Pictured Above (Left to Right): Jim Andersen, Christian Unterberger, Mal Baboyian and Erik van Eldik
On Wednesday we had the honor of hosting the Canon Solutions America’s Future of Inkjet Customer Event at our headquarters in Chanhassen, MN. It was an opportunity for Canon to unveil two of its latest innovations, the new Océ VarioPrint® i300 and Océ ImageStream™ 3500 inkjet technologies, to a select group of more than 130 customers, media and analysts in a live production setting. It was also an opportunity for us, as the first to install these technologies in the U.S., to showcase the evolution of our business model and demonstrate our leadership in the direct marketing space.
But it was much more than that. It was the culmination of a strong and growing partnership between our two companies. Canon Solutions America asks us for input during the R&D phase of new technologies and in turn shares market insight with us. We continually push each other to achieve more, never taking our eye off the ultimate task – helping marketers be more successful.
The highlights of the event included:
- A welcome dinner on Tuesday evening
- Opening remarks and presentations by leading executives from Canon, including Toyo Kuwamura, Mal Baboyian, Christian Unterberger, Erik van Eldik and Francis McMahon
- A brief overview of IWCO Direct
- A panel discussion with IWCO Direct experts on the power of digital inkjet
- Tours of our facilities to see the stars of the day – the VarioPrint i300 and ImageStream 3500
As I mentioned in my presentation, the power of digital inkjet has allowed our business to take off like a rocket ship. Through the ability to provide marketers with a robust return on marketing investment that digital inkjet provides, we’ve entered a new orbit where we’re leading strategy discussions with clients focused on driving higher response, no longer stuck in an atmosphere of discussing cost per piece.
Many of the attendees were there to get a better understanding of how these new digital inkjet innovations will impact their business if they choose to invest. The customer panel of Steve Myrvold, Dave Johannes and Debora Haskel addressed this. As Dave said, “The easy thing to do is buying a color inkjet press…the hard thing to do is feed it.” By that he meant getting a handle on managing the data, assets, creative and workflow required to create truly 1:1 mailpieces. Debora and Steve explained the transition to color inkjet will impact every aspect of your business and will take a tremendous amount of education – first by your company to harness the technology’s horsepower before you can proceed to educating your customers. It will take patience, but the end result is invaluable.
More on the Océ VarioPrint i300 and ImageStream 3500
For those most interested in learning more about the VarioPrint i300, Erik van Eldik really helped the audience understand the power behind this new technology by explaining how it combines the throughput, customization and versatility that offset, continuous feed inkjet and cutsheet toner provide separately. Not to be outdone, the ImageStream 3500 is the first full-color press from the Océ inkjet product range that can print on offset coated paper stocks. This gives a lot more flexibility in paper choice.
With all that said, I must admit hosting the event allowed us to show off a little as well. As I told the audience, I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done – not just in our facility, equipment and processes that allow us to create 3.7 billion pieces of mail per year, but also in our people and culture. We’re a fun, exciting place to work and that was certainly showcased during the event.
Finally, there isn’t enough bandwidth available to thank everyone who helped make the event such a success, but kudos to our friends from Canon Solutions America for putting on a first-class event. And a special thanks to all those who traveled from around the world to join us for the unveiling.
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