HP Indigo’s Alon Bar-Shany on the ‘new normal’ in print

HP Indigo general manager Alon Bar-Shany knows all too well the commercial realities faced by many printers but he and the rest of the team at HP are committed to turning what many may see as a crisis into an opportunity enabling printers to thrive despite declining conditions.

This was one message Bar-Shany delivered as he prepared to unveil a broad range of new HP Indigo technology including the “born to run” HP Indigo 100K Digital Press which is next generation Series 5 technology that can print up to 6,000 B2 sheets per hour and has been designed with the offset printer in mind.

HP were planning to host a group of journalists in Israel for the pre-drupa release of its technology but the spread of COVID-19 forced a late stage rethink on this with the virtual press tour the next best thing.

Before unveiling the range of new products HP would bring to drupa in June, Alon Bar-Shany provided insights into the market and its inarguable decline as a percentage of annual GDP. But he balanced this up with the positives and bottom line revenue wins that are there for the taking for printers prepared to take a chance on new technology and the profit that can be made from high value, personalised and differentiated print offerings.

“Commercial print is still a big business but as a percent of advertising spend, as a percent of the general economy it has gone down dramatically. It is still large but it is definitely in decline and under a lot of pressure and no doubt the changes will continue for the next decade and more,” Alon Bar-Shany said during the virtual press conference.

He then went on to spell out the new normal for commercial print.

“There is a new normal for commercial printers …. This is defining what our customers are looking for and their requests from us and therefore our investment into presses, workflow, inksets, applications etc. First of all everything is online now and the days of the 1990s when you went to golf with your buddies and you closed the deals and you went and printed it on your Heidelberg, these days are gone forever,” he said.

“Turnaround time is becoming crazy. Today the new norm is one day to two hours and we see it daily. Minimum orders are a thing of the past now as well. Probably one of the biggest changes of the last few years has been the increasing awareness and concern and impact of the environment and sustainability.

“People are really eager to only consume what they need. To order what they need, to minimise waste, to minimise logistic costs on the environment.. The world has moved online and this has put pressure on our commercial PSP’s but it has also opened up opportunities.”

Currie Group, the distributor of HP Indigo technology in Australia, commended HP Indigo on its continued leadership.

Currie Group Sales & Marketing Director Phillip Rennell said: “HP Indigo has really shown their leadership in the graphic arts market, producing an enhanced portfolio for our customers, continuing to deliver digital print solutions for today and showing how they are creating the future. Again.”

For Bar-Shany, another benefit of the new age was the increasingly overcrowded and confusing state of online communication. Bar-Shany said this continued state of digital overcrowdedness only stood to benefit print and its potential ROI.

“Online is quite expensive and its confusing and we see more and more companies moving some of their advertising back into print because of the combination of smart print, data driven print and social media is extremely powerful. All the surveys out there show that smart printing has an extremely high ROI,” he said.

The other area of possibility is as the world becomes faster, more people are seeking connection and are willing to pay a price for a premium experience.

Bar-Shany said this desire for connection and experience would further propel the photobook market which can attract high premium prices for a beautiful keepsake.

He finished off by saying that since launching the HP Indigo B2 platform at drupa in 2012, 1000 units had now been sold worldwide. He commended the printers for taking the step into HP Indigo technology.

“They have taken pages away from traditional printers, they have consolidated and they have created new categories. Many of them have been driving their digital transformation with the Indigo B2 platform that we showcased for the first time at drupa in 2012. It’s really heart-warming to see that this generation of technology which we call the Series 4 has driven immense growth for our customers,” he said.

The full range of new Indigo technology will be on show at drupa 2020 in Hall 17 from June 16 to 26 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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