Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., today announced its continued support of PCI Group Inc., a nationally-ranked mission-critical document delivery leader. PCI Group’s impressive rise in business has been directly impacted by inkjet technologies introduced by Canon Solutions America. Over the course of the last year, PCI Group took its organization to new levels of productivity and embarked on a hugely successful inkjet journey by installing two Océ JetStream production presses, an Océ ColorStream 3900, and, most recently, the Océ VarioPrint i300.
Since its founding in 1970 as a family-owned and operated company, PCI Group has remained at the forefront of the document delivery industry. Recognized as industry innovators with a keen sense and understanding of cutting-edge technologies, the South Carolina-based company continues to ensure the optimum in secure, fast, and cost-effective compliant outbound document delivery, communications processing services, and electronic and paper bill presentment. Specializing in regulated industries that include collection agencies, financial institutions, insurance companies, and much more, the need to meet mission-critical communications requirements remains paramount to PCI Group’s sustained success. Attesting to its commitment to data security, PCI Group is also SOC I, SOC II Type II, PCI DSS, HIPAA and FISMA compliant.
Over the course of its history PCI Group has cleverly adapted to an ever-changing business climate. In its first 20 years as a company, it focused primarily on data entry and creating large scale databases, and found success throughout the marketplace with technical expertise and an ability to turn large low bid projects into intricate applications. Yet as demands and trends shifted, so too did the mission of PCI Group. Interested in expanding the business and its offerings, PCI Group President, Christian Kropac, sought out the mailing industry as the company’s next pursuit.
“We performed data entry and created databases containing millions of address records, but as the industry evolved, it seemed the logical next step for us was to pursue the mailing industry,” commented Kropac. “Of course the transition from the data entry world to the mailing business was one that took time, but we knew the opportunities were endless.”
With that transition came the need for an investment in a more robust in-house printing fleet. To compete fully in the direct mail space, PCI Group understood the need to invest in technologies that could match the demands associated with critical document delivery and the security of data. As Kropac noted, “What is actually printed on the piece of paper is much more valuable than the piece of paper itself – in our world a mistake costs thousands of dollars to rectify.”
This expansion into direct mail hit some barriers along the way, particularly with the market crash in 2008 that had its negative and resonating impact on the industry as a whole. “After making it through the challenging market crash, we knew our next step was to get involved with the emerging technologies for full color printing; however, we knew it needed to be cost effective as our clients didn’t always see the underlying value of color,” said Kropac. “Our customers convey quality but want it at a fair price; at the time the only full color solution was toner based which was very costly. Inkjet wasn’t quite there yet, and although it was cheaper, it didn’t have the required quality. Even still, we knew the future of print was inkjet and that its time was right around the corner.”
In 2015, after a monumental contract win set PCI Group up for exponential growth, the company dove into the rapidly evolving world of inkjet by installing two Océ JetStream’s. From this, PCI Group set its sights on becoming a leader in communications, document delivery, and related compliance requirements. Once the first Océ JetStream was installed in June of 2015, it immediately helped create enhancements in PCI Group’s uptime and efficiency. The second one followed in October of the same year as the demand continued to soar. By November of 2015, PCI Group worked with Canon Solutions America’s Production Print Solutions division to upgrade its print fleet to include the Océ ColorStream 3900 and Océ VarioPrint i300.
“Our decision to go to inkjet was based off a number of things, but most importantly we knew the inkjet revolution was going to redefine the industry when it became cost effective and when the quality significantly improved,” said Kropac. “Essentially we went from a toner based roll-to-fold environment, to a full color roll-to-roll world in 2 months, and haven’t looked back since. In our toner based world we typically had to offset print the letter shells and print in black toner, thus limiting the offering and flexibility to our clients. In our new inkjet world, all backgrounds are printed full color on the fly at the same time as letter copy – suffice to say, our offerings are now unlimited to our valued customers.
According to PCI Group, in the three months following the installations of both the Océ ColorStream 3900 and Océ VarioPrint i300, the company went from printing 250 million to 1.3 billion sheets of paper a year. The staggering numbers do not stop there. PCI Group is now printing close to two million pieces of paper a day on the Océ ColorStream 3900 while producing nearly 1.2 million pieces of mail each day – an astounding increase from the 400,000 pieces of mail it was producing before its most recent inkjet installations.
“The results and numbers speak for themselves,” said Mal Baboyian, executive vice president, Large Format Solutions and Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America. “PCI Group is a shining example of how to maximize our inkjet technologies and open the door to entirely new business opportunities that have been made available by this industry-wide revolution.”
The growth did not end with pages. Since originally installing the Océ JetStream production presses, PCI Group has expanded its overall business model to support the ongoing surge in growth. Instrumental to that growth was the installation of the game-changing Océ VarioPrint i300 and Océ ColorStream 3900. Supporting everything from reprints and small jobs to high volume requests and complex applications, while providing outstanding flexibility and uptime, the two inkjet presses are an integral part of PCI Group’s transformation from data entry business to full-fledged direct mail leader. Providing additional depth for PCI Group is the Océ VarioPrint i300’s iQuarius technologies, which were designed to offer a range of innovations that allow for robust, high quality prints on sheets of paper at high speeds. iQuarius technologies will assist PCI Group to improve productivity, quality, and media compatibility, while decreasing costs and ensuring an eco-friendly solution is in place.
“Before the Océ VarioPrint i300 we still had to print backgrounds and maintain a cutsheet inventory of these items,” said Kropac. “After the installation of the new production printing press, we now just stock white paper and all cutsheet backgrounds are printed on the fly – a tremendous inventory savings.”
The business relationship between PCI Group and Canon Solutions America transcends the installation of inkjet presses. The dynamic collaboration has led to PCI Group working with a number of Canon Solutions America’s divisions, including its Professional Services Team. The impact that the team, led by James Sharp, executive vice president, Canon Solutions America, brought to PCI Group was invaluable, and according to both companies, the collaboration continues to grow stronger.
PCI Group’s transition from black toner print to full color inkjet was one that was supported from inception to completion by Canon Solutions America. “From a color management perspective, Canon Solutions America was (and remains) a true leader and understood what we needed to do to be successful,” insisted Kropac. “They really stressed the importance of color management and the training of our staff – even insisting that we send our operators to the appropriate classes. While we didn’t realize it at first, this was a key factor that allowed us to adapt to, and become successful with, full color inkjet production in a short amount of time.”
Kropac described the intelligence, ingenuity, and follow-through that PCI Group received from the Professional Services Team at Canon Solutions America as “outstanding.” “The color management and control training was imperative to our success, providing a deep understanding of our new inkjet equipment,” explained Kropac. “Members of our staff attended classes while representatives from the division came on-site to ensure our print room staff was informed and comfortable with the intricacies of color management.”
“The inkjet revolution is as alive as it’s ever been,” added Kropac. “And there is no one in the industry leading the charge like Canon Solutions America.”