said Ana Izquierdo, marketing director, large format business, Hewlett-Packard Espanola, Spain, who was recently in Delhi on a short visit to India, while having a tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte with S&G editor S K Khurana. She also revealed HPâ€™s plans for the future, post-acquisition of Scitex Vision and Seiko I Infotech. With Seiko, HP has tied up to jointly develop and market eco-solvent based large format printers intended primarily for the outdoor graphics printing market. Excerpts.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the name toÂ Â reckon with. The company is Â continuously investing in newer technologies being instrumental in offering newer products for the large format printing business. Thanks to the recent acquisitions of industry bigwigs like Scitex Vision and Seiko I Infotech, which have given an impetus to their portfolio, HP can now offer diverse products under their umbrella. While Seiko will develop new printers exclusively for HP using its extensive expertise and technology, HP will handle the marketing, sales, distribution and suppliers.
Talking about HPâ€™s Designjet 5500 which is one of their most popular large format printers worldwide, Ana said, â€œWe started with print-for-pay in 1995-96 and we have been very successful in this segment, specially our Designjet 5500 large format printer, which has become a standard not only in India but all over the world with over one million installations worldwide.â€ She added further,Â â€œIt is an exciting time for HP, especially for print-for-pay segment.â€
The company has a strong portfolio of products for the small format digital print market starting fromÂ personal printers, colour copiers and of course, the popular Indigo digital presses. â€œHP has the reputation of offering quality and reliable products, which are apex in their segment,â€ told Ana. It is important to recall that a few years back, HP acquired Indigo which had good products for the small format large volume business. With this acquisition, HP affirmed its leading position in small format production. â€œIn the large format business, we were very strong in this category with Designjet 5500 but were stuck with low volume and high quality products. The market is changing by the day and in the last 2-3 years, there has been a significant growth in the solvent large format printing. So to enter the mid volume and large volume business either we had to go for organic growth or acquire companies. We analysed all the technologies available and found out that for organic growth we had to invest money but the key factor of deciding the non organic way was to save time. Hence we started looking for partners having good technology and successful products with speed, quality and performance besides providing easy maintenance, assistance and after sales service to the customers,â€ told Ana.
As HP is very customer-centric and works on the feedback received by them, the products are constantly upgraded to meet the customersâ€™ requirements. â€œThe emphasis is given on making the products more cost-effective and achieving consistency across the portfolio. For all these reasons, we decided to acquire Scitex Vision, which is a well-established company for the high volume large format business and the for mid volume market we tied up with Seiko. As an OEM agreement, Seiko and HP will jointly develop and market eco solvent-based large format printers,â€ she added.
Talking further on the subject of Chinese printers making inroads in a big way here in India, Ana informed that Asian market is quite similar to the Latin America market and different from other parts of the world, such as US and western Europe, where the Chinese products are not very successful and are little accepted due to less reliability. In India, Chinese goods are accepted for their low cost factor and the solvent printing market is no exception. â€œAsian market is very important for us, where HP has to look out for opportunities and have different strategies, since there is high rate of growth in this segment so we feel Scitex Vision can be successful in India which has 70-80% of analogue printing market,â€ explained Ana.
Also present at the occasion, Dhirendra Khurana, country category manager, Large Format Printers, IPG, HP India added that there is a synergy between Asia and Latin America market and so the concept of creating niche products for these two markets is feasible now. â€œAlso now weÂ have access to ink manufacturing sites of Scitex VisionÂ South Africa, so we will using and making inks for our future products there,â€ added Ana.Â
On inquiring about the tie-up of Seiko, Ana replied that HP has set specifications for the products and Seiko would do the core development. She also said that customers can expect new models early next year but she declined to give more details on the same. â€œCustomers can expect new models and new development, we will not only put our name on the product but will develop it further like Indigo, where we did a lot of improvements,â€ said Dhirendra. â€œThe OEM products of Seiko will be part of the Designjet brand, which will be sold worldwide,â€ added Ana.
Ana told that in the next few months, one can expect to witness the synergy of Scitex and Seiko with HP in terms of channel management, technology development, manufacturing sites, infrastructure, etc. On asking about the possibility of opening a demo centre in India, Dhirendra replied that they would follow the same structure that is there across the world which is a demo-cum-training centre. On asking about the promotional strategy for Seiko and Scitex products, Dhirendra replied that they would get Seiko products endorsed by the corporates as they have done before for Designjet, which will help marketing efforts of the print service providers.
With the acquisition of VUTEk by EFI , the next question that came to our minds was that since HP uses EFIâ€™s RIP, how would it affect their partnership with EFI. To this, Ana replied that even though they have other vendors too, their partnership with EFI would remain intact.
Ana and Dhirendra both echoed the vision that â€œHP will develop colour technology so that the quality and colours of prints coming out of Designjet, Scitex Vision and Seiko remain the same and consistency is maintained. Even though it may take some time, but this is our target.â€
â€œWith these acquisitions, we can now offer a broad portfolio to our customers while we will continue to provide them with larger and faster devices,â€ concluded Ana.