Every year, I attend a number of industry shows to stay on top of changing trends and, more importantly, to touch base with our most important contacts – our customers. This year’s first-ever Inkjet Summit that took place in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida did not disappoint. You can read more about the feedback from attendees, including myself, in the current issue of Printing Impressions.
There aren’t enough conferences directly dedicated to the trends and challenges of the inkjet market, and with inkjet technology and solutions continuing to disrupt the industry, the Summit was a welcome opportunity to examine these trends in detail. I was honored to speak on the Keynote Panel with Joe Raccuia, formerly of Finch Paper and fellow colleagues in the industry about our perspective on the inkjet market opportunity as suppliers and our vision for the future. The conference also featured panels, case studies and networking lunches on direct mail, transactional printing and book printing, providing attendees with a cross-section of all areas most relevant to their business.
The well-attended event enabled us to connect with a number of current and potential newcustomers in an intimate setting and get a feel for the largest challenges within the industry. As has been the case at many of the shows I’ve attended recently, the complete transition to digital prevailed as the one topic that transcended all areas of the print industry. Offset printers, among others, are seeing that it is time to adopt new technology, and are looking to flesh out the “how” in trying to move forward. Digital technology now presents little compromise on quality and an advantageous cost and many attendees spoke about their eagerness to take advantage of its various applications. I was able to provide insight on how Ricoh is always endeavoring to provide solutions that make the move to digital as painless as possible; solutions that include our flexible InfoPrint 5000 platform that was recently announced as the world-wide market leader in high-speed inkjet, and the accompanying Extended Media Dryer, which allows printers to use a variety of coated stocks.
One of the bigger challenges for commercial printers, particularly those who do small projects in specialized areas like book or manual printing, is figuring out how to use digital technology to provide the quality customers demand, combined with maximizing the flexible capabilities of digital. This is particularly true with smaller print shops that need to be more nimble as they grow and respond to the rapidly changing demands from their customers. My colleague Rich Lloyd recently delved deeper into the reasons for the switch to digital and gave helpful strategies on how to make this booming segment of book printing more profitable.
The Inkjet Summit focused on new technologies that are forming the foundation for inkjet’s future. We look forward to continuing to embrace the open and lively dialogue with our customers and colleagues that will chart the future, growth and innovation of inkjet – and the larger print industry. You can read more about the Inkjet Summit in Printing Impressions’ June issue.
Vice President, Continuous Forms Production Solutions & Technology Alliances, Ricoh