Transforming your CRD into a Communications Hub

| 13 August 2019

Jon Hiscock, National Channel Manager at Konica Minolta, explains how traditional reprographics departments can improve client engagement and increase surpluses by offering modern, unified digital communications services.

The days when your central reprographics department (CRD) offered everyday print and mail services are disappearing fast. Today, your CRD has the potential to be the catalyst for your digital transformation: an innovative, agile hub for your communications strategy.

It involves moving your CRD from simple print output towards a joined-up communications strategy that speak with one voice: unified digital CRD services spanning everything from wide format printing, scanning and hybrid mail, to web-to-print solutions, design and direct mail.

For CRDs embedded within local authorities and universities, these consolidated, cutting-edge digital communications services open the door to exciting new opportunities, including process automation, reduced cost and increased financial surpluses. It also creates a more rewarding client experience.

An increasing number of local government and university CRDs making the move from their traditional reprographics remit to modern, agile and adaptive communications services delivery.

The evidence emanates from a recent PrintWeek round table discussion (Read Report), which brought together expert CRD luminaries from UK local authorities and universities to debate the future of the CRD. The consensus was that the CRD can be the champion of your communications strategy, adding real, lasting value to your digital transformation.

In the PrintWeek feature, Steve Thomas Design, Print & Photography Unit Manager at Lancaster University explained, “The future is about being very agile and constantly reinventing ourselves, so now we’re very much seen as the people that you come to for solutions.”

Those digital communications solutions are coming thick and fast at Lancaster University’s CRD too. For example, they are moving into drone photography having already begun to offer design, photography and print – even a bindery service to answer demand from PhD students.

It’s a similar story at Wokingham Borough Council. Simon Beasley, their Digital Solutions Manager said, “The future is about the flexibility of our offerings. “We’re trying to offer as much as we can based on what our customers want. So, it’s the entire production line, from design, wide-format, cut-sheet digital. We manage external print, MFDs, a scanning hub, we’re adding digital post to that.”

There’s a compelling argument for in-sourcing these services too. Most CRDs now operate as commercial entities, tasked with finding business externally. And the adoption of a communications hub means they now have the services portfolio, skills and price-competitiveness to target opportunities on an equal footing to commercial sector providers.

The University of Birmingham, for example, has adopted an agency model to build business and increase its annual surplus. Taking at the round table, Print Manager Will Cooper explained, “We now have six or seven account managers and… it’s their job to keep the relationships going, take the briefs, and build the businesses around our clients. It’s put an awful lot of additional turnover onto us, which is profitable, and last year we had a record year.”

The use of innovative digital services will also help CRDs to drive a more engaging client experience – one that directly impacts loyalty. Augmented reality (AR) solutions, for example, can help CRDs use printed materials to become digital pioneers. These AR tools overlay digital content such as video, animations, or 3D models onto printed materials to create rich, exciting, new media experiences. Consumers can interact with this content using an app on their device. With nominal specialist expertise, CRDs can enhance printed materials with captivating digital content.

Talking about this AR opportunity for CRDs, Anthony Evans, President of APCOM and Design Print Manager at Swansea Council, commented, “It’s got to be moving into digital platforms more, developing an even greater understanding of cross-media, AR, and the extra value they can bring our organisations.”

The evolution of your CRD from traditional print and mail management can play a vital role in every local authority and university digital transformation strategy. Now is the time to grasp the opportunity and transform your print room into a strategic corporate asset.

For more information, please download the complete PrintWeek article now (Read Report)

Jon Hiscock

National Channel Manager  

Professional Print CRD Private & Public Sector

About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe


Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, "IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Print Transformation 2020 Vendor Assessment" stated that Konica Minolta is "recognised globally as a leader in print transformation". As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe (InfoSource). Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its innovative service approach that complements their devices perfectly, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘"Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Serviceability and Support 2020/2021" by Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With approximately 10,000 employees (as of April 2020), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over 2.34 billion in financial year 2019/2020.


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