Inkjet Wholesale News aims to provide updates on the latest significant occurrences in the field of printing. Whether it’s the launch of a new technology or volatility of market prices, we’ll be here to give you the lowdown on what happened, when it happened, and what it means!
Rising Popularity of Epson Ink Tank Printers Results in Capacity Increase for Ink Bottles
Last week, we explained how Epson’s been having a hard time in the printing market. We reported on how the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) revenues and profits in the third quarter of the current fiscal had shown drastic drops. However, even though the company’s financial performance may not be where it wants it to be, looking at overall operations and efforts of the OEM show us that it is indeed trying to turn the situation around to its favour.
In fact, its efforts are relevant enough to show results soon in our humble opinion. One of these efforts is the fact that the OEM has decided to increase the production of ink bottles which are crucial for users of Epson ink tank printers. According to a press release from the OEM itself, the production of these ink bottles is being increased to keep up with the rising demand for high capacity Epson ink tank printers.
The OEM isn’t directly involved in the production of these ink bottles. Instead, one of its affiliates operating out of Indonesia is responsible for the manufacturing process of the same. Thus, Epson revealed that this Indonesian affiliate has already started boosting the production of these ink bottles so that users of Epson ink tank printers don’t suffer because of limited accessibility of these bottles.
The production of ink bottles for Epson ink tank printers is being increased by way of automation of the manufacturing process. The reason for this, as per Epson, is that high speed production of stable quality ink bottles for Epson ink tank printers can’t be done without automation. However, unlike typical manufacturing units in Indonesia, the automation process of the ink bottle production facility is not being handled by foreign experts. In contrast to established trends in the South East Asian country, the entire automation process in the Indonesian ink bottle producing facility is being handled by local employees.
Referring to the involvement of local personnel, the OEM specifically stated that this allows the company to ‘continuously improve production lines’ as well as strengthen their ‘long term manufacturing capabilities’.
Supposedly, the manufacturing unit’s local personnel carefully observed the manufacturing process before beginning an automation exercise for various segments of the whole manufacturing line. The process began way back in 2010 but tasks such as bottle capping, attachment of traceable IDs, and weighing of ink have already been successfully automated with great results.
Epson ink tank printers were first introduced to the world six years ago in 2010. Initially, Epson ink tank printers were launched in emerging markets owing to their specific need for bulk production along with lower operating costs. However, the popularity of Epson ink tank printers grew at such a rate that the OEM gradually made them available all over the world. Currently, Epson ink tank printers are available in developed markets such as Western Europe and the United States of America.
More importantly, the sales figures of Epson ink tank printers have consistently risen to a point where the OEM recorded maximum sales in the current fiscal. As per rough estimates, the company has shipped about five million units already in FY2015. The number of shipped units was just over four million in the last fiscal and around three million in the preceding financial year. As a matter of fact, the company’s figures for the sales of Epson ink tank printers at the end of FY2014 showed a massive year on year growth of 40 percent.
The boost in the production of ink bottles for Epson ink tank printers is being implemented because the OEM is forecasting an even greater demand in the coming years in both the home and office segments.
Multiple Bids for Software Operations Received By Lexmark
There are many rumours swirling around Lexmark and its future. In January, Reuters reported that Lexmark may be looking to split its operations and sell its printer hardware and information software operations independently.
In the same month, we reported that Lexmark may be sold off to another printing industry stalwart Konica Minolta. That rumour supposedly was a result of an incendiary letter written by a group calling itself Lexmark Employees for Ethical Conduct or LEEC. The group is said to consist of existing and former employees of Lexmark.
While that incendiary letter may not be taken as serious evidence and should ideally be put in the category of hearsay, a more reliable source now suggests that Lexmark has received bids from multiple sources for its software operations. This information was reported by Bloomberg Business News, which is a significantly more reliable source of information than a questionable group of existing or former employees of Lexmark.
More importantly, Jerry Grasso, Lexmark’s official spokesman chose to respond categorically to these rumours as well. Grasso said the company “doesn’t comment on rumours or speculation”.
As anyone who follows business news in this world will tell you, mentions of words like ‘rumours’ and ‘speculation’, along with a “no comment” in an official statement from a business entity usually means that the company in question is hiding something from the media.
Another fact that is critical here is that Lexmark chose to make an official comment about this information. This points us towards thinking that there may be some truth to these latest rumours. It should also be noted that these latest rumours have resulted in the value of Lexmark shares rising.
In the last couple of years, Lexmark has been on a somewhat buying and acquisition spree of various companies in the software sector. This has resulted in the company’s software operations currently consisting of Kofax, ReadSoft, and Perceptive Software. The latest acquisition was of Kofax that took place last year and was worth a massive $1 billion.
Last year, in the fall season, Lexmark made an announcement that it would be considering strategic alternatives that will allow it to increase shareholder value. The software bids, hence, could be fallout of the OEM’s effort to explore strategic options for the sake of improving equity value for its shareholders.