A day in the life: Erwin Busselot

Erwin Busselot, business innovations and solutions director, commercial and industrial printing group, Ricoh Europe, says the key to grow is often not the technology by itself, but real-life applications and the way and how those are brought to market

13 Dec 2019 | By PrintWeek Team

Erwin Busselot, business innovations and solutions director, commercial and industrial printing group, Ricoh Europe

Busselot manage the usiness Innovations and Solutions (BIS) group within Ricoh Europe’s commercial and industrial printing department. He oversees four main areas - marketing communications, segment marketing, business development, and future product marketing

According to Busselot, the essential requirements of a business director include being a good all-round communicator whether that is face to face or online. Speaking a few languages helps too. It is also essential to be a practical organiser to enable effective planning, structuring and good decision making. It helps to be passionate about the printing industry as well. It is a special sector that’s always in flux which is one of the main reasons why it is important to have a good network around you. He loves the combination of technology and marketing,  and the sense of achievement, he, and his BIS team, have received.

His typical working day depends on what’s on the agenda. It could be at an event, a customer meeting or an internal meeting. A ‘fun’ day for him would ideally start with reading emails followed by ‘Eisenhower matrix’ planning where he works out what is important, not important, urgent and not urgent before deciding on the priorities. "As my Japanese colleagues would still be at work, I’d liaise with them before grabbing a coffee with some Belgian chocolates to get my blood sugar up. With that energy boost I would handle the do or die priorities first followed by the rest later. I’d then have a quick lunch with a trade journalist or analyst where we’d exchange ideas on the state of the industry before, with a colleague from sales, rushing off to see a customer and discuss their business development needs," says Busselot.

Later in the afternoon he would be back for tea and have conversations with his BIS team to assess ongoing developments and drive action with quick well-informed decisions. This leads to the time of the day when is able able to start catching up with colleagues from the US. "As this is my ideal scenario, I would also have time to finish that presentation on how the industry will look in 2030. And there would still be a moment, in the parking lot on the way home, where I get around to making that call with that persistent sales rep who was chasing me all day with a marketing related question. Once at home the day would end with catching up on the news with my wife and hearing her thoughts on Belgian politics (FYI: she works at the Belgian parliament) and then reading a good book or watching that interesting Netflix documentary that’s been on my watchlist for a while. Of course, it very rarely happens that all those things happen in one day, but more often than not, they do happen in the same week."

Busselot's challenges 
They can be summarised by the car industry’s acronym OTIFNE:

  • On Time: time is a scarce resource and as such it’s not always possible to do everything. This is why prioritisation is a must.
  • In Full: it’s not easy to make sure you don’t forget something in today’s business hustle and bustle. That’s why you need a good team and should be open to their feedback and critique … and you should never forget that!
  • No Error: if you’re afraid to make errors, you won’t get anything done. Making errors is not bad ‘per se’ as long as you learn from them. And yes, a sense of ‘déjà vu’ is pretty common in this industry. However, some errors can only be learned by committing them once!

He believes that hat digital printing still has got some way to go when it comes to replacing analogue printing. And technology wise Inkjet has the most potential because it’s not limited to document printing and can also be used for functional printing such as 3D printing, printing electronics, direct to garment and décor printing. "One of my former bosses made the statement (way back in the nineties) that: ‘Everything that can be digital, will be digital and printing is NO exception’. Of course, he was paraphrasing Nicolas Negroponte from his book ‘Being Digital’. Myself, I’m more a follower of Robert Amara’s Law ‘People overestimate in the short-run, but underestimate in the long-run’." 

He says as far as the emerging opportunities goes, the key is often not the technology by itself, but real-life applications and the way and how those are brought to market.  

In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family. "I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well as I do without their support. I also enjoy seeing good friends and I often organise ‘war walks’ with visits to museums and battlefields across Europe. We sometimes participate in re-enactments as well, but the best part is enjoying a good (Belgian) beer in the presence of dear friends."

Busselot's short term goal is to have a successful Drupa 2020 with Ricoh while his long term goal is to enjoy the growth of digital printing in the printing industry and beyond.