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New Name and Full Range of Technical Competencies for Imaging Data Solutions

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Press release from the issuing company

ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 28, 2005 — Eastman Kodak Company reports that Imaging Data Solutions (IDS), formerly known as Print24, has debuted its new positioning as a Digital Data Service Provider in the South African market. IDS hosted a three-day launch event June 21- 23, 2005, which included informative presentations by IDS and Kodak representatives, as well as noted industry consultants, on the topics of variable data printing, databases and direct marketing strategies. The dynamic firm maintains offices in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg and is currently planning the installation of two KODAK NEXPRESS 2100 digital production color presses to fuel its growth plans. IDS has also augmented its black-and-white production capacity following the installation of a sixth KODAK DIGIMASTER digital production system in January. IDS is a subsidiary of the Naspers Group, a major South African media company. When IDS was founded in 1996, it served as a short run application group within a Naspers litho production facility, handling short-runs for a book printing division of Naspers. Jaco Kotze, managing director at IDS, explains how the company evolved from being a basic print supplier to become a full digital service provider. “We have acquired a considerable base of intellectual IT capital in our business, therefore we decided to broaden our value proposition. For us, it is all about applying technology to make the process management as effortless as possible for our customers,” explains Kotze. “Our new name, Imaging Data Systems, better reflects our full range of capabilities as a DDSP – a Digital Data Service Provider – and not just a printer. Our strategy is to move to a consultative selling approach.” IDS has the technical capabilities to handle the most challenging customer requirements, ranging from the production of security vouchers for retail clients to offering complete operational documentation support for 47 hospitals. The firm can also design specialized software systems that improve the operational efficiency within a customer's organization. To achieve IDS’ full-service objectives, capacity and cost-efficiency became critical elements in laying a solid technical foundation. In 2003, IDS replaced several devices with five KODAK DIGIMASTER 9110 digital production systems, followed by a KODAK DIGIMASTER E150 digital production system in January 2005. Kotze reports a significant improvement in speed, greyscale quality and reliability. Kotze explains why the DIGIMASTER systems offered the best overall value in performance, price and reliability. “We'd been observing the technology over the past few years, so we knew the capability of the NEXPRESS equipment. I have a lot of respect for the approach that Kodak has developed to work with and support their customers. They're not just dropping boxes all over South Africa – Kodak works as a partner with their clients,” states Kotze. “When we looked at fixed price of purchase and the actual cost per image, Kodak came in with a much better offer than the competition.” The DIGIMASTER 9110 systems at IDS produce an average of 1.8 million images per machine, up to 2.2 million during peak production periods. “We were surprised by the volume that the machines can handle – we run 24 hours,” comments Kotze. “We really achieve record numbers with our systems. Basically, the equipment pays for itself!” The ability to handle a wide range of substrates, even litho and recycled stock, has reaped important cost savings for IDS. “The documentation products we print are typically retained for only one year, so a top quality paper is not required,” says Kotze. “We can use a variety of paper qualities in our DIGIMASTER systems, so we can save on our direct expenses in printing volume as well as the paper being used.” Thanks to their modular design, the DIGIMASTER systems can be configured individually with a broad range of paper-feed and finishing capabilities. The E150 is a high-volume production system with speeds up to 150 pages-per-minute. Due to its enhanced, flexible paper handling, it accepts a wider variety of standard and custom paper sizes, stocks and finishes than previous models. The 9110 operates at 110 pages-per-minute and also handles a wide variety of standard paper sizes and stocks, and can optionally support additional sizes. With the acquisition of two NEXPRESS 2100 presses, in addition to its black-and-white production systems, IDS plans to offer web-to-print services, anticipating the expansion of South Africa's Internet infrastructure. This added capability would transition IDS' strategy from business-to-business marketing to a business-to-customer focus. For Kotze, Kodak has been the ideal partner to help IDS successfully achieve its’ new strategic positioning. “Kodak is clearly leading the market in South Africa in helping their customers to grow with color equipment. Their customers are able to gain market share, making it easy to realize a quick return on their investment. I think it's the right approach.”




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