Written by Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
NAPL

The last Xerox road tour was the Innovate road tour, which ran from 2003 – 2006 and focused on production level equipment. Much has changed since that tour including the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services in 2009. After some initial test runs over the years, Xerox has introduced a new road tour called Xerox Real Business Live, which has production and office tracks. And the biggest difference was that the Innovate tour never included a Cirque du Soleil live performance.

After attending two shows, I can say with confidence that the production track is much different than the Innovate shows. As the co-host, Regional Vice President Brian Walsh jokingly admits, “The format and appearance of the stage is a shameless copy of a late night talk show format like David Lettermen’s show.” Gina Testa the VP Marketing at Xerox Corporation and the other co-host says, “Instead of Death by PowerPoint, we want these presentations to be more spontaneous and interactive.”

Using the talk show format small groups of industry experts and customers are brought on stage for a question and answer session. The questions start with the two co-hosts and soon include more questions from the audience. In the two panels I sat on, the conversations focused on the role of workflow and based on audience questions went in different directions.

At the Minneapolis show, we talked about the role of workflow with existing and future products. For existing products, prepress automated PDF solutions can reduce manufacturing costs to drive down costs, which can help companies remain price competitive. Database products can be used for variable data printing campaigns and to build the infrastructure for marketing products such as email marketing, Purls, QR codes, and SMS text products.

At the LA event, the interview evolved into a conversation about changing customer needs such as their growing impatience to wait for quotes or bills. This led to a discussion about how web-to-print solutions and print MIS systems can streamline the ordering and billing process. And in both presentations we talked about how no one can afford to have any department become a black hole where work goes in and never comes out.

If you attend one of these shows, please stop by and say hello. If you’re considering attending, click here to learn when the show is coming to your area.

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Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers and in-plants on benchmarking performance against industry leaders, increasing productivity through workflow management, adding and integrating new digital services, and adding value through customer research.