Sitting comfortably II: more views from the red sofa

By Darryl Danielli, Monday 18 July 2016

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There was never any doubt that digital was always going to be a hot topic at Drupa. In terms of product launches, star turns, largely from the show’s birthday boy, and the sheer scale of the digital collective’s presence at the Messe – not to mention that one of their own was the show’s single biggest exhibitor – it was always going to be thus.


But did Drupa deliver on its digital promise? If the anecdotal evidence regarding the high volumes of orders placed across the show’s eleven days are anything to go by then it’s a resounding yes. And judging by the positive noises from the accompanying interviews there’s plenty more to come.

Rokus van Iperen

Canon EMEA president and chief executive discusses the importance of merging cultures.

Darryl Danielli Obviously Océ has been part of Canon for a few years now; are the challenges of integrating the two businesses’ cultures still ongoing?

Rokus van Iperen Well, of course, if you want to merge two companies like Canon, 75 years old, and Océ, 125 years old, you have to face up to different corporate cultures, but the starting point was very good because we had the same beliefs and the same objectives.

Have you managed to maintain the entrepreneurial culture of Océ?

Yes, I think so. I must say that also in Canon we have quite an entrepreneurial approach as well. I think the best combination is the technology of Océ and the fantastic value of the Canon brand. It opens doors everywhere.

But it’s an unusual situation, for a Japanese company to have a head of Europe who’s got a European background. Have you found any challenges in that?

Managing such a big international company always has challenges, it is no different from anything else. I have an excellent relationship with the CEO of Canon and the top management in Tokyo, and even more importantly I have a top management team in EMEA. And we all are aiming for the same objective – driving growth in the business.

If there was one thing you could change within your business, what would that be?

As always in big companies: speed. I think the development is going so fast on the technology side, but also on the market side and in customer needs. We really have to speed up as much as possible to get ahead, even of the change, or lead the change. And that is something we still have to work on.

And do you find your customers are changing?

Specifically, in the printing industry, I think the customers have changed. In the past it was more or less a manufacturing activity, today it is much more oriented along consultancy and services so that the print service providers develop together with their customers new print applications and new business models.

From a personal level, what’s your highlight of a show like Drupa 2016? 

My personal highlight is sitting here on the red sofa. 

You’re too kind. But I guess it’s a good chance to catch up with old friends?

Not only meet up with good friends, but also to show off the new applications to customers. I really get excited, when I see all the new possibilities we have, and I like to share them.

Enrique Lores

HP’s president of Imaging and Printing talks about the digital giant’s journey from interested observer to the show’s largest exhibitor.

Darryl Danielli Is this your first Drupa?

Enrique Lores The first time I visited Drupa was in 1995 when we [HP] came to explore what commercial printing was. We didn’t have a booth, we just came to see if there was an opportunity for us in that market. Now not only is commercial printing one of the biggest opportunities for HP, but we have the largest booth at the show – so there have been some changes.

This is your first major show since HP split into two businesses last year, has the split fully bedded in now?

We operate as two completely independent companies and this is going to help us in the printing space because we are much more focused than we were before. Printing is now twice as important as it was in the ‘old’ company.

What has been the key impact of the split?

I think the benefits will be seen over time, but if you look at the innovations that we’re showing on our booth, the new products, solutions, and services then that is starting to reflect the new focus that we have. But this is just the beginning.

How important are big shows to HP? 

Drupa is very important to us, because of the huge number of people that get to see and experience our products – we have more than 10,000 people going through our booth every day.

You mentioned that you’re the biggest exhibitor, I think someone told me you had 230 tonnes of technology here; what’s the kind of investment that you make to be here?

It’s a very big investment, but it’s worthwhile because of the returns that we get and the ability it gives us to talk to customers – but we are talking about tens of millions of dollars that we invest in the show.

It must be nice to have a hall to yourself though?

It is nice, and if you compare what we have now with what we started here with – it’s very rewarding.

But as you said this is a significant investment, so what will a good Drupa look like when the doors close?

In terms of return, we measure it in the sales that we think we are securing at the show, and as you can imagine those are measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

You’ve been here a few days already, what have been your personal highlights?

The energy that customers are displaying. Outsiders have this image of print as a dying industry, when you come to the show and see the energy of the customers and the innovation bought by HP and our competitors, then it proves that printing is anything but dying.

What do you see as the key growth areas for your customers?

We see a tremendous opportunity in packaging, pre-processing and postprocessing, and continued growth in display, decoration, and commercial printing.

And in terms of HP’s growth potential, what’s stronger: inkjet or Indigo?

Growth comes from a combination of both; we have very strong growth in Indigo and also inkjet.

Final question, what’s the one thing you would like to change within the business?

My key goal is to get the overall business back into growth again, by continuing to bring innovation and focusing on growth opportunities in printing and graphics – you’re going to see HP being very active in this space. 

Jeff Clarke

Kodak’s chief executive talks about the business’s evolution and how it’s getting back to its roots.

Darryl Danielli Has announcing the sale of the Prosper business before Drupa overshadowed your presence here to an extent?

Jeff Clarke I don’t think so at all. First off, Prosper is very much a part of Kodak today, and one of the main reasons we’re participating so significantly here at Drupa is because of Prosper – it’s a great opportunity for potential buyers and the current customers to come. In fact, we’ve already announced one sale of Prosper technology here. The overall point of us coming to Drupa is all of the seven business unit, not just one. We have six other business units here and 20 [new] products we’re announcing.

I know that you’re planning to conclude the sale of the business this year though, so what will the Kodak of 2017 look like?

Pretty much like it looks today. Today we’re $1.8bn in revenue and $1.6bn of that is non Prosper business. So 95% of the company is still as it is: which is traditional printer, CTP, packaging, still inkjet printing with Versamark, digital printing with NexPress, micro 3D printing; and consumer and film.

Previously Prosper has been described as one of Kodak’s “pillars of growth” what do you see as the pillars now?

Some areas grow faster than others. Our fastest growing product is Sonora – our environmentally sensitive, no-chemistry plate – it has grown from zero to 18% of all of our plates and will grow up to 30% in the next couple of years. And printing on packaging has very fast growth.

In two weeks’ time what will a good Drupa look like for Kodak?

We’ve invested millions of dollars to be here and we’ve brought in presses like the Prosper, the fastest inkjet press in the world, new Ultrastream technology, so people can look under the covers of what will be happening a couple of years from now. Then of course, there are the latest CTPs and our new flexo capabilities as well.

Kodak’s going through an evolution; are you seeing the same thing in your customers? How are they changing?

Our customers are looking for several things; most importantly they’re looking for consistent supply of highquality products and then they’re looking for innovation. We’re applying science at a higher rate than any of our competitors to create environmental solutions and lower cost products that make our customers more profitable.

Final question: have you tried to change the culture of Kodak as well as the business?

We have. We have tried to embrace the most important things, taking science and making breakthrough changes that impact the industry. We’re also trying to go back to some of what George Eastman did originally, which is you push the button, we’ll do the rest. Science, great products and simplicity as well.

Olaf Lorenz

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe general manager – international marketing division, Lorenz, discusses the KM-C and (almost) reveals the identity of ‘Konica Minolta man’.

Darryl Danielli Last Drupa you were showing the KM-1 as a prototype, but this year it’s having its commercial launch. What’s the reaction been like?

Olaf Lorenz The reaction has been amazing, we have a lot of people lining up from different areas because over the past year we have been conducting more in-depth customer demonstrations, and even discussions. The show is now all about converting those into signed orders.

This year you’re also showing a new prototype, the KM-C [a B1 sheetfed inkjet]. Are you looking to launch that commercially at the next Drupa?

That’s exactly what we’re saying at the moment. Based on our experience with the KM-1, then the next Drupa would be a good timeframe to start shipping.

The KM-1 was a partnership with Komori, but the KM-C uses all Konica technology – why the change in strategy?

It’s because this type of machine has a straight paper path [non-perfecting], so the complexity of the KM-1, in  terms of the paper feeding and transportation system, which is where Komori’s strength lay, was not really needed.

In terms of the Konica business, it clearly has a very strong background in the office environment – how important is the graphic arts sector?

Graphic arts is still our biggest sector and a sector in which we believe we can add a lot of value for commercial printers. One of the things we’re trying to do at this Drupa is give the commercial printers the opportunity to see our full product portfolio so that they can see how they can organically grow their businesses and embrace the new opportunities. Graphic arts is our home and we want to grow in it even more.

Do you see graphic arts as your main growth area then?

It is. The office segment is very mature, but within the graphic arts market there’s still so much analogue equipment, so the potential for digital is still huge.

The two customer groups must have very different needs though?

They do and that’s why we have two different initiatives for the graphic arts customers: one is Prokom, our global user group for people to exchange experiences and knowhow, and the second is our super Digital 1234 business-building initiative, where we support printers by sharing ideas on how they can grow their businesses.

In terms of technology then, is toner or inkjet your main growth area?

We try to be technology-agnostic; we’re in this position because of the 40 years’ experience we have in inkjet. I think that means we’re best placed to find the best technology for each application. That’s why we’re showing how inkjet and toner can complement each other rather than compete, because we offer both, we can cover all applications.

Next Friday, what will a good Drupa look like for Konica?

A lot of customers signing up, of course. More importantly that [visitors have heard] the message that we want commercial printers to grow with us as partners.

Final question, and this is the burning question of Drupa – who is ‘Konica Minolta man’ featured in all the posters around the Messe?

[Laughs] It’s one of our Swedish customers, I will reveal his name later. 

Benny Landa

The Landa Digital Printing founder and chairman explains how, to his mind, he has been retired for 50-plus years.

Darryl Danielli Firstly and most importantly, happy birthday – is there anywhere else you would rather be right now?

Benny Landa Nowhere in the entire world would I rather be on my 70th birthday than Drupa.

Good answer. How many of your 70 years have been in print?

My entire life. I grew up in Canada and my father had a little tobacco store, he built this wooden photo booth, with a wooden camera that took people’s passport photos and as a young child, seven or eight, he taught me how to develop the photos. So it’s been in my blood my entire life.

And what’s been the most exciting time in your career?

If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said the last Drupa. A few years ago it would have been the Drupa before that. [Today] this Drupa is by far the most exciting experience I’ve had, and this is only the third day. The first Drupas, when we launched digital printing with Indigo, it was always a push: proselytising, teaching, telling, trying to convince people – but the market was very resistant. But now, especially after the last Drupa, everyone gets it: everyone understands printing will be digital, the only question is: what will the technology be?

Is the reaction [to Nanography] this time around much different to last time? 2012 was much more shock and awe – the excitement around this new technology – now it’s about delivering it; are people more sceptical?

People should be sceptical whenever a new technology is introduced – nobody knew after we showed it last time if it would really deliver. But now that it delivers 20 times a day in the demos and people see the amazing quality and speed that comes out of these machines then people are no longer sceptical – it’s a done deal, a fact, this is real, and that’s what’s really exciting. 

But the schedule has slipped a little?

You’re very kind – it’s not a little bit, the schedule slipped by years. 

Are those problems all overcome now?

There will always be things to overcome; it’s an ongoing process – we continue to improve. The good thing is that we have crossed that threshold of true offset quality and with the reliability you need to run 24/7 in an industrial environment. We’re in a great place.

You’ve announced the beta customers at the show, do you think that will be a long process?

We don’t know. My first time around 25 years ago, in our inexperience we underestimated the time it takes to take the bugs out of the machines and we unveiled the product at Ipex in 1993 and started shipping in 1994. Why? Because there was customer demand, and we shipped machines that were unreliable. We got such a black eye in the market, that’s something you never do twice.

Drupa 2012 was all about unveiling the technology and securing those deposits, what does a good Drupa 2016 look like?

Well, it’s already a great Drupa. This Drupa we are engaging real customers, with real orders and real delivery schedules and real beta customers. 

Last question, you turned 70 today and last year you appointed a CEO – any plans to retire?

[Laughs] by retire I assume you mean to finally get to do what I really love? I’ve been retired my whole life. I would be thrilled if my last day on earth was at Drupa. I still plan to be around for another eight or 10 shows, though.

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