It is no longer news that Nigerian printers are using this time to adapt to the new normal due to the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on printing businesses in Nigeria. In the same vein Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Representatives in the country are now offering innovative services to mitigate the effects of the global disease in the industry.

During the live webinar presentation on the topic: EXCEEDING CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS IN THE NEW NORMAL, organized by CIPPON in conjunction with DCS Integrated Media LTD, the OEM Representatives who formed major Panelists during virtual meeting in the person of Mrs. Ngozi Ukachukwu (Gific), Mr. Ramzi Debs (Skysat), Mr. Godwin Ogilo (Heidelberg), and Mr. Femi Abidoye (Xerox) all dispensed smart and practical ideas which are also innovative and expected to address critical survival matters in the industry such as low production downtime, capacity production, spare parts, authentic consumables and financing options.

The Managing Director of Heidelberg Nigeria Limited, Mr. Godwin Ogilo kicked the ball rolling by first informing participants that Heidelberg’s equipment are already designed to address issues arising from social distancing Post-Covid 19. “For example, our 10-Colour Speed Master is operated by one person today because all our machines are internet enabled” and can be remotely controlled. Also, “at the touch of a bottom our machines are serviced”. He also noted that Heidelberg’s technical personnel are constantly trained on how to ensure their customers get more offsite visit thereby minimizing onsite visit and saving customers the cost and downtime of machines. Mr. Ogilo said that Heidelberg is constantly up skilling trained technicians with support from their Head Headquarter in Germany. Hence physical visit to customers will be significantly reduced or non-existent.

At the webinar, the MD, Heidelberg Nigeria also mentioned the introduction of a new innovation called the Subscription Model. This MODEL offers you access to machine software on a unique formular of pay as you print. “Instead of buying software outrightly, with our Subscription Model that comes with your installed machine, charges will only be on the impression you run on the machine”, whereby ensuring enhanced efficiency and productivity. In the area of raising finance Mr. Ogilo advised stakeholders against seeking international financing since they don’t earn income in foreign currency, he went further to encourage stakeholders to access local financing that are now available due to the recent reduction by CBN on lending rate to OFI from 9% to 5% with a one-year moratorium period.

For Xerox Nigeria (XHS) who was represented by General Manager Sales and Marketing, Mr. Femi Abidoye while responding to questions at the Post-Covid webinar disclosed that Xerox Nigeria has introduced several products to various sectors of the economy to meet the needs their customers ranging from SMEs to corporates, multinationals, and Governments. According to him, Xerox is currently involved in training all its staff and more of this took place during the lockdown via zoom webinars. Mr. Abidoye went further to assure Nigerians to count on their excellent customer service as issues like consumables and spare parts installations can be done at a click of a button. He reinforced that Xerox has improved on its payment plan capability to enable customers acquire machines and pay as you use.

Mr. Ramzi Debs, Executive Director of Skysat technologies, sole and preferred partner for Konica Minolta digital machines, Epson, Brother e.t.c in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon while responding to questions started by taking participants on a virtual tour of Skysat new state-of- the-art headquarters situated on Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to Ramzi, the new state-of-the-art office is one of the things Skysat has put in place to exceed customers expectation post COVID-19. The new headquarters also feature other facilities like state-of-the-art IT department with high-end internet capabilities to support customers remotely especially during the pandemic.

The virtual tour also revealed a large warehouse fully stocked with genuine consumables and spare parts. According to Ramzi, this is done to enhance speedy delivery of consumables and spare parts to support numerous machines that are installed and in operation all over the country. He also informed participant at the Post COVID-19 webinar that Skysat has also gone into partnership with MGI for the sale and services of MGI digital UV varnish solution in Nigeria. This he expects will increase the quality of finished print products for their customers.
On a final note, he advised CIPPON to facilitate the engagement of a leasing company for the Nigeria printing industry to support easy acquisition of printing machines.

The Managing Director of Gific Printing Solutions Ltd. – Mrs. Ngozi Ukachukwu in her own contribution at the post COVID-19 webinar, reiterated that her organization is well known for her high quality and portable heat transfer machines that are designed with COVID-19 in mind; in the sense that the machines are already social distancing compliant; “one machine is put on a table and manned by just one person”, she said. Gific is also exploring the option of assembling her range of machines in the country to reduce purchase cost for her customers. She mentioned that the cost of bringing in a container with ten machines that are fully coupled would be the same as bringing in forty machines that are going to be assembled in the country therefore saving huge cost to Printers.

Mrs. Ukachukwu also informed participants that Gific’s website is now fully interactive and up-to-date as well as has latest information to address any issue arising from the use of her machines; “we encourage you to visit our website” she enjoined while noting that her company also has series of training videos on how to use their products; “now, you don’t need to be on the road. Just connect to your system for a team video and if your system is not connected, we’ll do video call” to solve any problem.

With over 50 participants in attendance, the webinar also brought the topic of collaboration between OEM Representatives in Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) where CIPPON Council Members and representative on the platform such as Sir John Onuegbulem, Pastor Sam Odimayo, Mr. Akinlabi Olawuni and Mrs. Rotimi Adeaga respectively advocated for strategic collaboration to make printing business in Nigeria profitable again.