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Market For Printing Products In India Is Steady: Xerox's Balaji Rajagopalan
'The printing industry is evolving and customers are demanding newer features that simplify processes for them'
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When it comes to the business of printing, Xerox is the undoubted market leader and in the past year, this segment has grown exponentially - labelled as a key growth and profitability driver, contributing to 80 per cent of Xerox India's revenue.
BW|Businessworld chatted with Xerox India's executive director of technology, channels and international business, Balaji Rajagopalan, about the business environment in the country, Xerox's success and plans for the future.
There has been a lot of momentum on the technology and product front for Xerox India in the past year. Could you tell us a little bit about the initiatives?
The technology business especially has done significantly well in the past two years. All of our products, multi-functional devices and digital presses, which were launched last year have received good feedback from across the ecosystem - be it from customers, partners or print providers. We also launched multiple products with standout features to help customers concentrate on "Real Business" and automate workflow processes.
Today, we are present in all segments of the printing industry, starting from the entry level to mid to high end that offer products and solutions which stand out in the industry. Xerox has been at the helm of innovation since its inception and we are constantly innovating and bringing in new technologies to help our customers and simplify printing procedures for them. As per the IDC Report for Q4 2015, Xerox India is number one in terms of activity with 33.7 percent market share in the production classification.
The printing business has reportedly shrunk around the world. What is the situation in India?
The way people view printing is evolving and the market in India is very much steady. There are various aspects where we still need paper and this contributes to a good amount of our revenue too. There are multiple industries/scenarios where paper is still essential, for example cheque book printing, bill printing, medical and motor vehicle insurance policy, office presentation print out, short run printing related to hotel menu, label printing, invitation etc.
So it will be correct to say that the printing pattern is changing and as a result of these and various other elements, the printing industry will always continue to be important.
Which products were introduced in the market in 2015?
In FY15, we had launched a slew of digital presses which are energy efficient and can add a lot of value to our customers. The Xerox Color C70 offers the widest range of applications in this market space, including running synthetics, vinyl, window clings, carbonless paper, never-tear paper, transfer papers, magnets and many other unique applications that are made possible with Xerox's low melt toner and flexible paper path.
Furthermore, the newly developed, heat-efficient IH fuser does not require preheating, which helps reduce power consumption in standby mode by 44 per cent compared to a resistance heating device. Also, the power consumption of the scanner using LED lighting is 1/3rd of traditional scanners using fluorescent lamps. With these energy savings, the running electricity costs of the C60/C70 are almost 1/4th to similar press configurations available in the market today.
I believe that this shows our commitment to the market and how we have been constantly innovating and evolving to ensure the maximum amount of customer satisfaction. Today, we can proudly say that more than 60 percent of our customers are repeat customers.
What is the focus for 2016? Do we expect to see more tech introductions or a focus on market expansion? What is the strategy?
In FY16, we are looking at further strengthening and increasing our market presence. We operate on an indirect business model when it comes to the printing business. Therefore, our channel partners are very important. We have brought in new initiatives and schemes to further push our partners to move beyond ordinary and deliver more. We have brought in several new training programs to equip our partners and give them the knowledge necessary to win in the marketplace.
On products and solutions front, you will see many exciting technology introductions and launches that will certainly create an impact on the way people perceive printing. Solutions will be a key focus area for this year. We are going to continue our focus on digital printing as that has been a constant growth area for us and ensure that our customers have the best of the presses with them. This year, we are going to focus on the high-end digital printing equipment and also strengthen our mid-high and low-mid offerings.
To summarize, we are looking to aggressively tap into market space where we know we have a scope to improve and consolidate our market presence. Also, we are going to focus on maintaining our leadership in certain market segments like entry to mid production segment.
How has the technology business driven growth and profitability for Xerox?
With a significant amount of growth, the technology business contributes to more than 80 percent of the business revenue in India and that is a testimony to the fact that printing industry is definitely a growing sector in India.
In 2015, we brought in smart pricing and standout features in our products and this helped us grow significantly. The Colopress 1000i is an impeccable device and is the first in the industry to offer gold and silver ink printing capabilities at a rated speed. We have launched several other devices like Versant 2100, Versant 80, Color C60/70 and many more which have done exceptionally well in the marketplace.
The Versant family especially was the standout product for us. With the Versant 80, one has greater choices and easier color availability. One can just select a spot color and it hits it right on - the first time. We believe that this device will revolutionize the color printing industry and cater to a wide array of our customer needs. Printers looking for extra productivity may opt for the Versant 80 with Performance Package, which maintains top speeds of 80 ppm on all stocks up to 350 gsm along with an in-line spectrophotometer for increased color automation.
Another segment of digital printing where we have done significantly well is the high-end mono production segment. In 2015, we have done the highest ever installation in comparison to the past seven years and this tells you that we are pushing ourselves and we are here to win.
How do you differentiate yourself from competitors?
While we would not like to comment on our competitors, we believe we have the technology edge and the expertise to offer products and solutions which can cater to specific needs of the customers. Today, the printing industry is evolving and customers are demanding newer features which simplifies processes for them and we, not only have the capabilities to address these demands, but also go beyond and offer our customers products backed by our solutions.