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An Interview with Kim Beswick, President, Memjet Office
June 4, 2014
We have spent a lot of time covering San Diego, CA-based Memjet over the past few years, and rightly so, as they have gained significant influence in the printing market. We first met Kim Beswick, then the VP of Marketing, back in March 2010, before the company had really introduced its ultra-fast print head. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Ms. Beswick again, who now holds the title of President of Memjet Office. Below is the transcript from our interview.
1) When we last spoke back in 2010, Memjet was really just beginning to create some buzz in the industry. Now Memjet has become the disruptor the company predicted all along. How did you do it?
Our strategy is based around partnerships. We partner with the OEMS in the industry to create new value. It is our technology, but they own the whole product commercialization, marketing, sales etc. It’s the partnering model that creates the diversity in the market and makes the disruption both exciting and powerful.
We are in several different markets today; office workgroup, desktop and labels presses, and wide format machines and commercial presses, each with unique value. It’s not just speed or cost or color printing, but it’s how we are able to combine these together to drive new efficiencies and new options for printing fast or printing short run color that is exciting. When we add the unique vision and capability of our partners into the equation, our ability to create value and deliver new choices to the industry multiplies. In the wide-format space you have industry veteran?s like Océ and Xante operating in completely different market categories —roll-to-roll graphics vs. short run packaging—even though they have leveraged a common print-engine structure. Delivering a flexible model that embraces the ideas and capabilities of our partners is powerful for us and for them.
2) I know we've covered this in some detail with the article we wrote about your presentation). We also spoke about your predictions for the printing industry. Once again, you were dead on. What do you think has helped color gain further relevance in office printing?
Page wide ink combines both speed and color together in one unit while keeping running costs down. Inkjet printing has been well established in the consumer space, but there just hasn?t been the robustness or speed to compete in the office. Page-wide printheads change this dynamic and create a new category of ink based technologies for the office. By lowering costs significantly vs. color laser and delivering fast solutions we provide new choices to office customers. Now office customers printing on aging monochrome laser printers have a more cost effective choice for printing in color—that’s not 15 cents or 10 cents but perhaps 4-6 cents. We assume that everyone wants to print in color and that 70-80% of office content is color content. It’s just a matter of giving them a reasonable way to print these pages as they are—in color.
3) I know Memjet has traditionally been more about finding partnerships with other vendors who want to license Memjet's printing technology. Considering the boom in smartphones, is Memjet thinking any more about mobile or wireless printing?
4)It’s still amazing to look and see how many patents Memjet has acquired. What kind of a pace are you pursuing them at nowadays, and how many do you have?
5) You were dead on with your predictions last time (in fact it happened inside of 5 years), so we'd like to ask you again to talk about where Memjet wants to be in 5 years time and where you think the industry will be?
Today traditional channel partners are selling certain numbers of mono pages and color pages at different prices for a given month in complex MPS contracts. A “one rate” office structure, makes the cost predictable regardless of whether the page is color or monochrome and actually encourages color printing. Businesses like that they can print what they want. Affordable and ink based systems are a profitable way to deliver this model for resellers. If this takes off it will drive new color pages for customers and new profits for resellers.