Heidelberg is looking to further improve its market position in the growing packaging printing segment by taking its long-standing sales partnership with Masterwork Group Co., Ltd. (Masterwork), China’s largest manufacturer of die-cutters and hot-foil embossing machines, to a whole new level. Based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, Masterwork is to obtain around 8.5 per cent of the Heidelberg share capital under a cash capital increase from authorised capital excluding shareholder subscription rights. The implementation of such capital measure is subject to approval by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG’s supervisory board.
The proposed capital increase provides the opportunity for Heidelberg to acquire a further strategic anchor shareholder with a long-term investment horizon as well as to strengthen its equity. Subject to approval by the relevant bodies on both sides and the Chinese authorities, the capital measure should provisionally take place by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2019. The issue price of the new shares is set to be EUR2.68. If the market price significantly outstrips the envisaged issue price, this will be renegotiated in line with statutory requirements. The funds Heidelberg generates with the capital increase are to be used to accelerate its digital agenda (digitizing products, processes, and business models, for example) and for general business financing. Masterwork supports the Heidelberg strategy and is demonstrating its clear commitment to long-term collaboration. Heidelberg is currently considering and discussing whether it will seek to obtain a shareholding in Masterwork.
‘The Heidelberg Management Board and Supervisory Board are delighted that our long-standing, successful collaboration with Masterwork is to become much closer. This opens up further potential in the growing packaging printing segment, especially in China – the world’s largest individual market. We are expecting better capacity utilisation at our plants across the globe to make us far more efficient, but I would like to stress that this will not weaken our sites in Germany. We are delighted that in Masterwork we are obtaining another long-term investor that firmly believes in the company’s innovative prowess, strategy, and potential for the future,’ commented Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer.
‘Heidelberg is our ideal partner for jointly leveraging growth potential in the packaging printing market. The stake we are obtaining in this long-established company and world market leader underlines that we are in it for the long haul and are confident Heidelberg has adopted the right strategy,’ says Masterwork President Li Li.
Heidelberg and Masterwork, which is listed on China’s Shenzhen stock exchange, have operated a close postpress partnership for a number of years, turning print products into folding cartons for the packaging market. They also benefit from a long-standing, successful sales collaboration. Masterwork specializes in postpress equipment for the folding carton industry. Back in 2014, it acquired the postpress packaging technologies of Heidelberg, which retains responsibility for global sales and digital customer relations. The possibility of linking Masterwork’s postpress machines to the Heidelberg cloud is a big advantage when it comes to realizing the value proposition of using production data to boost customers’ productivity. Packaging printing is expected to enjoy above-average growth in the coming years.
Heidelberg already holds a leading position in this segment in Europe and the Americas, while Masterwork is one of China’s leading postpress suppliers for packaging. The closer ties are set to significantly strengthen this position in China – the world’s largest packaging market – and in other regions, too. What’s more, there are plans for closer collaboration focusing on the two companies’ value chains. Heidelberg will continue to supply the dynamic markets in China and the rest of Asia from the site in Qingpu, near Shanghai, that it established back in 2006. As a result of the closer working relationship with Masterwork, it will also benefit from joint component manufacturing operations at the Masterwork site in Tianjin in the future. This will provide both companies with a whole host of possibilities for improving their efficiency.
Ricoh has announced the launch of its first series of Intelligent Devices to meet the constantly changing needs of today’s digital workplaces. The range, which will be available in South Africa soon, is part of Ricoh’s Dynamic Workplace Intelligence approach and features the company’s new Always Current Technology that ensures the technical capabilities of products evolve in parallel with customer requirements.
‘The new intelligent devices empower digital workplaces to scale their capabilities based on their latest needs,’ said Jacques van Wyk, CEO of Ricoh SA, ‘while keeping security and software capabilities updated.’ Ricoh Always Current Technology platform empowers people to work smarter via technologies that deliver scalability, security, sustainability and simplicity. Users can download and install new applications, features and upgrades directly to their device as they become available, providing complete agility and flexibility. The platform empowers digital workplaces to scale their capabilities based on their latest needs, while also keeping security features and software completely up-to-date. Additionally, it enables instant access to upgrades the moment they hit the market, eliminating the need to purchase new hardware for additional functionality or wait for contracts to expire. Furthermore, Ricoh Intelligent Support ensures software upgrades can be quickly performed remotely and that user uptime is maximised.
The new IM C series of A3 colour MFPs is the first in a range of intelligent devices Ricoh will bring to market featuring the next generation platform. The array of upcoming office printing advancements includes Ricoh Cloud Workflow Solutions, a collection of innovative cloud-based technologies that deliver streamlined simplicity in affordable, scalable, subscription-based packages to help customers grow their business.
Ricoh Always Current Technology is realised in 13 new A3 colour intelligent MFPs, including the RICOH IM C2000, IM C2500, IM C3000, IM C3500, IM C4500, IM C5500 and IM C6000. These devices print at 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 55 and 60 pages per minute (ppm), respectively. They deliver printing, scanning, copying, finishing and faxing support for output sizes up to SRA3, and standard mobile printing support. Each device is certified with an EPEAT rating that independently confirms sustainability capabilities. David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said, ‘A key aspect of empowering digital workplaces is securing information and making it available to those that need it as soon as it’s required. Information security is a design priority for Ricoh, which is why this range of intelligent MFPs leverage on-board encryption.’
The new devices will incorporate Ricoh’s new Smart Operation Panel, equipped with an upgraded processor that provides faster transitions between applications and a smooth, responsive touch screen. The new functionality is based on customer feedback and is designed to improve accessibility as well as the overall user experience. The new interface can be tailored to better adapt to and serve individual workplaces, workflows and needs. Ricoh service experts can remotely access a device’s Smart Operation Panel for fast troubleshooting and perform automatic firmware updates.
Mills said, ‘Today’s businesses are tasked with adapting to change at seemingly breakneck speed. We recognise that our customers have new and emerging needs, and that workplaces are expanding outside traditional offices. Our new intelligent devices range means that, just like other smart devices, our customers will be able to install any applications they like at any time enabling them to work smarter and more effectively. We’ve called our new approach Dynamic Workplace Intelligence to represent how we work with our customers to meet their every digital workplace need.’
UK-based digital manufacturing service provider, Fluxaxis, has 3D printed two life-size master figures that were integral to a recent ‘Make Blood Cancer Visible’ campaign for pharmaceutical company, Janssen. The figures were used by Fluxaxis’ customer, Windsor Workshop, to create moulds for a series of ten life-size human bodies designed to convey the invisible nature of blood cancer.
Fluxaxis produced the models on its Massivit 1800 3D Printer in less than eight hours each. This drastically reduced both the time and costs involved in creating the display compared to traditional production methods.
Designed to give blood cancer well-deserved priority and recognition within the UK, real-life recordings of people with the disease were emitted from the human figures to enhance the sensory impact. The campaign travelled to key locations across London, Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh and received widespread pick-up across social media platforms.
As we start a new year, we take a short look back at the previous year and some of the major trends and customer feedback on our product portfolio and look forward to our expectations for the year ahead. A noticeable trend throughout 2018 was the consistent feedback from our clients that the role of packaging is changing. While protecting the goods is still the number one priority, it needs to be done in a more sustainable way. There is also greater demand to process thinner materials and to propose digitalised machines. With the rapid expansion of e-commerce, our customers’ packaging production requires more productive and more flexible machines without compromising on quality. As brand owners use packaging to stand out on the shelf and to appeal to customers, the demand for better colour control, shorter production runs and repeat orders is growing, putting more pressure on converters to automate packaging production.
In 2018, the sheetfed business unit continued to benefit from leading innovations. The new MASTERFLUTE Touch inline laminators – with one single interface to pilot the whole machine delivering the highest productivity – have been a great success. The NOVACUT 106 ER and EXPERTCUT 106 PER remained in high demand as recognised heavyweights in the industry, delivering leading quality and optimal price performance. These have been a perfect fit for converters who are seeking to industrialise production. The EXPERTFOLD 50-110 has been a best seller in 2018, particularly within the pharmaceuticals and cosmetic sectors. The recently introduced SPEEDWAVE 2 was also very successful, as customers recognised its ability to enable higher productivity levels. The new PREMIUM GAP CONTROL system on FFG – recipient of the FEFCO 2017 Gold Award for Best Innovation – is receiving fantastic customer feedback as an enabler of optimal productivity.
e-commerce was a keyword in 2018 and the specialty folder gluer MASTERFOLD 230, with GYROBOX XL, has been a major success enabling fast running speeds, fully automatic setting and extreme configurability. For converters aiming for zero-fault packaging production, the recently launched ACCUCHECK 2 and NOVACUT 106 E 3.0 and SAMPLING device gained significant interest. From a printing standpoint, BOBST, with a series of industry supplier partners, has delivered a quantum leap in the flexo print process with the THQ FlexoCloud, helping corrugated box manufacturers achieve some exceptional results, not only in print quality, but security print as well. For 2019, the sheetfed business unit expects zero-fault packaging to become mandatory and a continuous growth of e-commerce packaging. The demand for an extended colour gamut and high quality printing for corrugated boards will further accelerate. Finally, the pressure from brand owners to reduce non-recyclable packaging will grow.
In 2018, the webfed business unit continued with significant success in gravure printing, especially the RS 6003. This machine is associated with excellent performance and flexibility to adapt to multiple applications and product configurations, covering a wide range of customer needs. The RS 5002, because of its optimised price/performance ratio in the flexible packaging applications, fulfilled demand from emerging markets. We opened new facilities in China in 2018, answering the growing demand for packaging production in the region. CI flexo printing made a major step forward in 2018 launching the new 20SEVEN CI flexo press featuring new technologies for further enhanced process consistency. The 20SEVEN is a spot-on solution for the ECG printing process.
Demand has continued to grow for substrate processing, and the K5 EXPERT is one of the best sellers in this area due to its many unique innovations, including the 700mm diameter coating drum. The K5 VISION has been selling well for the converter market due to its flexibility in handling a variety of substrates. It is also important to mention that brand owners are increasingly moving to recyclable film, creating growing demand for AluBond and AIOx. The popularity of AluBond is due to its adhesion properties and its enhanced barrier properties on BOPP and CPP films. In terms of lamination, the CL 850 is the best seller, because of the quality of the performances of this machine when combining it with the Flexo BOBST trolley.
For printing, BOBST labels and flexible packaging solutions had a great presence at international shows such as Labelexpo Americas. The M5 was the best seller because of its flexibility and great variety of materials. Its on-boarded automation has also been widely praised. The REVO technology, which enabled the digital control of labels and packaging production, is poised for major growth as it combines key brand requirements – high quality control and high productivity, combined with the ability to manage short runs and low operation costs.
Looking ahead to 2019, the webfed business unit will focus on strong growth in gravure in Europe and Asia. Labels production will continue to evolve driven by the digitalisation of the entire production process, including in-line colour control. In Asia, we expect significant transition from gravure into flexo, especially in fast-growing markets like India and South East Asia. While the machines are always of great interest, the BOBST business unit for services had a great year as well, as customers increasingly emphasize the need for value-adding services.
The new Digital Inspection Table – a digitalised way to proof printed sheets and die-cut blanks – is a product that all printers and converters should consider. It streamlines the process, improves precision and reduces errors, saving time and costs. The opening of the new Distribution Centre for spare parts in Indianapolis, US, and the hiring of 100 new Field Service Technicians across the globe, will further increase the service level for our customers. In 2019, services will play a growing role for converters and printers. They will witness an increase of connected services to support improved productivity, higher machine availability and higher production quality. Within services, tooling is a new way to improve machine performance with the certification of diemakers. The program will gain importance and make packaging production more efficient. Finally, the development of the portfolio of expert services and consultancy will be built towards a Process Optimisation program, which is required in a changing world where automation and process optimisations are key priorities.
In 2018, Mouvent – the competence centre for digital printing for Bobst Group – stabilised and industrialised its core cluster technology. The beta installations for textile and label printing took place and the number of installed textile machines reached six units. The first customer installations of Mouvent label machines also took place. BOBST will continue with its ‘Leading Innovation’ focus. In 2019, the demand for more flexibility in the supply chain and shorter turnaround times will continue to put pressure on printers and converters. The need for consistently high quality printing, not only within a batch, but across multiple reprints, will be higher on the agenda. Stronger regulations in areas of consumer safety, waste disposal, nutrition facts and many others will have a significant impact on the packaging industries. Ink formulation will accelerate its move towards water-based inks, especially for packaging production.
Finally, BOBST is dedicated to collaborating with brand owners and developing joint solutions with producers, developing and leading the packaging evolution and ‘shaping the future of packaging’ together.
Heidelberg is setting new competitive standards in the global printing industry. By opening its new Innovation Center (IVC) at the Wiesloch-Walldorf headquarters in Baden-Württemberg, the company is stepping up its efforts to maintain its technology leadership and shape the digital transformation process in the printing sector.
In addition to securing numerous jobs, the new Innovation Center also substantiates a recent analysis published in October by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, which concluded that the innovative capability of Germany is superior to any other country in the world, including the United States. Only by investing over 100 million euros in research and development every year has Heidelberg succeeded in emerging stronger from years of structural change in the industry in these times of digital transformation.
‘With its Innovation Center, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG is demonstrating how a company can use the signs of the times to shape its future. Throughout its history, the company has always combined a traditional engineering culture with innovative technologies. This dovetailing is a vital factor in today’s opening of the printing industry’s most advanced research facility,’ said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann, who went on to call the newly opened Innovation Center a leading light of mechanical engineering in Baden-Württemberg.
Over 1000 staff will immediately start working on the digital future of Heidelberg and the printing industry at the new centre. Newspaper and magazine printing is in decline due to structural factors, but that is not the core business of Heidelberg. Due primarily to packaging and label printing, the industry as a whole is growing and generates annual sales exceeding 400 billion euros. Heidelberg is also increasingly unlocking new market segments outside the graphic arts industry, such as electric mobility.
‘Germany’s mechanical engineering prowess is highly rated worldwide and we are still the number one in this field. The purpose of our new think tank is to ensure we continue to build on our technology leadership in the future – and that includes the digitization of the print media industry,’ said Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. By investing some 50 million euros in the new Innovation Center, Heidelberg is aiming to gain a clear edge over its competitors around the globe in the future. It has also helped Germany overtake Switzerland as Europe’s most competitive national economy and become the third most competitive country in the world.
‘Digitisation in particular requires totally new forms of collaboration. With its Innovation Center, Heidelberg is responding to the challenges posed by a transformation process that is currently sweeping through every sector. Here in Baden-Württemberg, where cutting-edge technology, precision, and absolute reliability are an integral part of our history and culture, the Heidelberg IVC is a shining example of how digital transformation can succeed. By systematically networking various working levels, the center is setting new standards in communication and agility,’ emphasised Kretschmann.
The new Innovation Center also marks the beginning of a new era for staff in terms of their working environment. It uses ultra-modern, innovative practices, with teamwork, communication, work at different locations, and a combination of personal workstations and communication zones ensuring a pleasant, creative atmosphere. ‘The IVC is now “Open for Innovation” and marks the start of a new approach to work at Heidelberg,’ explained Head of Research & Development Frank Kropp. From developing an idea, securing a patent, and creating a digital twin all the way through to approving individual components and the product as a whole, the entire development process takes place within the same four walls.
The building concept aims to make communication/teamwork between employees as easy as possible. In addition to personal workstations, for example, there are also office environments without any fixed assignment, relaxed seating areas, and even options for working outdoors to encourage teamwork. What’s more, digital reviews are possible thanks to interactive monitors. A bistro, various break areas, and kitchens for making coffee are available to employees and guests alike. There are also numerous zones where people can take themselves off to work in peace and quiet.
The project to convert a former production hall where around 500 staff worked into an Innovation Center for over 1 000 employees is a world first. A total gross area of around 40 000 square metres at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site now includes a state-of-the-art office area totaling some 26 000 square meters and approximately 14 000 square metres for laboratories and testing. The office area comprises 13 sections, each accommodating 80 staff, and a space of around 3700 square meters has been set aside for the 43 laboratories alone. “The new center is an innovation platform geared to communication and transparency, which makes it the key to a change in culture at Heidelberg and also a symbol of this change,’ concluded Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for Technology.
Canon Europe has added two new cheque scanners to its successful imageFORMULA range, the imageFORMULA CR-L1 and the imageFORMULA CR-L1 UV. The new compact devices are designed to sit comfortably on narrow teller counters and offer the latest in high-precision image scanning to increase productivity and speed up cheque clearing times.
Designed with efficiency in mind, the imageFORMULA CR-L1 and imageFORMULA CR-L1 UV are capable of accurately scanning up to 3000 cheques per day, with up to 45 cheques processed per minute respectively, and support double-sided capture of images in a single transaction. The CR-L1 series is equipped with Canon’s unique magnetic head that reads MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) code line data printed with magnetic ink. A smooth and reliable 50-sheet automatic feeding mechanism maximises speed and productivity and allows additional cheques to be added for efficient drop-in batch scanning.
For even better accurate recognition and optimum precision, the CR-L1 series can utilise MOCR to combine both magnetic ink reading (MICR) and optical character recognition (OCR) technology that applies a unique algorithm to cross-check characters. Tim Brosnihan, European Product Marketing Manager, Canon Europe, said, ‘We expect that demands to scan small batches of cheques will increase where cheque processing is done at the teller counter or at the retailer instead of via a centralised scanning process. In 2017, 405 million cheques were used for payments and acquiring cash in the UK alone. Thanks to their small size, these latest cheque scanners are perfect for small teller or cashier desks. Designed to provide maximum image accuracy and speed in an ultra-compact design, the CR-L1 and CR-L1 UV can seamlessly fit into the smallest of workspaces.’
The sleek, compact devices incorporate a number of impressive image processing tools, including an advanced CIS (Contact Image Sensor) unit. Benefits include sharper images and less image distortion, with better text readability for enhanced OCR accuracy. Fine Text Filtering technology significantly reduces unwanted noise from patterned document backgrounds and images to ensure a sharp, clean output every time. The CR-L1 model also supports scanning in colour up to resolution of 300dpi.
The dedicated CR-L1 UV model employs best-in-class anti-fraud technology thanks to the UV scan sensors which provides clear visibility of UV ink overlays and other anti-counterfeit prints to help minimise the risk of processing fraudulent or tampered-with cheques. Users can also rely on the built-in imprinter for capturing and printing important information on the back of the cheque, including characters, date, incremental numbers, time, or arrow symbols.
The imageFORMULA CR-L1 and CR-L1 UV can be used alongside Canon’s bundled Scanning Utility Software, and for integration with existing systems is provided with a Canon Driver and the Ranger Transport API driver. A Software Developers Kit (SDK) is also available for developers to seamlessly integrate Canon’s CR-Series Cheque Scanners with customised or specialised solutions.
As we look back over the last 45 years, we at Asahi Photoproducts are proud of our contributions to the label industry and flexographic technology. Both AFP and AWP plates, introduced in 1982 and 2000 respectively, represented significant innovation to flexography, and we’re not stopping now! In this post, we share a little of the history of flexography in the label market and what it means for the future.
Forty-five years ago, the narrow web ‘reel-to-reel’ market was dominated by two flexographic printing press manufacturers: Mark Andy and Webron. As the need for labels became more complex, other manufacturers, Nilpeter, Comco and the Canadian Primoflex Systems (CPS), started to emerge with novel design features. The rapid expansion of the label market combined with growing competition meant that better flexographic printing equipment was available, and by 1972 the first commercial four-colour process printing was possible. Today, flexographic printing is competitive with both offset and gravure – and even with digital except for very short runs below 1.000 linear meters! It’s been a great deal of progress, and we are proud of the role we have been able to play in fostering this progress through the introduction of innovative flexographic plates and plate processors.
The introduction of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the first mass market computer featuring a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse, had a revolutionary impact on prepress for labels. And the Danish company Purup Electronics (Eskofot) followed in 1988 by bringing computer imaging systems to market that revolutionised the creation of label images and artwork. This set the stage for many other innovations that have driven the market forward, including the introduction at drupa 1995 by DuPont of the first flexographic computer-to-plate system. Today, computers play an integral role in everything from sparking the first design ideas to getting the final product on the shelf.
Back then, cell counts did not exceed a maximum of 550 cells per linear inch. Many anilox rolls worked with ink film thicknesses of 4 to 7 microns. In 1990, an 800-line-per-inch design with a 60o hexagon cell was developed by Harper and was a phenomenal success. This new cell pattern also helped reduce ink film thickness. This new roll could control ink film thicknesses to 0.5 ~ 1.5 microns and quickly became the industry standard. Cell patterns can now be etched at 30o, 40o, 60o, and recently random patterns are used, with cell counts reaching of up to 1800 cells per inch. Cleaning of anilox rollers with such fine screen engravings is paramount. Some manufacturers coat their rollers to help keep the cells free from drying ink. Conventional off-press cleaning methods include ultrasonic cleaners or soda blasting, in addition to fine bristle brushes.
Photopolymer plate technology first came to market in 1974. Based on ‘Free Radical’ polymer chemistry which uses ultra-violet (UV) light to form 3D relief graphic images, these plates continue to undergo development advances that have been critical to the ability of flexographic printing to not only be competitive with other printing technologies, but to become the leading label production printing technology. This is where Asahi’s experience with innovation in polymers has truly come into play.
In 1982, we launched our AFP family of plates with specific benefits for labels. AFP plates are manufactured using Butadiene and Styrene to improve the malleability of the plate and the drape of the plate around small circumference cylinders. This solved plate lifting issues. AFP also was the first solid plate to have a wide exposure latitude which enabled solids and halftones with one main exposure. This was a major development in flexography.
In 1985, Asahi invented the dry germicidal UVC lamp anti-tack process that eliminated the wet process by bromide. Then in 2000, we began manufacturing the first aqueous plate technology for the label industry. Years later, this was combined with Clean Transfer Technology; the result was plates from Asahi Photoproducts that have been specifically engineered to transfer all remaining ink to the printed substrate. This is due to the plate’s lower surface energy. Clean Transfer Technology plates do not need to be cleaned as often as conventional digital solvent plates. Reduction of plate cleaning stops creates a significant productivity improvement. More specifically, it reduces ink filling, particularly important for mid-tone printing, and that means fewer press stops for plate cleaning as well as consistent printing quality over the entire production run. The result is significant improvement in printing press OEE. Unique Asahi engineering also facilitates kiss touch printing pressure. Lighter printing pressure ensures constant repeatability of printing quality during the production run as well as longer plate life.
Asahi’s Clean Transfer Technology has received great market reception in our line of water-washable plates, and we are now excited to be extending this capability to other plate categories in our portfolio. Not only will this help flexographic printers increase productivity, but it will also extend the range of applications they can offer customers, including the ability to transfer even more work from offset to flexo.
We believe flexography will continue to be the dominant printing technology for labels for some time to come, and in addition to extending Clean Transfer Technology to other plates in our portfolio, we are working hard to continue to bring innovations to market, including both plate and processing technology, so that 45 years from now, we can again look back on a history of innovation and contributions to the market.
Article by Dr. David Galton, European Sales Director, Asahi Photoproducts Europe.
Label converters who visited the BOBST stand at Labelexpo India 2018 looking for equipment offering innovative digitised workflow for colour and quality management, flexo printing & converting in one pass, and equipment connectivity, saw plenty of options to be excited about. Up-close explanations of the technical features of the M5 inline UV Digital Flexo and multiprocess press on show were paired with a rich variety of printed and converted samples. Dotting a dedicated wall display, this signature feature of BOBST process capabilities enables visitors to have the visual and tactile experience of the quality of the output printed and converted on BOBST machines.
The label market is heading towards applications that are increasingly complex in terms of finishing processes for substrate enhancement and die-cutting shapes, and India is no exception.‘The automation and advanced technology of our production lines, coupled with the ease of use and lowest TCO in the industry make for a very attractive proposition for companies wanting to grow,’ commented Matteo Cardinotti, Head of BOBST Narrow & mid-web multi-process Product Line and Managing Director of Bobst Firenze ‘We have received many queries and expression of interest on the part of both label converters wanting to be able to fulfil the increasing demand for special label applications, and also from offset printers that are looking to enter the label market with flexo equipment.’
The other visitors’ takeaway from the BOBST stand was the extent of BOBST service capabilities designed to help users maintain their equipment at optimum efficiency levels, expand their capacity and be easily upgraded to enter new market segments along with the growth of the company.
From enterprise to small business, use of managed print services has caught on, but not everyone has had the same experience. If you’ve only had an average managed print services experience, you might wonder what a good MPS engagement should look like. This blog has guidelines for selecting a managed print services provider who can deliver what you want. That includes the three steps every managed print services relationship needs. The piece appeared previously on the Xerox Small Business Solutions blog, but its advice on how to find a managed print services provider scales across the board.
What Does a Good MPS Offering Look Like?
If you’ve yet to engage with a managed print services (MPS) provider, you may be wondering what to look for.
Equally, if you’ve had a bad experience with a partner, you may be wondering what qualities they were missing.
What Every Business Wants from Managed Print Services
Printers and scanning devices still play a major role in businesses of all sizes.
Whether you use them for internal documentation or for heavy-duty promotional work, the devices you rely on day-in, day-out need to deliver on quality and cost savings. And for that, you’ll need help from an MPS partner.
When you consider your print environment as a whole, there are three key challenges an MPS provider should be able to help you with:
• Reducing costs of hardware purchases, consumables, and stationery
• Raising productivity throughout the organization
• Obtaining a single invoice and the ability to recharge business units
If you run a multi-site operation, the above challenges are multiplied, but even if you’re a single-site SME, you’ll benefit significantly from an MPS provider that has a proven track record in building strategies, achieving cost savings and basing their work on solid industry experience.
3-Step Managed Print Services Methodology
In order to solve the challenges notes above, Xenith works with a three-step methodology:
1. Understand: A Business Analyst works with the Account Manager to understand your people, processes and business requirements before designing a print strategy.
2. Execute: Any changes to your existing system must be introduced carefully with user buy-in. Our Business Transformation Team works with you to accomplish this.
3. Improve: We continually improve your infrastructure during the lifetime of your contract and stay responsive to changing business requirements.
MPS: No More Sweating the Small Stuff
The closer an MPS partner works with you, the more their efforts will benefit all areas of your business.
For instance, by implementing analytical solutions and data-driven analysis of your print environment, they help put an end to guesswork.
By acting as the conduit between your business and suppliers, an MPS partner also ensures you benefit from transparent billing, consolidated invoices and clear contracts.
The job of an MPS partner is essentially a streamlining exercise. This results in:
• Simplified machine servicing
• More efficient fleet of multi-function devices
• Automated processes
Results You Can Expect from Managed Print Services
It’s not uncommon to see cost savings in excess of 40% per year when you engage with a great MPS partner. Despite this, there are other, intangible benefits to be enjoyed, too. Beyond the direct cost savings, new ways of printing and automated processes offer significant time savings and reductions in human error.
Finding the right MPS provider is relatively straightforward when you know what to look for, and the pointers above will make the beauty parade far easier to undertake.
Why should you use managed print services? How to find a managed print services provider? Plus three steps every MPS relationship needs.
Interested in leveraging the benefits of MPS for your business? Visit www.xenith.co.uk to find out how Xenith Document Solutions can help.
This post originally appeared on Xenith’s blog.
Xenith Document Systems is a leading provider of Managed Print Services, Document Solutions, and Workflow Automation in London, United Kingdom. Xenith is a Xerox Platinum Partner, winner of the Xerox MPS Partner of the Year award in the UK, and winner of the DocuShare Gold Partner award.
Altron Bytes Document Solutions
Altron Bytes Document Solutions (Altron BDS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. BDS forms part of JSE listed Allied Electronics Corporation Altron. http://bytesdocumentsolutions.co.za
Tanya Moodley, Bytes Document Solutions, 011 928 9111, email@example.com
Epson’s latest EcoTank printer – the L7160 model – offers professional photographers and businesses a cost-effective means of printing high volumes of photos and colour documents without compromising on quality. The EcoTank range offers ultra-low-cost cartridge-free printing, and three years’ worth of ink included in the box, saving users up to 90 per cent on the cost of ink, based on comparisons with other units on the market2. The compact yet powerful units are ideal for professional photographers offering printed photos in addition to the standard digital library of photos.
‘Epson’s latest EcoTank printer, much like the rest of the next generation range, is designed to offer ease of use and high-quality for creative and office tasks,’ said Timothy Thomas, consumer sales manager at Epson South Africa. ‘From Epson’s patented printheads with Micro Piezo technology for superior performance, to the ultra-high-capacity ink tanks and a five-colour ink system, the L7160 is geared to cut costs whilst providing Epson quality standards.’
Features that will immediately appeal to photography professionals include borderless photo printing for beautiful snapshots and enlargements without the need to be trimmed down, as well as Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct functionality, which allow users to print photos directly from their smart mobile device with the help of the Epson iPrint app3.
The unit also doubles as an office solution for businesses, capable of printing, copying and scanning documents with ease, and the versatile ink system that includes four dyes for vibrant black and colour printing as well as an extra black pigment ink for documents. This, added to the printer’s double-sided printing and convenient mess-free ink replacement features, makes the printer a versatile and cost-effective printing solution, not just for professional prints but for day-to-day use too.
This product launch is supported by Epson’s new photo and video-driven campaign #WishIdPrintedIt, which illustrates the importance of print in an era where so much photography is lost in the ether of social media and memory devices. ‘To quote Charlie Waite, a renowned British photographer and an Epson photography ambassador, “the print is the photograph’s rightful inheritance and I believe if you make your own photograph you must make your own print”,’ said Thomas.
Affordable low-cost refill bottles are available across the entire collection and each model is backed by an extended three-year warranty (subject to terms and conditions), ensuring more value in the long term. The L7160 EcoTank printer will be available from January 2019 at selected stores.