Hope is Still Alive
Roland's Executive Viewpoint
By Digital Output staff
We conclude our Industry Profile series with Roland DGA Corporation. It is the U.S.-based marketing, distribution, and sales arm of Roland DG Corporation in Hamamatsu, Japan. The Irvine, CA-based company offers inkjet printers and printer/cutters, vinyl cutters, engravers, three dimensional scanners, and milling machines.
In response to the negative economy, Roland experienced growing pains in the way of capital credit tightening. As Rick Scrimger, VP/GM, Roland, explains, “not only were there delays in purchasing because people wanted to hold on tighter to their money or didn’t want to take a risk in investing in their business, but in a real way credit tightened up to the point where it was difficult for potential purchasers to procure access to capital. That was a big negative for us, being in the equipment side of the business.”
The situation forced the company to reevaluate its infrastructure and expenses. However, that did not stop it from moving forward in research and development (R&D). Despite production declines, R&D rose. Interestingly, the products developed during a down economy are different than those in a fast moving economy, explains Scrimger.
Just this April Roland premiered its 64-inch VersaUV LEJ-640 hybrid roll-to-roll and flatbed UV LED inkjet printer. The LEJ-640 prints CMYK, white, and clear on paper, film, vinyl, PET, leather, plastic, polycarbonate, and board.
Scrimger believes Roland is a product-driven company. “As a supplier to the industry, regardless of what type of business you are in, you have to find a way to deliver value. If you add a product that doesn’t differentiate or offer the customer something unique, then you shouldn’t be there.”
The products show in the volume of Roland’s portfolio, especially the amount of newly released items over the past few years. From Metallic Silver Eco-SOL MAX ink to new substrates and more recently a tabletop UV flatbed printer and a desktop metallic printer/cutter.
The company leverages the core technologies they have developed, translating them into new products. “One new printer includes some 3D technology from a completely different side of our business. This integration of technologies is starting to happen,” explains Scrimger.
Consolidation was a big concern for many during the down economy, but in the long term is part of the natural cycle of business. According to Scrimger, it helps eliminate confusion and simplifies choice. “There are blurry lines between the sign and screen markets—as well as blurry lines between traditional retail sign, packaging, and label markets. Those were once well contained environments and now a lot of commercial packaging has some tie over to large format,” he continues.
These blurred lines assist the end user in adapting new segments into its shop. Something Roland helps them do effortlessly with its products.
Hope is Still Alive
As the tides turn and industry rebounds, Scrimger believes growth is returning and “hope is still alive.” Roland’s take is optimistic, moving forward with its business.
This concludes our seven-part series on the current business climate. We look forward to continued growth in the coming year. All signs point towards a positive 2012.
Oct2011, Digital Output