Last updateSat, 08 Jun 2024 5pm

Darwin or Demon? Which one are you?

By Erwin Busselot, Director, Business Innovation & Solutions, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

British naturalist Darwin famously said: “It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change!”.
This is also true for companies. As in competitive markets commoditisation often displaces differentiation. This is also Darwinism at work.
Commoditisation can, however, be countered by innovation. But we can be held back from innovating by the demon of inertia in us.

American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher Elbert Hubbard said: “The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.”
Failure to innovate equals failure to differentiate. Profits and revenues need to adapt and evolve. To sustain attractive returns commercial printers must transform their core competences over time. They must also include their employees and educate them on the aims.
Efforts to change direction can be thwarted by the inertia that success creates. Companies who want to innovate can often have a poor success rate due to losing the ability to innovate, or locking up scarce resources in non-differentiating processes. This is the demon of inertia at work.
Integrated technology, processes, and people ensure positive results. This powerful combination can help defeat the demon.
For example, workflow management that centralises functions and brings legacy processes together under a shared services model can free resources that are performing duplicate functions. Commercial printers can also standardise processes into a single process set, simplify processes in a levered way, and automate or outsource.
We worked with a commercial printer that lacked clear visibility of device activity across multiple manufacturing sites. The client believed that all its production printers were ‘pretty busy 24/7’ but there was no quick view of peaks and troughs in production or assessment of hardware investments to increase capacity. There was also no comprehensive data on which to base tactical and strategic decisions.
After reviewing how it could make crucial improvements the operation introduced RICOH Supervisor™. Comprehensive reporting and analysis of all production printing activities was quickly established as was clear visibility of overall device usage and productivity. Data analysis showed that no hardware investment was necessary. It also identified periods of unproductive on-call time that led to process improvements and enhanced utilisation of its high speed web fed inkjet printers, resulting in a 20% increase in capacity.
Commercial printers can also transform their efficiency and control across locations with RICOH ProcessDirector™. They can replace an inability to react to capacity bottlenecks and unforeseen events with greater reliability through simple capacity and contingency planning. They can switch from lack of interoperability of the sites to easily rerouted work, either proactively or reactively as events unfold, and track the status of all work across all locations in one place. They can also manage the duplication of licences and functional processes to consolidate shared licences and features onto a single server.
Further supporting commercial printers in their quest for innovation is brand new RICOH TotalFlowTM Producer. The vendor agnostic cloud-based solution enhances Print Service Providers‘ clients. It does this by allowing print files to be sent via email, FTP or a customised portal. The files are automatically checked without operator intervention and can be edited in the cloud before being sent to a hot folder or to a MIS.
Ricoh’s unique business development programme Business Booster EDGE also helps commercial printers keep their business relevant in a rapidly evolving and competitive landscape. It is designed to help commercial printers launch profitable new services and create new market propositions. It helps develop skillsets that match capabilities and educates marketing and sales teams on how to sell according to a better, value-based model.
Ways innovation can deliver new revenue, build new business models, grow value to new and existing clients and elevate sales potential are also shared. Via the creation of new value and a business plan Ricoh can support commercial printers as they adapt and grow. Access to experts, training services, tools, a web portal, and community is provided too.
Business Booster EDGE, alongside hardware and software technologies that promote innovation, was presented at this week’s Hunkeler Innovationdays, at Messe Lucerne, Switzerland.
All the above can enhance the five production stages of input, manage, prepare, produce and output (discussed in greater detail during our recent Unravel Your Print Workflow webinars. They can help commercial printers address and solve the challenges they face by enabling them to embrace HENKAKU – the spirit of transformational change.
They can help commercial printers defeat their inner demon.



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