it is a huge investment, and often hardware manufacturers skip this part of the process.