PrintWeek (PW): What was the driving force behind the decision?
TP Jain (TPJ): Ricoh is unique in terms of robustness of hardware platform, and versatility in terms of applications. Customers are tired of fragile hardware platforms and are looking for something stable. Today, the market wants to move beyond CMYK, with special colours, security features and more. In this, Ricoh stands apart.
PW: What is Monotech’s vision for creating a market value for Ricoh again, after the company’s recent difficulties in India?
TPJ: Monotech has been a market leader in the digital production printer business in the past and has the ability to understand customer requirements, create right value propositions and position the products with an aim to make a customer’s investment in digital a rewarding one.
PW: What are the products this new representation will offer?
TPJ: Monotech will offer a complete range of cutsheet production printers, both colour and monochrome, which covers C5200, C5300, C9200, C7200 and 8300 series. Besides normal digital print production, the fifth colour station in Pro C7200 series empowers customers to produce high-value five-colour applications helping them to stay ahead of the competition. These presses print five colours faster and more accurately while offering even greater media flexibility. Additionally, the new invisible red toner introduces even more ways to innovate, by producing designs only visible under ultraviolet light, perfect for security features, such as those found on tickets or coupons. By expanding the range of paper feed and paper output options, users of the Ricoh colour and monochrome production lines can benefit from enhanced productivity. New options support coated paper, heavyweight media covers, and the insertion of slip-sheets. The Ricoh Pro C series prints at 2,400x4,800-dpi VCSEL image quality with a large colour gamut without sacrificing speed or versatility. Now, print service providers can harness greater production flexibility, higher print quality and broader service offering with the Ricoh colour and monochrome series sheetfed presses.
PW: Are you talking to existing Ricoh users? What do they seek?
TPJ: We are aware about the turbulent past and shall be more than willing to extend a helping hand to all existing Ricoh production printer customers to enable them to revive and bounce back.
PW: Regarding the turbulent past, what are your experiences with printers in small cities?
TPJ: In a disruption, inconvenience is unavoidable. However, customers’ faith in Ricoh products is intact and almost everyone is willing to continue their journey with Ricoh and with the right assurance, take the relationship to the next level. This is encouraging for Monotech. Despite all difficulties and losses faced by Ricoh in its erstwhile India operations, the company’s faith in the Indian market and its commitment to Indian customers is strong. It wants customers in India to benefit from Ricoh’s innovations.
PW: What is transpiring on the ground? Where is the digital printing industry headed?
TPJ: The document printing space will continue to be dominated by laserjet technologies driven by quality, convenience and cost considerations. Inkjet printing is opening many new avenues like industrial, signage and textile printing, besides document printing in larger formats. There is growth all around and it will accelerate in the years ahead.
PW: What are the major focus areas for R&D at Monotech and Ricoh?
TPJ: Ricoh is a global conglomerate with strong innovation and R&D efforts. A complete product offering with highest possible quality standard is a hallmark of Ricoh products, which I personally describe as gold standard in digital printing. Monotech’s R&D efforts are focused on inkjet technologies to develop and produce inkjet printers for label production, short-run books and variable data printing, signage and industrial applications.
PW: Any plan to create your own brand in digital cutsheet or assembling digital printing presses in India?
TPJ: No, globally the digital production printer business is well covered by the existing players and there is no scope for any new player in this space looking at the size and scale of the business.
PW: What’s next in the pipeline, especially for digital cutsheet print production?
TPJ: The idea is to grow the market for potential customers with new applications like short-run packaging, print enhancement, personalisation, etc. There is no better time than now for offset printers to complement their existing facilities with Ricoh digital press, which looks and works as robust as an offset press and this will help them redefine their business in the digital world.
PW: What role does India play as a strategic location for the company?
TPJ: India is poised to be the fastest growing big global economy in the year 2021-22. This cannot happen without strong adoption and penetration of digital platforms.
PW: How do you foresee the growth of the Indian digital cutsheet market?
TPJ: The growth rates of digital production printing in India in the coming years will surprise everyone. There is huge scope to grow. The journey has just begun.
PW: Are there any lessons based on your knowledge and experience in implementing digital cutsheet solutions?
TPJ: India is a capital-starved country and investment protection is important. In the digital world, dreams do sell but a continuous engagement of the vendor with the customer is sine qua non to ensure that there is a reality check at every stage of the journey. The only way to success is to make your customers succeed.
PW: In a way, you helped establish Konica Minolta in India, and did well with Xerox. Now, you have Ricoh. Is Monotech monopolising the process of success for digital cutsheet presses manufacturers?
TPJ: It has been learning and serving all the way, and we will continue to do so as long as we are a player in this field. Customers’ trust is our biggest reward and it will always be Monotech’s guiding force.