At two of its nine facilities in Israel (The company employs 5,000 nationwide), HP Indigo played host to Dscoop (Digital Solutions Cooperative) October 19-24 for a variety of activities, including educational sessions, tours of the production floors, followed by visits to Israel's many historic sites and attractions.
Alon Bar-Shany, vice president of HP's Indigo Division, welcomed the visiting Dscoop members at the Rehovot facility and provided an update on business and products, while also talking about the company's connection with Israel. He stated that the country is strong economically and is not suffering in the wake of the global economic crisis as is the US, HP's biggest market.
Bar-Shany talked about printing in the context of what he calls today's four "Mega Trends" – growth, globalization, the environment, and technology. He said the Mega Trends serve to further drive digital printing, adding that digital is an environmentally-friendly process, for example.
"While this year has been tough – revenues are down 20 percent – we're exiting 2009 with our assets intact," he said, adding, "Labelexpo in Brussels was a fantastic, high-energy event for us, and we're seeing double digit growth in our label and packaging sectors."
The company's newest digital label press, the WS6000, has been well received since being launched early in 2009. To date, 60 units have been installed in 18 countries. While the WS6000 is certainly an important new product for HP Indigo, Bar-Shany said the ws4500 label press is a mainstay of the product portfolio and there have been 550 units installed in 51 countries.
The HP Indigo Customer Ink Mixing Center
"HP Indigo is committed to be the industry leader in delivering the best TCE to every customer at every single point of his or her total life cycle of doing business with us," Tzari said. "We strive to be the easiest company to do business with, and one that customers can trust and count on. We're proud to have employees and partners that go the extra mile and put the customer first in everything they do," he added.
HP Indigo's PrintCare program is a key part of the TCE, delivering a holistic press service support toolset for the press operator and the customer engineer. Using advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting tools, status summaries, and new remote communication tools, PrintCare's purpose is to minimize downtime while enhancing the dependability and productivity of the presses.
"PrintCare's objectives are to increase press uptime by creating diagnostic tools that improve the speed and accuracy of problem diagnosis and shifting the support from the customer engineer to the remote support engineer and onsite personnel," Tzari said, noting that PrintCare's benefits are achieved by reducing onsite visits and customer waiting time for the Indigo engineer to travel.
Tzari also talked about the importance of testing the presses in the environment in which the units will be installed. "Beta testing is critical. We test the machines in the customer's environment. This way we can get real feedback, and it helps us to understand all of our customers wants and needs," he said.
Currently, PrintCare is available for the WS6000, and plans are in the works to make it available for the ws4500.
In addition to the educational sessions, the Dscoop visitors were also led on a variety of Indigo plant tours at Kiryat Gat, where they had the opportunity to walk the press manufacturing plant floor, as well as the ElectroInk mixing and testing facility and the ElectroInk manufacturing plant.
The HP Indigo plant in Kiryat Gat provides a look at the company's Lean Manufacturing practices.
Krivine Yoram, HP's worldwide operations manager, Indigo Division, led the press plant tour and also a presentation on the company's Lean journey, which began in 2000. At this time, Yoram said, the company's non-value activities consumed 26 percent of net assembly time, and 50 percent of integration time was dedicated to troubleshooting. There were also problems with quality control, inventory accuracy, and responsibility.
Looking to improve on the situation, Lean Manufacturing was embraced and has remained. "We taught and embedded the Lean philosophy to each and every employee in Operations, including management, production line workers, procurement – everyone. We studied thoroughly the series II production line, step by step, and used Multi Observational Studies to measure every activity with the greatest detail. Using expert consultants in Lean methodology, we established a road map on how to implement it, and adopted 5S as a way of life, constantly measured and reviewed publicly," he said.
Yoram explained that it took almost three years to fully implement the Lean principles. During this time, Kaizen events were held and Kanban concepts utilized. Overproduction ceased, and the company took on the philosophy of "you don't make it unless there's a customer or distributor who is willing to pay for it.
"Since Lean implementation, we have realized the following savings: Direct labor in cost per machine was reduced by 73 percent, duration was reduced by 74 percent, and space per machine was reduced by 38 percent," Yoram added.
While the sessions and activities focused on HP Indigo products and technologies, the week was as much about Dscoop and its commitment to the digital printing community as it was about HP Indigo. Dscoop is a user-driven community of HP Indigo press owners and their sales, marketing and production teams. Members are focused on supporting each other to collectively improve their print businesses and the technology of HP Indigo's products and machinery.
Jay Dollries, a Dscoop member and the owner of Innovative Labeling solutions, Hamilton, OH, USA, raved about the trip. "The Dscoop trip was unbelievable. Israel is an incredible place to visit, and although I have been several times at this point, I never cease to be in awe each time I go. The trip was a great way to get to know our fellow Dscoop participants," he said, adding, "Of course, the people of HP Indigo were wonderful hosts. Top notch events like these continue to solidify HP as a leader and a true partner."
Community is a key component of Dscoop, and the organization is driven by interaction among peers, and the sharing and learning from experiences and best practices. The organization provides the platform, infrastructure and access to experts that facilitates interaction among the Dscoop community, and the trip to Israel provided an excellent forum for this.
Dscoop has announced that two keynote speakers will deliver addresses focusing on finances and marketing at Dscoop5, the 2010 Dscoop annual conference: Stuart Varney, business and financial journalist for FOX News, and Ken Schmidt, marketing expert and former communications director for Harley-Davidson. Dscoop5 will take place Feb. 18-20 at Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Dallas, TX, USA.
"Dscoop has always been about community, and this year more than ever," said Chris Petro, Dscoop chairman and president and CEO of Global Soft Digital Solutions, Mahwah, NJ, USA. "For those members who have attended every year, you will be blown away by the amazing enhancements we have made, and for those who have never participated, there's no time like this year to get involved."
Over its four-year history, the Dscoop annual conference has grown steadily in attendance as well as partner participation. The 2009 event in Orlando attracted more than 1,300 HP Indigo owners and operators and 70 partners that provide products and services to graphic arts businesses.
Francis McMahon, director of marketing, HP Graphic Arts, said, "Dscoop provides our staff, partners and customers a rich venue for continued learning and knowledge exchange. We're continuing to grow our community by welcoming international members and large-format members into the organization so they, too, can enjoy the value that Dscoop brings."
More details about Dscoop5 can be found at www.dscoop5.org.