Konica Minolta is growing fast after its first major appearance at Ipex 2010
KONICA MINOLTA PLANS TO SELL THE INKJET press it has jointly developed with Komori and which was launched as KM-1 at Drupa, in the UK through its own channels.
This is a huge increase in commitment to the UK market which has hitherto sold light production machines like the C8000 sheetfed digital press directly or through dealers. Next year the company starts to sell the 100ppm C1100, based on a newly developed print engine, to push quality and consistency up a further notch.
THE KM-1 IS ANOTHER PROPOSITION AGAIN. IT IS A SHEETFED inkjet press using UV inks and offering duplex printing on a B2 sheet at 3,300 sheets an hour. It was shown at Drupa with no definite commercial shipment date, though beta machines are expected to be available next year.
Before then Konica Minolta UK is investing heavily in its sales and support teams, gearing up for a much larger user base. The sales effort is being supported by consultancy for both before and after sales that it needs to make a mark in production print says Mark Hinder.
IT IS ALSO COLLABORATING MUCH MORE CLOSELY WITH the inkjet print heads business as these heads are applied to label and commercial printing, and with the textile printing arm, where KM’s inkjet heads are well established in the sector.
“We are also growing our partnerships with other suppliers,” says Hinder, naming Objectif Lune and Direct Smile to offer crossmedia software. “It’s about embracing the challenges that the customer has and coming up with the solutions that customers need, working with people that share the same vision.”
AFTER WHAT IS ACKNOWLEDGED AS A SLOW START for the C8000 last year, sales are building quickly with customers like BCQ happy to run the Konica Minolta machine alongside Indigo presses. “The difficulty we are having is keeping up with the growth rates,” says Hinder. “At present we are enjoying double digital growth with both the C8000 and the C6000.
“We see this growth being driven by the recession because printers have got to the stage where they have to replace their technology platforms, but no longer want a like for like replacement. Consequently in corporates they are asking ‘can I replace my fleet with a single engine and also take more control over what is printed?’, while the commercial print market is under pressure to lower costs.”
THIS IS RESULTING IN AN INCREASE IN MARKET SHARE Hinder says and in the investments that Konica Minolta is making in sales and support services with a further 35 engineers signing up recently.
More are going to be needed, particularly on the consultancy side as the market launch of the B2 inkjet press comes near. The UK business is however already substantial with sales around £159 million and generating a profit of £5 million on that. “We are growing as an organisation and are seeing volumes increase as well,” he adds.