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Direct Technologies Inc.: Investing in Inkjet

Written by Caslon & Company, 2018

PODi is a global, member-supported not-for-profit organization. The PODi library consists of over 500 digital printing and marketing case studies from around the world.

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Direct Technologies Invests in a High Speed, Top Quality Printing Platform to Bring New Benefits to Customers

Vertical Market: Banks and Credit Unions

Business Application: Customer Communications

ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW

A full service, multichannel solutions provider, Direct Technologies Inc (DTI) specializes in variable data print, fulfillment, electronic communications, and direct mail. For over 20 years, DTI has processed a multitude of time-sensitive data driven projects designed to communicate more effectively with recipients.

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

For several years DTI has been keeping close tabs on a technology revolution occurring in the market. New high speed continuous feed color digital presses were being introduced that held the promise of offering customers unlimited design opportunities with new found production efficiencies. But up until recently there wasn’t a product that could meet the quality demanded by DTI and their customers. DTI needed a solution that provides: 

  • Top quality printing on coated stock
  • Nearly unlimited design options
  • Lower mailing costs 
  • Reduced program lead times 

RESULTS

After conducting extensive research with customers and industry experts, DTI decided to install a RICOH Pro VC60000 continuous feed digital color inkjet press that offers the highest quality printing on coated media with amazing speed. The features of this press enable DTI to:

  • Offer customers greater freedom in design options with white paper in printing
  • Lower presorting costs with white paper in feature
  • Reduce the lead time needed for clients to get programs into the market through DTI’s new, highly scalable production capacity

THEIR STORY

DTI opened their doors over 20 years ago as a lettershop. Early on in their corporate life they worked with cellular pioneer MCI (later acquired by Verizon) on a sophisticated customer communication program. After a call between an MCI representative and a prospect or customer DTI’s solution would automatically send a letter from the rep to the caller. What made the system truly remarkable is that the letters were generated from any of 4000+ content modules.

DTI quickly recognized that by developing and expanding their in-house programming capabilities they could create and fulfill very large, complex, ongoing communication projects for customers. Their strategy proved successful and the business grew.

This strategy led them to new customers in the healthcare and financial industries, markets which now have the strictest data security requirements in the industry. DTI has now attained all of the certifications needed to serve these markets including HITRUST and SOC2 certification.

While the customer facing strategy was winning new business, DTI was also keeping close tabs on a printing technology revolution occurring in their market. New high speed continuous feed color digital inkjet presses were being introduced that held the promise of offering customers unlimited design opportunities with newfound production efficiencies. But up until recently there wasn’t a product that could meet the high quality demanded by DTI and its customers.  

So DTI set out to find the right solution for their business. They started by doing their homework. About 1 ½ years ago they began researching inkjet. They attended industry conferences, got advice from industry experts and started engaging with vendors.

DECISION PROCESS

The decision making process for selecting the vendor included:

  • Assessment of the image quality
  • Understanding service capabilities
  • Analysis of productivity and costs
  • Trust in the vendor

DTI’s key requirement was a press that can produce offset-like quality on coated stocks. They run a wide variety of applications from postcards to mailers to brochures, often with heavy coverage. Vendors were asked to submit print samples and as a result of that exercise DTI determined the only presses available that could meet their requirement was the RICOH Pro VC60000. 

For DTI, the second most important factor in their decision making was service. And here Ricoh was the clear choice with solid local service with multiple coverage options to handle peak periods. 

With regard to productivity, the Pro VC60000 runs at various speeds depending on the resolution required ranging from 672 letter size impressions per minute in highest quality mode (1200 x 1200 dpi) up to 1616 letter size impressions per minute at 600 x 600 dpi. Up to 40 million impressions per month are possible. Currently they are running inkjet coated paper, however DTI’s plan is to move to standard coated offset stock. Ink costs are matching what was estimated.

After all the key technical specs were analyzed, then the emotional aspects came into play. One has to keep in mind that the stakes associated with this decision are very high. The financial impact to the company is significant and careers are at stake. For DTI the decision was clear – the combination of print quality, strong local service, good running costs, and the knowledge and experience of the whole team made Ricoh the easy choice. 

BEYOND THE SALE

The installation of the RICOH Pro VC60000 was flawless – on-time and with no production issues. Over 6 million impressions were output in the first month of production.  Brett Coltman, CEO, said “The Ricoh team has been amazing.  Ricoh helped us make what we have work, including helping us with software from other vendors. Service has been phenomenal. I can pick up the phone and call anyone on the team for assistance.”

CONCLUSION

We are now at the beginning of a new era in digital color printing. New high speed inkjet presses that can print with offset-like quality on coated stock are now hitting the market. This technology will enable a whole new round of business opportunity for print and marketing service providers. The trick is to be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge, and DTI has hit the mark.