DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT: KONICA MINOLTA BSA

Excerpt from Issue 8 of Print Innovation Asia. To read the full version, click here.

In the latest issue of Print Innovation Asia, we spoke with the Managing Director of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia (BSA), Tadayuki Funakura, to get up to speed with the company’s activities and get insight in the ever-evolving digital print industry.

Print Innovation Asia (PIA): Please update us on the company’s position in the industry.

Tadayuki Funakura (TF): Konica Minolta is in the Top 2 position in this region with over 30% market share, with leadership position in some of the countries. We have also seen double-digit growth in this region in Production Print.

What are the company’s recent achievements in the digital print arena?

One of the key milestones is the establishment of the regional Customer Engagement Centre in July 2017 in Singapore, to address the needs of growing digitalised label and packaging and commercial printing market that require short lead time, low runs, variable printing and higher value print.

Also, we have launched MGI Meteor Unlimited Colours and bizhub PRESS C71cf. Customers can now able to produce output with a virtually unlimited number of colours via the blending of CMYK toner and the reflective qualities of foil – including a rainbow spectrum of hues with metallic, glitter and holographic effects with Meteor Unlimited Colours. Konica Minolta’s first roll-to-roll label printer, bizhub PRESS C71cf is ideal for label converters who are looking to shift volumes from conventional presses to digital – due to the reduction of print run lengths, request for faster delivery times, personalisation and versioning as well as production of on-demand runs.

Recently, 16 of Konica Minolta employees are certified as Fogra Digital Print Experts VPC (DPE-VPC). In compliance with ISO 12647-8 standards, certified DPEs are able to demonstrate their ability in colour communication, data preparation for hybrid workflow and reliably solve typical problem systematically. We have also won BLI Production Printer 2017 Pro Award for Konica Minolta bizhub PRO 1100 for being Outstanding Monochrome Light Production Device that earned BLI’s 5-Star status for its ability to handle fine lines, fonts, solids and halftones under optimal settings.

We will have new additions to the Industrial Print Portfolio in the near future, and will be bolstering our competitiveness with new models for the light production printing (LPP) and the mid production printing (MPP) segments.

Why is digital printing growing?

The typical advantages of digital technology have brought a dramatic shift in print volumes from static offset production to flexible digital print runs. The main reasons for this development are shorter run-lengths, a much higher demand for personalisation and a strong transition towards distributed printing.

All of this is eroding the market for offset printing, especially since digital printers require much lower up-front investment than offset machines. Digital printing is able to offer superior capabilities when it comes to areas such as in-line finishing and variable data printing.

What are your observations on the digital printing industry in Asia Pacific?

The global print volumes have both changed and shifted due to the US and European recession and the globalisation of the business trade. For example, ASEAN countries make most of the clothes for the world and thus print tag.

We perceive digital printing market in the APAC region to grow rapidly, especially emerging markets. Evidently, the Asia Pacific market plays a major role in contributing to the digital printing market share globally. Konica Minolta Inc., has always been considered as a key contributor in the advancement of digital printing globally and our mission is nothing short of that in Asia Pacific.

What industry trends are gaining traction now in Asia?

The forecast headway for the next five years in digital printing will mainly be in the packaging and labels industry.

Asia Pacific, based on credible data, will account for the largest share of these markets. Both the healthcare and manufacturing vertical segment markets will be the main contributors for the rise in packaging printing. To add value to the products, Konica Minolta have developed both hardware and solutions that are ready to meet the demands and expectations.

What is the single most important feature that PSPs should keep in mind when making digital print purchases?

There has been a dramatic improvement in image quality, reliability, features and cost of ownership from all categories of digital equipment. Due to these improvements in printing technology, there has been an increase in demand for digital color printing in both the personal and network printers.

However, do not forget that the vendor needs to provide “good service” as well.

Asia Pacific, while progressive in terms of technology, is still very much price-sensitive. Costing plays a big part in the final decision. What are your thoughts on this?

In any business, not just in the printing industry, price sensitivity is a concern. Every business owner would want to accomplish two things: make money and save money. Our approach is to help the business owner realise that we are alongside doing the exact two above-mentioned things that concern them.

Studies have significantly shown that there is a positive relationship between prices and consumer-buying behaviours, thus proving that price setting is important to drive buying behaviours.

What is the one thing that the digital print industry should do more of, or perhaps should do better in?

The industry needs to understand the value proposition of workflow automation. By fully understanding the benefits of workflow automation, this allows the digital printing industry to analyse how they could deliver, in the shortest time possible, the products to its customers. This understanding will cause a shift in digital printing development and the road map ahead.

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