Digital Transformation is Pushing the Industry to Innovate
ME Printer speaks to Pui-Chi Li, the Head of Marketing in the Middle East at Xerox about how the print industry is evolving due to the digital transformation
What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
I started in the field of marketing as a Product Executive for NRG Group, a part of the Ricoh Family Group, and was responsible for managing a small segment of products for the EMEA market. Before moving to Xerox, I was promoted as a full Product Manager with an extended range of products, mentoring new members of the marketing department.
Since working for Xerox, I have under taken a number of marketing positions, covering the Developing Markets which include Russia, Eastern Europe, India, Middle East & Africa, Latin America and Caribbean countries. My roles include product management, business management for various categories and regions. I joined Xerox in May 2016 and I am currently Head of Marketing for the Middle East & Africa region, overseeing a team which include functions Product Marketing, Communications and Strategic pricing.
During my career, there has been many high points by different definitions. For example, the first time I delivered a presentation to 100+ C-level executives to applause, or to be the appointed champion of a strategic product. One, that I most fondly recall, was when I was invited to attend a product development seminar in Japan and represent the region.
During that forum, which brought together representatives from all over the globe, we discussed and agreed on the three-year plans for the company, toured the factory sites, explored development laboratories and worked with senior management to decide the direction. During this time, I shared information and insight which was folded into the process and was the first time I really saw my experience directly impacting direction.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a print influencer?
I am currently the Head of Marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations. Some of my responsibilities include all aspects of marketing and communications activities, technology product and offering management, strategic pricing, sales enablement and lead generation initiatives in more than 70 countries comprising the Middle East and Africa region.
Every print influencer should be aware of the demands of the print industry. As a society we are increasingly embracing the Internet of Things around us, products and services are experiencing a heighten level of evolution and change to keep up. Achieving a balanced approach in Marketing is more crucial than ever while using the latest technology to compliment what we are saying to our audience. In fact, it is our responsibility to offer the solutions that will meet the demands of the industry, use it to weave a stronger and more coherent story to our message.
What qualities should a print influencer possess to lead the company?
First and foremost, a print influencer needs to have a strong understanding of the various elements of the Graphic Arts industry, not only the large printing houses but also commercial packaging all the way through to the small print shops. This knowledge can help understand the pressures on the industry and feed into how we resolve them. Additionally, they should be keenly interested in the technological developments in the industry, keeping up with the latest developments in print capabilities and cutting edge R&D that will be impacting the industry in the near future.
What is your advice on finding success in the print industry?
My advice is to spend time with the full spectrum, from the large corporate customers with printing facilities all the way to the smaller print houses who run on a shoe string budget because each represents a learning opportunity on how to add value to the customer. You also need to define what the industry wants and what matters most to your brand; go into the details and thoroughly understand the layers and different elements involved in your work field. This will form your core values and stake on the ground, which will drive everything you do to achieve your business goals.
How would you assess the current state of the print and graphics arts industry?
Digital transformation is pushing the industry to innovate and offer much more than simple ink on paper. The industry currently revolves around helping Print Service Providers become more digitally competent, to enable them to offer new value to their customers and make print in whatever form it takes, more relevant to the consumer. Underpinning this goal, is the desire to drive “sustainable and relevant print”.
Today, digital printing is the direction that the industry is taking. It is the ‘greenest’ or most sustainable form of printing since digital documents can be shared in numerous ways without the need to utilize actual paper material. The printing industry is also rapidly evolving in the workplace. Having thoughtful and user-friendly features in a printer is what the workforce is looking for now. We need so much more than a machine – we need a workplace assistant.
What is the biggest challenge facing the print and graphics arts industry in the region?
As with many industries, the print and graphic arts industry is also challenged to adapt to the rate of digital transformation across the board. Particularly in countries such as UAE and KSA, there are government driven targets and milestones to meet in terms of digitalization which permeates throughout all organizations.
If you could improve one thing about the print and graphics arts business, what would it be?
I would like to see the industry continue to look at how we can grow the graphic arts industry with greater sustainability via the print technology, materials used, and energy consumed.
How can partners and stakeholders in the print industry work effectively to generate growth in the industry?
Partners and stakeholders should bring new tools and technologies to their digitally-oriented customers. The main goal is to encourage ways of communicating without the need for paper and to drive down the cost of producing these materials and their impact on the environment. Industry stakeholders need to develop new approaches and digital technologies that help them deliver operational efficiencies which eliminate cost, reduce errors and streamline printing operations to save time and wastage. These efficiencies can help deliver significant cost savings for customers while safeguarding our environment.