Written by Kevin Horey, Vice President, Production Products, Graphic Communications, Xerox

What a week!  First, there was Heidelberg’s partnership announcement with Ricoh, which was quickly followed by news that Kodak and Konica Minolta are combining sales forces.   With so much going on we wanted to offer our take on these two new developments – and hear from you!

First, the Heidelberg/Ricoh partnership created renewed attention to digital printing – which is great as it supports our premise that digital printing is a key growth factor.

We do question their business model which recommends offset for run lengths greater than 250 and digital for less than 250.  That doesn’t take into account many other factors – variable data, print on demand, Web-to-print, job management, media types, finishing requirements, and touchless workflows – which we believe must be considered when determining the optimal press for production. Users can find their sweet spots, regardless of run length, with our production offerings combined with our workflow and business development tools.

Kodak and Konica Minolta each have strengths in the digital market. But their sales partnership is just that, one that expands sales channels so customers can buy products from both companies with a single sales rep. Our take: increasing the product line doesn’t increase the depth of their knowledge of the space or the end-to-end solutions and workflow that are really vital to customers.  These critical elements allow customers to reduce costs, produce more jobs and grow business.

What are your thoughts from the front line?  How do you see these new partnerships impacting your business – or not?  And, what’s next for the graphic communications industry?