Manufacturer explores how high-end printing technology can improve workplace efficiency for customers.
Top: The AccurioJet KM-1 is installed in the Customer Engagement Center at Konica Minolta’s Hachioji business facility. Above: The JETvarnish 3D installed at the Konando Lab in western Japan.
Konica Minolta Japan (KMJ), which is responsible for the Japanese market at Konica Minolta, Inc., is strengthening its sales structure under President Jun Haraguchi and Executive Vice President Ken Osuga, who has joined the company to oversee the information equipment business (concurrently serving as an executive officer of Konica Minolta, Inc.). The top two businesses comprising the information equipment group are the office business with the bizhub digital MFP series and the production business with the Accurio digital press series.
The KMJ production print business message is, “Create the future of printing together.” This means creating the future of printing and contributing to the printing industry by increasing the value of printing and working together with stakeholders””printing companies that are KMJ’s direct customers and brand owners, the printing companies’ customers.
The value Konica Minolta provides is twofold: streamlining production processes and creating added value. In addition to creating the added value of printed matter itself by providing products that facilitate automation and reduce work man-hours, the company supports human resources and hiring, which is the biggest management challenge for the printing companies that are Konica Minolta’s customers.
The main products KMJ currently sells are the high-end inkjet press B2 sheet-fed (cut-sheet) inkjet machine, the AccurioJet KM-1 production printing system, and integrated software, AccurioPro. The company also sells AccurioLabel series printers and released the AccurioLabel 230 in July.
Work Style Reform
In Japan, “work style reform” activities are now being tested on a nationwide level across the country to review the work styles of employees. These reform activities include shorter work hours with streamlined workflows using information and communication technologies (ICT), streamlining mobile work outside the office, and telecommuting. ICT vendors and MFP manufacturers are making various proposals to their customers, focusing on “work style reform” in those organizations.
A Good Time for All
With the concept of “designing good time,” since 2018, KMJ has been proposing to reduce “work time,” the time required for daily workflow, by more efficient use of its office MFPs, the cloud, and other solutions to increase “creation time,” to create new ideas, as well as “own free time” to expand holidays, nurturing, learning, and viewpoints related to work. KMJ has expanded this initiative to the production print business and has developed new “designing good time” solutions for customers in the printing industry.
For KMJ, there are two “designing good time” solutions proposed for the printing industry: reducing print operations workload and streamlining print workflow.
Reducing the workload within a printing operation can be achieved by fully utilizing the automatic inspection function newly added to the IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer, a system that takes color consistency and registration accuracy to the next level. With automated image registration and color control, the IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer functions as a closed-loop system that constantly monitors and adjusts printed output, and automated color calibration and profiling, to deliver streamlined operator time, reduced print waste, and enhanced productivity. It is currently available on a variety of AccurioPress models.
For example, when printing, the operator might not know if there are stains or smudges on the paper, which means time must be spent after the job is run inspecting the output. The IQ-501, automatically discharges the problem prints to the tray during printing, allowing for a reduction in work time by eliminating the inspection process.
Streamlining print workflow uses print consulting to solve printing issues, as well as web-to-print, where print jobs are submitted online by a print shop’s customers. KMJ offers the following example of a print shop that receives in-store POP print orders by email from 400 retail stores nationwide every week. By implementing a web-to-print solution proposed by KMJ, the print shop has been able to manage all incoming jobs on the web, downloading jobs according to the customers’ requests, and creating the picking list for the stock, enabling the print shop to complete the work that had previously taken 10 hours or more in two hours.
Two other examples of how KMJ is providing customers with added value is printing with the high-quality B2 sheet-fed inkjet machine, the AccurioJet KM-1, as well as high-level digital decoration such as thickened or foiled varnish, using the JETvarnish series from MGI. This device provides such a high-quality finish and impresses those who view and receive the output for various applications such as posters, dressing cases, and invitations.
In order to make these products more widely known to printing companies and brand owners, as well as encourage sales, KMJ has set up a showroom where people can experience these products in Hachioji, Tokyo. KMG also has a showroom for the Kobe and Kansai regions of western Japan, the Konando Lab, which Konando, a local printing company, opened after the introduction of the AccurioJet KM-1 and the JETvarnish in February of this year.
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