Interview

Mr. Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager at HP Indigo

The challenge of facing the future

Mr. Alon Bar-Shany General Manager HP Indigo

The HP Indigo general manager has a global business role – and a matching, big-picture view of why print needs to embrace digital to prosper.

Sappi interviewed him and this is what he told us about the future of print, HP’s long term investment in digital, his view on the successful printer of the future and more.

Tell us about the challenges for print in the future

We believe that, despite the massive transition of communication into digital and social media over the past decade, printing remains a vibrant industry with the potential to help brands connect with their customers. But printing has to transform in order to stay relevant. And the old way of creating huge quantities of reasonable quality and very low cost products is not going to work in the next few decades.

“Our focus is on helping our customers innovate around two areas. One is quality, high-end applications leveraging sophisticated data. The other is enabling them to be very, very productive”
Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager HP Indigo

Why digital and analogue provide complementary outcomes for the future?

I believe that the analogue industry, be it offset or flexo gravure, will remain for many years and that it has its place. It’s an optimised technology for long runs, for static jobs – there it’s very effective. It’s not very profitable for anybody, but it’s effective.

But I think the world of today – where consumers and the younger generation are looking for choice, intimacy, sustainability and very rapid time to market with rapidly changing tastes – does not lend itself to the production of analogue long runs that are static and not differentiated. I think mega trends around differentiation, data and sustainability are going to push a much bigger part of the printing industry towards digital. Now is it going to be 20 per cent, 30 per cent? I’m not sure. But even getting to 10 or 15 per cent of total revenue – and probably a lot more than that of profitability – means that everybody who really wants to grow and be relevant is going to need either a purely or pretty strongly digital production mind-set.

HP Indigo’s role in leading change for the better

I think we have, together with our customers, built quite an interesting capability of inventing new applications and driving scale around photo, digital label, digital flexible packaging, etc. We are working on various areas including sustainability, including security, including automation and obviously around high-value applications. We’re not going after the commodity stuff – we are going after areas where we believe our customers can retain a relatively strong profit for many years through this differentiation.

“The successful printer of the future will be one that has the ability to convert their customer needs and the printer’s capabilities into solutions”
Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager HP Indigo

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