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Katsuhisa Asari on Konica Minolta’s path to global influence in label printing

Katsuhisa Asari on Konica Minolta’s path to global influence in label printing

India, 17 August,2023: In an insightful conversation with The Packman, Katsuhisa Asari, managing director of Konica Minolta Business Solutions India, delves into the upcoming developments in the realm of label printing. Additionally, he highlights Konica Minolta’s pivotal role in shaping this landscape. Asari also elaborates on Konica Minolta’s commitment to sustainability and outlines strategic endeavors aimed at fortifying its position and extending its worldwide influence. Here is a snippet from the insightful interview.

Manash Das: In a rapidly changing technological landscape, how does Konica Minolta stay at the forefront of innovation in the digital label press market?

Katsuhisa Asari: Digital label press printing has the potential to revolutionize the importance of labels for a product. Digital control is significantly easier compared to conventional analog systems. Additionally, with the convenience of a touchscreen control panel, you can effortlessly queue jobs, leading to quicker reprints and increased cost-effectiveness. The AccurioLabel 400 represents Konica Minolta India’s latest advancement in the digital label printing domain, following the success of AccurioLabel 230, a top-selling digital label press worldwide. Designed to cater to label converters and professional print providers with higher print volumes, the AccurioLabel 400 offers enhanced print speeds, white toner capabilities, longer print runs, and user-friendly automation tools. This solution offers exceptional productivity, brilliant image quality, and surprisingly intuitive operation.

Manash Das: How does Konica Minolta approach sustainability in its manufacturing processes and product offerings?

Katsuhisa Asari: At the heart of Konica Minolta’s growth and creation of new businesses is the directive of sustainability. The group has a larger Environmental Management System in place that comprises three policies – KM Environmental Policy, Environmental Management Concept, and Eco Vision 2050. Additionally, Konica Minolta forecasts to become Zero Carbon by 2050. Addressing climate change, Konica Minolta’s CO2 emissions are projected to decrease by 2,067 thousand tonnes of carbon by 2050, which will be a 100% reduction in carbon emissions for the Konica Minolta Group.

Further, when developing a new product, the Konica Minolta Group identifies the impact the product would have on the environment throughout its lifecycle, from its manufacture and distribution to its use and disposal, while setting evaluation criteria and carrying out assessments. This rigorous process has ensured that Konica Minolta complies with the most recent environmental laws, effectively manages hazardous chemical substances, improves the environmental performance of its products, and complies with various countries’ environmental labeling schemes.

Manash Das: How does Konica Minolta address customer needs and market demand effectively?

Katsuhisa Asari: A printing enterprise encounters a swiftly evolving market where the demands involve introducing fresh services while simultaneously reducing expenses through digital printing. Leveraging Konica Minolta’s extensive expertise and dominant market presence in professional printing, associated businesses can access our bespoke, top-notch printing solutions meticulously designed to suit business requisites.

The Accurio Label brand, encompassing Konica Minolta’s forefront professional printing systems and software for labels, packaging, embellishments, and more; mirrors our sophisticated, automated, and precision-driven essence. These solutions elevate routine technological tasks with time-saving measures while minimizing human intervention to reduce errors, waste, and production expenditures.

Digital Label Press Solutions prepares these small businesses for the challenges of evolution of tomorrow. Consequently, labels of all kinds are one of the fastest growing sectors in the printing industry, along with flexible packaging, averaging around 4-6% per annum growth worldwide for at least the last 30 years.

Manash Das: How does Konica Minolta ensure the quality and reliability of its digital label presses, and what kind of support does the company offer to its customers?

Katsuhisa Asari: For each business associated, we prefer tailoring the products and services to meet specific customer needs and challenges, ensuring a personalized and effective approach. This involves streamlining workflows and processes through automation and integration, enabling customers to achieve higher productivity and reduced costs. Our consultants offer expert guidance to help customers navigate through market changes, technological advancements, and industry trends.

We are overt endorsers of training and education among customers to help them improve operational efficiency and productivity. With continuous innovation, we are able to pioneer and create segmented solutions that address emerging challenges and opportunities in the market. Konica Minolta is prompt in offering responsive technical support to address any issues, troubleshoot problems, and ensure uninterrupted operations.

In line with our Zero Carbon 2050 Goals, we are constantly introducing eco-friendly practices and solutions to help customers reduce their environmental footprint and meet sustainability goals. Our heritage of 150 years positions us as leaders in the industry, which helps us create platforms for customers to connect, share insights, and collaborate with peers to foster a sense of community and knowledge exchange. Futuristic innovation and forecasting disruptions is essential in the land of volatile tech development. Our data volume allows us to provide customers with valuable market insights, research, and analysis to help them make informed decisions and stay competitive.

Manash Das: Can you provide insights into the R&D efforts at Konica Minolta that contribute to the continuous improvement of digital label press technologies?

Katsuhisa Asari: Konica Minolta is dedicated to serving worldwide customers and aiding individuals in achieving their aspirations. We accomplish this through our 5 co-creation sites and 19 development bases worldwide. In Japan, we prioritize the advancement of four core technologies (imaging, materials, optics, and nanofabrication) in conjunction with IoT to cater to diverse demands. Moreover, we’re engaged in crafting AI solutions and digital services for offices and the digital sector across Europe and the United States, fostering global cooperation and capitalizing on our regional strengths.

For example, a printing device occasionally causes variations in colors and printing positions due to environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, so operators have had to adjust colors and printing positions appropriately before or during printing. They also check each sheet of printed matter after printing. However, our innovative IQ-501 is equipped with scanners that can read the entire area of paper and a spectrophotometer for accurately measuring color. This combination enables customers to constantly scan images while printing, reduce the chrominance ⊿E00 between the start of printing and any point during printing through real-time corrections, and inspect printed matter for defects such as micron-order stain.

The IQ-501 helps solve issues that customers have long assumed they had to fix, by combining various imaging, measurement, optics, and machinery technologies. Our commitment persists in addressing customer challenges and delivering societal value by synergizing Konica Minolta’s technological prowess with our partners’ expertise and business channels.

Manash Das: With the rising popularity of digital printing, how do you see the future of the label printing industry, and what role does Konica Minolta play in shaping that future?

Katsuhisa Asari: We will be contributing to the role of innovators and disruptors in the digital printing space in the future. Our two million customer base and proactive research and development efforts inform each other. For example, AccurioLabel 400 Digital Label Press offers a high space utility factor with high productivity. This is powered by the tech of proprietary Color Management facility, in which imaging units of the respective colors CYMK maintained within accepted Delta levels. The machines also have the option to add additional white to expand the application opportunities for the customers.

Additionally, Konica Minolta formulated a technological feat that allowed the machine to produce a high-image-quality development process, without the brushing noise. This was achieved using Two development rollers softly brush on photoreceptors to visualize electrostatic latent images with high fidelity. Konica Minolta designed the mechanism and developed devices based on its wealth of expertise.

Manash Das: In what ways does Konica Minolta engage with its customers to understand their requirements and tailor solutions to meet their specific needs?

Katsuhisa Asari: Konica Minolta customizes business solutions on three parameters – Managed Content Services, Optimized Print services, and Print Management.

Under Managed Content Services, our solutions help the business customize communication within and outside the organization by solving business problems. Under this, we cater to Enterprise Content Management, Business Process Automation, Robotic Process Automation and Document Capture. Synchronizing an online work desk for internal communications, while automating manual business processes depends on the scale of operations and employee network.

Konica Minolta’s Optimised Print Services (OPS) combine consulting, hardware, software implementation and workflow management to lower document spend. The OPS concept focuses on four essential areas – Right-sizing the document output fleet to actual business needs, analyzing all business-relevant document flows in order to increase productivity, Offering different purchasing and leasing options as well as various contract models, Designing and implementing IT and information security solutions, as well as Supporting a company’s sustainability goals by implementing the most environmentally friendly document-related hardware and business workflows.

Print management allows the business to eliminate print waste and reduce costs with print management, solutions, to monitor and control your document output behavior. These parameters are customizable as per the customer, to create seamless business security, document protection and internal communication solutions.

Manash Das: As a digital label press manufacturer, what strategic initiatives does Konica Minolta have in place to further strengthen its position and expand its global presence?

Katsuhisa Asari: Konica Minolta is present in over 150 countries, with over 45,000 employees. Konica Minolta does 1,130.4 billion Japanese Yen annually. Our core technologies are Materials, Nanofabrication, Optics, and Imaging, that is bifurcated into solutions for digital workspace, professional print, and the healthcare industry. Konica Minolta has been an innovator, disruptor, segment creator and assimilator in the tech landscape for over 150 years. We as leaders shall continue to rely on sustainable growth in our research and technological developments to continue to forecast, disrupt and bolster the printing market globally.