As Vice President of Ricoh Europe’s Commercial and Industrial Printing Group no two days are the same and there is never an average week.
Typically, I travel three or four days out of five. In fact, I have that down to a fine art. I live in Bergen, 50km from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and, as a Flying Blue Platinum member of KLM, I can arrive an hour before the flight. I like to fly around 7am so I can avoid the traffic and make sure the day is as productive as possible.
Roughly 80% of my time is spent in continental Europe with the rest split between Japan, the Middle East and currently Russia - one of our fastest growing markets.
So much travelling and walking at fast pace at airports is what keeps me fit, since there is hardly time for any fitness work. Meaning I was able recently to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in Yorkshire, northern England, along with 50 Ricoh colleagues. Together, we were able to raise Euro 30,000-- for Alzheimer’s Research.
When I am not travelling I either work from Ricoh’s Amstelveen offices, near Amsterdam, or from home.
My main focus, and what I love to do most, is meet with our operating companies, their clients and end users. Naturally the largest operating companies take up most of my time, but I am spending an increasing amount of time with the smaller operations.
Having been in the industry, in one role or another, for more than 30 years I have seen a lot of change. I am constantly looking at how Print Service Providers can adapt to new trends and opportunities, how they can transition their business and what their next steps should be.
To do that I need to keep my feet on the street. Our clients make multi-million investments and when they do, they want to work with a partner that they trust, that understands their business and their market. Being aware of what is happening ensures we can be that partner.
I like to be out there listening to the challenges production print businesses are experiencing and finding solutions. I am interested in how they manage their day to day schedules with an eye on new ways to adapt, become more efficient and improve their effectiveness.
It is my natural habitat. I believe it is where my key skills are put to their best use and I can add value.
The most important thing is to have a passion for print. If I don’t have a passion or interest it will not work. This is absolutely the market that I like being in. There are a lot of interesting challenges to identify and respond to and I love being a part of that.
In contrast to some pessimistic viewpoints that print is dead, my view is that print is very much more alive than ever before. There is a lot happening, particularly with digital production growing very quickly in applications like books and newspapers. And there are also new opportunities such as for instance the hugely growing market of photobook printing, which has arisen from the digitalisation of photo imaging.
We are also integrating print on paper with new digital cross media channels, video and social media. We are not just in the business of printing. We are in the business of creating more meaningful, impactful communication.
If I am not travelling to see the operating companies and clients I am in corporate meetings.
Every two weeks I am in Ricoh Europe’s London head office for a couple of days for regular management meetings and to liaise with my team. There is also a monthly video conference with senior management at Ricoh in Japan.
Twice a year I am in Japan. Next month I am going to our annual Customer Innovation Summit event with nine key European clients. There keynote external and Ricoh speakers will be giving a preview of what are the key trends in the market and see what Ricoh is working on next.
My schedule is usually planned out four to six weeks ahead by my great PA Jacqueline Corbett. She keeps me on track.
My evenings during the week will normally see me having dinner with Ricoh people or clients. If there are no plans then I will catch up with industry news in magazines or online.
At the weekends I love to spend time with my wife Inge and, when they can, my four children - Daniella, 29, Dave, 28, Michael, 25, and Max 21. When a window allows, and that is not as often as I would like, I love playing golf actively and further like to watch football.