In-plants Helped Xerox Design New DocuTechs
While Xerox technicians were developing the new DocuTech 100 and 120 copier/printers, they did a lot more than just talk among themselves. Xerox assembled two customer advisory councils to look at its plans and offer advice. One of these teams was made up entirely of in-plant managers.
"In-plants represent a substantial part of our current market placements," explains Peter Fallon, Xerox product marketing manager. Consequently, Xerox wanted to make sure it was developing a product that met in-plants' needs.
The in-plant panel comprised seven managers. One of them was Susan Anderson, director of Printing Services at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In a meeting with IPG recently, she said her group met with Xerox in Rochester and spoke monthly via conference calls to discuss the new machines.
Image quality was obviously very important to the advisory council, she said, as was paper flexibility, particularly with cold stock. The group wanted to be able to load more 11x17˝ paper than what previous DocuTechs permitted. On the back end, too, 11x17˝ paper stacking was a priority.
Xerox encouraged the group to be frank, so they were. They said previous DocuTechs were not easy for everyone to operate. The new models, they insisted, must be "foolproof." Halftone reproduction had to improve too, they said.
Xerox took the group's suggestions seriously, and modified many of the machines' designs.
Fallon says Xerox has used customer advisors in the past, but usually for feedback on industry trends, not to build equipment. He has been more than pleased with the results.
"It's been an awesome experience for me," he says. "To get [advice] right up front is the right way to do it."