Ricoh Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group Invests Across Platform

The Ricoh Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group (CIPG), established in April, is keenly focused on getting the word out about its commitment to the production printing market. That was the key takeaway for a group of industry press and analysts who recently toured its Customer Experience Center (CEC) that is home to an array of continuous-feed inkjet, toner-based sheetfed and wide-format printers, along with several product development and testing labs, inside its Executive Briefing Center in Boulder, Colo.

Hosted by Ricoh USA’s John Fulena, CIPG vice president, and Brian Dollard, director of strategic planning and business development, the briefing emphasized Ricoh’s focus on capturing even greater market – and mind – share within the commercial, in-plant, transactional, direct mail and book printing segments, as well as in the “industrial” printing space.

Ricoh defines industrial as wide-format digital printing and printing done as a part of the manufacturing process to produce finished goods such as garments, textiles, metals and architectural components.

And the group’s ambitious goal isn’t merely lip service. According to Dollard, CIPG has nearly doubled its production inkjet printing direct salesforce since April; has created a Production Dealer Advisory Council to build stronger ties with its dealer network for toner-based sheetfed production and wide-format inkjet printer sales; is expanding its service and consulting business; and is fully committed to assuming a leadership role in industry advocacy, education and market advancement.

Commercial printing plays a key role in this market strategy. Although Ricoh has dominated the franchise printing space, and maintains a solid market share within small- and mid-size commercial shops, attracting more large commercial printing customers is a priority. With a solid base of direct mail and transactional press users, Dollard stressed Ricoh’s emphasis on large commercial and book printing segments going forward.

Much of that new market segment success revolves around its current continuous-feed production inkjet press lineup. Available in various configurations, it includes the 1,200 dpi Ricoh Pro VC60000 continuous-feed color printer designed for offset to digital printing migration; the new, 600 dpi Pro VC40000 continuous-feed color inkjet platform well-suited for transpromo and direct mail applications; and the InfoPrint 5000 GP press platform that debuted in 2007, but is still being sold.

Dollard added that, despite Ricoh’s global R&D expenditures of 5.3% of sales and its 21,000 U.S. employee base, Ricoh’s philosophy is not necessarily to go it alone when it comes to offering best-in-breed offerings. Case in point is the widespread use of Ricoh inkjet heads within devices from several other manufacturers, multiple software and finishing partnerships, as well as wide-format printer sales/service relationships with Mimaki, EFI and Colex.
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