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BR Printers Chooses InfoPrint 5000; Commentary from Cary Sherburne

Press release from the issuing company

Ricoh*, a leading provider of digital output solutions, today announced that BR Printers has chosen the InfoPrint 5000 to meet the high demands of its customers who sought both color and monochrome short runs of books. BR Printers, an international commercial printer focused on the publishing market, evaluated many inkjet offerings before ultimately deciding on the InfoPrint 5000 due to its impressive quality, high speeds, versatility and low downtime. These factors, combined with enabling BR Printers to consolidate many of its current cutsheet printers made the InfoPrint 5000 the best choice to take the company’s operations to the next level.

Immediately after installation the InfoPrint 5000 provided cost-savings for BR Printers. Previously, the company was outsourcing most color jobs and utilizing Xerox cutsheet offerings for the monochrome jobs in-house. By replacing these models with the InfoPrint 5000, thereby eliminating the need for outsourcing, BR Printers was able to realize bottom line increases instantly.

“It was important for us to re-evaluate our operations to find ways to upgrade our equipment and enhance our output quality – keeping our customers’ needs a priority,” said Hugh Loveless, sales manager, BR Printers. “With the InfoPrint 5000, we’ve seen speed and capacity increases of up to 25 percent, and we now have the ability to provide high quality short-run book printing directly from our facilities. Overall, this has given us the opportunity to broaden our client base while also improving overall revenue and profitability.”

The InfoPrint 5000 family of solutions utilizes unique piezo-electric drop-on-demand inkjet technology with multi-bit per spot for every object on the page. This is coupled with its high-quality water-based pigment and dye inks designed to resist fading and smearing to optimize the appearance of the output while minimizing the volume of ink consumed. These systems support PostScript and PDF and provide accurate, consistent, and device-independent color-rendering that enables error recovery, concise auditability and security benefits.

“The ability to deliver cost-effective high quality output in a commercial environment using digital solutions is a relatively new achievement in the industry, but it is one that Ricoh is excelling at with many commercial print customers,” said George Promis, vice president, Continuous Forms Production Solutions and Technology Alliances, Ricoh Production Print Solutions (RPPS). “With the InfoPrint 5000, BR Printers now has the flexibility and reliability of a proven platform to help them meet its customers’ color and monochrome needs with an in-house solution. For short-run book applications, the need for efficiency and productivity, coupled with superior print quality is real – and achievable with this offering.”

Ricoh’s InfoPrint 5000 inkjet family is designed specifically for transactional printers, service bureaus, direct mailers and book printers. It offers a complete solution that operates at a variety of speeds, with color, monochrome and MICR capability, all using proven, scalable, highly reliable drop-on-demand inkjet technology.

For more information, please visit: http://www.infoprint.com/internet/ipww.nsf/vwWebPublished/print_infoprint-5000_en

Commentary from Cary Sherburne

This acquisition of a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 by San Jose CA based BR Printers is a sign of the increasing encroachment on commercial printing of high speed production inkjet. Rob Malkin, Business Development Executive at Ricoh Production Print Solutions, said, “Transaction printers were the early adopters for this technology, and that is what drove a lot of installations in the 2007/2008 timeframe. This year in the first two quarters, we saw more engines going into commercial print environments than transaction. While it is still a small portion of total installs, we expect to see more growth in that market than in transactional print.”

Many of our readers will remember that with the announcement of the InfoPrint 5000 (based on Screen technology), InfoPrint Solutions and Screen indicated they did not expect to see much channel conflict, since InfoPrint Solutions (at the time a JV between Ricoh and IBM) would primarily be selling into the transactional environment. That position has clearly changed, with the BR Printers sale being just one example. We wondered what, if any impact this shift has had on the arrangement. Malkin commented, “Screen has a more traditional presence in commercial print. They are a good partner and technology provider. The fact that we have more engagements in commercial print doesn’t mean we are competing with them more than in the past; most of these we already have a presence in or know them. The partnership works well for a number of reasons.”

BR Printers was founded in the early 1990s as a trade shop producing primarily high tech documentation in the boom days shortly after the launch of the Xerox DocuTech made print on demand of these materials viable. Since that time, with the decline in printed high tech documentation, the company has transitioned its business to 70% short run books (primarily serving the Higher Ed market), with about 30% of its business still coming from high tech documentation.

Hugh Loveless, Vice President of Sales, who has been with the company for nearly two decades, says, “Most commercial printers that are moving into digital do so to augment their offset press work, enabling runs of 1,000 and under. We have always been a cutsheet monochrome digital shop, and we have always kept an eye on what technologies are out there to help us produce cheaper, better, faster. We began conversations with the various inkjet suppliers, looking at the monochrome side of the equation, and quickly discovered that unlike the cutsheet toner environment, we could leverage inkjet as a monochrome solution at a price point better than or equal to toner, but then could also migrate color.”

BR Printers has had its InfoPrint 5000 for 6 months, and Loveless reports that his color volume has grown each month, starting at about 5% of the volume, and now standing at about 30% of the volume and continuing to grow. Loveless adds, “It was our opinion that InfoPrint was the technology that was ready now. It met our requirements and pricing structure, we liked the design, and we are happy with future engineering plans including the ability to be able to handle some of the different substrates the market is asking for.”

According to Loveless, publishers, the company’s primary target market, have three veins of work BR Printers participates in: Online content customized into various configurations and printed on demand, each version having its own ISBN; digital books printed on demand, each title with a static ISBN; and rebinding—returned books that are unbound, some new content added to refresh the book, and then rebound, more cost effective for the publisher than either destroying books or reprinting them offshore.

He is also finding a resurgence of interest in printed training materials, especially for expensive hardware or software products, and with the ability to produce them affordably on demand, with color. “We lost a good deal of that business to a competitor,” he explains, “but now we are able to work at getting some of that back because of the InfoPrint 5000. We have had some pretty good traction and closed some deals on that front.”

Loveless cites a study performed by Business Objects on effective training and how it affected call center volume, which revealed that physical training with printed documentation had a positive impact on call center volume, customer satisfaction and renewal rates.

Prior to acquiring the InfoPrint 5000, BR Printers had 13 B&W digital cutsheet devices. “We have taken five of those offline,” says Loveless. “We still have them available if we need them to scale during peak periods.”

In terms of new applications, Loveless believes there is a huge business opportunity with companies that are transitioning from printing 50,000 catalogs to a smaller color catalog customized for a targeted audience, adding, “We are situating ourselves for this, as well as custom newsletters which is something companies are migrating to online but still want a printed presence. There is also opportunity with financial documents that are looking for a home somewhere between offset and cutsheet digital, things like public offerings and 401K statements.”


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