Was 2015 a good year for digital finishing? How do you measure success?
For Highcon 2015 was a year of great success and growth. We are seeing a shift in the industry and believe it is the first appearance of a broader momentum towards digital finishing. As we continue to advance our technology and expand our offering, the industry is increasing its understanding of the value of digital finishing. As a result, Highcon grew over 100% in sales and orders, and won two awards (InterTech Technology Award and the Must See’ Ems award. We have placed new machines in North America and Europe, but in 2015 we also placed our first units In Asia and Latin America which opens up huge markets for us. But perhaps most important is the fact that 3 of our existing customers have ordered an additional machine – embodying not only their belief in our technology and company, but also the evident that our machines are providing them huge value and the needed return on investment. And finally our success is measured also by the end use of our equipment – which is the hundreds of different brands and designers reaping the benefit of our digital finishing capabilities in real products – starting from packaging of products on shelves around the world, all the way to marketing campaigns of new launches. We take pride in our customers and we want to increase our customer base, but at the end of the day nothing tells the story of our success like seeing rows of shelves in an airport shop with tens of products with unique packaging design produced on the Highcon Euclid.
What challenges did you face in 2015 and what did you learn from them?
As any company introducing new technologies to the market we have lots of challenges that once overcome turn into huge opportunities. One challenge we are facing as a small company is keeping up the industry updated with all the different activities actually going on. Our customers are constantly stretching the limit of our technology and doing with it things that we couldn’t anticipate. We are also working with brand owners, designers and even students to uncover the full potential of our products. There something new every day and we want everybody to hear about it and see it.
In addition, for a small company it was a challenge to appear at the numerous shows we did during the year: Print China, IADD FSEA Odyssee in Chicago, Dscoop EMEA in Dublin, GRAPH EXPO in Chicago and IGAS in Tokyo. We also appeared at several brand owner events with our customers. But all of those together don’t compete with drupa coming up in 2016! That is going to be one helluva show for Highcon.
How are you implementing what you learned during 2015, into 2016
Expanding to new geographies and our growing installed base in 2015 allows us to get much more feedback from different markets and different segments. We have customers in different kind of business representing a wide range of the graphic arts industry. In 2015 we focused on seeing what is needed to generate more value using our technology, and what changes we need to make to bring our capabilities to more customers. That will be the focus of 2016 and especially our activities around drupa. 2015 was a critical year for Highcon, but the coming year will be the most important of them all.
How do your products and services help create relevancy, and why is that important for print in 2016?
Our solutions focus on the one part of the printing and packaging process that hasn’t been digitized until now and which suffers most from bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Digital finishing offers a solution to the key trends we have seen in the industry:
- Short runs
- on-demand requests
- supply chain complexities
- competition – a need for differentiation
Digital printing is growing and we believe it will continue to grow in the coming year. However, the pace of growth will not be as it used to, and it will be harder and harder to differentiate and stay relevant without doing something fundamentally different. We are offering another dimension of differentiation that also addresses the day to day headaches of a production environment
What are 3 things (not including your products and services) that the print community should have on their radar in 2016… and why?
- Customization – for the “me generation” customization is a big deal for delivering relevancy. Market segmentation leads to versioning – seasonal, gender, regional, etc. etc. the buzz around customization has been around for years but we are really starting to see it becoming widespread.
- Step function innovation. The print community has seen the word innovation becoming overused. Slight improvement is being replaced with true innovation that changes the rule of the game. In 2016 the print community should keep a sharp eye on what is considerably different and new and what is just more of the same. This is true across the board – from what each member of the community is offering to their customer and all the way to new technologies presented to the market.
- Service – responsiveness – printing and packaging are no longer manufacturing industries – they are service industries where the customer demands are paramount in determining who gets the job. The aim is to compete on value, not on price.
What is the best way for people to learn more about what you do, and how you can help them?
To get digitally cut and creased samples, just email us and we will be happy to send them along.
You can find information about us on our website www.highcon.net, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. You can also learn a lot about what’s possible thanks to our technology on our Pinterest page. Looking forward to connecting with everyone.
Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, VP Marketing. Prior to joining Highcon, Eshchar held worldwide responsibility for the Folding Carton Segment at HP Indigo working with leading companies, analysts and brands around the world. He has a passion for new technology and innovation. He served as a law clerk in the Israel Supreme Court and holds L.L.B and M.B.A degrees both from the Hebrew University.