We last checked in with Bent Serritslev, managing director for Xeikon Asia Pacific, to update us on the company's growth strategies in the region. We continue the conversation to get his views on the digital print space.
1. Why is digital printing growing?
I believe the drive is initiated largely by the print buyers and brand owners rather than the converters and the machine manufacturers.
Until now, it has been largely driven by short run and shifting production from conventional presses to digital but it is increasingly shifting towards demand for new features such as variable contents, security contents and speed to market, which is hard to achieve with conventional printing processes. Xeikon fits this market well due to strong colour management, variable contents and very high reproduction quality using dry toner.
2. What are your observations on the digital printing industry in Asia Pacific?
The single highest growth potential in the label space for digital is APAC where many markets are still in the early adaptor phase and where growth in units is seen to the tune of 15-20 pct per annum. Everyone is talking digital but few converters are having a true business strategy for entering digital, which is a key factor to success. A “me-too” approach is often seen but not always turned into a success.
3. What challenges do digital print adopters in Asia face?
Having a clear mission or strategy on investment in digital, rather than a “me-too” approach.
Selling digital production time – getting new business as short runs require a lot more job entries than long run business.
Gearing the finishing line towards shorter run, less waste and faster change owner.
Getting the right operator who understands color management, prepress but also production printing.
4. How can printers make the easier transition into digital print?
By having a clear mission and strategy of where digital fit their current and future business direction and deal with vendors who understands the label business not just the equipment and capabilities. Digital is simple if proper guidance, consultancy and initial hand holding is taken serious.
5. 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?
I do not believe that Asia is more price-sensitive than the rest of the world. Investment level and cost to print are critical everywhere. At Xeikon, we normally recommend first time buyers to start their journey into the digital market with an entry level press and ensure that press can be upgraded to fulfill future growth demands without too heavy extra cost.
Also, we do spend considerable efforts jointly with our customers to evaluate TCOP (total cost of production) to ensure that the investment is viable for the customer.
6. What is the one thing that the digital print industry should do more of, or perhaps should do better in?
Be honest with the customer as to what can be done and especially what cannot be done. Conventional print is not the answer to all your prayers; neither is digital, but it goes a long way.
Read the full article of the feature in the latest issue of Print Innovation Asia.