CAIRO: Having established its printing services with a number of large clients, Xerox plans to expand its range of document solutions in Egypt.
Xerox currently serves several local companies that have a sizeable customer base and a need to communicate with those customers through customized documents such as bills, statements and pay slips.
Documents that have variable data content … in the past have come out of big applications from servers in a company, explains David Mack, general manager of Xerox Global Services and Integrated Marketing. We currently provide output devices, people and software for the production of those documents.
Telecommunication companies and banks are therefore amongst Xerox s key clients and the company manages about 80 customer sites for such businesses including Vodafone, Telecom Egypt and Bank Misr.
The sites are equipped with the hardware and software for on-demand printing. This type of printing is done with equipment akin to the computers and printers used in many offices and are distinguished from offset printing, which is used for the mass production of newspapers and books and is typically uneconomical for low volumes.
It s not just about the printed output and the operators to produce the document, says Mack. On the front-end of that you also have to look at the process integrating with the customer s application. So we can offer consultancy services … for the whole cycle of the production of the documents.
The fact that on-demand printing allows the immediate creation of customer correspondence with personalized content also makes it an appropriate tool for marketing campaigns.
For example, customers may be sent brochures that reflect their individual preferences and Xerox now offers the tools and services to enable this.
It could be a mail campaign but highly personalized with information from a database and highly customized in order to get your attention to the offer that s being made, says Mack. So, even the offer would be personalized against your buying habits or your credit capability.
The company will begin by focusing on its existing clients for these additional services but it also plans to pursue other document-intensive industries, including education, insurance and manufacturing.
Part of our challenge is to build up our own skills and knowledge of the industries within Xerox in Egypt, says Mack. We very much will focus on bigger customers in industries for the specific applications.
Mack believes the education industry can avoid waste by printing extracts instead of distributing textbooks and other material that may be largely unused.
You can change the programs and the material [with on-demand printing] as life changes, says Mack.
In the manufacturing sector, printing the documents that accompany products at the last minute may reduce storage costs and allow product manuals to be specific to a particular model or, if exported, in a particular language.
Color printing technology has improved significantly in recent years. The high costs and low quality of on-demand colored printing had made it an infeasible solution several years ago, but as the gap between black-and-white and colored technology narrows a company s options for the latter are enriched.
Xerox has positioned itself to take advantage of this shift by complementing its sales of equipment with its outsourcing and consulting services.
There s a lot of investment [by Xerox] in color because documents are enhanced greatly when you include color, says Mack. Before the technology was never available to customize color documents in such a way but now it is.
In terms of consulting, the company assesses and rationalizes business processes related to documents, offering the scanning equipment, printers and, through third parties, the software for document management solutions.
In the early nineties, Xerox started to focus more on the document … whether it’s a fax, a file on a PC or a piece of paper, and within that the lifecycle of the document, says Mack. Documents more and more are critical to an operation but companies are not aware of how much they re spending on documents as an organization.
IDC, an IT research company, estimates that companies spend as much as 15 percent of their revenues on documents. There are a lot of hidden costs with documents, says Mack. It s not just the cost of paper and output devices; there is [for example] the cost of creation and storage.