Commentary & Analysis
John Roberts Looks to HP Indigo 10000 to bolster digital print offerings
Minneapolis-based John Roberts has installed the first 7-color HP Indigo 10000 digital press in North America. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Michael Keene to delve into why the company made this decision and what they expect to achieve going forward.
By Cary Sherburne
Published: November 14, 2013
HP has installed several Indigo 10000 digital presses in North America. Early models were CMYK only with the ability to upgrade to 7 colors at a future date. Minneapolis-based The John Roberts Company is the first U.S. company to install a 7-color press, and in fact, took the press off of the Print13 show floor. We spoke to CEO Michael Keene to learn more about why the HP Indigo 10000 was chosen and what Keene expects to achieve with the press. The company generates $55 million in annual revenues with 280 employees.
WTT: Michael, John Roberts is not new to digital, I understand.
MK: No. The digital print platform has been an integral part of our solution for over five years.
WTT: What were the primary applications running on the NexPress?
MK: We produce static short runs and variable print projects that are typically part of a multi-channel campaign. We are fortunate to have numerous web-to-print storefronts that utilize our digital print on-demand offering as well.
WTT: What prompted the HP Indigo 10000 decision?
MK: With the growth of our digital print business we needed to replace the NexPress and looked at Xerox, Kodak and HP during our due diligence process.
WTT: Why did you decide on that particular press?
MK: We believe that HP has a quality advantage, and we liked the larger sheet size on the 10000. Initially, I felt the 10000 was out of our range as it is significantly more expensive than the other options we looked at. What swung me over was the quality advantage and the larger sheet size.
WTT: Why was the larger sheet size so important to you?
MK: The 20 x 29 sheet size of the HP Indigo 10000 provides our clients with a more efficient option for jobs that average 3,000 impressions and below. It also allows our clients to order small variable quantities of items like pocket folders, POP and newsletters, to name a few.
WTT: Looking ahead, what does that mean for your offset platform?
MK: We added the HP Indigo to provide a unique digital solution to our clients. We will continue to offer our clients an unparalleled range of print platforms that will include offset.
WTT: Did the 7-color capability figure into your decision process?
MK: Yes, it did. The HP Indigo ElectroInk delivers consistent quality, crisp line work, attractive images and smooth vignettes. With the 7 colors we can achieve 97% of PMS colors as well as print with white ink. By integrating the G7 certification process with the HP Indigo 10000, we can match the rest of our production process because the color spectrum is closer to offset. Another advantage of the ElectroInk is that it highlights the look and feel of the substrate vs. dry toner ink that block out the paper.
WTT: This was a significant investment. Were there concerns you had about it?
MK: No. The addition of the HP Indigo 10000 is just one of many investments we will be making in our digital department. We will also be adding an offline coater and finishing equipment.
WTT: What are some of the new applications this press enables?
MK: As mentioned earlier, because of the size, we can do variable items such as large calendars, pocket folders and posters. Our customers’ brand colors are critical and we are excited that we can achieve 97% of PMS colors and will also offer Pantone Spot Colors in the 1st quarter of 2014. We are also looking forward to getting white ink in the next few weeks, and that will allow us to do transparent media and backlits.
WTT: What are you doing to promote the new capabilities?
MK: Our marketing plan for the HP Indigo 10000 is quite extensive. Our Print Big Campaign will include a personalized year-at-a-glance calendar for all of our clients and prospects as well as an email communication incorporating a personalized URL with a die line package and white paper for download. Our sales reps are equipped with personalized pocket folders for their clients, digital swatchbooks and numerous printed samples showcasing the many capabilities of this new press. Our Inbound Marketing efforts specific to this press include frequent blogs discussing everything from designing for VDP to analyzing a personalized marketing campaigns success. We are also creating White Papers that speak specifically to digital print, web-to-print storefront solutions and cross channel marketing, and more. We will be hosting an open house with well known guest speakers on January 30, 2014.