by Scott Scheidenhelm and Fred Morrone
In today’s on-the-go world, checking the mailbox may not always be a daily activity. Because of that, direct mail audiences can be harder to pin down. But as a business, the technology to reach your target audience – while employing efficient, accurate processes yielding quality output – is there.
The RICOH Pro C7100 product line, for example, empowers print shops just like yours to catch the eye of readers who may otherwise gloss over a piece of marketing collateral or signage. The series enables you to create applications that stand out from your competition by offering oversize prints, window clings, and CDP and POP displays, as well as printing on textured media and custom materials.
But it’s not always about physical output. With more of your audience online than ever before, it makes sense to bring your communications online with them. However, making the transition from print to online can be still be daunting, especially for established printers. It’s with that transition – and those audiences – in mind that we designed the latest update to RICOH ProcessDirector.
RICOH ProcessDirector, a key component of our award-winning Critical Communications solutions suite, is likely familiar to many of you, as it has helped print shops ensure the accuracy, efficiency, and quality of their printed output for years. While some printers looking to add electronic-delivery capabilities have struggled with the complexities associated with learning to use entirely new software, ensuring consistency between communication channels, and managing the varied preferences of large and diverse audiences, Ricoh’s workflow software presents a familiar, easy-to-understand user interface, centralizes output control to help ensure consistency and efficiency, and automatically applies customers’ channel preferences based on database information.
In an effort to help our customers reach their target audiences, this new generation of our workflow software adds:
To find out more about what’s new, watch this video on multi-channel communications:
In addition to these enhancements to RICOH ProcessDirector, you can expect increased flexibility from another software solution you’ve come to rely on: InfoPrint Manager, which is adding support for Linux platforms. This change is set to bring the powerful enterprise output management platform to a broader range of users – just as support for multi-channel communications helps bring your message to a broader range of readers.
To find out more about how InfoPrint Manager is accomplishing these goals, watch this brief video:
It’s an exciting time for Ricoh production print, so be sure to keep an eye out for how we can continue to help you generate and send accurate, efficient, high-quality communications.
For commercial printers, standing out against your competition can feel like a never-ending struggle. How can you deliver applications they can’t? How can you demonstrate your value to customers? It’s because of these very challenges that we brought the RICOH Pro C7100X series to market and are now offering you an added game-changer: the 5th Color Kit. If you’re looking to broaden the types of materials you can print and the types of material you can print on, this series helps facilitate just that while leveraging darker substrates to help you – and your customers – stand out. The 5th Color Kit helps your clients see just how powerful your new powerhouse printer truly is.
While five-color printing was on the market prior to the RICOH Pro C7100X series launch, it has never before been available at such a low price point and yielded such positive, nearly immediate results for printers. In fact, beta user GAM Graphics and Marketing (GAM) has reported 25 percent cost savings and output that has “amazed” customers. Nathaniel Grant, owner of GAM, has said, “With the 5th Color Kit from Ricoh and the RICOH Pro C7100X, we’re doing the work we’ve always wanted to do, and we’re more profitable than ever. And I’m loving it.”
And that’s all well and good, but I’m sure some of you are saying, “But what can the fifth color station do for me?” Or perhaps you’re sold on adding five-color printing to your shop, but you’re wondering how you can demonstrate its added value to your customers.
That’s where the 5th Color Kit comes in. It’s a tangible proof point of your unique five-color capabilities, featuring practical samples you and your customers can hold in your hands and see up close. The kit is organized into real-world themes, such as “music venue” and “retail,” each with its own high-quality, eye-catching and relevant samples. When a concert hall representative shows up at your shop, you’ll have attention-grabbing event fliers, beautiful VIP badges, and ticket stubs worth saving at the ready. This is the kind of collateral they want to know you can produce, and produce better (and better-looking) than your competition. These practical examples, available in this kit, are all printed cost-effectively on a RICOH Pro C7100X.
Separately, you might be concerned with underutilizing your investment when making the move to five color. I know some printers have mentioned to me that they find the prospect of five-color printing interesting, but they worry they won’t know what to do with the printer once they get their hands on one, or they may not be able to confidently answer customer questions. We don’t want those kinds of hurdles to prevent you from realizing the full potential of this technology. And so we made sure to include intensive step-by-step instructions within the 5th Color Kit, which you’ll receive with purchase of the RICOH Pro C7100X printer.
To learn more about the RICOH Pro C7100X series, visit http://bit.ly/RICOHPro7100X, or contact your Ricoh representative and ask them to bring a 5th Color Kit, so you can show your customers the outstanding new capabilities you’ll be bringing to the table.
- John Fulena, Vice President, Production Print Business Group, Ricoh Americas Corporation
Over the past several years, we have seen multi-channel communication distribution take off, with more and more of our customers looking for ways to deliver output via a variety of mediums. Print service providers today are faced with many challenges in the areas of efficiency, costs, and productivity, as they look to expand their offerings to include multi-channel capabilities. Those who have already ventured into the multi-channel communications space have likely realized that their various solutions are operating in silos, causing inefficiencies and leading to potential errors. As a result, many have found themselves struggling to keep up, and unable to deliver the multi-channel output they are being asked to provide.
Let’s face it, you’re only as good as the tools you use. This is why Ricoh is enhancing its RICOH ProcessDirector workflow solution, a key component to our award-winning Critical Communications solutions suite, to enable multi-channel preference management and distribution. With this enhancement, rather than tying together multiple disparate systems, you will have the ability to manage, control and distribute output to multiple channels from one centralized workflow solution. You can save time and expedite jobs by processing customer preferences to match outgoing communications to the desired channel – eliminating the need to go back to the source application, or to IT, for changes because it’s all centralized within RICOH ProcessDirector.
Other benefits and features include:
This enhanced version of RICOH ProcessDirector will become available in the U.S. in June. Attendees of this week’s Xplor conference can learn more about these enhancements, the overall Critical Communications solutions suite and Ricoh’s software portfolio from the Ricoh experts on hand.
If you’re not at the show, please contact Scott Scheidenhelm at Scott.Scheidenhelm@ricoh-usa.com for more information.
While we at Ricoh will always appreciate the satisfaction that comes with holding a well composed, beautifully produced, flawlessly folded and expertly addressed – and delivered – paper document, we also understand not everyone prefers to receive paper communications. Perhaps they don’t have frequent access to their mail, prefer not to track and store paper documents, or simply prefer the searchability electronic documents provide. Many of our customers are seeing this same trend, and as a result, they are adding digital channels of communications to their existing print operations, oftentimes to great results.
However, what can sometimes trip up printers looking to reach those who prefer digital communications is the transition from documents designed to be printed to those designed to be viewed electronically. It may sound like a simple conversion, but, as anyone who has pushed out dozens of thousands of documents to just as many recipients can tell you, with communications of a certain type and reach, the smallest changes can often create the biggest headaches.
Because of that, specialized software has been developed to help ensure that transformation, from a document destined to print (usually an Advanced Function Presentation, or AFP, document) to a Web-ready PDF, is quick, complete and accurate. Such software removes manual touchpoints associated with workers converting documents themselves, saving time and reducing errors.
To that end, Ricoh has developed AFP2PDF Plus, which takes care of those transforms, producing electronic output with the same fidelity and precision that AFP has come to signify. The transform process is swift, secure and accurate, leveraging a platform that sits on your back-end application server to create branded, searchable electronic output that’s ready for your website and your customers. AFP2PDF Plus, like its predecessor, AFP2PDF, was designed to seamlessly integrate with IBM Content Manager OnDemand and can also be easily added to other software environments. This upgrade brings faster performance, improved security, and increased flexibility in terms of content management system compatibility.
AFP2PDF Plus will be added to the Ricoh Web Enablement solutions suite, which you can learn more about here: http://rpp.ricoh-usa.com/products/software/mail-preparation/ricoh-web-enablement-solutions-suite.
- Scott Scheidenhelm
Senior Product Manager, Services and Solutions Marketing, Ricoh Production Print
Hunkler Innovationdays is behind us, but the energy from the show and from our customers is still very much alive. As we look forward to the rest of 2015 and ways we can we help new customers take advantages of the opportunities in the evolving print industry, we’re reflecting on what our current customers have been saying about the technologies Ricoh brings to the table. Spanning the globe, the insights of these customers reflect more than just compliments. They get at the heart of the monumental technology and business shifts taking place in the printing industry, and why a partner – that’s more than a vendor – is needed now more than ever.
“Ricoh doesn’t just sell the product, ship it and install it. Rather, they want to work together with us to make the investment a success.” Jukka Saariluoma, Business Unit Director, Hansaprint concludes: “Prior to experiencing the RICOH Pro VC60000, I did not believe that there would be a major shift from offset printing to inkjet. But the RICOH Pro VC60000 made me change my mind. Our clients have seen the samples, too, and are very excited by the new level in quality and the increased flexibility offered by moving significant amounts of their work from offset to inkjet.”
“Ricoh is the greatest investment the company has made. With their commitment to training and services, they’re integrated into our team, so they’re part of the Valtim family now,” said David Baldree, Director of Operations at Valtim. “We’re always striving to understand and manage a customer’s message and deliver it in as many ways as possible through multichannel media. With the InfoPrint 5000, we now have the technology to help spread our customers’ messages even further.”
Hugo Verlind, Director and Co-owner of Zalsman, says, “Before we installed the RICOH Pro VC60000, we could only offer our clients solutions from campaign creation through fulfillment and logistics. Our clients were also asking for seamless print quality between our offset and digital presses, as well as flexibility in turnaround times and volumes, all without increasing production costs. After extensive market research, we concluded that Ricoh’s solution and business approach are the best able to respond to those additional client demands. With the installation of the VC60000 and the use of advanced solutions like Ricoh ProcessDirector in conjunction with our current graphic arts workflow we can now offer our clients a complete range of services to enable them to communicate more effectively with their own customers and help them improve their business results all while remaining cost competitive. The new RICOH Pro VC60000 closes the gaps we had in our production environment, enabling us to better meet our client demands.”
Verlind continues, “The long awaited promises of production inkjet are now a reality on our production floor. Thanks to the innovative power of Ricoh, revolutionary technology embedded in the RICOH Pro VC60000 is ours without compromising our quality, media, or productivity. Together with our clients we can now take the next steps in more relevant and effective communication.”
“We pride ourselves on providing our franchise community with the technology and tools they need to efficiently manage their businesses, and Avanti Slingshot delivers with its robust suite of modules and ability to handle multiple lines of business,” said Joe D’Aguanno, Chief Technology Officer, Allegra Network. “By having essential business information at their fingertips, our franchise members gain a better understanding of their most profitable customers and products.”
“Through our partnership with Ricoh, we’re able to meet our customers’ increased production and quality requirements,” said Todd Potrykus, Director of Operations at arvato. “Ricoh was one of the few companies that could meet our aggressive implementation timeline, and they went to the length of bringing in experts to ensure that we were able to hit the ground running. Due to their dedication and proven solutions, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in print quality, fantastic uptime, and have received invaluable input from their experts. Ricoh has exceeded our expectations.”
Check out these videos of our customers discussing why they’re investing in growing their businesses by partnering with Ricoh and using our solutions, and visit the Ricoh Production Print website for more information.
A featured post from our counterparts at the Ricoh Europe Business Driver blog:
To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.
Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint. With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions. This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping. This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.
The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable. It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our RICOH Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the RICOH Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!), the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees. This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more. It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.
To read the full post with insights on what’s on the horizon after Hunkeler Innovationdays, visit the Ricoh Europe Business Driver Blog.
A featured post from our counterparts at the Ricoh Europe Business Driver blog:
As another Hunkeler Innovationdays is upon us, we at Ricoh have been looking at the past year’s technology trends and how they’re impacting you. One area where we’ve seen a lot of movement is the shift from color to monochrome inkjet systems. While this step might be unintuitive, or even backward, as color applications are dominating the conversation about where print is headed, this fact still remains: 85% of books printed are black and white (and this stat also applies to all print impressions beyond the book industry, including the insurance, transaction and regulatory industries). Couple that with inkjet’s flexibility of accommodating different applications, the shift towards shorter runs, and the opportunities to take on more types of work, and you have the formula for monochrome inkjet being a quiet, but powerful tool in modern printing.
Rural Wit and Wisdom
So why the shift, you ask? The book market as a whole, especially trade books, have transitioned to producing books in very short runs as part of moving to a weekly replacement model in an effort to reduce costs by avoiding keeping inventory on hand. This trend has caused a shift from conventional toner-based printing presses to inkjet systems, which are designed to handle variable applications. There are thousands of toner machines in print shops that have been in use for ten or more years, becoming even more costly to operate as time goes on. Printers are often adopting color inkjet first to accommodate their more graphic applications, and after realizing the significant efficiencies and cost savings they’ve gained in productivity, they want to match that productivity for their monochrome work, which isn’t as cost-effective to run on a color system.
To read the full post with our insights on why color users are turning to monochrome , visit the Ricoh Europe Business Driver Blog.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” - Alan Kay, American computer scientist.
This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.
Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies like yours are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications – and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet – and the printers who use it – are innovating print applications and technologies:
In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.
Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full color out applications. Whether it’s a full color transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality.
Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customized booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, and versioned textbooks are yet other opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use.
For example, we will be showing at the Hunkeler Innovationdays show this month in Lucerne a full colour book, The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. This is digitally printed on offset stock, delivering the impact and quality that, until now, has been associated only with offset printing. Originally produced in short runs and shown at last year’s London Book Fair, it will be inkjet printed for the first time for Hunkeler Innovationdays.
The opportunity to customize direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition to intangible, digital forms such as email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is increasing. The clients of printers are demanding high quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions. By virtue of the sheer amount of customer data available to agencies and their brand clients, items like coupons can be customized with items that go beyond the usual name and gender information. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated and reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information that ensures the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colours and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity. Have a look out for the The Bianchi catalog on our stand. With its challenging brand colors and high quality bike imagery it will demonstrate the results inkjet is capable of such as readily reproducing work previously the preserve of offset.
- Graham Moore, Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe
In recent years, many of our customers have expressed a desire to branch out into multichannel marketing solutions, hoping to stay ahead of today’s competitive marketplace by combining the value of print with established and emerging digital channels. Your demand for services such as web-to-print and targeted marketing solutions will only continue to grow, and we realize that you’ll need intuitive and seamless solutions at the ready to help you stay on top of your game. But how can you make that jump?
Ricoh, working closely with recently acquired PTI Marketing Technologies, is here to help. PTI, a premiere software-as-a-service marketing asset management and marketing solutions provider, has been helping enterprises and commercial printers improve control of their marketing assets and workflow for more than a decade with impressive success. Now, as we further strengthen our relationship with their team, you – our customers – will see increased benefits as PTI’s excellent set of tools are more fully and seamlessly incorporated into Ricoh’s array of offerings.
Ricoh has long been committed to helping customers leverage leading marketing and business development tools to help them quickly develop and enact more productive and profitable business strategies through initiatives like the Ricoh Business Booster Program. Now you’ll be able to leverage PTI’s marketing capabilities in collaboration with Ricoh’s software and services to expand your portfolios from just one print channel, such as direct mail, to a full spectrum of multichannel communications, driving value and growth for your businesses and your clients via multiple points of attack.
This acquisition has further cemented our working relationship with PTI, augmenting its global engineering presence and support systems while further improving our ability to provide you with unmatched end-to-end production print solutions for customers. That means more solutions to fit increasingly varying market demands, working toward comprehensively fulfilling your business’s specific needs – no matter the size of the business or the need – in ways we could not effectively pursue separately. We’re excited to serve you in this newly expanded capacity. To learn more about how we can work with you, please visit http://www.ricoh.com/about/
- Ted Takahashi
Senior Vice President, Production Print Global Marketing Center, Ricoh
An interview with Ryan Kiley, Director of Strategic Production Services, Ricoh Americas Corporation
At Ricoh, we realize that each of our customers is unique, and no two organizations are exactly alike. Our recently launched Customer Innovation Center exists to explore our vast portfolio to find a connection between a customer’s specific needs and Ricoh’s capabilities. The goal is do to do this through collaborative efforts, two-way conversations and hands-on demonstrations. Ryan Kiley, Director of Strategic Production Services at Ricoh Americas Corporation, shares with us the vision for the Customer Innovation Center, why it was created and what the customer feedback has been to date.
What devices and types of jobs can a customer see at the Customer Innovation Center?
The Customer Innovation Center offers customers and potential customers the chance to see Ricoh’s complete line of production engines, solutions and service offerings in action. That includes the recently announced RICOH Pro VC60000, RICOH Pro C7110X, RICOH Pro C9110, RICOH TotalFlow BatchBuilder and TotalFlow Path. Customers can also experience multiple lines of InfoPrint 5000 and solutions such as the award-winning RICOH ProcessDirector and RICOH ProcessDirector Express, which are components of our Critical Communications solutions suite, along with TotalFlow Prep, Path, Print Manager and Production Manager. We use and can demonstrate our strategic solutions suite including PTI MarCom Central and Avanti Slingshot. The Customer Innovation Center truly brings Ricoh’s comprehensive, diverse offerings to bear, allowing visitors to see firsthand not only what we have to offer but also how it works and, in the same vein, how it can help them.
How does a visit to the Customer Innovation Center benefit a customer? What will he/she learn there?
In our industry, learning is really what it’s all about. A briefing at the Customer Innovation Center is a collaborative exercise between our customers and the subject matter experts that we bring to the table. Our job at the Customer Innovation Center is to foster communication between these two parties. We learn about the visitor, and they learn about Ricoh. Ultimately we work together to understand and solve the specific challenges they face, whether they’re looking to fulfill production print needs, workflow requirements, or various business goals – there is no topic off the table during this experience.
At the end of the visit, we trust that they will have experienced the full breadth of our capabilities, which are significant. We help organizations achieve their business goals by first understanding them. We then identify and quantify barriers and propose solutions that meet their needs and overcome those barriers. Hardware, finishing, software and services all contribute to the discussion and demonstrations.. There is a lot to learn about, see and touch here at the Customer Innovation Center.
The learning experience is absolutely bidirectional. If we catch ourselves talking more than listening, we’ll adjust. The entire idea is to be driven by a briefing methodology, where we’re fostering conversation and collaboration. It brings out the very best of both what we can offer and what we can learn from somebody visiting.
Could you walk me through a typical visit?
To start, a visitor will come in and sit down in our Executive Briefing Center, equipped with Ricoh SMART Boards, communication systems and projectors. We sit down together and review the agenda, introduce executive sponsors, engineers, and other resources we leverage to drive a productive briefing. We make sure both the Ricoh team and the customer know what to expect from the visit, which usually lasts one or two days.
Visits will often have a pre-set agenda. To develop that, we’ll collaborate with the customer’s local Ricoh team – no matter if that customer and their local team are based in Iowa, or Israel, or Italy, we work with the team closest to their needs. Our briefing staff will collaborate with the local account team to determine the fundamental goals of the experience. That is, what do we want them to walk away understanding, and what do we want to learn from this experience? Once we know that, then we’ll layer on the additional aspects of Ricoh’s value proposition, so we can ensure that they walk away saying, “I didn’t know Ricoh did all that. But now I want to incorporate it into my operation.”
Once we’ve reviewed the agenda together, our experts will lead conversations about our portfolio, relating their uses back to what we learned about the customer’s environment and needs during the preparation process. This provides both parties a chance to get a greater understanding of the other’s background, and it often highlights Ricoh’s unique understanding of customers’ industries and how we’ve addressed past cases that may share similarities with theirs, and the exchange of information opens things up to a consultative approach.
Some visitors may show up with a particular engine or a software solution in mind they want to learn about, and we’ll certainly show them that, but we do so in context of the fuller Ricoh portfolio, without distracting from their stated mission. Seeing our hardware, software, solutions and services all working together to accomplish actual goals often opens up new avenues of collaboration in customers’ eyes, which is always great.
While at the Customer Innovation Center, visitors will see the solutions we use to run the print center day to day, but we can also demonstrate our available solutions and equipment that may not be called upon for that day’s regular jobs, so visitors can see those specifically. If they’d like, we can run their jobs on their paper to show exactly how our portfolio can handle their needs, while making operators, engineers and architects available to answer any questions they may have.
What actually happens day to day at the Customer Innovation Center? What makes it different than other showrooms?
While Ricoh has dozens of show rooms around the U.S. that focus on demonstrations and education, the Customer Innovation Center goes beyond that to operate as a fully operational print center. It doesn’t exist behind plate glass for you to look at. All of the samples that find their ways to our sales professionals around the world are produced in that room, so it’s not quiet. It’s not pristine, and it’s not a museum. Every process in there is operating at high capacity and high quality, and people can see that for themselves.
Not only do visitors get to see Ricoh’s solutions at work, but they also get to speak with operators, engineers, and architects that worked together to develop the platform they’re now considering for purchase. No matter how deeply a visitor wants to dive in, we can provide that knowledge from someone who was involved in its development firsthand and works with it day in, day out.
Do I qualify for a visit? How do I book one?
Any interested party can visit the Customer Innovation Center. We see visitors from Fortune 500 companies looking to keep up to date on the latest developments, and we see visitors from very small businesses. To book an appointment, contact your local Ricoh production printing specialists or visit http://rpp.ricoh-usa.com/about/executive-briefing-center.