by John Fulena
GRAPH EXPO 15 is officially underway, and I’m incredibly excited to finally get to share with attendees all of the great things on display our booth #1231. We have demonstrations and displays of our ever-expanding portfolio, including new and enhanced hardware, software and services. At Ricoh, we’re committed to helping customers improve workflows and drive efficiency for better business results – and at GRAPH EXPO 15, we have a chance to show a huge audience exactly how we do that.
This year’s booth showcases technologies that address challenges customers face in their marketplace, including demands for superior output, broader portfolio capabilities and new revenue drivers. Among the innovations you can expect to see in the Ricoh booth:
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 14, 2015
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 14, 2015
— Maureen (@MCGRicoh) September 14, 2015
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 14, 2015
As you can tell, it’s already a busy booth, so be sure to stop by and check out some of the solutions on display – it could be the start of a relationship that expands your business’s capabilities and brings new levels of ROI. See you in booth 1231! Follow our event microsite and tweet us @RicohProPrint or use the hashtag #PrintIsAlive to join the conversation on the trends that excite you, and get our latest news from the show.
by John Fulena
Today kicked off the leading production print industry tradeshow, GRAPH EXPO 15. On Day 1 of the show floor and our own customer brunch event, we saw three major trends that are going to take center stage at this year’s show – and in the coming year.
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 13, 2015
This past year, commercial print capabilities have made great strides – and so, too, have the price points generally associated with them. Five-color printing, enabling shops to create unique, eye-catching output, has never had a lower barrier to entry, like that offered by the RICOH Pro C7100X series. Near-offset-quality digital presses are taking the industry by storm, allowing customers like Nathaniel Grant of GAM Graphics and Marketing to use clear and white toner to design and produce new, eye-catching applications for everything from promotional materials to wedding invites.
In fact, some of Nathaniel’s output is on display in our booth as part of the Ricoh 5Th Color Station Print Contest (stop by to see the other contestants and vote, and then tweet #Ricoh5thColor for an extra chance to win a Ricoh action camera). Here are some additional highlights from our customers MGX Copy and Visographic, both of whom are using the RICOH Pro C9110 to stay ahead of their own customers’ demands, and impress them with fast turn-around times and great quality.
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 13, 2015
“The RICOH 9110 exceeds expectations. Our average customers can’t tell the difference b/w its output and litho” – Visographic #PrintIsAlive
— RicohProductionPrint (@RicohProPrint) September 13, 2015
Meanwhile, direct mail is benefiting from a lot of those same strides. High-quality, personalized mail pieces are increasingly easy and cost-effective to produce as businesses find new ways to address old problems. Short runs for precision-targeted campaigns were, for a long time, a rarity due to the necessarily inefficient use of resources: What do you do with one-quarter of a roll of paper? How can you justify taking your presses away from other work when higher-volume, higher-paying jobs are coming in? But with the advent of job-batching technologies, such as RICOH TotalFlow BatchBuilder, printers are able to fit similar jobs together to get the most out of their devices’ uptime – and their consumables, such as paper. These developments change the way we think about direct mail and targeted campaigns.
Similarly, as new technologies have made it easier to more specifically tailor printed communications, developments have also enabled communicators to expand into other channels, such as email and electronic presentment. I remember not too long ago, when people were terrified print service providers would be driven out of business as everybody flocked to the Internet. “Who would want printed collateral,” the thinking went, “when you can just get an email instantaneously?” Well, as it turns out, the answer is “Quite a few people.” But that’s not everyone, which is why the print industry has responded by incorporating multichannel communications. New advancements, including an update to our own RICOH ProcessDirector, have helped printers make this transition. Read more in the Show Daily from our experts on the importance of multichannel communications.
As you can see, print has never been more alive – and it has never looked quite like this, either. I’m excited for the future of this industry of ours, and the future is never more apparent than at Graph Expo. So if you’re attending, be sure to stop by the Ricoh booth, #1231, and experience how we’re working with businesses like you to drive business transformation. Tweet us @RicohProPrint or use the hashtag #PrintIsAlive to join the conversation on the trends that excite you, and get our latest news from the show.
by Lawrence Chou, Chief Executive Officer, MGX Copy
At MGX Copy, our competitive edge has always been that we realize our customers aren’t looking for the same-old marketing collateral. They don’t just want to get the job done. They want to change the game with each campaign, delivering new and innovative applications with quality. It’s a lofty goal, which is why we need to make sure our vendor partners share it, so we can reach it. When a Ricoh team came into my shop with that same drive and mentality, I knew we could accomplish great things together, and that was before we even started talking sales.
We provide a wide range of applications to customers all around the country, including variable data printing, direct mail, booklet printing, catalog printing, magazine printing, postcard printing, brochure printing, mailing services, fulfillment, and custom business solutions. Whew! Take a breath after that sentence. Because we do so much, we need the devices we deploy to be capable of a lot, too. So when our Ricoh team started explaining what the RICOH Pro C9110 could do for us, broadening our range of products and solutions even further, while bringing in a new level of quality and execution with faster turnaround times, our interest was piqued.
From the first time I saw the RICOH Pro C9110’s capabilities in action, I knew it was the system for us. It does everything we need it to, leveraging a broad range of media capabilities and giving a pop of color to help ensure that we can produce almost any collateral our customers dream up. In our industry, delivering eye-catching applications with fast turnaround times is a must. With the RICOH Pro C9110, we can stay ahead of our customers’ expectations: we’re excited to provide them with a greater range of products and solutions within their demanding deadlines
Without a doubt, we’d found our next color cutsheet system – and a new opportunity for ROI. We’re looking forward to where the RICOH Pro C9110 enables us to take our business – and our customers. To learn more about the work MGX Copy does. please visit https://www.mgxcopy.com.
The RICOH Pro C9100 series of high speed, heavy segment production color digital printers is now available: http://rpp.ricoh-usa.com/about/press-releases/ricoh-announces-availability-of-ricoh-pro-c9100-series. Learn more about how it delivers high quality color and high speeds at low costs, and how it can enable printers like you to maximize growth opportunities here: http://rpp.ricoh-usa.com/products/production-printers/cutsheet/ricoh-pro-c9100-c9110
This summer, we brought together some of the top publishers from around the world for a symposium to discuss how the dream – and reality – of the book is changing for them – and how the larger industry is being impacted by this change. Since Guttenberg, technology has been the catalyst for the book industry’s evolution. Over the course of the symposium, the conversation centered on understanding technology advances and how these changes can help publishers address the pain points and even help them capture their own elusive “white whales.” Here are four of the symposium’s top takeaways on how continuous feed inkjet, supported by other technologies and services, is helping to realize the desires of the publishing industry.
Another long-held desire of the industry is for inkjet to match the quality of offset. Attendees had the opportunity to view print samples from the RICOH Pro VC60000 inkjet production print platform and RICOH Pro C7100 series cutsheet device side-by-side with offset samples. The improvement of digital’s quality was even noticeable among the educational publishers in the audience, whose concerns about quality matching are especially pronounced because their readers are consuming books side by side in a classroom. With scrutiny around the industry on the output quality, attendees were in agreement that given the level of inkjet quality demonstrated, it was time to focus on bringing in inkjet to leverage the capabilities within the manufacturing and distribution process.
“The detail and the sharpness of the inkjet samples were better. Digital printing can result in better quality than litho.” – Johan Van Slooten, Elsevier
2. Eliminating the Warehouse and Speeding up Turn-Around Times
Keeping inventory low and being able to respond to orders quickly with print-on-demand (POD) was a central topic of discussion during the symposium. With unsold inventory, returns, and long range cyclical planning for many publishers, eliminating warehouses and inactive inventory can change their cost structure for the better. Inkjet’s ability to print ultra-short runs of 1-100 books, or microprints of short runs, means eliminating warehouses and turning around jobs in as little as a day is becoming increasingly feasible. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data is also becoming an asset in the higher education market, where publishers are keen to publish textbook editions at a faster pace (often each semester, rather than every few years) and universities are offering professors the ability to have books customized for their own specific courses and curricula.
“The machine [RICOH PRO VC60000] can do well for POD. Getting single-copy only production is the goal.” – Johan Van Slooten, Elsevier
3. Inkjet paper is stepping up its game
Limited paper options have long been a point of contention for inkjet in the publishing world. In recent years, advances in how ink is applied on media, and how that media can be dried and protected, have opened up new possibilities for paper. Representatives from paper manufacturers including Mitsubishi Imaging, Finch Paper, JP Gould Specialty Papers, Mondi, and Crown van Gelder ignited a conversation on how inkjet papers have evolved to meet the needs of publishers, and exchanged ideas on how the next generation of papers can be developed with these needs in mind. With samples in hand, they demonstrated how new types of papers – coated, gloss and heavy stocks – are raising the standards of the publishing industry. Participants also debated exactly who the stakeholders and decision-makers were for paper. In some cases, like trade press, a popular author might have substantial influence over which type of paper their book is printed on, while with others, accountants are major players in the decision.
4. Having an end-to-end partner
Perhaps most notably, the conversation went beyond print hardware to the larger ecosystem of software, solutions, services and partner devices that are equally important in realizing inkjet’s promise and that impact total cost of ownership (TCO). Finishing is literally at one end of the book printing process, and attendees got to see how the RICOH Pro VC60000 can seamlessly integrate with binding machines and learn how thoroughly our finishing experts assess the needs of a client. The industry has shifted towards more on-demand, short run and customized publishing jobs. Workflow software that’s often at the other end of the book printing process has become increasingly important in how diverse jobs with varying parameters can be printed on the fly. Trusted consultants are invaluable in making all of these elements come together in an efficient, cost-effective, error-proof manner.
The news for the printed book industry and its stakeholders – from publishers to book manufacturers – is encouraging. And the insights and candid feedback from the publishers in attendance are incredibly valuable as we continuously work to improve how we serve them and their book manufacturers as consultative partner, rather than just a vendor. Likewise, attendees found the event valuable as well:
“It was valuable to me on many levels. The education on the power of the RICOH Pro VC60000 is top of mind. It is definitely a game changer. It’s about time inkjet has some competition. It was also valuable to learn about the different substrates being developed specifically for inkjet. And networking with all of you, as well as other publishers, is always well worth it.” – Lynn Terhune, Wiley
To learn more about how our solutions can help exceed expectations, focus on efficiency and profits, and accept the data-rich customized jobs that are driving a new era of publishing, visit our website: http://rpp.ricoh-usa.com/discover/publishing
In 2002, Urban Settlement Services, LLC d/b/a Urban Lending Solutions (ULS) was established as a title and settlement services provider. Over time ULS began to provide a variety of back office support to its financial services clients, including document fulfillment.
Twelve years later, in 2014, ULS was sending out over 2 million documents annually and averaging 99% for print and ship timeliness, exceeding service level agreements (SLAs) every month. Maintaining or exceeding SLAs at that level was of the utmost importance to ULS’s clients. As it looked toward 2015, ULS realized that to ensure the highest level of document fulfillment services while growing the size and scope of its business, it needed to take total control over its print operations business, and the best way to do this was to bring the production of documents completely in-house. Thus, ULS put in place a brand new 25,000-square-foot print facility with a capacity of 1.8 million pages per day and 24/7 production capability.
Recognizing that running a full service production print facility smoothly is no easy task, ULS’s Steve Wilson, Senior Vice President, Business Development, and Brett Birky, Senior Vice President, Operations, looked to find a partner that would provide the new facility with the best equipment and print solutions to ensure ULS could meet the capacity, quality, compliance and cost requirements of its large, sophisticated and highly-regulated clientele.
ULS needed a provider that offered a complete package of hardware and services solutions. It sought to deliver high-quality graphic and media capabilities, to incorporate Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) architecture for handling large print file streams, and to fulfill variable data needs that constantly change on a document by document basis. Ricoh, its InfoPrint 5000 GP continuous feed color inkjet systems , and supporting solutions met ULS’s requirements.
And it wasn’t just hardware solutions that attracted ULS to Ricoh. It was Ricoh’s service offerings, as well. Ricoh worked with ULS to understand its business requirements and provide honest insight into the technology and solutions available in the marketplace that would best allow ULS to meet its customers’ needs.
“At the end of the day, what has made Ricoh stand out is how they situate their products within their solution and services-minded offerings,” said Wilson. “They don’t just sell you a piece of equipment, but rather, they partner with you, working closely to understand your clients’ expectations, so they can then match their technology to meet both your needs, as well as your clients’.“
From the beginning, ULS realized that to make its print business successful, it needed not just an equipment provider but a partner who would help it move its entire document production service in-house without sacrificing capacity, quality or reliability.
Today, thanks to its work with Ricoh, ULS’s print production facility is open and fully operational, and ULS is no longer outsourcing any of its document fulfillment projects. As ULS adds new customers and expands production, it sees its relationship with Ricoh growing to address client and project expansion created as a result of its print facility. See more about the success of this print center project in this video.
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.