TORONTO, ON - What do production printing providers need to do to sustain and grow their business today and into the future? Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) recently posed that question, among others, to its North American Graphic Arts Premier Partners, an elite group of customers. Company executives presented the survey results today at Graph Expo 2008, the nation's largest annual printing tradeshow.

Designed to gauge the key challenges and opportunities facing graphic communication providers, Xerox's survey collected customer views on the economic climate and environment as well as expectations for the industry over the next five to ten years. The effort underscores Xerox's approach to listening to its customers and equipping them for success, even in times of economic uncertainty, said Xerox President Ursula Burns, who shared the survey results during a press and industry analyst event this morning in Xerox's Graph Expo booth No. 1219.

"Our customers seek partners that can guide them through the competitive graphic communications market. We've responded by providing them with a host of offerings - from new technologies to workflow solutions and business development tools and services that make them more productive today. We are also helping them take full advantage of digital opportunities, new markets and application areas," Burns said.

Among the findings, a three-way tie among Xerox's Premier Partners for the largest business challenges: establishing new services while keeping current business on track; the current economic climate and differentiating their business in the market.

Xerox Premier Partners weigh in
Xerox's survey of its Premier Partners revealed a number of other candid, yet upbeat, reactions. Almost all agree that digital printing has helped their businesses expand into new areas and the majority recognize that colour and digital printing offer the most opportunity to generate new revenue. Highlights include:
  • Expectation that business will increase or remain flat. Full colour variable-data printing and online ordering/Web-to-print were identified as areas of popular demand and interest from customers;
  • The use of colour and variable printing were identified as key techniques used by print providers to help customers improve the effectiveness of information, a key initiative for Xerox in managing Information Overload;
  • The top application areas associated with new revenue growth were found to be direct mail, photo specialty products and transpromotional pieces
MagnetStreet shares outlook
Neville Baird, founder and chairman of MagnetStreet, and one of the first U.S. commercial printers to install a Xerox iGen4, shared his take on the industry as a whole during the event. Baird stated that his company's previous use of an iGen3 Press and now an iGen4 enabled his business to make a seamless transition to digital in addition to opening up the opportunity to expand into new consumer markets such as wedding and baby announcements. By diversifying from a purely commercial business into new higher-margin markets, Baird's business grew by more than 30 percent since last year.

"We think we're pretty recession-proof from having diversified our business. We've made strategic adjustments and invested in digital technology like the iGen4. Along with the service and support provided by Xerox, we can tap into new markets, print on new kinds of media, offer cost-effective short runs with faster turnaround and expand the applications we offer," said Baird.

Broadest portfolio of solutions
In the lead up to Graph Expo, Xerox added to the industry's most expansive line up of digital printing solutions by introducing the following:

Right Technology
  • New productivity features for the Xerox Nuvera EA line of digital black-and-white production systems, including new in-line finishing options and integration with FreeFlow Print Server version 7;
  • New finishing options for Xerox's popular light production 4112™/4127™ Enterprise Printing System and 4112/4127 Copier/Printer;
  • The Xerox 6279™ Wide Format Printer, a black-and-white digital printer, copier and scanner that features sharp image quality, speed, a compact footprint and low running costs for architectural, engineering and design companies;
  • Xerox's Automated Colour Quality Suite Press Matching System has been extended to its DocuColor 7000AP/8000AP Presses. The suite enables faster press set up, quicker time to production and greater colour stability.
  • "Shown for the first time in the U.S. are the Xerox iGen4 Press, Xerox 700 Digital Colour Press, Xerox 650™ Continuous Feed Printer, Xerox 8254E™ Colour Wide Format Printer and Xerox DocuColor 5000AP.
Right Workflow
  • Several additions to the company's FreeFlow suite of workflow solutions, such as FreeFlow Express to Print and FreeFlow Print Server version 7, take steps out of the current prepress process, streamlining production. Each FreeFlow product has been enhanced with new features and capabilities to enable automation and lights out production.
Right Business Development
  • New business development offerings include Digital Mail Shop in a Box, which helps print providers move into mailing services, a training program to help a sales team sell personalized documents and a "Why Print?" kit that helps print providers communicate and share the value and effectiveness of print to their clients.
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Media Contacts:
Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada, (416) 733-6216, laura.mergelas@xerox.comTina Quelch, Calador Communications, (416) 925-6034, tina@calador.ca

Note: See the full range of Xerox digital production technology and services in booth No. 1219, Oct. 26-29, at Graph Expo 2008, McCormick Place South, Chicago. For more information about Xerox and the show visit www.xerox.com/news or www.xerox.com/graphexpo2008. For open commentary and industry perspectives, visit www.xerox.com/blogs or http://www.xerox.com/podcasts.

Xerox, Nuvera, FreeFlow, iGen3, iGen4™, 650™, 4112™, 4127™, 6279™, the Xerox wordmark and the spherical connection symbol are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. DocuColour is used under license.