Inkjet is Alive and Well at the 2019 Inkjet Summit
The 7th annual Inkjet Summit kicked off yesterday, April 8, 2019, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Current inkjet users are reporting that inkjet technology is mature, profitable and offers many printers a variety of options in terms of size, format and speed. The annual event brings together inkjet users with those companies planning on investing in inkjet devices as well as the leading inkjet suppliers. The summit is produced by NAPCO Media and offers a content-rich program featuring presentations from leading industry consultants, user panel discussions, case history presentations and 1:1 exploratory sessions with vendor sponsors. This year there are more than 300 in attendance with 135 hosted attendees and 51 sponsors.
Marco Boer Highlights Inkjet Growth
Marco Boer, IT Strategies Vice President, opened the Summit and highlighted that inkjet has become more capable than ever. “With image quality improvements, increased media latitude and built-in operational efficiencies, inkjet has become more than a print technology. It is truly transforming the printing industry and helping service providers overcome many of today’s print manufacturing challenges,” Boer said.
Inkjet will also drive printed pages. Boer discussed the latest IT Strategies forecast data saying, “While the retail value of offset pages has declined at a CAGR of -5.7% between 2008 and 2018 and toner retail values have experienced a -2.6% CAGR, driven by a decline in monochrome pages, inkjet retail value has experienced a 67.3% CAGR. The technology will continue to drive opportunities to produce more digital pages including more variable color in transaction documents to enhance the communication and reduce customer support costs; zero inventory book manufacturing; and programmatic direct mail campaigns with quick turn times.”
Inkjet Summit: User Perspectives
Following Boer, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel featuring inkjet users that shared why investing in inkjet technology was a good decision for their business.
The Mailworks: Inkjet Delivers Value to Customers
The Mailworks is a woman-owned business located in Albany, N.Y. President Brianne Baggetta explained to the audience, “The firm started as a lettershop that converted to a full-service direct mail marketing services provider by investing in toner-based digital technology in 2008. We acquired our largest client in 2012, Hearing Aid Marketing, and have been growing at the rate off 20-30% over the past six years.”
The firm had cut-sheet toner devices and was outsourcing significant volume of work to offset printers. The company decided it was time to consolidate volumes from toner technology and bring outsourced work back in-house. Inkjet technology was the answer. The Mailworks initially installed an Océ VarioPrint i300 in 2016 and are currently installing an Océ ProStream.
According to Baggetta, the inkjet investment is delivering significant benefits. She said, “There have been savings for our business versus cut-sheet technology and outsourcing. Inkjet has given us scalability for business growth, but most importantly it is delivering value to our customers in terms of flexibility, turnaround time, expanded color options and quality. In addition, we have passed our cost savings on to our customers.”
Corporate Communications Group: Improving Time to Market
When the Corporate Communications Group (CCG), Upper Marlboro, Md., needed additional capacity, rather than adding sheetfed presses, it decided to evaluate inkjet. CEO Mike Marcian said, “We engaged in a detailed justification process. We performed an analysis of internal costs and contrasted them with the cost of transitioning to inkjet. We actually built a pro forma income statement as if inkjet was its own business. The analysis Included labor cost reductions as well as service and maintenance cost reductions on machines that would be sunset. Finally, we put suppliers side by side; looked at cost of the machine, cost of ink, service model, general capabilities.”
Marcian continued, “The cost justification was easy. It required no new business and we could move sheetfed and cut-sheet digital to inkjet while improving profitability. The RICOH Pro VC70000 gave us the capacity increase we needed, combined with cost decreases. Speed to mail also improved as production times were reduced by more than 25%.”
CCG was founded in 1951 as Corporate Press. In 2017, the company expanded its services and consolidated three sites into a new facility in Upper Marlboro Md. They also rebranded as the Corporate Communications Group.
Sheridan: Building Books of One
Sheridan is a print and electronic content provider dedicated to scholarly journals, specialty magazines, short- to medium-run books and direct mail catalog publishing industries. It operates five locations across the country. Sheridan was an early adapter of inkjet technology with its initial installation of an HP T360 color inkjet web press in October 2012 at its Chelsea, Mich., facility. The objective of the investment was to deal with declining run lengths as in the trade, professional, religious, scientific, medical and technical fields and produce work that could not be done competitively on offset presses.
More recently, Sheridan has added two HP T240s in its Hanover, Pa., location as well as an HP Indigo 12000 B2-format digital press for covers and case-covers for both books and journals.
Paul Loy, VP of operations, told summit participants that the inkjet investment is both defensive and offensive. He said “We need to meet growing customer demands for a book of one. The technology has helped us protect our business as well as open new markets for shorter runs. Inkjet has also supported double-digit growth in the number of units produced.”
Arista: Re-Engineering Statements
In business for half a century, Duluth, Ga.-based Arista Information Systems is a high-volume transactional print provider who recognized that true on-demand full-color printing was essential to staying competitive. Leesa Wagener, VP of operations, said, “Meeting Arista’s challenges meant much more than purchasing a new printer. It was a total re-imagining of how we could produce accurate, affordable bills and statements. Before, we printed offset shells, then used laser printers to add variable information, and sometimes collated an additional promotional statement insert. After purchasing two Xerox Rialto Inkjet Presses and consolidating equipment, operators can run a single, integrated full-color statement with variable data and promotional messaging all in one pass. It has simplified our operation.”
The Bottom Line
The Inkjet Summit continues to help participants understand how current and future inkjet production technology, software and solutions will impact both their businesses and investment strategies. Key takeaways from the opening session included current users sharing that inkjet is a growth opportunity that can:
- Drive costs out of your operation by consolidating equipment, eliminating pre-printed forms, increasing productivity and lowering run costs.
- Generate revenue by adding value to existing customer communications with personalization and relevancy.
- Open new business opportunity.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at email@example.com (Mobile, 585-734-2228)