As part of HP’s latest drupa portfolio, which would have been highlighted in Dusseldorf, Germany, at the world’s largest print exhibition, the company has placed a large emphasis on infrastructure. The ability to automate and connect with customers around the world, relying on the cloud, has allowed HP to anticipate problems and troubleshoot. This has boosted the company when combating COVID-19 (coronavirus) while adhering to social distancing guidelines and stay-in-place orders.
“I think part of the technology evolution over the last 10 years, specifically the last 2-3 years, is the ability to capture massive data from any device and put it on the cloud,” explains Alon Bar-Shany, general manager of HP Indigo. “We can perform analyses with artificial intelligence and big data, and get feedback back to the user. We’ve made a big bet on all this infrastructure, and we see during this crisis that our ability to keep customers up and running without actually visiting them on-site is increasingly powerful and appreciated.
“I think it’s going to make customers more comfortable, where I don’t have to send my operator to training to a plant in Barcelona; we can do it virtually,” he adds. “I don’t need to get a service engineer to fix everything. We can do a lot of that by remote. I would say people are leveraging a lot more remote capabilities around service. This is actually a big advantage for us because we’ve built a system where all of our presses are connected online to the cloud, and we can monitor, track and fix most of the problems remotely.”
In addition, HP was slated to present its latest product portfolios at Dscoop. The event, which was scheduled to take place from March 29-April in Orlando, FL, USA, has been rescheduled to a later date.
According to Bar-Shany, HP is taking all precautions to protect its employees and customers. “Our No. 1 priority is taking care of our customers and employees,” he emphasizes. “In the labels and packaging space, it’s making sure they can fill demand, which is essential. People should know that we’re still operating, producing the inks, spare parts, and so on. For labels and packaging it’s a good, positive message. For the commercial printers that don’t have work right now, it’s our top priority to help them through this. We’re here for the very long run. We see this as a collaboration, and we are eager to get feedback on what we need to do together to enable packaging to continue to be such an important part of so many vital supply chains.”
HP, along with Dscoop, have coordinated a plethora of webinars and Zoom conference sessions to deliver as much information as possible to their customers and clients. HP is making itself accessible country by country, region by region, to showcase its latest products and brand solutions. HP’s message, for both Dscoop and drupa, has largely centered on the brand and possible campaigns with digital printing.
“We’re always very proud of our technology, but for me a big part of drupa, and a huge part of Dscoop, is the ability to showcase the products that our customers have produced – bringing in brands, bringing in converters and sharing information,” explains Bar-Shany. “We are doing videos and showcasing the technology, producing mockups and sending samples. With all the excitement around doing Zoom meetings, there’s still something special about the intimacy of having 30 people in a room, sitting around four tables and exchanging views, showing the samples, which we miss.”
HP has used the 2009 recession as a reference point for how to manage through trying times. In fact, HP Indigo launched the 6000 platform, which has recently evolved to the HP Indigo 6K digital press.
“It’s a very tough time and we feel the pain of our customers,” says Bar-Shany. “I do refer back to 2009, which was the last time we had a big recession, and the fact that the customers who were willing to think 4-5 years ahead and were willing to invest are doing great now. At that point in time, digital was tiny, the press was very new, and there was a lot of skepticism. The customers today that are doing these immense volumes and serving this supply chain are the ones in 2009 – in the middle of the recession – had the vision to invest in this new technology. I encourage our customers not to just look at the next week or two, which sometimes looks scary, but to look five years out and to count on us to be there to continue to drive growth.”