Terry Kawashima on five-colour printing | OKI | Video
The New Economy interviews Terry Kawashima, Managing Director of OKI Europe and OKI Systems Germany, as it launches its new A3 five-colour printer at Viscom: the International Trade Fair for Visual CommunicationShow transcript
OKI Group is a multinational telecoms and print manufacturer, operating across 120 countries. In December they unveiled their latest C900 printer to the graphic arts market at Viscom, the International Trade Fair for Visual Communication. Terry Kawashima, Managing Director of OKI Europe and OKI Systems Germany, explains the technology: a flexible fifth print station in addition to the standard CMYK array, combined with OKI’s versatile LED print engine; and the strategy: targeting niche value areas as the office printer sector declines.
The New Economy: Terry, let’s begin with the strategy. What are OKI’s key priorities in Europe?
Terry Kawashima: We have the strategy of a, increasing our penetration in our core office print market; b, strengthening our presence in the office solutions market; and c, we have a big opportunity in what we categorise as the professional printing market. Like for example, production printers. Graphic arts, which we are targeting currently. So those kinds of market which we haven’t really addressed.
Our technology, the LED print engine, is extremely flexible. Tailoring it to, for example, a very narrow format label printer. Or very wide format poster printing. We can really do it, without a huge complexity of work.
It’s the customer who tells us what we can do. That is our strength
We have a stand at the big trade fair, Viscom, as you said. And there we are going to launch the brand new C900 model. And that is really ground-breaking. We have a flexible fifth print station, allowing us to address much broader professional applications. And this is our current strategic focus. Because we think the revenue and profit opportunities there is just enormous. We have so many possibilities, so that is our current strategic focus for Europe.
The New Economy: Tell me about the new product then: you mentioned it’s a five colour device, what niche areas does this open to you, and what does it represent in terms of the sectors that OKI is exploring now?
Terry Kawashima: We have experienced additional interest from customers who we didn’t expect in this graphic arts market. And over time we have learned the possibilities of addressing customers outside the office market.
We have now clear toner, and that really helps us to have a very glossy finish over colour print. Last year we have introduced white toner, that allowed us to address printing over textiles, mugs, any kind of material, because they have transfer material. But this transfer material is not that easy to handle for conventional printers. That is really a combination of additional colour station, combined with our superior paper handling capability, which we have gained over many years of experience.
The New Economy: What drove the development of this product? How did you identify the graphic arts market as an area that OKI could explore?
We introduced white toner, which allowed us to print over textiles, mugs, any kind of material
Terry Kawashima: We are very close with our channel partners and end customers. We have very strong feedback from customers. So we have identified those opportunities through a few channel partners that, this is a niche market, and with your machine, you could probably address it if you fine-tuned here and there. And all those ideas really took us to the stage where we decided: okay, we should really invest in slightly bigger machines, with a fifth station, that makes us much more flexible.
So what we are very very keen to do is really listen to our potential customers, who really have so many ideas that we don’t really think of, day to day. So, cutting a long story short, it’s not really that we have thought about the application at R&D. It’s the customer who tells us what we can do. And that is our strength.