Inkjet Summit Highlights Adoption Rates and Customer Success Stories
The first day of the 2018 Inkjet Summit, taking place April 9-11 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., offered attendees an in-depth look at how the production inkjet market has evolved over the past 10 years with an opening keynote by Marco Boer, VP of I.T. Strategies. As Boer concluded with the sentiment that the future of inkjet is bright, Nathan Safran, VP of research at NAPCO Media, joined him on stage for a discussion based on an SGIA-sponsored "State of the Industry" report about the rate of production inkjet adoption.
The survey, which received 709 total responses from commercial and in-plant printers, explored adoption rates, drivers for adoption and reasons for not yet adopting the either continuous-feed or cut-sheet production inkjet technology.
Although there were varying results based on segment, overall the report found that the driving factors behind production inkjet installation is based on efficiency, faster run speeds, increased job volumes with shorter runs and lower running costs. Safran and Boer also reported that there was interest in new application development, staff reduction through increased efficiency and opportunities in increased personalization.
New to the Inkjet Summit this year was a panel, moderated by Barb Pellow, manager at Pellow & Partners, featuring four inkjet customers sharing their success stories with the technology.
The panel consisted of Brett Coltman, COO of Direct Technologies (DTI); Martin Aalsma, VP at King Printing Company; Marianne Gaige, chairman and CEO at Cathedral Corp.; and Adam LeFebvre, president of Specialty Print Communications (SPC).
Pellow lead the panel through what they see as the benefits of production inkjet technology, what the evaluation process looked like, what the keys to success are when adopting production inkjet and general recommendations for attendees who are considering production inkjet technology,
Coltman began the discussion explaining that DTI, a comprehensive multi-channel solutions provider and a Ricoh customer, decided to adopt inkjet technology in 2017, a decision driven by its customer base. Coltman stressed education as an important factor in the process and recommended rethinking process color strategy; evaluating current work and processes; and conducting print tests with prospective suppliers.
Overall, Coltman said that inkjet has had a significant impact on his business.
"For us, inkjet is a game changer," he said.
Aalsma of King Printing, a short-run book printer utilizing production inkjet technology from HP, echoed Coltman's point in that education on inkjet technology is imperative.
"Just because you buy it," he said, "doesn't mean you know what to do with it."
The adoption of production inkjet can be a great business decision, he said, because it can offer simplified workflows, visibility, speed to market and expanded capabilities, including variable data. However, the best way to find the right production inkjet solution for any business is to be well-informed.
He recommended going to events, such as the Inkjet Summit, as a way to connect with peers who have production inkjet technology, rather than relying solely on vendors. Aalsma also stressed the importance of finding a vendor who can also be a partner and assist with all aspects of inkjet technology.
Partnership was a recommendation that Gaige also pointed to. Cathedral Corporation, a transactional and direct mail printer with Xerox production inkjet technology, added the technology to increase its capacity and offer a wider color gamut. She explained that it's important to choose a vendor that is interested in helping your business grow its revenue.
"Pick a partner you trust," she advised.
She went on to explain that it's also important to realize that conversion isn't easy, and she recommended investing in training and education for staff and to view the technology as a way to achieve a competitive advantage.
The final speaker on the panel, LeFebvre of SPC, a direct mail printer with an emphasis on retail using Canon production inkjet technology, explained that SPC took three years evaluating production inkjet because it wanted to be convinced of the quality and value.
After using the technology, LeFebvre recommended that attendees look into production inkjet to do something different and to take a consultative approach to selling your business as a one-stop shop for customers. He also recommended building skills to manage client data and selecting a vendor who will act as a partner.
"We wanted to build new work and not cannibalize anything," he explained. "We have not cannibalized one piece of our business, it's all new."
Keep an eye out for more coverage from the 2018 Inkjet Summit, right here on piworld.com.