Canon Solutions America: A Customer First Approach

Customer-centric companies constantly try to innovate and manage based on what their customers need to be successful – not just on what they can sell to those customers. These are firms that work to help customers leverage their technology to drive business results and create a rich customer experience with a focus on excellent service.

According to Canon Solutions America VP of Marketing, Francis A. McMahon, “Our key objective at PRINT 13 was to demonstrate our ability to put customer success first. We shared new applications and demonstrated how our customers are successfully using our technology to transform their businesses.”

While some firms do press briefings, Canon Solutions America invites customers to take center stage. The company opened the show by holding a customer briefing where Brian Johnson, Fresh Color Press; Jeff McFadden, Universal Wilde; and Scott Vorris, Kelmscott Communications shared how digital technology is helping them grow their businesses with new solutions and services.

McMahon also highlighted the new Canon Solutions America partnerships that were all driven by customer needs and requirements. McMahon said, “We recently introduced partners that will expand finishing options. We will offer new media and inks that will open new markets for customers and we are expanding software solutions to improve everything from color management to helping customers profitably produce books of one on cutsheet and roll-fed devices.”

“There is tremendous opportunity for digital technology in the market,” says McMahon. “It is time to share insights across the industry and harness the power of the technology in new and interesting ways. The following case histories and associated video links were designed to share how your peers in the industry are successfully using technology to transform their businesses.”

Universal Wilde is a Massachusetts based commercial printing and direct marketing solutions provider which generates revenues of $150 million and encompasses a 700,000 square feet spread across six facilities. The company grew through acquisitions; in the beginning acquiring prestigious printing companies like Daniels Printing, and Acme Printing Company. More importantly from a strategic perspective was the most recent acquisition of Wilde & Wilde Agency, a direct marketing agency. Each strategic acquisition was made with one thought in mind – investing to build a company that could better serve its customers.

website-universal-wilde.gifTo keep up with customer demands, Universal Wilde built its service offering – which includes web-to-print, complex variable data, and cross-media applications – on common platforms from end-to-end. Investments in the latest technologies (such as the high-speed inkjet Océ ColorStream® 3500 digital color printer) and integrating production and workflow infrastructures have enabled Universal Wilde to focus more on customer relationships. The company now strives to help customers with both strategy and implementation by providing services that satisfy all aspects of a customer’s need. From data services for delivering highly effective and personalized output to finding the best postal discounts, Universal Wilde offers programming, creative services, and technology to produce high-end 1:1 communications. High-speed inkjet has proven cost-effective for Universal Wilde clients without sacrificing speed or quality.

“It’s important to make investments in strategic resources to grow and build customer-driven solutions,” Universal Wilde President John Sisson comments. “Investments in IT skills, training for a sales organization, and strategic marketing resources are all critical components to becoming a powerful marketing services provider. You need a concrete business plan, from concept all the way through distribution. If you don’t have a vision for integration, you will fail. It’s like building a house with no blueprint.”

Universal Wilde has built a successful business by backing its vision with a plan. Strategy and planning are in the company’s DNA, and they have become key ingredients in its ability to integrate organizations with the right technology investments.

In 1998, the founders of GlobalSoft Digital Solutions set out to build a unique communication services organization that was nimble, quick-to-market, and adaptive to client needs. The privately held firm is headquartered in Mahwah, NJ, with an international facility in Lyon, France, and headed by Christopher Petro, President and Chief Executive Officer.

website-globalsoft.gifPetro says, “We work with our clients and agency partners on a broad array of marketing programs. We engage during the planning process to be certain client marketing programs are designed to be efficient and effective, resonate with their customers, and reach them at critical moments in the brand’s lifecycle.”

GlobalSoft Digital was an early provider of Web-enabled marketing supply chain management solutions. Petro saw opportunity early on in working with clients to establish a professional corporate image that was consistent across all documents, collateral, and premiums that carried the clients’ logo. Petro says, “The cost and time in managing corporate brands is challenging organizations to look for more turnkey solutions. That’s where we come in.”

The company recently installed the Océ VarioPrint® 6160 Ultra production printer with Océ PRISMAprepare™ software to improve the cost model of their black and white printing spanning variable data campaigns, collateral, manuals and books. “This new Océ solution allows us to move black and white printing back to a production system,” Petro says. He credits their ability to run all monochrome production printing jobs on one device to the production speed of the Océ VarioPrint 6160 Ultra duplex printing and inline finishing features and Océ PRISMA® workflow software. Petro and Arthur Manzo, Chief Operating Officer of GlobalSoft Digital Solutions are featured in the below 4-minute video discussion the company’s strategy, focus, and technology investments.

GlobalSoft uses the Océ PRISMA software solution to automate the complex supply chain requirements of its healthcare customers; this is a highly regulated market and the company needs to reliably deliver variable data campaigns to 300,000 clients.

Petro sites Canon Solutions America’s true production printing capabilities, reputable service record, and workflow as key factors in the purchase decision. “I was extremely impressed with the system and it has already opened doors into the book publishing market,” he says.

With their new, more extensive black and white printing and finishing capabilities, they also see opportunity in offering their web storefront customers new applications like versioned manuals.

Marketing services provider McArdle (Marlboro, MD) offers a full range of communication services – from design, cross-channel marketing, branded storefronts, printing, mailing and fulfillment. McArdle specializes in creating custom solutions for clients to help them grow their business in new and innovative ways.

website-mcardle.gifAccording to McArdle’s President Lisa Arsenault, “McArdle is constantly investing in knowledge and technology in order to provide our clients with state-of-the-art, cost-effective solutions.”

For example, McArdle produces 200+ legal, regulatory and business publications each month. The black-white book blocks were previously printed on a cold-set web press and spot color covers produced from shells printed on Ryobi duplicators. McArdle was looking for a way to improve the process to accommodate the trend to short-run publication production. The company invested in an Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex digital web press with an in-line Standard Hunkeler CS6 rotary cutter. The configuration allows McArdle to produce the books from white paper roll to ready-to-ship, finished booklets with cover insertion and integrity checking in one pass with no touch-points. McArdle chose the 4-color configuration of the Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex system, allowing them to print entire jobs, including banner headings, in-line and eliminating the need for preprinted shells.

Arsenault says that Canon Solutions America’s two-year commitment to working with them to develop the configuration and its ability to deliver digital features at production speed led the company to invest in digital continuous feed printing.

Further automating the print process, the Océ PRISMA workflow software provides ‘lights-out’ print production. Clients submit jobs at any time using an FTP site and the jobs are dropped directly into the Océ PRISMAproduction digital front-end software, automating the job ticket, preflight, and imposition functions needed for efficiently printing digital applications.

Merrill Corporation (St. Paul, MN) built its business on successfully serving customers in markets with complex information, document, and communication requirements. Merrill differentiates itself by providing rapid turnaround, high quality and comprehensive one-stop outsourcing solutions in four key markets: legal, financial services, insurance and real estate.

website-merrill.gifThe company serves regional and national customers via an offset production facility in St. Cloud, Minnesota and digital production facilities in Sartell, Minnesota; Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and Grove City, Ohio. Services include document and data management, litigation support, branded communication programs, fulfillment, imaging and printing.

Merrill Corporation had an enviable challenge – they needed additional capacity to support new business and growing volumes. The company was outsourcing nearly 500 million impressions per month to a third-party provider in Dallas, Texas. The bulk of the work consisted of enrollment kits, quarterly investment statements, and prospectuses. The cost of outsourcing was high and getting higher. The first step was to bring outsourced volumes in-house and migrate offset press work to productive digital machines. The company wanted to replace a fleet of aging cut-sheet systems with more advanced technology.

The company’s primary goal was to consolidate outsourced clicks to an internal manufacturing platform that would support peak volumes and same and next-day turns. It was also looking for an enterprise replacement for a deteriorating fleet of cut-sheet devices hobbled by downtime, slow output and inability to handle clients’ diverse requirements.

The company needed a more productive platform that would produce high-quality benefits booklets for Fortune 500 customers, consolidate volumes and reduce costs. The team began researching digital duplex cut-sheet printers that could deliver the required quality and throughput and opted to invest in Océ VarioPrint 6250 and Océ VarioStream® 8750 systems.

Today, the Merrill Corporation print center produces 35 million prints per month on 16 Océ VarioPrint 6250 systems and 22 million prints per month on the Océ VarioStream 8750 Twin systems. The facility runs three shifts, 24 hours a day, six days a week. Merrill Corporation runs the Océ systems around the clock.

Océ VarioStream 8750 systems are teamed with Hunkeler pre- and post-processing systems and are used primarily for investment statements, annual enrollment kits, and pharmacy and provider directories.

SG360°, a Segerdahl company, provides empirical direct marketing solutions to many of the world’s largest and savviest retail, financial, healthcare and automotive marketers. SG360° recently opened a new digital printing facility, built from the ground up using Six Sigma lean manufacturing principles.

website-sg360.gifThe company added digital printing to its portfolio when, under its former name of RT Associates, it acquired a marketing services provider providing a full suite of marketing campaign management tools, along with digital and offset printing and fulfillment services. RT was an early innovator with digital print.

A long-standing relationship with Canon Solutions America, Production Print Solutions, led SG360° to invest in Océ ColorStream 3700 digital color printing system due to its near-offset quality, compact size, outstanding reliability, and low cost of use.

According to Bob Radzis, Chief Customer Officer, SG360°, “I’d been following the inkjet for quite a while and watched as the quality continued to improve and more media became available. The Océ ColorStream 3700 runs faster and at a lower cost than our previous digital offset presses.”

Canon Solutions America’s commitment to SG360° didn’t end with the sale – or even with the installation of its new digital color printing system. A true partner from start to finish, Canon Solutions America representatives helped SG360° plan its new digital facility and workflow. Within just five days of installation, the Océ ColorStream 3700 was running actual customer print jobs. As a true business partner, Canon Solutions America representatives stayed onsite, helping execute those first jobs and ensuring that staff had a full understanding of the new equipment.

“At SG360°, we are proud of our heritage and proud of how we have positioned ourselves for future success,” said Radzis. “Thanks to our ongoing partnership with Canon, we are confident our legacy will carry us into the next century and beyond.”