How disciplined is your operation?

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

Ricoh Europe, London, August 05 2022 - Is your operation as disciplined as it could be? Is it able to deliver value to your clients in a clear way? Does it have an identifiable value discipline?

A value discipline is a statement of strategic focus. It provides a context for a company to set its corporate vision and objectives, to target its most profitable customers, and to focus and align its activities. The term was coined by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their book, “The Discipline of Market Leaders” and its premise is that any company can deliver value to its customers in three value disciplines. They are:

1 Operational Excellence:  Delivering quality products or services at the lowest total cost with the least inconvenience and always on time.  Companies seek ways to minimise overhead costs, eliminate intermediate production steps, reduce transaction and other “friction” costs, and optimise business processes across functional and organisational boundaries. They focus on delivering the best products or services to customers at competitive prices and with minimal inconvenience.  An operationally excellent company proactively designs its entire business model for its targeted customer segments, with an emphasis on speed, efficiency, and cost.

Delivering consistently excellent print quality while meeting client expectations for rapid turnaround times is something a German direct mail production leader has been focusing its efforts on. It has transferred direct mail production to digital printing to increase efficiency, speeds, and flexibility. It has created a streamlined production pipeline, with fully integrated tools for paper input, roll management, and post production work. The result has been exceptional output levels, printer uptime, and, ultimately, speed and quality of client service. This has been achieved with the help of a Ricoh Pro™ VC70000 high speed inkjet press and Ricoh Pro Scanner Option as well as Tecnau finishing equipment.

One of Norway’s leading print houses has expanded its product portfolio and is winning business from a wider array of clients after becoming a POD supplier. Its transition included streamlining its production and removing manual steps while improving productivity, eliminating errors, and boosting capacity. To enable this it invested in Ricoh Pro™ C9110 and Ricoh Pro™ C9210 digital colour sheetfed presses supported by Ricoh TotalFlow Production Manager software. After achieving approved Print on Demand status it added three more Pro C9210 systems and a Ricoh Pro™ C7200x with fifth colour capabilities, including white toner. The company also purchased a Ricoh Ri 2000 Direct to Garment (DTG) printer for creating customised clothing and a Ricoh Pro™ T7210 flatbed printer and a Ricoh Pro™ L5160 large format device to manage applications on a broader range of substrates. Today around 70% of orders are via the web and the operation is planning its own web to print service.

2 Product leadership:  Aims to build a culture of continuously bringing superior products to market.  Companies that pursue product leadership are driven by innovation. They are constantly looking for ways to offering more value and better solutions. They focus on product leadership and look to capitalise on any opportunity.

This is something a Ricoh client operating in France, Spain, and Italy, has perfected. The general commercial printer achieved a 39% increase in revenues in 2021 by building on its huge range of products, including brochures, flyers, signage, rigid panels, and Point of Purchase displays, with personalised packaging and garment decoration services. The company chose two Ricoh Pro C9200 sheetfed digital presses and made its first investment in high speed inkjet technology with the Ricoh Pro VC70000. It also picked FusionPro VDP software to enhance its variable data printing capabilities, simplifying the creation of personalised brochures and other materials. It can now manage multiple formats on the same paper reel without stopping, saving time, and increasing productivity. It can also more easily handle mixed small and medium print runs that were difficult to combine on offset. The result is improved lead times, new market sector opportunities, increased profit margins, enhanced client services and the ability to print and dispatch up to 2,000 client orders every day.

Another Ricoh client is now processing a broader range of jobs more efficiently and expanding its range of services to include printing on packaging and various promotional items. It is transforming panels, film, and other materials for various advertising products, including all types of signage and displays while saving time and costs. A Ricoh Pro™ TF6250 UV large format flatbed printer is helping with this production versatility while also supporting greater sustainability and significant material savings as printing is no longer carried out on film, which is then glued on to signs or panels. Time is also being cut in post processing and in preparing the printed material for mounting.

3 Customer intimacy: Focuses on offering a unique range of customer offerings to meet differing needs that allows for the personalisation of service and the customisation of products.  Companies combine detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility. As such they can respond quickly to almost any need, from customising a product to fulfilling special requests. Their commitment to continually tailoring and shaping products and services to fit an increasingly accurate definition of the customer fosters loyalty.

One British commercial printer prides itself on the relationship it develops and maintains with its clients. It is continuously looking for new ways to help create print that provides maximum impact and effective engagement. It works hard to help clients improve their understanding of what processes to use and how they can be applied to deliver the right message in the most impactful way. It promotes physical print as a way to give the message and content an extended life span – something digital communication doesn’t have. It has achieved this with investment in technology such as the Ricoh Pro C7200x digital colour sheetfed press and its gold, silver, neon, and white toners. It has also adapted its approach and now builds stronger business models and value propositions for its clients using Ricoh EDGE.

Understanding the needs of its clients is at the core of one Swedish Ricoh technology adopter. It works with fashion retailers, music promoters, expos, and events companies both on site and remotely to create unique T-shirts, hoodies, and other merchandise. It has been helping bricks and mortar retailers develop a customer winning approach with an exciting interactive experience that allows shoppers to design their own personalised textile products. The immersive instore experience uses augmented reality (AR) goggles that allow visitors to pick their preferred design and visualise their unique garment. Ricoh Ri 1000 and Ricoh Ri 2000 DTG printers then print the application. The approach helps clients avoid overproducing and stockpiling products with standard designs, freeing up shelf space and potentially removing the need for cut price sales to shift excess stock. There is also the option to upcycle and add personalised designs to older garments.

It is clear that these Ricoh clients have adopted different value-based strategies, which are of course derived from their own cultures, values, circumstances, and market conditions. They have though all independently recognised that basing their strategy on a value-led approach is the best way to ensure they remain relevant and profitable in a turbulent and unpredictable commercial climate.

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