Xerox iGen3 Dedicated at PIA/GATF
SEWICKLEY, PA—The Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) will now be able to take part in Xerox’s “New Business of Printing” thanks, in part, to Xerox’s recent donation of an iGen3 110 Digital Production Press at its headquarters here.
PIA/GATF will use the new digital press for production, research and training purposes. Also donated as part of the installation were a Bourg Book Factory from C.P. Bourg and Press-sense’ iWay business workflow solution.
Océ Hosts Open House
POING, GERMANY—Mix in one part sausage, two parts sauerkraut, three parts Pilsner, and you have a typical German night out. Add in another part (or is it two?) of duplex printing technology, and you have a shining moment for Océ and the debut of its VarioPrint 6250 printer.
A little rain may have blocked out a great view of the German Alps, but more than 5,000 visitors enjoyed a strong taste of Bavaria at the recent 13th annual Océ Open House. The American trade press was invited for the first time, and they were treated to a dramatic unveiling of the 6250, complete with acrobats swinging from the ceiling.
Billed as the world’s fastest duplex printer, the 6250 digital cutsheet printer simultaneously prints both sides of a sheet at 250 prints per minute while maintaining accurate registration and a reported offset-like quality. Another key ingredient for the 6250 is its ability to be configured with up to 12 paper trays, reducing time-consuming reloads.
During a press conference prior to the start of the Open House, Michel Frequin, executive vice president of Océ Digital Document Systems, called the 6250 the “world champion in high-speed printing,” noting that more than 80 percent of jobs produced on high-volume printers are double-sided prints. Because of this, he said, users have to feed their sheets through other systems twice. With the 6250, he noted, dual sides are printed instantaneously, resulting in flawless registration.
The VarioPrint 6250 was one of 20 new hardware and software products unveiled by Océ for both the commercial and corporate printing environments. Océ, which boasts 21,000 North American clients and services 80 countries worldwide, was joined by more than 50 industry partners showcasing their complementary lines.
Océ took great pains to ensure their Open House guests enjoyed a comfortable experience. Not only did multiple coffee and juice bars mark the exhibition, but an oxygen bar was offered for those who needed a more literal breather.
Views Point the Way
ORLANDO, FL—Presenters at conferences tend not to be representative of the industry as a whole. By nature of the selection process, they come from companies that are market leaders from a business perspective and/or technologically.
Given that, one hesitates to read too much into the degree of commonality in the perspectives shared by panelists at last month’s Vue/Point 2006 Conference. The similarities were striking, though.
What is the state of the industry based on this sampling? Offering variable data printing, along with mailing and fulfillment services, is now de rigueur. Web-to-print customer interfaces are becoming a standard way of doing business, and on-screen remote proofing—including critical color—is being rapidly adopted and is spreading out into the pressroom. IT resources are now a sales tool, both in terms of support for variable data work and improving the customer relationship by implementing online interfaces.
Also, it seems that 2006 has been unofficially declared the year of the Disaster Recovery Plan.
More than 250 industry execs gathered in Orlando for the conference. Based on their questions and comments, attendees this year seemed to have a grasp of what they need to do to stay competitive and were zeroing in on how to do it.
The big opportunity for printers is in expanding focus to the broader printed communications supply chain, asserted consultant Larry Letteney of Blue Ocean Advisory Group, Wellesley, MA, in his keynote address. For every $1 corporations pay out directly for printing services, there is around $6 in other costs associated with the product, he said. This includes expenses for creative services, warehousing, administration, product obsolescence, fulfillment, etc.
The industry’s future lies in helping corporations maximize their ROCI—Return on (their total) Communications Investment—thereby shifting the focus away from just cutting print costs, according to Letteney. He believes there are three effective business strategies open to printers: extending their services into other components of the total print communications supply chain, expanding the business base beyond print by being media agnostic, and segmenting vertically by applying customer and industry intelligence to a specific market.
Each of the 20-some sessions offered its share of takeaways, just a few of which are highlighted here.
Inter-divisional buying and selling was suggested as one way to address issues with compensation, territory and motivation that can arise with expansion into new services. At LaVigne Inc. in Worcester, MA, the print side of the business buys services from the marketing communications group, and vice versa, pointed out Jack Perry, vice president of client strategy. Whichever side has the lead with a client pays a wholesale rate for any services required from the other, and the salesperson/influencer gets a commission on the markup, he explained.
Joe Metzger, president of Metzgers in Holland, OH, created a buzz by noting that his company was able to capture revenues which were being lost by putting CSRs on a commission for value-added sales.
He cited change orders as a case in point. CSRs often didn’t bother to make out work orders and send them to clients for OK, so the company couldn’t bill for the work. Instituting a monthly commission based on the amount of change orders CSRs book now provides motivation, Metzger said.
When building Web-to-print solutions for deployment by customers, there is a risk of them trying to customize the perfect system, cautioned Cheryl Kahanec, corporate vice president of technology and marketing at TanaSeybert, New York City. A project may never get past the development stage or end up with a level of complexity that is a barrier to use, she noted.
Successful deployment can create other issues. TanaSeybert’s accounting department was thrown for a loop by customers paying for orders with credit cards before the work was produced, she reported. “We took the money upfront, but then ended up generating an invoice marked ‘paid’ after the fact to send to our own accounting department.”
On the same topic, Steven Ebanks, partner in Orlando-based Xerographic Digital Printing, added that the training and support customers invest in deploying a system for use by remote employees, agents or dealers gives them a vested interest in continuing to do business with the printer. “It makes it harder for them to leave,” he observed.
SWOP to Get Makeover
ALEXANDRIA, VA—The parties behind SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) have unveiled a strategy to modernize the specification and the accompanying certification program to meet today’s publication printing requirements.
“Our industry has changed since SWOP first developed its specifications,” notes Jim Mikol, senior vice president of technology, Leo Burnett USA, and member of the SWOP Advisory Committee. “We now demand tighter tolerances and greater assurance of a close visual match from proof to printed publication.”
Another challenge for SWOP is to address the industry shift to virtual proofing workflows. “We believe that in less than three years, hard-copy proofing will be obsolete,” asserts Elaine Fry, another committee member and director of manufacturing and production at Forbes magazine. “We need to develop specifications and best practices to ensure that monitor proofing can reliably and confidently match the visual appearance of an image on-press.”
In addition, the IDEAlliance has announced that SWOP will adopt the new G7 calibration, printing and proofing process control methods that grew out of the R&D efforts of its GRACoL Committee. G7 defines gray balance and target neutral print density curves for three-color gray and black as the primary method for color control.
As part of the effort to update SWOP, the group’s Print Properties Committee has initiated a series of R&D efforts to provide a scientific basis for modernizing the specifications. This includes completing a series of press runs on web presses to develop an idealized characterization data set for both No. 5 and No. 3 grade papers.
Additional research projects will focus on producing high-end halftone proofs “to the numbers” that provide a close visual match to a press sheet and to one another. This work will be extended to ink-jet and monitor proofing.
To facilitate the transformation, SWOP is suspending new certifications until July 1, when a comprehensive industry program will be in place.
Seminars Focus on Digital Printing Innovation
ROCHESTER, NY—With Innovate ’06, Xerox Corp. is taking its free, full-day seminar series worldwide. It has teamed with more than 20 of its industry partners to put on a program that is designed to give print providers, as well as marketing, creative and design services professionals, the chance to hear from industry experts about the successful use of digital printing.
Participants can personalize their Innovate ’06 experience by choosing among 11 sessions. Topics include business development tools, streamlining digital workflow for maximum efficiency, how partnerships are vital for success and designing jobs better for digital printing.
Seminar locations and dates include: Atlanta, June 7; Seattle, June 14; Minneapolis, June 20; Indianapolis, July 18; St. Louis, July 20; Tarrytown, NY, July 27; Phoenix, Aug. 10; Los Angeles, Sept. 14; and Boston, Oct. 5. To register, visit www.innovate06.com.
SAN LUIS OBISPO—Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department recently got a big boost with donations of a Hewlett-Packard Indigo 3050 digital color press and a Xerox DocuColor 3535 color copier/printer system driven by an EFI Splash G3535 RIP.
CLEVELAND—Northern Ohio Printing has installed a Heidelberg Prinect Printready P system with Prinect MetaDimension 5.1, Prinect Prinance management information system and Prinect Signa Station 9.
MORTSEL, BELGIUM—The Stream-Proof soft proofing option of Agfa Graphics’ Delano Web-based project management solution has earned SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) certification. The certified configuration includes Delano 2.6, ApogeeX 3.0, EIZO ColorEdge CG210 monitor and ColorNavigator color management software.
Mark E. Mang, lead engineer on the Xerox development team, is shown measuring out the E-Agent.
ROCHESTER, NY—In the spirit of the recent Earth Day observances, Xerox Corp. says it has deployed a “secret agent” to help it conserve more energy. Make that an E-Agent, or “embrittling” agent, which the company describes as a special chemical ingredient that reduces the amount of energy needed to make certain Xerox printer toner by up to 22 percent.
ESCONDIDO, CA—Trans-american Mailing and Fulfillment has installed an IBM Infoprint 4100 production printer to output personalized work.
ROCHESTER, NY—PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative, has released the first PPML (Personalized Print Markup Language) Interoperability Report. It documents PPML interoperability in variable data workflows across printing devices from Xerox and Xeikon, as well as those with Kodak Creo (HP Indigo, Konica-Minolta and Xerox) and EFI Fiery (Canon, Kodak, Konica-Minolta, Océ, Ricoh and Xerox) digital front ends.
TORONTO—Tener Solutions Group is changing its name to Transcontinental Database Marketing. The data mining and analytics company was originally acquired by Transcontinental Inc. in 2002.
ROCHESTER, NY—Seeking to build business for its new Kodak NexPress 2100 digital production color press, the management of Rocky Mountain Printing hit on greeting cards and its Card Café was born. Users can order personalized cards and schedule their delivery in advance.
RESTON, VA—PRIMIR (Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization) has launched a study—“Digital Printing Outlook in a Production Environment”—that will provide a quantitative analysis of the North American installed base for variable data-capable digital presses, including color (50+ ppm) and monochrome (91+ ppm) devices. The report is due to be released this fall.
WAUSAU, WI—Wausau Paper’s Exact Digital papers have been qualified by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Printing Application Laboratory for use with the Kodak NexPress 2100 (all 49 products) and HP Indigo (12 coated papers) digital production color presses.
FOSTER CITY, CA—EFI and XMPie Inc. have signed an agreement that enables EFI’s direct sales force to sell XMPie’s PersonalEffect server and uDirect desktop variable data software applications.
ROCHESTER, NY—Under a new partnership, Xerox Global Services will now resell and deploy Dialogue enterprise personalization software from Exstream Software.