People who are fans of the movie "Office Space" remember the scene where three of the players take the printer out to the field and beat it to death because it keeps giving an paper jam error even when there is no paper jam.Read More
Office Document Strategies Blog
Most people know that mobile access to the Internet has been a major growth area of technology since the advent of smart phones. Of course much of this is accessing and posting to various hot social media sites, like Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc.Read More
When most of us think about printing we think of the process that started with Gutenberg and which has been refined over the centuries to permit fast, efficient and colourful information transfer. Traditional printing ranges from a simple monochrome sheet to full feature coloured products including art work and magazines.
Of course over the years it has been refined into wondrous advertising pieces with the processes using other substrates besides paper. Vinyl, cloth, metal, wood, glass and many more surfaces have been used to receive the printed message and images.
In office environments we have seen the development of super fast, highly capability multifunction printers (MFP) which permit the rapid production and assembly of all kinds of printed documents and materials. Wide format printers come in massive widths and permit the production of advertising materials which have radically changed the way that images and other information have been displayed and used. Vehicle wraps are now common with every urban street experiencing all sorts of vehicles, especially transit buses, which showcase local and national brands and personalities.
3D Printing Adds More Dimension
Ever since Gutenberg created the first printing press, printing has been largely a two dimensional process.
With the advances of 3D printing a whole new range of possibilities have emerged which are radically impacting many industries and most notably differing elements of manufacturing.
A recent CNN Money article showcases how manufacturing has changed from the traditional industry we think of as a result of the introduction of 3D printing capabilities.
While the article centres upon US experience similar experiences are occurring throughout the industrialized world including Canada.
The CNN article describes the experience of a new type of manufacturing worker:
"Andrew Rosa doesn't do back breaking work. His hands aren't swollen, blistered or greasy. He doesn't operate loud machines. He isn't in a labor union." It describes how he works as part of a team which sets up, programs and manages 3D printed manufacturing which produces products faster, more efficiently and with less risk to workers than would have been possible in the past.
The company highlighted in this article is simply one of thousands which have adopted the capabilities of 3D production and who are revolutionizing industries.
The interesting part of 3D printing is how the processes used really do mimic traditional printing processes, where a product grouping, toner or ink usually, are layered upon a substrate to create an image of a message.
In 3D printing the same process is used only it is layered in multiple super think layers to create an eventual 3D product. Of course where the real changes are occurring is in the printing "inks" that are being layered. In early instances there were various forms of plastics which could be melted and extruded to create the layers needed.Read More
One of the infrequent tasks that every organization faces at some point is buying or leasing a new print device. Often someone just says, 'order one like the one we have now". Of course since print devices tend to last for some time the one you have now may no longer be in the market and it may not really be the right fit for your current needs. Here are a few of the key decisions you need to consider BEFORE you place that order.Read More
When 3D printing was first talked about what we saw was neat production of small plastic parts that might be used to assembly a toy, a display or some sort of interesting art object. Today this type of use is become pretty mainstream with small 3D printers being introduced for home or office use either for educational benefit or for design display.Read More
Just about a month ago HP and Samsung announced a deal that will see HP acquiring Samsung's printer business which is said to be about $1.8 billion US annually. It appears that after many years producing print products as an OEM supplier and then a few years doing so under its own name Samsung has decided that it should focus on other aspects of its electronic industry.
In the announcement HP has said this is the largest print related purchase that it has ever made.
HP has long used Canon engines for many of its laser printers and with this deal it gains the potential to move much of its engine production and R&D to the Samsung based designs.
I observe that it is only a few years that Samsung has been producing and selling its own brand of A3 (traditional 11 x 17 copier sized) products and it may be access to this area is one of the keys for HP. Over the past ten years or so HP has struggled trying to find a fit with multifunction printer devices under its brand which can take control of the office print market like they have successfully done with their laser printer models which are primarily A4 (letter/legal) sized.
By acquiring Samsung they instantly obtain a recognized set of full bore A3 office multifunction devices in both colour and mono which can be branded HP and could complement other units in their offerings. For those dealers which have been selling Samsung equipment it presents a bit of a challenge, but not one they will not have handled before. Potentially they may have a broader set of options presented as HP fills out the line. For most they will be dual branded and will have another line to use to fulfill customer needs.
Industry Changes Ongoing
This acquisition is just another step in a steady shift in the print market as the volume of paper changes and the moves to a more electronic or digital document world continue.
Konica Minolta was created through the merger of two separate brands in 2003. Ricoh has built up its operations through a string of brand purchases over the years, Ricoh acquired Savin, Gestetner, Lanier, Rex-Rotary, Monroe, Nashuatec, IKON and most recently IBM Printing Systems Division / Infoprint Solutions Company.Read More
One of the things that drives print manufacturers to improve their equipment offerings is the ability to have the newer units tested for performance by the independent testing labs. After some time it is harder to get the interest of customers and potential adopters as there is always a new crop of equipment being introduced by someone in the industry.Read More
In 2009 Xerox made a large acquisition to be able to move to penetrate the technology outsourcing business on the computer and systems side. Understanding that much of the growth of business technology systems business required a congruence between the hardware and print business and the network business that was connecting all the devices the strategy was to get a foot in both camps.
On January 29th Xerox announced it was splitting into two public companies, one focused on document technology (the 'old' print business) and one on business process outsourcing by the end of 2016. The two companies will be independent with two CEOs, two boards and separate business operations. It essentially says that the combined strategy has not worked and that a different structure is needed going forward.
It is very interesting to look at this announcement in light of the split that HP has also undergone. In the HP situation the decision was to create two companies with different market targets based upon size and business type. HP Inc. retains the personal computer and printer business while a newly formed Hewlett-Packard Enterprise would focus on the services, server and storage businesses primarily focused on larger enterprises.
Whereas HP defined the new roles by market segment primarily by size keeping services and hardware in both new entities, it appears that Xerox has decided to keep its traditional hardware business in one company and spin the technology services business of into a new entity.
Of course both strategies have merit depending upon the strengths of the originating operations and there are businesses that have successfully rebuilt themselves like this before. One which comes to mind is IBM which has transformed into almost exclusively a services business after selling off its hardware operations to Lenovo, first on the PC side and then in a subsequent deal on the server side as well.
What a new Xerox will end up looking like is anyone s guess at this point. Will the retrenching of the traditional document focused print side stay as is or will it be able to make changes to compete in an area of business that is very different than it was only ten years ago.Read More