Konica Minolta’s Dino Pagliarello identifies the most viable opportunities for dealers in production print.
As we look deeper into the arena of production print, we are aiming to give dealers a solid understanding of this potential opportunity. From our standpoint, there’s no better way to uncover the best possible information for our audience than by talking to the leading executives in our industry. For this column—the second in our series on production print—I spoke with Konica Minolta’s Dino Pagliarello, senior vice president, product management and planning.
I’ve known Pagliarello for many years. How long, you ask? Look at the old black and white photo above showing a very young Pagliarello demonstrating a Konica printer to me. It also gives you an idea of what a Konica monochrome printer looked like 22 years ago.
Our lively conversation, which has been condensed for publication, underscores the valuable opportunity in production print for dealers.
CR: Are dealers finally getting the message on the importance of production print as a way to compensate for declining clicks?
Pagliarello: There is a lot more interest in production print by KM dealers. We did a webinar series that discussed packaging, labeling, and all the other opportunities that production offered. We have had between 500 to 600 people on these calls. It has been obvious, at least to us, that dealers are open to learning more about this space.
CR: For those dealers engaged in production print, which models are dealers having the most success selling?
Pagliarello: They are hitting the sweet spot of the business—mid-range—and taking advantage of the versatility of the C3080 and C4080. The C4080 Series launched in early December 2020 replaced the C3080 Series that debuted in March 2018. Dealers have been successful taking larger volumes off more expensive printers. We have seen a lot of activity with digital toner, especially with color machines. They are the right products at the right time.
CR: What percentage of Konica Minolta dealers do you believe are participating in the production area?
Pagliarello: I would estimate that we have between 50 and 60 dealers that are very active in this area. That would represent about 20% of our dealer population.
CR: What are the most successful dealers in production doing that stand out?
Pagliarello: The dealers who are doing very well are taking models such as the C14000, which is designed to handle the packaging business, and finding other uses for it, and broadening the applications they are running on this machine.
CR: When we were at ITMA in Spain in 2019, we saw a line of Konica Minolta textile printers that was quite impressive. Japan relies on its distribution in Eastern Europe to countries such as Italy that are leaders in the fashion industry to sell this line. When do you believe they will be available in the U.S.?
Pagliarello: In my opinion, the pandemic has delayed the introduction in North America. Perhaps, we will see those machines next year. KM has opted to sell in Eastern Europe, where they can address the high-fashion market in Italy.
CR: From your experience, which areas are dealers excelling in beside the mid-range and why?
Pagliarello: Packaging, graphic arts, and transactional printing are the three that standout. What is making those wins possible is the degree of automation that has been built into the systems. It has created efficiency and added productivity to the capabilities of the hardware. An example would be a trimmer online, which means you do not have to take the job off a tray and finish. It is all done online. Another important feature is a spectrophotometer, which is a tool for color management. Only two companies have this capability built-in—Konica Minolta and EFI. It is compatible with the C4080, 4070 but not the C4065.
CR: What do you believe the post-pandemic period will look like? Do you think dealers will expand their offerings, concentrating on packaging, signage, or other areas that you have already mentioned?
Pagliarello: What we are finding is that dealers are listening and learning. They seem to have awakened to the potential of production print. We believe they are receptive to taking chances by utilizing all the different types of jobs our equipment can get done. We have the high-end wide-format MGI with the capability of spot varnish and spot foil in a single pass, with a lot more to come. There is a lot they can pick and choose from.
CR: Would you like to share any final thoughts for the Konica Minolta dealers specifically or dealers in general?
Pagliarello: Now is the time to examine different opportunities. Talk to your rep, pick an area such as packaging, labeling, or transactional printing, and make a choice. With our support, you will experience an attractive ROI. I will say it again, there has never been a better time because of the differentiation production print can provide.
CR: Thank you, Dino, for taking the time to speak with us. Will we have an opportunity to see you again at a dealer meeting later in the year?
Pagliarello: At this time, we have no plans to have such a meeting. We are all waiting to see what happens with the vaccines and when we are safe to travel and to gather in large crowds. One thing we have been doing is engaging dealers in small groups. There is nothing better than bringing people together.
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