Canon joins Gulf Print & Pack 2022 edition

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Mr Ayman Ali - Senior Marketing Manager

    •            What are your plans for Gulf Print and Pack 2022?

After two years of meeting our customers online, we are eager to meet our customers in person again and were one of the first exhibitors to confirm our participation at GPP. We have booked a stand over an impressive 240 square meters to underscore the depth and diversity of our printing range, including all our toner-based cut sheets, including the imagePRESS color and varioPRINT black & white series. We will also be showcasing our wide format range, including the flatbed Arizona 135, the Colorado 1650 and our imagePROGRAF range - especially the imagePROGRAF TZ-30000, a high-end poster and CAD printer and the imagePROGRAF GP-4000. Our end-to-end workflow from pre-press to post-press technology will also be demonstrated. This is an opportunity for us to showcase the different kinds of printing applications spanning various industries including packaging, labelling, retail, and so much more. Our objective is to help customers better understand the pros and cons of all our technologies and offer guidance and assistance in how they can benefit from integrating these innovative products and solutions.

    •            What are your upcoming products/new launches?

We have a couple of new launches in the pipeline, and I am particularly excited about the upcoming imagePROGRAF GP-4000. This will be the Middle East launch of the product and the first time that customers will get access. It’s particularly unique as it supports graphics applications in fluorescent colors, enabling creative signage applications, especially across the retail industry. We will also be launching two new products within the imagePRESS series, and we believe it will be game-changers within the digital printing industry. I can't share much more information as this new products are still under embargo, but I can let you know that they will be revealed for the first time during GPP.

We will also be launching our online Canon print service portal, which will connect print service requesters with Canon accredited print service providers, who can facilitate high print volumes. For example, hospitals that don't own printing technology can outsource all their printing with this portal by simply submitting their jobs via the Canon portal and being connected to qualified printers. This platform will also enable our print service providers to gain new customers and revenue streams by connecting them with people who want high-quality print services.

   •          In your view, how can printing companies maximize the value of their hardware offerings and combine it with software solutions?

The most outstanding value comes from product knowledge and know-how, primarily how technology can be used to benefit business objectives in a post-pandemic era. One of the biggest challenges that customers face is deciding from various choices, including products like inkjet, UV, continuous feed, cut sheet, roll-to-roll etc. One also needs to focus on the entire workflow. It's not only about the machine but also the printing application. Our responsibility is to give the correct knowledge, advice and guidance to the customer about which technology should be adapted, how the technology can be integrated into the existing workflow and how to see better returns.

During the pandemic, one of the many challenges was serviceability - ensuring uninterrupted service and meeting customer expectations. We continue to work on how to improve on offering different kinds of service options to meet all our customers’ needs, especially when it comes to service uptime and product availability. You might have the best technology and the best know-how, but if you’re missing the service element, there will be a disappointment on the customer's side. So, it is a combination of different factors - technology alone is not enough; it needs to be complemented with the know-how to bring the technology to life to generate added value to your business.

   •          How has the COVID pandemic affected your business? How are you overcoming the challenges?

COVID-19 has adversely impacted businesses worldwide, and Canon, too is part of the industries to be affected - but I am proud to say that Canon offers the most comprehensive hardware, software and service portfolio in the industry, and we are continually developing our portfolio to ensure that we can meet the needs of our customers. This has been particularly true during the last two years of the pandemic, where we managed to launch many products targeting our customers' different needs, including commercial inkjet, new imagPRESSes, new Colorado, new UV flatbed line up, new Mid volume CAD model and many more. These launches are a testament to Canon’s commitment and trust in the future of the digital printing industry and resulted in the fact that from June 2021, we witnessed a recovery in digital print volumes, and from June 2021, the print volumes and service revenue started to climb, as compared to the same periods in 2019. Since June 2021, our digital printing business, in particular, has seen steady recovery, proving the point that there is a significant shift from offset to digital, whereby Canon managed to hit record units and installations in 2021 across the Middle East region. Canon is continually developing its portfolio to help meet our customers’ evolving needs, especially as we emerge into a post-pandemic era.

   •          How do your machines help customers get better service at a fair price?

Customers are at the center of everything that we do, and so we offer different categories of service offerings to meet each customer's specific needs; for example, in roll-to-roll, we are the only brand giving a fixed meter charge, whereby the customer knows the price upfront - regardless of factors like ink consumption. This enables the customer not only to avail a competitive price but also to have viability on the final price (upfront) and plan accordingly.  In inkjet and wide-format, generally speaking, our customers invest in the hardware and buy the consumables per usage. This enables them to have clarity and visibility over the cost of the consumables and price their output and jobs accordingly. What is the cost, the final  selling price, the profitability, and how can a return on investment be made? All of these are very clear to our customers. Moreover, we are implementing different kinds of remote technologies to make our machine remotely available, remotely updated, and remotely accessible to fix any issues, resulting in better overall customer service.

    •          How can Artificial Intelligence and other latest technologies help the printing industry grow? Please mention the new technologies implemented by Canon

Artificial intelligence is the future, and we are already integrating this technology into many of our products. In the beginning, printing was offset and used to rely on human skills, eyes and accuracy. However, now it's digitized, and we need technological support, so we have started implementing Artificial intelligence (AI) that can help the machine itself to optimize output and maximize quality. For example, in imagePRESS, we have special sensors that can make the machine readjust the quality to ensure the quality matches our optimal guidelines without having to wait for manual calibration. Moreover, in our large format products like the ImagePROGRAF pro series, the AI-enabled machine can identify the type of media roll that has been inputted without even telling the machine if it's glossy or wet, while some machines like the Colorado can calculate how much of the media roll is remaining to maximize usage and minimize the waste. This helps in improving both the quality and reducing wastage.

   •          What are your efforts to achieve a "green world" by reducing wastage?

At Canon, we believe in the philosophy of Kyosei - ‘living and working together for the common good’. This philosophy is at the heart of everything we do and underscores our vision for sustainability. As part of these efforts, we are consciously contributing to a circular economy. For example, Canon strives to recycle products, reduce water consumption and the generation of waste from manufacturing at our operational sites. We consider each stage in the lifecycle of our products and look to minimize energy and raw material consumption. Canon has reduced its product's lifecycle CO2 emissions by 40% since 2008 and is also a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact Committee, and is committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by their 2030 deadline.           

• Could you please explain your activities at Dubai Expo 2020 and Canon B2B Innovation Hub?

It has been one of the highlights of my professional career to have supported “the world’s greatest show” in our capacity as the sole Official Printing and Imaging Provider for Dubai EXPO 2020. This is the first time that EXPO has had one provider for both imaging and printing, and it allowed us to showcase our entire portfolio and push the boundaries of what is possible through imaging. Canon’s products and services were used to support a range of on-site activities, including managed print services for all EXPO back-office operations, as well as EXPO partners, pavilions and visitors and professional print displays such as the on-site galleries.  Canon also provided behind-the-scenes support through its Canon Professional Services (CPS) booths, equipment loans and expertise for on-location press and media. For me, however, it was the Canon B2B Innovation hub that truly stands out, as it was where we demonstrated Canon’s innovative technologies, products and services, utilizing our entire business portfolio. It’s the most comprehensive hardware, software and service portfolio in the industry. It was also where we presented our Tuesdays@EXPO series aimed at empowering the B2B community with the latest innovative solutions, cutting edge technology and forward-thinking trends to help businesses navigate the challenges of operating during a pandemic, as well as advice on how to future-proof their businesses.

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