Printing is big. Research shows that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. But what about printing in five years time?
It is clear that businesses need to get on the automation train before it leaves the station. As one of the leaders in this trend discovered, the full benefits only become clear once the journey has begun.
“We’ve been involved with this digital transformation journey for the past four and a half years,” says Werner Engelbrecht, general manager of Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa (KDZA).
“It started as a project from Europe, and it was one of those initiatives that we were asked to participate in. To be honest, there wasn’t an initial buy-in because we didn’t understand what it entailed. It wasn’t until we moved down this journey that we realised the impact this would have on our business.
“Four and a half years later, we’ve done a lot and we’re not yet finished. On the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our experience is everybody has these terms that they throw around, but not everyone knows where to start. In our experience, we advise that businesses should identify some pains in their business, pick a pain point, and start there.”
KDZA recently redefined its brand identity, shifting from primarily providing the latest printing device technology to consulting on technologies businesses should use to manage their operations.
“We have the experience across many industries,” says Engelbrecht. “We’ve gained initial experience on taking our own business paperless. It’s quite bold for a traditional printing company to say ‘we’re going paperless’, but we believe this to be the future of our business. It doesn’t help to remain constant. Although we’re great as a printing company, we’ve ticked that box so we’re embracing future technologies that can develop our business offering.
“Our first process for going paperless was implementing electronic invoicing. We used to have someone who would capture and print our invoices, which cost us roughly R12 an invoice. After we implemented the solution, that dropped to below R1 per invoice. At around 3,500 invoices per month, we’ve saved quite a bit.”
But what happens to jobs when something like an electronic invoicing system is implemented?
“Kyocera’s philosophy is ‘Do the right thing as a human being’,” says Engelbrecht. “Following our philosophy, we upskilled that person to work in our Accounts Receivable department. We don’t see these new technologies as a threat because we believe businesses are obligated to reskill employees to more meaningful work.
“We have a culture of process improvement. We’re always asking ourselves ‘If you do something, is it the best way you can do it?’.”
Jaen-Pierre Lourens, software product manager at KDZA, says this new way of working has rapidly changed how Kyocera operates, from many aspects of the business.
“We follow Kaizen philosophy,” says Lourens. “This is the process of constant small improvements in the entire organisation with the aim of driving a culture of working smarter, keeping motivated, and cost reduction. This approach applies to every department; if they see something they can do better, they better it. We believe these small incremental changes will lead businesses towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
There are many ways for businesses to get started on this journey, but there is one fundamental rule.
“It’s vital to have buy-in from the top,” says Engelbrecht. “It’s not something that should be put on the desk of the IT administrator, it needs to be driven from the top where executives lead their company. This involves a lot of change management and uncertainty because it’s something new. We’re on this journey ourselves, so we can advise on solutions to implement based on how our client’s businesses operate.”
To find out more about KDZA, click here.
Vodacom cuts cost of smallest bundle by 40%
The country’s largest mobile operator has kept to a promise made last month to slash the price of entry-level data packages
Vodacom has cut the data price of its lowest-cost bundle by 40%, reducing the price of a 50MB 30-day bundle from R20 to to R12. This follows from the operator’s promise in March, when it announced a 33% cut in the cost of 1GB bundles, to reduce prices of all smaller bundles by up to 40%.
Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels, with the new pricing as follows:
|30-day bundle size||New Price||Reduction|
Vodacom confirmed it will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect. The value of these initiatives, it says, is R2.7-billion over the next year.
“Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected,” says Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit. “Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”
The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za
ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also went live this week. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs. The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.
Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2-billion in savings for customers in 2019.
OneBlade shaves price of electric precision
Electric razors and their blades are usually quite expensive. But the Philips OneBlade shaves the cost, writes SEAN BACHER
Electric razors come in all shapes and forms and their prices vary as well. When your nearest electronic retail outlet opens again, you will be able to pay a small fortune for a wet and dry razor that cleans itself, shows you when it needs to be recharged, and tells you to replace the cleaning solution – all via a little LCD panel in the handle.
But does everyone want that? Does everyone need that? Surely there must be customers who want an easy-to-use, no-mess, no-fuss razor that gets the job done just as well as a “smart razor”?
With this in mind, Philips has launched its OneBlade wet and dry electric razor. The razor is dead simple to use. It comes with three stubble combs – 1mm, 3mm and 5 mm – which can be clicked onto the head much like one would with a hair shaver. Should you want a really close shave, simply the combs off. I found this to be the most effective as I don’t have a beard.
The razor’s blade is the size of the striking side of a matchbox and has 90-degree angles all round. This offers precise shaving and, because of its small size, it is able to get just about anywhere on a person’s face.
The blade has a usage indicator that shows when it is time to replace the blade – usually after four months – and an additional blade is included in the box.
The OneBlade’s battery takes up to eight hours to charge, and will give up to 45 minutes shaving time.
Overall, the Philips OneBlade will give a man a comfortable and precise shave. Its battery life, combined with its size, makes it a perfect travel companion as it is no bigger than an electric toothbrush. Its relatively low price compared to other electric razors also counts in its favour.
The One Blade can be bought from most electronic retailers or can be ordered online from websites like takealot.com. The razor retails for R650 and a set of two new blades will cost around R450.