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A Day in the Life: Erwin Busselot

By Erwin Busselot, Business Innovations & Solutions Director, Commercial and Industrial Printing Group, Ricoh Europe

What is your role with Ricoh?

I manage the Business Innovations and Solutions (BIS) group within Ricoh Europe’s Commercial and Industrial Printing department. As a result, I oversee four main areas - marketing communications (PR, events, collateral, samples and social media), segment marketing (commercial print, data driven print, publishing, sign & display, photo merchandise and Enterprise), business development (pre-sales related, post-sales related and with print buyers) and future product marketing (for products that haven’t made it into our portfolio yet).

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in that role?

Among the key requirements is being a good all-round communicator whether that is face to face or online. Speaking a few languages helps too. It is also essential to be a practical organiser to enable effective planning, structuring and good decision making. It helps to be passionate about the printing industry as well. It is a special sector that’s always in flux which is one of the main reasons why it is important to have a good network around you.

What does a typical working day look like?

There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day and that, is in part, why I enjoy my job so much.

How it looks all depends on what’s on the agenda. I could be at an event, a customer meeting or an internal meeting.

So, let me answer by describing what would be a ‘fun’ day for me. I would ideally start

with reading my emails followed by ‘Eisenhower matrix’ planning where I work out what is important, not important, urgent and not urgent before deciding on the priorities.

As my Japanese colleagues would still be at work, I’d liaise with them before grabbing a coffee with some Belgian chocolates to get my blood sugar up. With that energy boost I would handle the do or die priorities first followed by the rest later.

I’d then have a quick lunch with a trade journalist or analyst where we’d exchange ideas on the state of the industry before, with a colleague from sales, rushing off to see a customer and discuss their business development needs.

Later in the afternoon I would be back for tea and a webex with the BIS team to assess ongoing developments and drive action with quick well-informed decisions.

This leads to the time of the day when I would be able to start catching up with colleagues from the US.

As this is my ideal scenario, I would also have time to finish that presentation on how the industry will look in 2030. And there would still be a moment, in the parking lot on the way home, where I get around to making that call with that persistent sales rep who was chasing me all day with a marketing related question.

Once at home the day would end with catching up on the news with my wife and hearing her thoughts on Belgian politics (FYI: she works at the Belgian parliament) and then reading a good book or watching that interesting Netflix documentary that’s been on my watchlist for a while.

Of course, it very rarely happens that all those things happen in one day, but more often than not, they do happen in the same week.

What do you love about your job?

I love the combination of high tech and marketing, the sense of achievement when we, as a BIS team, have succeeded another project and the honour of working with such talented people.

What are your main challenges and how do you meet them?

They can be summarised by the car industry’s acronym OTIFNE:

· On Time: time is a scarce resource and as such it’s not always possible to do everything. This is why prioritisation is a must.

· In Full: it’s not easy to make sure you don’t forget something in today’s business hustle and bustle. That’s why you need a good team and should be open to their feedback and critique ... and you should never forget that!

· No Error: if you’re afraid to make errors, you won’t get anything done. Making errors is not bad ‘per se’ as long as you learn from them. And yes, a sense of ‘déjà vu’ is pretty common in this industry. However, some errors can only be learned by committing them once!

How do you see the industry developing and how are you helping to make the most of emerging opportunities?

One of my former bosses made the statement (way back in the nineties) that: ‘Everything that can be digital, will be digital and printing is NO exception’. Of course, he was paraphrasing Nicolas Negroponte from his book ‘Being Digital’. Myself, I’m more a follower of Robert Amara’s Law ‘People OVER estimate in the short run, but UNDER estimate in the long run’. So, I do believe that digital printing still has got some way to go when it comes to replacing analogue printing. Technology wise Inkjet has the most potential because it’s not limited to document printing and can also be used for functional printing such as 3D printing, printing electronics, direct to garment and décor printing.

As far as making the most out of emerging opportunities goes, the key is often not the technology by itself, but real-life applications and the way and how those are brought to market. Hence the importance of printing applications and business development. And yes, I do have both functions in my team.

What are your goals?

That is simple. My short term goal is to have a successful Drupa 2020 with Ricoh while my long term goal is to enjoy the growth of digital printing in the printing industry and beyond.

When you have any free time what do you like to do with it?

I love spending time with my family. I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well as I do without their support. I also enjoy seeing good friends and I often organise ‘war walks’ with visits to museums and battlefields across Europe. We sometimes participate in re-enactments as well, but the best part is enjoying a good (Belgian) beer in the presence of dear friends.

www.ricoh-europe.com

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