HP’s Alon Bar-Shany predicts a good drupa, sees industry excitement building
I was curious what customer reaction has been to the HP announcements delivered to the press in late March in Tel-Aviv, and who better to answer those questions that the general manager of the HP Indigo business, Alon Bar-Shany. I caught up with him while he was waiting at baggage claim in Mexico City. Bar-Shany has been on a global road show following the briefings held in Tel-Aviv and a very successful Dscoop event in Washington D.C.
By Cary Sherburne
Published: April 23, 2012
I was curious what customer reaction has been to the HP announcements delivered to the press in late March in Tel-Aviv, and who better to answer those questions that the general manager of the HP Indigo business, Alon Bar-Shany. I caught up with him while he was waiting at baggage claim in Mexico City. Bar-Shany has been on a global road show following the briefings held in Tel-Aviv and a very successful Dscoop event in Washington D.C. He said, “It has been a very intense and exhausting month, but every day you meet with 10 to 100 customers and you get a good feeling of what is going on with them. It is a very different experience than drupa, where it can be very busy and difficult to get deeper quality time. But all in all, people seem to have a strong sense that this is going to be a good drupa. I am hearing that in Europe, Asia and Latin America pretty consistently.” Bar-Shany reports that his Latin American tour consisted of 15 meetings in 15 major Latin American cities. “One reason we are here,” he adds, “is to convince people to take the time to come to drupa to see things for themselves. I see excitement building not only for drupa but for the industry in general.” He reports that in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and of course, Europe, many mid-sized businesses are planning to come to drupa. “North America, we will have to wait and see,” he says.
One comment response from customers has been, according to Bar-Shany, “almost a sense of relief that a strong player in the industry is willing to invest $1 billion in an industry that people are saying is declining and has no future.
With respect to the company’s announcement of a B2 toner-based sheetfed press, the HP Indigo 10000, which will be on display at drupa, Bar-Shany had this to say: “I think most people assumed we would not be able to roll out a B2 platform for commercial print and packaging so quickly. Thee is still work to be done, but our development process has decreased time to market dramatically.
Bar-Shany’s final comments: “The industry is going through tough times and people are asking themselves what they should be doing. The last six months we have seen this vendor going bankrupt, that one laying off lots of people, another one going out of business. The fact that HP is investing a billion dollars in this industry gives people confidence, and they are anxious to come to drupa to make a decision. I sense a better feeling all around the globe than in the past. Some of it has to do with the economy, and some of it has to do with new products and solutions. I was in Latin America seven or eight months ago, and everyone was talking about the slowdown in the offset market. Today you are seeing a lot more awareness of digital and the opportunities it provides.
Well, Alon, I hope you are right. I think so … as I talk to people, I also sense much more excitement than I have seen leading up to my two previous drupas (2004/2008). That’s part of the reason I decided to stay nearly the full two weeks instead of only one week as I usually do. I think there will be no lack of interesting and exciting things to see. I hope you plan to attend, but if not, the WhatTheyThink team will be there in force and will be reporting the news in writing and on video. And, of course, North Americans will have an opportunity to see much of what is being shown at drupa at Graph Expo in October.
If you are a printing company or packaging converter planning to attend either drupa or Graph Expo and are willing to be interviewed on video, please drop me a line so we can get you scheduled!